2005 Butlins Mineworkers Championships - Retrospective: Fourth Section

27-Jan-2005

It was a very emotive win in the Fourth Section for Nigel Morgan and the Tewkesbury Band in a contest that drew praise from the man in the box, adjudicator Alan Hope.


Tewkesbury Band: Collecting their prize
Tewkesbury Band: Collecting their prize from Stan Lippeatt

The Fourth Section saw perhaps the most emotional victory of the entire weekend, when Nigel Morgan and the Tewkesbury Band won the The George Rowell Memorial Trophy and the £1200 top prize for their performance of Ray Steadman-Allen's, ‘Stantonbury Festival'.

Precisely a year ago to the weekend, Nigel Morgan's father had passed away, and he was very much in is mind when he took to the stage at the Lakeside venue to perform with the band and also when some six hours later he walked across the dance floor and up the steps at the Reds Ballroom to collect the top prize from resort Music Director Steve Walker.

"This is a very emotional moment for me," he told 4BR. "My father was a very strong supporter of the band and I would have loved for him to have seen us win here today. It wasn't to be, but he was very much in my mind all weekend and I would love to dedicate this to him."

It was a very personal moment from a conductor who has worked long and hard with he band and in recent years has brought them to the contest more occasionally than they used to. His leadership and direction was also noted upon by the adjudicator, Alan Hope, who felt that it was a performance that really stood out for him in a field of bands who produced an excellent standard of overall playing.

"I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the box, Alan told 4BR. "The standard was very good and al the bands brought something out of the music and paid attention to the basics, which is so important at this level. The winners though were excellent and stood out for me with their attention to the dynamic markings, some wonderful solo playing and good solid direction from the MD. They were clear winners."

Alan was also very complimentary about the other bands as well. "The other prize winners all gave very good accounts of themselves, whilst I was particularly pleased that even though the standard just fell away a little after that, all the bands put in performances that showed that they had put a great deal of hard work into the piece. I must congratulate them all for that."

You couldn't really disagree with Alan either as there was a sense throughout his section that the bands both enjoyed the piece of music and had worked hard at its preparation. The standard did vary a little between the top half a dozen and the rest, but all the bands gave something back for the listener to enjoy, with the winners in particular a good head and shoulders above the rest.

Second place went to Matlock conducted by Roger Jepson who picked up the second prize of £800, whilst third place went to Crofton Silver and Malcolm Simpson, whose representative Julie Dawson collected the trophy on the stage at Reds and told 4BR that they were "delighted" with their result. Fourth spot was taken by Kirkby Colliery Welfare directed by Huw Thomas, and they took home with them £375 for their efforts.

After the top four it was a question of who made the most of their performances without resorting to overblowing and forgetting the basics, and it was good to report that not one band on the day fell foul of those traps. The piece lent itself perhaps to a lighter approach, but it was nice to hear the bands paying with a sensibly approach to the dynamics and with a keen ear for the tuning. MD's from all the bands should take a pat on the back.

Just out of the prizes came Royston Town directed by Graham Smith, whilst they were followed in sixth place by Eaton's Farnsworth and Walkden, conducted by Peter Ashley. Seventh spot went to Thurcroft Welfare conducted by Ken Vernon, whilst eight place as taken by Thoresby Youth and Christine Gent.  Just behind those bands came Creswell Colliery conducted by Bob Woffinden in ninth and Five Rivers Brass a furtherplace back in tenth. The final four places were taken by Bestwood Black Diamonds led by Brian Draper, Watford Town directed by Martyn France, Pontypool Brass directed by Jonathon Pippen and Skegness Silver conducted by Geoff Weeks.

As for the 4BR tipsters? Well our choices came in 4th, 7th, 6th, 2nd, 10th and 3rd with our dark horse in 14th. Not bad to get four in the top six, but we didn't get the winners, who thoroughly deserved their victory and the feeling of real emotion it gave their MD.

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Alan DuguidAlan Duguid
BA (Hons), PGDipMus, PGCE

Conductor, Composer, Adjudicator (ABBA)