2007 Whit Friday Contests - Preview

30-May-2007

Malcolm Wood looks forward to the annual Whit Friday contests.


Just fifty-one weeks after it last came around, Whit Friday returns once again.  The date varies from year to year, but the traditional date of eight Fridays after Good Friday is still as firm a commitment to bandsmen and women as it is for those who celebrate its more fulfilling Christian meaning of Pentecost. 

The traditional Walks of Witness are still observed around the Manchester and Pennine areas on Whit Sunday, Whit Monday (in Manchester City Centre), Whit Friday and Trinity Sunday – two days after Whit Friday. 

The nature of the event will forever remain the same; performing a contest march for an adjudicator that could be in front of a pub, on a football pitch or simply in a car park, before moving on to the next contest draws bands from far and wide with many coming from overseas.

Twenty-three contests will take place across Saddleworth and Oldham and nearby Tameside this year with the return of Millbrook contest, which returns after a few years absence. 

Word has reached us that some of Yorkshire's top championship bands will be out on the circuit.  4BR understands that the British Open Champion, Black Dyke will be making their bi-annual appearance, in addition to Brass in Concert holders, Brighouse and Rastrick. Rothwell Temperance, Sellers and YBS are intent on competing and also look out for Hepworth, Marsden and Pennine Brass.   The reigning National Champion, Grimethorpe it appears won't be out and neither is Leyland who is in Switzerland.

The newly crowned Masters Champion Fodens Richardson Band will once again be in action - the past five years has seen them being declared Tameside Champions whilst Faireys have indicated they will competing on the night under the direction of Major Peter Parkes.  The recently crowned Senior Cup winners, Wingates though look set to miss out again this year as they look ahead to the French Open taking place in just over a week's time.

Once again visiting bands continue to attend to sample the delights of this unique occasion. The North American Champion, Fountain City over in the UK for last weekend's contest in Cambridge is including the contests as part of their ten day tour, whilst from Switzerland, Brass Band Musikgesellschaft Root will be joined in the morning processions in Uppermill by Clogher Valley Brass with both bands in concert in Uppermill Civic Hall the following night.

Plenty of interest will be given to Alexander Band from Norway who will be conducted on the night by Philip Sparke who has written a march to celebrate the occasion entitled ‘The Conqueror'.  Alexander will also be in concert at the famous Navigation Inn in Dobcross on Sunday lunchtime.

As always, there is bound to be a few bands that've got together for the night. We're already aware of Tartan Brass making a return trip south from North of the border and Jonathan Corry is anticipated to be leading another scratch band around the circuit of which it is understood will include former Kirkintilloch and YBS soprano, Stevie Stewart – a man worth the admission price to any contest even if he is just counting a few bars rest!

Once again, numerous prizes are on offer during the night.  Collectively, the sponsors across all of the contests are offering close to £50,000 to be won on the night and bands must compete at six venues in the respective circuits (Saddleworth & Oldham and Tameside) to take the first prize of £2500.

If a band really hits form on the night and takes one of the Saddleworth or Tameside titles, in addition to the prizes awarded at individual contests, a healthy pay day can be anticipated and they'll make inroads onto the 4BR Money table.  As mentioned, Fodens will be keen to hang on to their Tameside title they won last year and increase their bank balance this week having won £4,000 at Cambridge and Brighouse will have similar intentions for Saddleworth no doubt.

Duncan Beckley, Derek Broadbent, Brian Buckley, Ray Farr, Alan Fernie, Gareth Pritchard, Goff Richards and Roy Roe are just a handful of established adjudicators who'll be ensconced in their caravans and tents for the night, making those vital decisions.

Whit Friday last year turned out to be an absolute scorcher and whilst the weather has been pretty dire over the Bank Holiday weekend, the forecast is changing regularly: warmer perhaps with the hint of a bit of rain – whatever you do though, don't take 4BR's word for it, we have enough problems predicting the results of major contests, never mind the weather – keep your eye on the weather forecast.

Results will be available on 4BR as soon as we get them on the Saturday and a round-up of what happened where will follow during next week.

The full list of contest venues is as follows:

Saddleworth & Oldham:

The list of contests is as follows:

Delph
Contest: 4.30-10.30pm
Main Prize: £800 from a total prize fund of £3115
Adjudicator: Mr K Hollinshead
Contact: Mr R Rodgers, 01457 874354

Denshaw
Contest: 4.30-10.45pm
Main Prize: £750 from a total prize fund of £3000
Adjudicator: A Holdsworth
Contact: A Baxter, 01706 881915

Dobcross
Contest: 4.00-10.00pm
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £2315
Adjudicator: Mr S Tighe
Contact: K Haynes, 01457 877267

Friezland
3rd, 4th & Youth Sections only
Contest: 4.30-10.30pm
Main Prize: £150 from a total prize fund of £525
Adjudicator: J Newbigging
Contact: L Jones, 01457 870081

Greenacres
Contest: 4.30-10.30pm
Main Prize: £750 from a total prize fund of £2470
Adjudicator: Mr D Wilby
Contact: A Clayton 0161 678 7255

Greenfield
Contest: 5.00-10.00pm
Main Prize: £750 from a total prize fund of £2880
Adjudicator: Mr R Farr
Contact: J Buckley, 01457 874794

Grotton
Contest: 4.30-10.00pm
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £1800
Adjudicator: Mr R Roe
Contact: S Hodgkiss, 0161 633 7296

Lydgate
Contest: 4.30-10.30pm
Main Prize: £700 from a total prize fund of £1800
Adjudicator: Mr D Southcott
Contact: C Brierley, 01457 872566

Lees and Springhead
Contest: 4.30-10.00pm
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £2285
Adjudicator: Mr A Fernie
Contact: W Cullen, 0161 626 7625

Scouthead and Austerlands
Contest: 4.30-11.00pm
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £3025
Adjudicator: C Brian Buckley
Contact: D Needham, 0161 652 0341

Uppermill
Contest: 4.30-10.00pm
Main Prize: £700 from a total prize fund of £2195
Adjudicator: Mr G Richards
Contact: T Hopkinson, 01457 876010

Further details on Whit Friday can be found on www.whitfriday.brassbands.saddleworth.org


Tameside:

Broadoak

The Broadoak Hotel, Broadoak Road, Ashton-Under-Lyne
Contest: 5.00-10.30pm
Main Prize: £400 from a total prize fund of £1200
Adjudicator: Mr D R Howard
Contact: Mr. J. Smith, 0161 339 2174, 07968 485905

Carrbrook
Carr Rise, Carrbrook, Stalybridge
Contest: 4.30-10.30pm
Main Prize: £600 from a total prize fund of £1515
Adjudicator: Mr John Davies
Contact: Mr. Pete Sims, 01457 835703

Denton
Denton Cricket Club, Egerton Street, Denton
Contest: 4.15-11.30pm
Main Prize: £250 from a total prize fund of £1025
Adjudicator: Mr M Priestley
Contact: Mr. J. Wood, 0161 320 0683, 07743 503985
         
Droylsden
The Bush Inn, Moorside Street, Droylsden
Contest: 4.30-11.00pm
Main Prize: £500 from a total prize fund of £1725
Adjudicator: Mr G Williams
Contact: George Fairclough, 0161 370 2811, 07789 737722

Dukinfield
Tame Valley Hotel, Park Road, Dukinfield
Contest:4.45-11.00pm
Main Prize: £400 from a total prize fund of £1500
Adjudicator: Mr D Chapman
Contact: Brian Hill, 0161 339 0072

Heyrod
John Street, Wakefield Road, Heyrod, Stalybridge
Contest:4.30-10.00pm
Main Prize: £500 from a total prize fund of £1080
Adjudicator: Mr S Broadbent
Contact: Deanne Clayton, 0161 303 9827, 07967 642634

Hurst Village
Ashton United FC, Surrey Street, Hurst Cross Ashton-Under-Lyne
Contest: 4.30-11.00pm
Main Prize: £300 from a total prize fund of £1400
Adjudicator: Mr G Pritchard
Contact: Eric Stafford, 0161 330 5253

Micklehurst
The New Bridge Inn, Micklehurst Road, Mossley
Contest: 5.00-10.00pm
Main Prize: £300 from a total prize fund of £930
Adjudicator: Mr A Hobson
Contact: Elaine Wareing, 07980 532709

Millbrook
Hartley Street, off Huddersfield Road, Millbrook, Stalybridge
Contest: 5.00-9.30pm
Main Prize: £300 from a total prize fund of £1100
Adjudicator: Mr R Wyatt
Contact: Dr Martin Harvey, 07713 214612

Stalybridge
Stalybridge Labour Club, Acres Lane, Stalybridge
Contest: 4.30-10.30pm
Main Prize: £500 from a total prize fund of £1475
Adjudicator: Mr D Broadbent
Contact: Colin Hamilton, 0161 339 8647, 07801 052428

Stalybridge Celtic
Stalybridge Celtic Football Club, Bower Fold, Mottram Road, Stalybridge
Contest: 4.30-10.45pm
Main Prize: £350 from a total prize fund of £880
Adjudicator: Mr D Beckley
Contact: John Hall, 0161 338 2828

Upper Mossley
Mountain Street, Mossley
Contest: 4.30-10.00pm
Main Prize: £400 from a total prize fund of £1250
Adjudicator: Mr M Tweedle
Contact: Margaret Gaskill, 01457 832752

Further information on the Tameside contests including grid map references for venues is available from www.tameside.gov.uk/tmbc/brassband.htm

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