2005 National Youth Championships - Retrospective: Junior Championship

14-Apr-2005

4BR had to get up early to listen to the Junior Championships, but it was well worth while as Camborne Youth took the honours with a cracking performance to take the top award back on the long road to Cornwall.


The whole day's competition got under way with the Junior Section in the Bruntwood Theatre before 9.00am – which for many people would have meant them getting up at the crack of dawn, or for some, even before!

Nine bands set out to impress Malcolm Brownbill and Garry Cutt with the aim of taking the Junior Championship title, and in the end it was an absolute cracking effort from Camborne Youth directed by Alan Pope that took the honours.

Goodness knows what time they had to get up – although we understand they travelled up the day before thankfully, but the long trip home will have flown by after they took a well deserved Gold Certificate, the £350 top prize and the ‘Best Instrumentalist' award.

Banding in Cornwall – especially youth banding is going through an amazing renaissance at present, and it was a poignant moment when the winning MD, Alan Pope stated that a lot of the credit for that should go to the likes of the late Shaun Thomas, the young euphonium player who died less than a month ago, and who was a leading teaching light in the area. He would have been a very proud man indeed.  

Camborne: Winners
Camborne: Winning MD Alan Pope receives the prize

"I'm delighted for everyone concerned with the band," he told 4BR. "They have worked so hard, and we have had tremendous support from the families, nearly all of them have made the trip up here to support us today. In addition Goff Richards has come up and Alan Morrison who has been the band's professional advisor and who has given the players so many valuable tips."

"The programme we chose was one that I wanted to show off variety and a bit of fun and I think they did that today." 

Both adjudicator's praised the bands for their efforts and Garry Cutt was especially impressed by the thought and presentation given by the bands.

"There has been a tremendous amount of thought gone into the choice of the music played and the presentation of it by the bands," he said. "There was we think, just the one repetition, and there was a hole host of fine soloists. The overall standard was excellent."

He did make the point that the bands had to listen to the soloists as not to swamp them, whilst playing with rhythm was essential, but these were only minor blemishes he felt. 

Malcolm Brownbill meanwhile made the well observed point about the standard of soprano playing. "This was excellent all day," he said. "We both really enjoyed the playing today, with a special mention to all the soprano players who were all great. The overall standard was tremendous – and this was the Junior Section remember. We would though remind the bands and young players that quiet playing still needs projection, so breath control is important."

This section unlike the others doesn't have a set work to test the bands, but they must include an original work for brass band, and this led to a variety of choices, nearly all of which came off well and contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable morning for the healthy audience in attendance.

Camborne Youth and Alan Pope certainly impressed the judges right from the opening notes (or should that be cymbal crashes and tom toms beats?) with an innovative programme that retained them the title they won last year.  That cracking opener  ‘Camborne Hill', which had everything from chanting to solos from just about every corner man (or should that be cornerkids?) led them onto Philip Harper's ‘Celebration of Youth' which was very well handled, before introducing their super young soloist.

15-year-old Jeremy Taylor was the featured playing tuned percussion in the old favourite, Monti's 'Czardas'.  Jeremy's performance was very self-assured and gained him the award of ‘Best Instrumentalist' for the section, and he was a modest young winner when we spoke to him after the announcement of the results.

Camborne Youth: Jeremy Taylor
Camborne Youth: Jeremy Taylor - Best Instrumentalist

"I've been playing percussion for about 3 years now, after I started on trombone. I can play the piano, so tuned percussion seemed a better option. I really enjoy it and the piece was one that I really liked," he said as he clutched the trophy and the £100 bursary cheque. He is certainly a talent for the future.

Camborne's performance was a real team effort with all the sections demonstrating their strengths and by the time the band had concluded its final number, ‘Backdraft', they were in first place and subsequently did more than enough to retain their title.

The future is very promising indeed, and in the near future the band will be off to play at Canary Wharf in London. It seems things are really taking off for the band from one of the band world's great outposts.

Valley Brass Haydock conducted by Dave Chadwick had the unenviable task of playing from the number one position before 9.00am in the morning, but in the event they thoroughly deserved their Gold award and second place. 

David Chadwick's band opened with the march, ‘The New Recruit' followed by the hymn tune ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind' and in both cases, produced a well balanced and effective sound.

Euphonium soloist, Daniel Wheldon, stepped forward to perform ‘Grandfather's Clock' and setting the standard for the other soloists to follow, whilst the band's finale, Bizet's ‘Farandole' was their strongest item, full of excitement and commitment. 

It showed that this is a fine band that is certainly going in the right direction and next year if they come back here they could well be the band to beat.

Third place and a Silver Certificate went to the very capable Wardle High School Intermediate under Lee Rigg. 

Wardle's programme was well constructed, maximising the band's strengths, and was very well directed by the former Fairey's, Dyke and currently Grimethorpe cornet player.  ‘Olympic Fanfare', ‘Breezin Down Broadway' and Jacob De Haan's ‘Oregon' all were performed with real understanding, and some good dynamics that were led from the cornet ranks and they are another band that in 12 months time will surely be up there pushing for the winners pennant.  

For us though, the stars of the band were the percussion team who brought plenty of quality into the band's performance whilst not going over the top, and kept everything under control.  Well done!

The other silver certificates went to Bolton-based Astley Youth directed by Helen Minshall (who was a busy lady all day) and Dobcross directed with his usual aplomb by the experienced Ted Griffiths. 

Astley's programme was full of good presentation but they didn't quite have the maturity of sound that the top three had achieved, whilst Dobcross can consider themselves a touch unfortunate not to have finish third.  Their programme wasn't as innovative as Camborne or Wardle but they produced a really big sound with some lovely tight playing in their final offering from ‘Divertimento'

The band chose to perform music from Saint-Saens ‘Carnival of the Animals' and a few wayward moments probably cost them the chance to get into the prizes.

Cwmtyawe District Youth, Chorley Silver Youth, Fred Longworth High School and Stockport Schools Intermediate all received Bronze Certificates for their performances and each gave worthy efforts that had plenty of merit. Not quite the same standard perhaps as the prize winners, but all good stuff nonetheless with plenty of effort, some thoughtful direction and some little gems of soloists. All three will return next year stronger and more mature, and the talent will blossom even more.


Malcolm Wood with thanks to David Thornton

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