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ARTICLES

 

2003 Spring Brass Band Festival

The 83rd Grand Shield
May 3rd
Winter Gardens, Blackpool


There is little doubt in the minds of both performers and audience that the Grand Shield is the hardest brass band contest of all to win – and this year proves the point.

All our readers know we like to use football as an analogy, but even though we sometimes go a bit OTT with the comparisons they do remain the most accurate. Just have a look at the desperate struggle the likes of West Ham and Bolton Wanderers are going through at the moment to retain their place in the Premiership and then look at the problems teams such as Leicester, Ipswich and Derby County have encountered since they lost their status and you get some idea of what playing in the British Open means to bands and conductors. Not being in Birmingham in September for quite a few of the bands on show in Blackpool this weekend will be a hammer blow many may take a very long time to recover from, whilst the spectre of relegation to the Senior Cup is really the stuff of banding nightmares.

Just take a glance at the 21 bands hoping to make it this year. CWS Glasgow and Desford were Regional winners, whilst ASDA Stocksbridge, EYMS, Flowers and Ransome all qualified for London. Aveley and Newham, Fishburn and Sellers just missed out, so you have close on half the field that has already shown this year that they can beat many of the bands that are actually at the Open. Given that there are only two promotion places up for grabs, you can see why all the bands are desperate to secure their place at Symphony Hall, and why another year in the “Nationwide League” could be disastrous.

The 4BR rankings really show how close it is on form over the past few years with nine of the bands ranked between 12 and 25 and the rest bar two all in the top 50. That has the makings of a close contest in anyone’s books.

The added ingredient that will make this contest even harder to call is the choice of the test piece. Rumours suggested that the organisers may have dropped a clanger with the choice of “Tallis Variations” ahead of “Paganini Variations” for the Senior Cup, but on close examination the choice is a very clever one. All the bands here will be able to play the piece, but only the ones with real aspirations and the quality that you come to expect from Open contenders will deliver it in a fashion that will do it real justice. It is a piece to be treated with love and care, delicacy allied to sombre understatement and with a dynamic control that only fine bands can achieve. Try and blast this one and you not only ruin the beauty of the music, but also your chances of making it to Birmingham.

So all 21 bands will make the journey to Blackpool with genuine hopes of doing well, but isn’t that how it should be? Come results time there will be the usual complaints and disgruntled moans, but the two that do gain the favour of the judges will have proved their worth against their contemporaries. There are real quality bands here, but also a whole raft that on their day could give a performance that could win it in style. That’s how hard it is going to be. How the winners then get on against the Premiership “big boys” is another story though.


ASDA Stocksbridge
Conductor:
Derek Renshaw

4BR Ranking: 21 (121.77pts – up 39 places since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Matthew Knowles
Solo Euphonium: Simon Willis
Solo Horn: Adele Fullelove
Soprano: Giles Rimmer
Flugel: Martin Grimes
Solo Trombone: Jamie Ashtn

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 5th Senior Cup (prom)
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: 10th British Open (R. Newsome)
1995: 15th British Open (G. O’Connor)
1994: 8th British Open (G. O’Connor)
1993: 7th British Open (K. Bolton)

Form Guide:

Results 2002 – 2003

2003
Yorkshire Area (Championship) - Prague - 2nd
Rochdale Contest - Ballet for Band - 2nd

2002
Senior Cup - Le Carnival Romain - 5th
Pontins (Championship) - Ballet for Band - 7th
Whit Friday - 2nd at Greenfield
Whit Friday - 3rd at Denshaw
Whit Friday - 4th at Lee & Springhead
Whit Friday - 4th at Uppermill
Yorkshire Area (Championship) – Whitsun Wakes – 14th

ASDA Stocksbridge will be making the journey to Blackpool with confidence full to the brim after their qualification for London after coming runners up at the Yorkshire Regional Championships. On the face of it, that result may have come as something of a surprise, but if you take a close look at their results over the last few years then you can see a band that has been moving towards the top of the contesting pile.

Over the years they have a very decent record of achievement here, including two wins (possibly the only band ever to do this feat in 1980 and 1984 when they were called Andrews Heat for Hire) and also including 7th place at the Open itself in 1993. They qualified for the Open after gaining 2nd place behind Hammond’s Sauce in 1989, but dropped out after the 1996 contest. 5th in the Senior Cup saw them gain that valuable promotion and after shooting up 39 places in the rankings on the basis of Bradford they could be in the right form to make it a double and book a further trip to Birmingham. Derek Renshaw has a very strong and competent band to direct and some super solo players in the important positions so this could well be a piece that will suit them.


Aveley & Newham
Conductor:
Nigel Taken

4BR Ranking: 25 (81.06pts – No change from Areas)

Principal Cornet: Dave Lewis
Solo Euphonium: N/K
Solo Horn: Trevor Foster
Soprano: N/K
Flugel: N/K
Solo Trombone: N/K

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 4th
2001: 5th
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC
1995: DNC
1994: 13th (as Aveley) (M. White)
1993: DNC

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003
London & Southern Counties Area – Prague – 3rd

2002
Pontins – Ballet for Band – 9th
National Finals Albert Hall – Masquerade – 12th
All England Masters – Atlantic - 5th
Grand Shield – Checkmate - 4th
London & Southern Counties Area – Whitsun Wakes – 2nd
Yeovil Entertainment – 9th

The Grand Shield takes on real significance for the London based band this year after failing to qualify for the National Finals for the first time in a while. It’s a long trip up from London to Blackpool, but in the past two years they have found it very nearly worthwhile. As far back as 1994 they competed here (although without the help from the Newham brigade) so they have been trying to get to the Open for some time.

5th place in 2001 on “Epic Symphony” was followed last year by 4th on “Checkmate” and on their day they are a band that can really push for a qualification place. Whether this will be it after the disappointments of Stevenage remains to be seen and they do have a tag of being a “there or there abouts” band when it comes to the crunch. They will need to be at the top of their form to go a couple of places better this time though.


Seindorf Beaumaris
Conductor:
Gwyn Evans

4BR Ranking: 33 (56.86pts – down 3 since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Paul Hughes
Solo Euphonium: John Powell
Solo Horn: Nia Wyn
Soprano: Ian Davies
Flugel: Wyn Williams
Solo Trombone: Jos Harris

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 12th
2001: 2nd Senior Cup (prom)

Did not compete in the contests before 2001

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003
Wales Area – Prague – 6th

2002
National Finals Albert Hall – Masquerade – 17th
Grand Shield – Checkmate – 12th
Wales Area – Whitsun Wakes – 2nd

The North Wales band had an excellent 2002, winning through from the Welsh Regional Championships to the Albert Hall and also gaining a solid 12th place on “Checkmate” last May. 2003 hasn’t quite lived up to expectations as yet, but they did put in a strong show in Swansea where they finally came home in 6th place. That meant that they have just dropped a few places in the 4BR rankings.

They have some very talented players around the stand and are always well prepared, but they are up against some very tough opposition here and will have to play to the top of their form if they are to feature in the prize list.


British Telecom
Conductor:
Mike Fowles

4BR Ranking: 39 (45.64pts – No change)

Principal Cornet: Mike Jones
Solo Euphonium: Paul Walton
Solo Horn: Helen Varley
Soprano: Clint Miller
Flugel: Kate Chisholm
Solo Trombone: James Garlick

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 11th
2001: 12th
2000: 23rd British Open (rel) (P. Bailey)
1999: 16th British Open (P. Bailey)
1998: 2nd (prom) 9th British Open (G. O’Connor)
1997: 8th (A. Lawton)
1996: DNC
1995: 20th (J. Maines)
1994: 4th (J. Maines)
1993: 16th (J. Maines)

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

North West Area – Prague – 6th
Brass at the Guild - On Alderley Edge – 8th

2002
Northern Open, St. Helens – Ballet for Band – 8th
Wychavon Festival of Brass – 2nd
Grand Shield – Checkmate – 11th
North West Area – Whitsun Wakes – 9th
Yeovil Entertainment – 8th


Mike Fowles directs BT for the third year in a row here and will be hoping to carry on the improvement that has seen them move to within a place of the top ten. 2003 saw them come 6th at the very strong North West Regional Championships as well as coming 8th at the Brass at the Guild Hall contest. They remain number 39 in the 4BR rankings.

They have shown that they can do the business here in the past and qualified for the Open in 1998 when they were runners up to Flowers. They then spent three years in the Open but were relegated back in 2001 after coming 23rd under Philip Bailey. They will have to be on top of their game if they are to return once more to Symphony Hall this year.


Bodmin Town
Conductor:
Russell Gray

4BR Ranking: 45 (35.76pts – down 2 places since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Steven Hawkey
Solo Euphonium: Kevin McKenzie
Solo Horn: Mark Letcher
Soprano: Andrew Julian
Flugel: Katie Bullock
Solo Trombone: Martin Saunders

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 13th (S. Sykes)
2001: 3rd (S. Sykes)
2000: 9th (R. Newsome)
1999: 3rd (J. Hudson)
1998: N/K (J. Hudson)
1997: DNC
1996: 16th (H. Taylor)
1995: DNC
1994: DNC
1993: DNC

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

West of England Championships – 6th
Cornwall BB Championships – Entertainment – 2nd
Yeovil Entertainment – 6th

2002
Grand Shield – Checkmate – 13th
West of England Area – Whitsun Wakes – 7th
Yeovil Entertainment – 2nd

Russell Gray remains at the helm to direct Bodmin’s challenge for a place at the Open after directing them to 6th place at Torquay. That was a hard earned result and even though they didn’t quite have the strength to mount a challenge for the top places they have certainly turned the corner in terms of form and are now 45th in the 4BR rankings.

They also have a pretty good record here over the past few years as well, just missing out by the skin of their teeth for a place at the Open in both 1999 and 2001. Russell Gray will be determined to make sure 2003 is at least a repeat showing of those two years, but we think they may have to settle for a top 10 place at best.


Burry Port Town
Conductor:
David Evans

4BR Ranking: 29 (73.84pts – up 8 places since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Roger Boyle
Solo Euphonium: Ceri John
Solo Horn: Gareth Davies
Soprano: Jayne Thomas
Flugel: Mark Smith
Solo Trombone: Marc Scaife

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 3rd Senior Cup (prom)

Before 2002 the band did not compete in these contests

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Welsh Area – Prague – 3rd

2002
SEWBBA Treorchy – Le Roi d’Y’s – 7th
WWBBA Ammanford - On Alderley Edge – 2nd
National Eisteddfod – Entertainment – 1st
Senior Cup - Le Carnival Romain – 3rd
SWBBA - Ebbw Vale - Le Carnival Romain - 5th
Welsh Area – Whitsun Wakes – 5th

Another band that makes the long trip with confidence sky high after they qualified for the National Finals by coming 3rd at the Welsh Regional Championships and beating some good bands in the process. The past two years have seen the band grow in maturity and the combination with David Evans from Yorkshire has been very beneficial indeed.

They have continued to shoot up the 4BR rankings (up another 8 places after Swansea) and they have a group of very talented soloists to call upon as well. 3rd last year in the Senior Cup saw them claim a place here and they could well feature strongly again at this higher level. Ones to listen out for.


Carlton Main Frickley Colliery
Conductor:
William Rushworth

4BR Ranking: 23 (93.63pts – down 2 places since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Kirsty Abbotts
Solo Euphonium: Ian Wright
Solo Horn: N/K
Soprano: Gary Bates
Flugel: Bridget Scott
Solo Trombone: Richard Walker

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 19th British Open (rel)
2001: 17th British Open (J. Hinckley)
2000: 9th British Open (J. Hinckley)
1999: Winners (prom) 14th British Open (J. Hinckley)
1998: DNC
1997: 17th (J. Hinckley)
1996: 14th (J. Hinckley)
1995: 9th (J. Davies)
1994: 14th (J. Davies)
1993: DNC

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Yorkshire Area - Prague – 10th

2002
Brass in Concert – Entertainment – 9th
CABA Folkestone - Variations on a Ninth – 1st
150th British Open Contest - The Maunsell Forts – 19th
Yorkshire Area - Whitsun Wakes – 9th

William Rushworth continues to rebuild in fine fashion at Carlton Main and even though they 10th at Bradford they put in a very strong performance. They have had plenty of new faces around the stand as well, so the settling down process may now be over and they could be ready to really give it a cracking show here.

The band has been here before and won the contest in 1999 under John Hinckley, but they found life tough in the last two years and fell through the trap door after 19th place at the Open in 2002. They certainly have got the players around the stand to do well, and William Rushworth is one of the most musically inspired performers you would ever like to meet. This one could really suit them.


CWS (Glasgow)
Conductor:
Nick Childs

4BR Ranking: 15 (178.54pts – up 1 place since Areas)

Principal Cornet: N/K
Solo Euphonium: N/K
Solo Horn: N/K
Soprano: N/K
Flugel: N/K
Solo Trombone: N/K

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 16th British Open (rel) (J. Hinckley)
2001: 15th British Open (J. Gourlay)
2000: 11th British Open (K. Uemura)
1999: 9th British Open (H. Snell)
1998: 12th British Open (H. Snel)
1997: 3rd British Open (H. Snell)
1996: 8th British Open (H. Snell)
1995: 10th British Open (F. Violet)
1994: 9th British Open (D. King)
1993: 3rd British Open (F. Violet)

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Scotland Area - Prague – 1st

2002
Land O' Burns Troon – Entertainment – 4th
150th British Open Contest – The Maunsell Forts– 16th
Whit Friday – 3rd at Stalybridge
Whit Friday – 3rd at Hurst
Whit Friday - 2nd at Carrbrook
Whit Friday – 1st at Broadoak
24th European Championships – 8th
Scotland Area - Whitsun Wakes – 7th

The question everyone will be asking is how on earth do Glasgow find themselves back here? This is a band that over the past ten years has on their day been one of the very best in the business, but the stats don’t lie and since 1999 they found the going at the Open increasingly difficult, finally losing their status after last years disappointing 16th place under John Hinckley. They have been here before though and were Grand Shield winners back in 1988.

They were beginning to drop through the rankings as well, but they have taken strong remedial action and 2003 started in fine fashion when the combination of Prague and Nicholas Childs sealed their victory at the Scottish Regionals and a 1 place leap in the rankings. If the good work has continued in the bandroom on a regular basis then they will be one of the favourites to make a very swift return back to Symphony Hall.


Desford Colliery
Conductor:
Peter Parkes

4BR Ranking: 20 (123.33pts – up 2 places since Areas)

Principal Cornet: David Smith
Solo Euphonium: Mike Kilroy
Solo Horn: Murray Borthwick
Soprano: Martin Britt
Flugel: Brian Winter
Solo Trombone: Mark Horton

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: DNC
2001: 19th British Open (rel)
2000: 20th British Open
1999: 13th British Open (R. Newsome)
1998: 16th British Open (F. Renton)
1997: 15th British Open (F. Renton)
1996: 15th British Open (B. Tovey)
1995: 18th British Open (R. Farr)
1994: 10th British Open (J. Clarke)
1993: 13th British Open (S. Roberts)

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Midlands Area - Prague – 1st

2002
National Finals Albert Hall – Masquerade – 8th
Midland Area - Whitsun Wakes – 1st

Desford had been living a bit of a charmed life at the British Open for far too many years, so it finally came as no surprise that they finally lost their place at the contest after coming 19th under Peter Parkes in 2001. That meant relegation back to the Grand Shield, but last year they gave it a miss, so they can count themselves a touch fortunate they get a chance as quickly as this to return.

2003 has seen then back on form though and they retained their Midlands Regional title in fine style a few weeks back to get them another trip to London. This will be a bit more difficult though, but they have the class players around the stand, and a wily old head in front of them to direct things along. They should feature strongly.


EYMS
Conductor:
Gareth Pritchard

4BR Ranking: 41 (43.23pts – up 4 places since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Craig Gaskell
Solo Euphonium: Melanie Pattison
Solo Horn: Miles Davison
Soprano: Graham Drury
Flugel: Joanna Peacham
Solo Trombone: Mark Unsworth

The Last 10 years
(Open,Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: Winners Senior Cup (prom)
2001: DNC
2000: 14th (G. O’Connor)
1999: DNC
1998: N/K (J. Roberts)
1997: 6th (A. Snell)

Did not compete in these contests before 1997.

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Northern Area - Prague – 2nd

2002
Malton Contest – Entertainment – 9th
National Finals Albert Hall –Masquerade – 20th
Wychavon Festival – Entertainment – 4th
Senior Cup - Le Carnaval Romain – 1st
Northern Area - Whitsun Wakes – 2nd

EYMS have been moving in the right direction in the past couple of years since Gareth Pritchard took up the reins with the band from Hull. Up 4 places in the 4BR rankings to 41 they won the Senior Cup last year in fine style and also qualified for the National Finals as well.

2003 has seen them do the first part of that equation again with a runners up spot in the North East, so they will be hoping to repeat the second part here. Plenty of talent around the stand and another wise old head on the conductor’s rostrum they should feature. Whether they have the strength from top to bottom throughout the band is another thing, so a top ten place maybe the best they can get.


Fishburn
Conductor:
Graham O’Connor

4BR Ranking: 36 (52.92pts – down 4 places since Areas)

Principal Cornet: John Gill
Solo Euphonium: Jeff Bell
Solo Horn: Jillian Dixon
Soprano: Malcolm Usher
Flugel: Sue Parker
Solo Trombone: Malcolm Gill

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 6th
2001: 10th (I. Robinson)
2000: DNC
1999: 14th (I. Robinson)
1998: DNC
1997: 19th (I. Robinson)
1996: 10th (I. Robinson)
1995: DNC
1994: DNC
1993: DNC

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Northern Area – Prague – 3rd
County Durham 62nd Grading Contest - Journey Into Freedom – 1st

2002
CISWO - Mineworkers Championships – Essence of Time – 3rd
All England Masters – Atlantic – 20th
Grand Shield – Checkmate - 6th
Northern Area - Whitsun Wakes – 3rd
Durham League - John O’ Gaunt – 2nd

Consistent challengers here over the past two years, Fishburn came 10th in 2001 under Ian Robinson and followed that up with a well deserved 6th place under Graham O’Connor a twelve month ago.

They started 2003 in excellent fashion with a win at the County Durham contest but fell away slightly in the North East Regional Championships and missed out on a trip to London behind Ever Ready and EYMS. Graham O’Connor though is a man who knows what it takes to win here and he could well boost their chances to make a mark. If the talented soloists play to form they could push some more fancied runners very close.


Flowers
Conductor:
Philip Harper

4BR Ranking: 18 (164.12pts – down 1 place since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Kevin Robbins
Solo Euphonium: Mark Hadlington
Solo Horn: Richard Knight
Soprano: Chris Howley
Flugel: Julia Telling
Solo Trombone: Andrew Norman

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 3rd
2001: 21st British Open (rel)
2000: 19th British Open (R. Evans)
1999: 19th British Open (B. Hurdley)
1998: Winners (prom) 14th British Open (B. Hurdley)
1997: 10th (B. Hurdley)
1996: 9th (P. Bailey)
1995: DNC
1994: 17th (D. Williams)
1993: DNC

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003
West of England Regional Championships – 2nd
Yeovil Entertainment – 1st

2002
Pontins (Championship) - Ballet for Band – 3rd
Wychavon Festival of Brass – 1st
Porthcawl Open Entertainment – 1st
All England Masters – Atlantic – 5th
Grand Shield – Checkmate – 3rd
West of England Area - Whitsun Wakes – 3rd
Yeovil Entertainment – 3rd

Fresh from their recent runners up spot in Torquay, Flowers will make the trip to Blackpool with serious ambitions of making a return back to the Open for the first time since 2001. Last year they just missed out by coming third, but at times that seems to be the story of their life on the big contest stages.

The band initially qualified for the Open by winning the Grand Shield in 1998 under Bryan Hurdley but they then found life tough at the top and returned back after coming 21st in 2001 under Philip Harper. They are certainly a better band now with plenty of fine players around the stand, but with still the occasional bad habit of not playing to their undoubted form when it counts – as in Torquay to a point. There is class here though and with Philip Harper pushing them hard from the middle they could be in with a very good shout.


Freckleton
Conductor:
Paul Dalton

4BR Ranking: 42 (38.99pts – down 1 place since Areas)

Principal Cornet: David Booth
Solo Euphonium: Patrick Howard
Solo Horn: Chris Redman
Soprano: Phil Symonds
Flugel: Ian Rayton
Solo Trombone: Stephen Lord

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 2nd Senior Cup (prom)
2001: 18th Senior Cup

The band didn’t compete at these contests before 2001.

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

North West Area – Prague – 7th
Brass at the Guild – Cloudcatcher Fells – 6th

2002
Wilkinson Northern Open, St. Helens – Ballet for Band – 2nd
NWCBBA Fleetwood Contest – Cloudcatcher Fells – 1st
Land O' Burns Troon – Entertainment – 3rd
Whit Friday – 4th at Upper Mossley
Whit Friday – 1st at Denton
Senior Cup - Le Carnival Romain – 2nd
North West Area - Whitsun Wakes – 8th
Brass at the Guildhall – 5th

Freckleton made it to the Grand Shield after coming runners up in the Senior Cup in 2002. That was a huge improvement for 2001 when they came a very lowly 18th and 2002 was a fine year for the band with some good results against strong opposition in a couple of contests.

2003 has seen them continue with that decent form and they came 6th at the Bras at the Guild Hall and then 7th at the strong North West Regional Championships. Paul Dalton continues to direct things with a level head and plenty of talent and his players do respond in kind. This is a higher class of opposition though than a twelve month ago, but they won’t be out of their class and should do well.


Glossop Old
Conductor:
James Cant

4BR Ranking: 43 (37.63pts – down 1 place since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Janet Lewis
Solo Euphonium: Pete Bowd
Solo Horn: Stuart Wilkinson
Soprano: Mandy Crowther
Flugel: Steve Roberts
Solo Trombone: Gary Burgess

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 18th British Open (rel)
2001: 20th British Open (G. Pritchard)
2000: 2nd (prom) 14th British Open (J. Berryman)
1999: 5th (J. Cant)
1998: DNC

The band didn’t compete at the contests before 1999

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Midlands Area – Prague – 7th

2002

150th British Open Contest - The Maunsell Forts – 18th
Whit Friday – 3rd at Greenfield
Whit Friday – 3rd at Upper Mossley
Whit Friday – 4th at Heyrod
39th Buxton Festival – Whitsun Wakes – 1st
Tameside Open – Whitsun Wakes – 2nd
Midlands Area - Whitsun Wakes – 6th

Glossop Old are another band that knows what it takes to make it to the British Open here and they did just that in 2000 when they were runners up to Todmorden Old. They spent three years at the top level under three different conductors but fell back here after they came 18th at Birmingham in 2003.

The return of James Cant has been a boost to the band though and although they only came 7th at the Midlands Regional Championships they are certainly a stronger band than a 12 month ago and have talented players around the stand who could do very well on this piece. Maybe not quite ready for a return to Birmingham just yet, but a strong challenge nonetheless should be expected.


JAG Mount Charles
Conductor:
Bryan Hurdley

4BR Ranking: 24 (92.16pts – No Change)

Principal Cornet: Ian Thomas
Solo Euphonium: Shaun Thomas
Solo Horn: Sarah Robins
Soprano: Jon Small
Flugel: Tim Whitehead
Solo Trombone: Helen Thomas

The Last 10 years
(Open/Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 9th
2001: 14th
2000: 8th (R. Evans)

The band didn’t compete at the contest before 2000.

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

West of England Championships – 5th
Cornwall BB Championships – Entertainment – 1st
Yeovil Entertainment – 2nd

2002
Brass in Concert – Entertainment – 3rd
South West Championships – Oceans – 1st
Pontins (Championship) - Ballet for Band – 5th
All England Masters – Atlantic – 14th
Grand Shield – Checkmate – 9th
West of England Area - Whitsun Wakes – 4th
Cornwall BB Championships – Entertainment – 1st
Yeovil Entertainment – 1st

What we can come to expect of JAG Mount Charles we don’t really know. We are starting to run out of ways trying to explain why a band that on paper is as good as nearly any of the other in the field continues to disappoint so regularly when it really matters.

They are ranked 24 but can perform like a band in the top ten – the problem is that they can also perform like a band outside the top 100. Yet more disappointment in Torquay when they came 5th under John Hinckley, they haven’t really impressed here either since 2000 and can only boast a 8th place as their best effort. Bryan Hurdley returns though and they do seem to play better under his direction. Lets see if they can finally justify their high hopes.


Kibworth
Conductor:
John Berryman

4BR Ranking: 82 (11.69pts – down 6 places since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Carol Smith
Solo Euphonium: Simon Rotchell
Solo Horn: Nathan Waterman
Soprano: Bob Stradling
Flugel: Guido Damore
Solo Trombone: N/K

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 8th
2001: 6th Senior Cup (prom)
2000: 17th

The band didn’t compete at the contest before 2000.

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Midlands Area (S1) – Passacaglia on the Theme of Brahms – 1st
Milton Keynes (SA) – 3rd

2002
LBBA Leicester - Ballet for Band – 1st
WMBBA Leamington Spa - English Heritage – 2nd
Wychavon Entertainment (S1) – 2nd
Whit Friday – 4th at Micklehurst
Grand Shield – Checkmate – 8th
Midlands Area (S1)– Royal Parks – 8th

One of the two First Section bands here, Kibworth have shown over the past couple of years that they can more than hold their own against high class fields. 6th place in the Senior Cup in 2001 gave them the promotion to the Grand Shield and last year they justified that promotion with a fine 8th place against some pretty tough opposition.

2003 saw them win the Midlands Regional First Section crown in brilliant fashion (perhaps the only band in the country to master the Brahm’s “Passagaclia”) and they really are a Championship band in all but grading, John Berryman is a superb MD and this is the type of music he directs so well. Maybe not strong enough to win but they will take a fair shares of scalps once more.


Skelmanthorpe
Conductor:
Kevin Wadsworth

4BR Ranking: 49 (28.78pts – up 24 places since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Ralph Little
Solo Euphonium: N/K
Solo Horn: Phil Garlick
Soprano: Robert Jagger
Flugel: Clare Lewis
Solo Trombone: Dan James

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 10th
2001: 4th Senior Cup (prom)
2000: DNC

The band didn’t compete at the contest before 2001.

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Huddersfield Pogson Bray Brass Band Competition – Tallis Variations – 1st
Yorkshire Area – Prague – 7th

2002
Wilkinson Northern Open, St. Helens – Ballet for Band – 5th
Grand Shield – Checkmate – 10th
Yorkshire Area - Whitsun Wakes – 11th

2003 has been a tremendous year so far for Kevin Wadsworth and his band and after gaining a fine 7th place at the Yorkshire Regional Championships, they then gave “Tallis Variations” an airing at the Huddersfield Pogson Bay Contest and duly won. Confidence will be sky high then as they make the trip to Blackpool and they have shown over the past two years here that they will be strong contenders.

4th place at the Senior Cup in 2001 saw them gain the promotion up to the Grand Shield and they then came 10th last year. The ways things have been going of late they could well feature highly.


Ransome
Conductor:
Peter Parkes

4BR Ranking: 14 (181.12pts – No Change)

Principal Cornet: Brian Winter
Solo Euphonium: Dave Belshaw
Solo Horn: George Thackrey
Soprano: David Bird
Flugel: Della Pearce
Solo Trombone: Chris Jeans

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 5th
2001: DNC
2000: 21st British Open (rel) (R. Gray)
1999: 20th British Open (B. Grant)
1998: 11th British Open (S. Wood)
1997: 2nd (prom) 4th British Open (B. Grant)
1996: DNC
1995: 13th (D. Hirst)
1994: 12th (D. Hirst)
1993: 10th (S. Appleton)

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003
2003

Midland Area - Prague – 2nd

2002
Brass in Concert – Entertainment – 5th
All-England Masters –Atlantic – 10th
Grand Shield – Checkmate – 5th
Midland Area – Whitsun Wakes – 5th

On past form, Ransome should be one of the pre contest favourites to take one of the two qualification spots on offer, but although they are highly ranked (14th) they will need to justify that here.

They gained promotion to the British Open after coming 2nd here in 1997 under Brian Grant and they spent four years at the Open before being relegated down again after coming 21st in 2000. They missed the contest in 2001 as they were competing at the European Championships and they put in a very strong show a twelve-month ago to come 5th. Plenty of talented players they certainly have the tools to do well. They have already made it to London this year, so what price the double for Birmingham?


Sellers International
Conductor:
Philip McCann

4BR Ranking: 12 (192.02pts – up 7 places since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Darren Stott
Solo Euphonium: Mark Bousie
Solo Horn: Martin Armstrong
Soprano: Kay Mackenzie
Flugel: Natalie Beer
Solo Trombone: Rupert Trippett

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 7th
2001: 4th (A. Exeley)
2000: 13th (A. Exeley)
1999: 17th British Open (rel) (P. Parkes)
1998: 18th British Open (A. Morrison)
1997: 12th British Open (A. Morrison)
1996: 11th British Open (A. Morrison)
1995: 7th British Open (P. McCann)
1994: 14th British Open (P. McCann)
1993: 16th British Open (P. McCann)

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003
2003

Yorkshire Area – Prague – 3rd

2002
Brass in Concert – Entertainment – 4th
All England Masters - Atlantic – 4th
Grand Shield – Checkmate – 7th
Yorkshire Area - Whitsun Wakes – 6th

The highest ranked band here should be one of the favourites to claim back a spot at the British Open if they play to form. The return of Philip McCann has undoubtedly been the catalyst but he has a fine set of solo players to call upon as well.

2003 has started very well, although they would have been a touch disappointed to have just missed out on a trip to London, but since 2002 they have shown enough class to make them strong contenders here. They were last at the Open in 1999 when three years of poor results condemned them to relegation, but with the exception of 2000 they have featured highly here. 7th last year was about right, but they have it in them to claim one of the two top spots. We’ll wait and see then.


Thoresby Colliery
Conductor:
Stan Lippeatt

4BR Ranking: 47 (33.14pts – down 1 place since Areas)

Principal Cornet: Neil Day
Solo Euphonium: Terry Wells
Solo Horn: Christine Gent
Soprano: Simon Oates
Flugel: Matthew Challender
Solo Trombone: Malcolm Portman

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 4th Senior Cup (prom)
2001: 14th Senior Cup
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: 21st
1996: DNC
1995: 19th
1994: DNC
1993: 17th

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Midland Area –Prague – 5th

2002
CISWO - Mineworkers Championships – Essence of Time – 4th
NE Derbyshire Entertainment – 1st
Pontins (Championship) - Ballet for Band – 20th
All England Masters - Atlantic – 17th
Senior Cup - Le Carnival Romain – 4th
Midland Area –Whitsun Wakes – 3rd

Stan Lippeatt and Thorseby had a decent season last year, which had it’s ups and downs. One of the ups was certainly the fine performance they gave in the Senior Cup which gained them 4th place and therefore saw them claim a place here in the Grand Shield for 2003.

They have been trying to get into the British Open for some time now and since 1993 they have a strange record that has seen them enter and come way down the field, then drop out only to return for the same thing to happen again. They missed out f or a period between 1998 and 2000 but 14th place at the Senior Cup was followed by that qualification spot and they started this year by giving a good performance on Prague which secured them 5th spot in the Midlands Regionals. Ranked 47, they should hold their own but may have to wait a bit longer for that Open berth.


Yorkshire Co-operatives
Conductor:
John Roberts

4BR Ranking: Outside top 100

Principal Cornet: Tabby Hall
Solo Euphonium: Rob Cavender
Solo Horn: Jamie Clegg
Soprano: Jason Varley
Flugel: Caroline Ramsbottom
Solo Trombone: N/K

The Last 10 years
(Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup, Senior Trophy)

2002: 6th Senior Cup (prom)
2001: 11th Senior Cup

The band didn’t compete at the contest before 2001.

Form Guide:

Results 2002– 2003

2003

Yorkshire Area (S1) – Passacaglia on the Theme of Brahms – 3rd

2002
Senior Cup - Le Carnival Romain – 6th
Yorkshire Area –Whitsun Wakes – 13th


The only band on show at the Grand Shield with a 4BR ranking outside the top 100, Yorkshire Co-operatives came 11th in the Senior Cup in 2001 and then gained the last automatic promotion spot by coming 6th here last year.

John Roberts continues to lead the band well and although they played in the First Section at the Yorkshire Regional Championships they certainly sounded like a championship section outfit, even if they just missed out on a trip to Dundee by coming third. Some very neat and tidy players around the stand they will be looking to make a mark here, although we think they will have to be content with a midfield placing at best.


4BR Prediction
This is going to be too close to call...

but we'll put our necks on the line once more and give our prediction of what we think will be the result. Given that there are so many quality bands on show here, there are any number of permutations we could envisage and all of them would be pretty fair reflections of the talents of the bands and conductors.

Given that the test piece is within the capabilities of all the bands here, it could come down to the basics - sound, tone, dynamics, balance and which of those bands really - and we mean, really sound like British Open bands.

Therefore we plumb for...

1. Sellers International
2. CWS Glasgow
3. Flowers
4. Desford Colliery
5. Carlton Main
6. Ransome

Dark Horses:
Kibworth
Burry Port

Sorry if we put the mockers on anyone, or that we have left anyone out - as we said, we could be way out and still it will be a pretty decent result.

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