2004 West of England Regional Championships -
Saturday 27th March
Test Piece: Partita – Edward
Adjudicator: C. Brian Buckley
Apologies first and foremost. We were unable to get to hear all
the bands in the Section as there was an overlapping contest in
the other hall at the Riviera Centre on the Saturday. Still, we
had a spy in the camp who also heard a fair few, so we did cover
a good percentage of the runners and riders.
Brian Buckley certainly heard all the bands, and was an impressed
man when he finally made it out of the tent. He gave a very precise
and detailed address to the full Arena Hall at the conclusion of
the contest that was full of good sense and constructive comment.
“Bands didn’t force their sound and didn’t overblow”,
he said. “I was grateful for that. Each movement had its own
pitfalls, styles and even joys. The First Movement really tested
players under stress with the octaves, whilst I felt some of the
pauses at the need of the movement were cut off too sharply. The
Second Movement is a superb chorale, but the quaver pick up should
be elongated and even lingered over. Most cornet players were uncomfortable
with their obligato solo, whilst the tuning was poor with the mutes.
The Third Movement is marked rhythmico and not everyone played it
Constructive and full of good sense – Brian is a popular
figure in this neck of the woods and he later told us that he felt
the future of banding in the West is very good. Initiatives through
the education system that involves the bands themselves is starting
to pay dividends, and this was patently obvious to the casual listener
as all the bands had a fair percentage of pre teen youngsters in
their ranks. The Cornish Revolution has started – it may take
ten years to come to fruition, but it is a long term plan that certainly
deserved to succeed.
The three bands making the long trip to Harrogate later in the
year will be Pillowell Silver, Bratton Silver and
Drybrook and District. All three will be strong
We heard Pillowell ourselves – they were
drawn number 2 out of the 21 bands on show, and they certainly gave
a wonderfully constructed performance. They had followed on a very
young band in the shape of Porthleven Town who
opened proceedings and who had a tremendous amount of young talent
on show. The pick of their performance was the young girl on solo
cornet, who appeared to be around 8 years of age! What a little
star! Great pure tone and a lip made of cast iron – a future
superstar for certain.
A couple of bands later and Drybrook gave another
mature account of the Gregson set work that impressed Brian Buckley.
Theirs was perhaps the most consistent performance through the three
movements, but didn’t quite have the sheen to it that Pillowell
There were many more good quality performances our mole said, from
that point on with some fine youngsters playing exceptionally well.
A special mention must go to the young soprano player of Okehampton
Excelsior who was perhaps the best on day.
The contest came to a climax with the last few bands on the day.
Downton put in a fine show from draw number 15
to come 6th, whilst Swindon and Weymouth
off draw numbers 18 and 19 showed enough class about themselves
to come 4th and 5th respectively.
Other performances to mention came from Calne Training
who were placed 7th and Hatherleigh who came 8th.
Brian Buckley though was a very impressed man. 21 performances,
all of which gave him something to praise – some had more
little problems than others, but he was most impressed by the MD’s
who used their intelligence to ensure that the lively acoustic didn’t
rob their bands of clarity. Many others in higher sections could
have taken note.