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ARTICLES

 

2004 Yorkshire Regional Championships

Introduction

4BR casts its eye over the first of the 2004 Regional Contests at Bradford on March 6th and 7th.


St. George’s Hall
Bradford

Saturday 6th March
Section 2 followed by Section 1

Sunday 7th March
Sections 3 and 4 followed by Championship

For further information, please contact:
Peggy Tomlinson, Regional Secretary: Tel: 0114 2468102

Tickets available from Box Office: St. George’s Hall: Tel: 01274 752000

If you ever wanted to know about the health of the brass band movement in the country, then you can do no worse than taking an isolated look at the Yorkshire Region. The self confessed “heart” of the banding world is in fact a microcosm of the movement as a whole, and so if you want to know if we are in rude health or possible terminal decline, a visit to Bradford on the weekend could well give you some idea.

The basic facts are these though. In 1983, 80 bands took to the stage here to perform and try and win a place in London. This year there will be 55. In just over 20 years at least 24 bands have disappeared, and whilst the factors such as the destruction of the coalfield communities has played a part, the basic truth is that in Yorkshire, just like the rest of the UK, participation in brass banding is in decline. How that is addressed is another topic, but the good news for Yorkshire at least is that since 1998 the numbers have stabilised somewhat.

This year, the choices of test pieces will have been welcomed (especially in the top section), but there is a problem in Yorkshire with the somewhat unwieldy size of the Championship Section, which leads to problems further down the sections. 15 bands, is 5 bands too many, and until the top section can be reduced to a more manageable number there will always be the potential for some odd results. To be perfectly honest, there needs to be a regarding of Yorkshire bands. That would lead to a more evenly matched Fourth and Third Section and less obvious differences in the standards between the others – especially the First and the Championship.

The lower sections should also prove to be interesting, especially after only Hatfield Coal Power went on to claim a National title in 2003. There will be plenty of bands with points to prove.

Still, if Yorkshire is healthy and vibrant, then the rest of the UK banding world is healthy and vibrant too. We will see if the “heart” is pumping well or in need of a bit of a bypass operation come the weekend of March 6th and 7th.

Number of competing bands:

2003: 55
2002: 56
2001: 55
2000: 57
1999: 55
1998: 56
1997: 62
1996: 57
1995: 63

Other Years:

1990: 75
1989: 73
1987: 76
1986: 72
1985: 74
1983: 80

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