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ARTICLES

 

2003 Welsh Regional Qualifying Championships

First Section
Saturday 15th March
Starts: After results of 2nd Section

Adjudicator: David Read


Test Piece: Passacaglia on a Theme of Brahms - Arthur Butterworth


Since the 1st Section was set up in 1992 Welsh bands can boast two victories at the contest at National level – although it must be said that both those victories went to North Wales bands in the shape of Point of Ayr and Northop in 1993 and 1994. Since then there hasn’t been another victory, but in the last year two years Welsh bands have come close again and Beaumaris were 3rd I 2001 and Mid Rhondda runners up last year. Whoever gets the qualification this time then should make the trip to Scotland with high hopes of doing well (more than be said of our rugby team on the weekend for sure).

The standard here is pretty good, although just like 1st Section bands all around the country they will find Arthur Butterworth’s test piece a very difficult work to master and there could well be more than a few casualties. David Read knows the score inside out (we were with him for the most part last week in Bradford) and the wise heads amongst the MD’s will have to ensure they capture the correct style with the music if they are to impress him. This isn’t Prague by any stretch of the imagination.

It should make for a close contest then and one for the usually large audience to enjoy.


Abergavenny Borough
Conductor:
L. Price

Last Year: Winners
Last Seven Years:
2002: Winners
2001: 6th
2000: 7th
1999: 4th
1998: 6th
1997: 8th
1996: Winners

Last year Abergavenny won in exciting fashion under the debutante baton of David Childs, but they didn’t have the euphonium virtuoso at the National Finals where they came an unlucky 11th. This year Lyndon Price takes the baton and they will be keen for a repeat performance and the chance to win the title for the third time. They also won in 1996 under their great MD Eric Powell as well as taking the 2nd Section titles as far back as 1985 and 1988. A good solid record here over the past few years and they should be up in the qualification spots once more come results time especially as they have a number of key players in the ranks who could grace a top section band without a problem.


Ammanford Town
Conductor:
C. Hogg

Last Year: 7th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 7th
2001: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
2000: 6th 2nd Section
1999: 7th 2nd Section
1998: DNC
1997: 6th (rel)
1996: 6th

Ammanford came 7th last year under Colin Hogg, but they will surely come to the contest this year with their confidence on a high after some fine recent results. The band were promoted from the 2nd Section in 2001 after three years of hard graft and so last years result was a good achievement and they did beat four other bands on the day. Ammanford have been around a long time at the contest as well and can boast two back to back victories in the 4th Section as far back as 1977 as well as once more in 1991. They then did the double in the 3rd Section in 1992 and 1993 and crowned the lot by winning the National 2nd Section title in 2001 with their famous victory under Jim Davies off the number 1 spot in Preston. Should be capable of pushing for the qualification places we think.


Markham and District
Conductor:
A. Jones

Last Year: 10th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 10th
2001: 4th 2nd Section (prom)
2000: 3rd 2nd Section
1999: 3rd 2nd Section
1998: 7th 2nd Section
1997: 5th 2nd Section
1996: 8th 2nd Section

Markham were champions in the top section we understand in 1969 but in the past few years the band has had a bit of a struggle in the lower sections and were finally promoted from the 2nd Section last year. The last time they were here was in 1994 so it has been a long hard road back. Andrew Jones is the talented MD who has done so much to drive the band forward and they will be hoping that this year they can make more of an impression on the judge after beating just the one band a twelve month ago. The last time they had their name inscribed as winners on a trophy here was way back in 1984 in the 3rd Section. They may have to wait another year, but they could well put in a strong challenge.


Pontardulais Town
Conductor:
D. Mahoney

Last Year: 6th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 6th
2001: 5th
2000: 3rd
1999: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
1998: Winners 2nd Section
1997: 2nd 3rd Section (prom)
1996: 3rd 3rd Section

Back in 1955 and 1956 Pontardulais were crowned National 3rd and then 2nd Section Champions and were a very well respected band at National level and even got to the Royal Albert Hall in the top section in 1958. Since then though they have tended to occupy a place in the lower sections but have won at the Regionals on quite a few occasions. They were 2nd Section champions in 1987 and 1998 where they went on to the Nationals and came 5th under the experienced Brian Buckley. In 1999 they qualified once more and came 5th again and since being promoted have more than held their own, although they have fallen away in the last three years and came 6th last year. Dennis Mahoney takes over this time and they should have enough about to mount a serious challenge.


Rhyl Silver
Conductor:
N. Birch

Last Year: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
2001: 3rd 2nd Section
2000: 2nd 2nd Section
1999: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
1998: 5th 3rd Section
1997: 9th 3rd Section
1996: 2nd 3rd Section

The North Wales band first won a Welsh title back in 1992 when they took the now defunct North Wales title in the 4th Section and the record books show that as far back as 1949 they were National 2nd Section Champions as well. Since all the Welsh bands came together though they have climbed up through the sections winning promotion from the 3rd in 1999 after winning the top prize in Swansea and going on to come 10th at the National Finals and twice being runners up in the 2nd Section in 2000 and last year. On those occasions they went to the Nationals and came 14th and 17th respectively. N. Birch takes over this time and they will once more by looking to continue their impressive rise through the sections. A top six place should be within their grasp.


Rogerstone
Conductor:
C. Thomas

Last Year: 4th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 4th
2001: 4th
2000: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
1999: 5th 2nd Section
1998: 5th 2nd Section
1997: 3rd (rel)
1996: 8th

Rogerstone have been a band that has tasted life at the very top and in competed at the National Finals in the Championship Section under Ray Farr on “Contest Music”. Ten years prior to that and they were regular visitors to the Royal Albert Hall as well and won the Second Section National title itself in 1971 under the great Con Buckley. Since those days of the early 1980’s however they have tended to occupy a place in the lower sections and won the 2nd Section in 2000 when they went on to come 13th at the National Finals and have come 4th on their last two outings here. A real hard working band (behind the scenes as well) they have the experienced Ceri Thomas to lead them once more and they will be hoping they can secure one of the qualification spots for Dundee.


Treherbert and District
Conductor:
G. Sheppard

Last Year: 5th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 5th
2001: 2nd
2000: 8th
1999: 5th
1998: 3rd 2nd Section (prom)
1997: 2nd 2nd Section
1996: DNC

Treherbert are a band that has done well here in the past few years and can boast both a runners up spot in the 2nd Section in 1997 and a runners up spot at this level in 2001 where they went on to come 12th in Preston. Graham Sheppard, the fomer Cory bass player has done some tremendous work in developing the band over the years and he once more takes the band on stage this year. 5th last time out was a decent showing and with plenty of talent around the stands they have the ability to do well. Another qualification may be on the cards.


Tylorstown (Valley Lines)
Conductor:
L. Phillips

Last Year: 8th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 8th
2001: 3rd
2000: 5th
1999: 7th
1998: 8th
1997: 5th
1996: 7th

The Rondda band has had a couple of wins here in past years and took the 3rd Section title back in 1987 and then the 2nd Section in 1989. Nothing since though but they have been sturdy challengers here ever since they were promoted back in 1994 and have always been there or thereabouts the top six and came 3rd here in 2001 under the baton Lawrence Phillips. Some real quality players in the ranks especially on principal cornet they may not get one of the qualification spots but should keep up their record and may well improve on last year.


Wrexham Brass
Conductor:
W. Ruston

Last Year: 9th Championship (rel)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 9th Championship (rel)
2001: DNC
2000: Winners (as Rhos Silver) (prom)
1999: 2nd (as Rhos)
1998: 2nd (as Rhos)
1997: Winners 2nd Section (as Rhos) (prom)
1996: 2nd 2nd Section (as Rhos)

Under the former identity as Rhos Silver, Wrexham Brass were on of the most consistently successful bands to make the trip down to Swansea. Winners of the 3rd Section in 1993 in North Wales they went on to win the 2nd Section title here in 1997 and then the 1st section title in 2000. That year they went to the National Finals where they came home with 16th place, whilst in the previous two years they had come 14th twice. The record books also show them to have been 3rd Section National Champions as far back as 1947. They didn’t compete in 2001 and under their new title of Wrexham Brass they came 9th in the Championship Section last year. That was very difficult for them after all their troubles so they will be keen to show that they are once more strong contenders here this time. The very busy Wayne Ruston takes the helm again and they could well be up in the top prizes when the results are announced.


Past Winners:

2002: Abergavenny Borough
2001: Beaumaris
2000: Rhos Silver
1999: Burry Port
1998: Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda
1997: Beaumaris
1996: Abergavenny Borough
1995: Beaumaris
1994: Cwmaman Institute
1993: Cwmaman Institute
1992: Tongwynlais Temperance

Winning Conductors:


2002: D. Childs
2001: G. Evans
2000: I. Davey
1999: M. Thorne
1998: A. Gibbs
1997: G. Evans
1996: E. Powell
1995: G. Evans
1994: B. Williams
1993: C. Jones
1992: B. Buckley


Test Pieces:

2002: Royal Parks – G. Lloyd
2001: The Undaunted – E. Ball
2000: Music for the Common Man – K. Downie
1999: Kenilworth – A. Bliss
1998: Purcell Variations – K. Downie
1997: Ballet for Band – J. Horovitz
1996: Spectrum – G. Vinter
1995: Land of the Long White Cloud – P. Sparke
1994: Maoriana – A. Butterworth
1993: The Forest of Dean – D. Bourgeois
1992: Celebration – E. Gregson

Adjudicators:

2002: S. Sykes
2001: J. Scott
2000: D. Read
1999: L. Landry
1998: F. Renton
1997: D. Read
1996: J. Scott
1995: D. Read
1994: K. Bolton
1993: J. Scott
1992: D. Wilby

Past Qualifiers:

2002: Abergavenny Borough, Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda
2001: Beaumaris, Treherbert and District
2000: Rhos Silver, Tongwynlais Temperance
1999: Burry Port, Rhos Silver
1998: Thomas Coahes Mid Rhondda, Rhos Silver
1997: Beaumaris, Burry Port
1996: Abergavenny, Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda
1995: Beaumaris, Tongwynlais Temperance

Welsh Bands at the Finals:

2002: 2nd, 11th
2001: 3rd, 12th
2000: 10th, 16th
1999: 6th, 14th
1998: 11th, 14th


Last Years Result:

1. Abergavenny Borough – D. Childs 191pts
2. Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda – A. Gibbs 190pts
3. Tongwynlais Temperance – N. Seaman 189pts
4. Rogerstone – C. Thomas 188pts
5. Treherbert and District – G. Sheppard 187pts
6. Pontardulais Town – B. Buckley 186pts
7. Ammanford Town – C. Hogg 185pts
8. Tylorstown Valley Lines – L. Phillips 184pts
9. Deiniolen – J. Cant 183pts
10. Markham and District – A. Jones 182pts
11. RAF St. Athans Vol. – A. Bourne 181pts


4BR Prediction:

A bit more difficult to predict than we first thought this one, as looking at the bands nearly all of them can put in a good enough performance to win it. We think experience may count though and so we opt for last year’s winners Abergavenny to once more come out on top. They will be challenged hard though and we think the second qualification spot will be a good scrap between Ammanford, Pontardulais, Wrexham and Rogerstone. The final spot could well go to Treherbert with our dark horses in the small field being Markham. Our apologies to anyone who thinks we have put the kiss of death on though.

1. Abergavenny Borough
2. Ammanford Town
3. Pontardulais
4. Wrexham Brass
5. Rogerstone
6. Treherbert and District

Dark Horse: Markham and District

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