2009 West of England Regional Championship - Postcard from Torquay

19-Mar-2009

It's always nice to be able to book in advance for a great weekend away - especially if its like this all the time in Torquay...


Going on holiday is one of those things everybody looks forward too.  The constant grind of life can be forgotten with the chance to unwind.  More often than not, if you find a place you like, there’s a tendency to return because you’re content with the surroundings.

Holiday feelings

The West of England Regional Championships give you those holiday feelings, even when you are here to work.  The welcome is warm and friendly and its always a delight to be invited to come here to enjoy the bands.
 
With the sun shining everybody had a spring in the step.  Brian Elliott, once again had done the spadework beforehand making sure everything was in place and along with Frances Calver, everything ran smoothly – even overcoming a flat stage microphone. 

The press contingent was looked after by the friendly committee of the Council of the West of England BBA's, and our task was made so much easier with instant print outs of draws and results - all done with a smile on hard working faces. 

So easy

The numerous teams that help to run the event make everything so easy - there are some of the quickest stewards you'll ever see who’ll change the numbers on stage and get percussion on and off! The contests ran smoothly and with so many bands, the turn around was as quick as it could be. 

The adjudication teams had a great time too, and no doubt the Scots of Alan Fernie  and Nigel Boddice had a wee dram on Saturday after spending the best part of nine hours deliberating over 28 bands. 

Great speeches

All of the judges though gave great speeches from the very dry and witty Nigel Boddice through to Paul Norley, whose generosity of spirit meant that he made himself available for all the bands to come and talk to him individually after the results. We suspect his army training may have come in handy a few times then!
 
Meanwhile, John Rogers, the face of York Instruments was on hand yet again on the company trade stand and in the various presentation ceremonies.  Despite his busy weekend he still managed to get himself a ticket to see his beloved Luton Town at Wembley in a few weeks time. The man is a glutton for punishment!

4BR was also very catered for by the Rivera staff – especially a lovely young lady called Maria who was a credit to the PR department of Torquay! Nothing was too much of a problem – and she had the patience of a Saint.

Banding folk in Torquay enjoy their Regional contests, with not a single withdrawal this year, although there was the familiar griping from players about the results!

Strong standard

The overall standard here remains very strong.  The Championship is a mixed bag, the First Section was good on a torrid piece, the Second Section more than matched that in Bradford a week earlier and the Third and Fourth Sections had its fair share of real excellence about them too – quantity and quality!  

That was certainly the case for Camborne's bands who took the titles in the Championship and Second Sections.

Alan Pope who conducts the B Band is about to celebrate ten years with his band and his loyal service is being rewarded with fabulous commitment from the players and supporters, none more so than Rosie Langley on Principal Trombone who has been commuting to rehearsals from Exeter University. 

Musical highlight

Their winning performance was the real musical highlight of the entire weekend, and such is the young age of the band (around 15 when you take the handful of adults out) they will even be playing at the National Youth Championships in Manchester in a couple of weeks time. They are some band.    

At the other end of the age range, three wonderful men were acknowledged with Diplomas of Honour by the Worshipful Company of Musicians with Francis Cowley of Swindon Brass topping sixty years of consecutive attendance at the Areas – what a servant to the movement. 

Cheering her head off

No doubt, Frances Calver will be celebrating this week with a quiet tipple now the contest is out of the way.  The delightful Chairlady got an early birthday present when her band, St Breward Silver qualified for Harrogate.  Diplomatic at all times, Frances waited till she was out of sight before cheering like a maniac! 

Celebrate

The biggest reason to celebrate though is the youthful strength in depth here. The majority of bands who competed had youngsters involved (and some were very young) and it is testament to the hard work and dedication of the conductors and band trainers around the region that banding is flourishing in these parts.

Unfortunately 4BR’s correspondents didn’t rub shoulders with any famous pop stars from a bygone era over the weekend, (unlike the 4BR Editor in Bradford) but we did rub shoulders with some of the nicest and friendliest people you could wish to meet anywhere. 

Our holiday destination for 2010 is booked already.

Malcolm Wood

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