2003 North of England Regional Qualifying
Fourth Section - Retrospective
Adjudicator: Stan Lippeatt
Test Piece: Lydian Pictures - Simon Dobson
Sandwiched between the top and first section the
4th section contest certainly didn’t disappoint. The music
by Simon Dobson has some lovely moments and many varied styles but
the piece is very long and by the time we got to the third movement
the contest was won or lost. Generally most bands made a good fist
of it and it was enjoyable throughout and we were also pleased to
see a few famous faces (or were they just look alikes) performing
at the Dolphin Centre. We wondered if anyone else spotted them!!
In first place came Lockwood Brass and we thought this was a good
show throughout. Apart from one or two splits and some sloppy back
row playing there was a good sense of shape and style, and it benefited
from clear and sensible direction throughout by N. Barnes. Much
to readers surprise though we didn’t have them in first place
but knew it was one to beat. Lockwood, who are the amalgamation
of two recently defunct higher section bands won by five points
by Stan Lippeat and in general terms you couldn’t argue with
that, but we felt it was a bit too beefy and lacked the lightness
of touch that we felt the music required. It was a personal thing
though, but there was little doubt they sounded like a band that
would have been at home and challenging in the Second Section. They
will be a short priced favourite for the National title itself.
In second place were Ripon City. Jim Shepherd will be delighted
to have another trip to the Finals but in all honesty we had them
out of the top six – again a personal choice. Intonation and
ensemble all suffered though there was a good attempt at sound and
style. The second movement was definitely their weak link. Poor
intonation and balance all made this a bit of a struggle and the
ending sounded forced. The third movement was much better, and had
plenty of style. The soprano cornet who looked a touch like Russell
Gray was excellent throughout and deserved a few beers afterwards
for his efforts.
Billingham got the nod for third place and were very unlucky not
to qualify we thought. It was good throughout, despite a glock blob,
and all soloists played well. It was well directed by V. Evans with
sensible tempos and time for the soloists to shine. First place
for us as we felt it captured the real essence of the music –
light and precise and with plenty of youthful vigour.
Stanhope under S. Robson came in fourth with a tidy performance,
but one which sounded a little weak. We felt the music had good
shape and style but lacked the quality to back it up. Intonation
was the main problem throughout. A little too high up in the placings
for us but the MD had got the shape and style just right and we
think this must have got the nod here.
Askham Town came fifth, and they were pretty solid throughout,
and all the soloists played well, whilst the music flowed nicely
with some nice shapes and colours. There were a few moments of poor
balance and intonation but generally the direction from D. Henley
was spot on. The star player was the sop but the drummers were real
show ponies – great stuff.
In sixth were Kirkby Lonsdale under A. Greenwood, and we felt this
was a good performance. It had some dodgy moments, some rushing
and hard sounds in the first movement and the triplets rushed throughout
but the second movement was the best of the day. It really captured
the style and had a beautiful calm feel. There was some super trombone
playing which was a real pleasure to listen to – sweet and
precise, but the solo cornet did have the sparkliest trousers we
have seen for many a year. Plenty of good stuff though and a touch
unlucky to come where they did.
Five Rivers came in seventh. We felt that they were a little hard
done by too and should have been in the prizes. We felt it was well
directed by T. Griffiths and well played throughout, sensible tempos
and styles and a percussion section that really worked well adding
lots of colours that other bands missed. Bad luck. Durham Constabulary
were eighth and once again we had them well in the prizes. They
drew number nine and when they had finished we felt it was the one
to beat. It had a lively approach with a sense of style and nice
shapes from their MD. It wasn’t perfect by any means but it
Dunstan Silver under A. Seymour came in ninth with a performance
that was pretty solid throughout. A smashing young percussionist
(give him some real sticks though) a good sop and solo cornet all
made for a decent show. Marske Brass came tenth and summed up the
day for a few bands. The outer movements were super with some really
colourful, clean playing but the slow movement went to pieces and
was a big let down. Stepping in to conduct for the day was Michael
Fowles and he brought some real style to the music, the playing
just couldn’t quite match it.
Ulverston Town under B. Seddon did really well with a somewhat
depleted band. Only six cornet players were ready for battle and
so eleventh wasn’t really too bad. The music struggled throughout.
The third movement provided the bands best playing but it was never
comfortable. Star player – flugel. Trimdon Concert never got
going and though there is some future talent here the playing was
never good enough on the day. As with others the slow movement caused
the real problems. Plenty of effort but little reward we are afraid.
Burnside directed by R. Lincoln can feel disappointed to be thirteenth,
as we thought they played well. There was some good direction but
perhaps suffered form a lack of drummers and an ending, which was
a bit rushed. Finally, Sacriston Colliery came fourteenth. We thought
they deserved much higher. It was a performance that was safe rather
than sparkling, lacking in warmth but most of the notes were there
and that was more than a lot of bands managed. It was also nice
to see some smiling faces (and shiny heads). Bad luck.
So there it was. We had some disagreements with adjudicator Stan
Lippeatt, but we felt the piece was so long that it was impossible
to keep a check on wrong notes, splits, bad intonation, balance
etc because every band had so many. Thus, the results relied on
a gut instinct. So well done Stan, it was a tough job.
Our one abiding memory though was the amazing number of look alikes
there were – just about every band had one from a Leonard
Rossiter bass trom to Michael Heseltine on euph to Gunner Graham
from it Ain’t Half Hot Mam on horn with one band. After they
were famous eh? It made for an even more enjoyable contest –
fine playing as well.
Here’s our top six.
2 Five Rivers
3 Durham Constabulary
4 Lockwood Brass
5 Burneside Brass
6 Kirkby Lonsdale
A bit different from the official result – and as we said,
it was a personal choice. Still we weren’t in the box and
the man there was very secure with his decision. We think he may
well be proved correct come the finals. As for our choices –
Lockwood were the winners (and proved that our tips are not always
the kiss of death), whilst only Kirby Moorside who we tipped to
come runners up came 6th. None of our other came in the prizes!
They ended up 9th, 10th, 12th and 14th. Our apologies to them all
and well done to all the other bands for proving us wrong.
With thanks to Simon Wood