2004 Midlands Regional Championships - Retrospective
Test Piece: Kaleidoscope
– Philip Sparke
Adjudicator: Roy Roe
What a cracking contest this turned out to be. Adjudicator Roy
Roe was certainly impressed and was very complimentary about the
standard of the bands he heard on the day. It’s not often
we are in near complete agreement with the man in the box, but on
this occasion it was such a close run thing that we couldn’t
disagree with his result.
In many ways it was a contest split into thirds – the first
6 of the 17 bands on show didn’t quite hit the mark on test
piece by Philip Sparke (only one got into the top six places), whilst
the second third contained the best performances of the day (4 of
these bands got into the frame). The final third produced some interesting
interpretations, but only one of the bands made it to the prize
Hathern were declared winners, and there was very
little we could disagree about their performance as a whole. Each
of the variations was taken with care and a sense of musical purpose
and overall they sounded like a band on the up. It was also interesting
to note that they seemed to instinctively respond to a very fine
performance from Raunds Temperance who played immediately
before them. They too gave a well-constructed show – full
of fine solo playing and neat ensemble work.
Raunds had in turn responded to quality showing from Snibston
and Desford who off the number 10 draw set a fine mark
(we had them third overall). Again there was an intelligent approach
by the MD and the music was given plenty of time and space to develop.
A few nasty moments in intonation and a little speedy for us to
end, but it was a good one.
Prior to these, Stourport on Severn, drawn seven,
and led by David Maplestone had produced a vigorous account of the
set work that found favour with many in the audience. The MD as
always gave of his all, and it was perhaps the choice of tempos
that may have robbed them of the title; it was just a bit too frantic
The final top six places were taken by Harborough conducted
by Chris Groom who started in a lovely manner but who faded away
in the last two movements, whilst Hopkins Solicitors Blidworth
were the one band in the opening third of the contest who got to
grips with the test piece and felt comfortable from the word go.
If it had been a little later they may have made more of a mark,
but to be truthful they were a beacon of controlled playing amid
some poor shows.
Outside the top six the standard fell away somewhat for us. The
likes of Bilton, Shirebrook, Darley Dale and Pothywaen
all had moments of fine playing, but they couldn’t sustain
it throughout all the five variations. The waltz variation in particular
felt stilted in all of these performances whilst the last movement
was at times taken at a tempo that found the bands struggling to
overcome the technical hurdles placed for them in the score.
The final seven bands in the prize list also fell foul of lack
of consistency. Some started well, whilst others had good central
movements. Nearly all though played the final movement too quickly
and subsequently they all lacked the detail required to make a mark.
All in all though this was a fine contest – the top five
performances in particularly were quality shows, and if the final
result had been in any other order we think there wouldn’t
have been too many complaints from the players or the audience.
We enjoyed them, and so did Roy Roe. The qualifiers here will be
well placed to do well in Harrogate we think.
Note: 4BR were given these details of the contest,
not from our usual reviewer.