2010 Pontins Championships - Second Section retrospective

28-Oct-2010

The judges knew what they were looking for in the Second Section - and Haydock was the band that gave it to them to take the first prize.


Winner
More bright contesting days ahead for Mark Quinn and Haydock...

Any listener's interpretation of music refers to an experience between cause and effect. The experience of listening is the cause. The effect is the expression of their approval or disapproval of this pleasure.
 
The appreciation of music making is totally subjective, but when it comes to contesting, the only opinion that counts is that of the adjudicators. 

Rife debate

The Second Section on Sunday may only have contained eight bands providing an enjoyable contest lasting around two hours, but neither for the first nor the last time, debate was rife when it came to the announcement of the results.  One band was of course delirious in celebration, the remaining seven, not so.

No matter how tough it is to take, you've got to respect the decision and move on.
 
Bruce Broughton's 'Californian Legend' proved to be a stern test, but it also gave the competitor's here a taste of things to come – ‘Resurgam’ and for some,even ‘Carnival Romain’.  

There were some good bands taking part at this contest, but they struggled with a piece that would have been a fine old test for the First Section on Saturday.
 
The winner?

For the judges, C. Brian Buckley and Kevin Wadsworth, the key to success was getting all the basics in place and compiling a performance where rhythmic clarity and precision was evident.

It wasn't easy to do, (the score instructions are not what bands are usually accustomed to) but those MDs who did their homework and adhered to the score markings – especially in terms of tempo, were rewarded. Those who decided on a more elasticised approach were not.

It was a hard piece for the bands to pull off, with various challenges including the high register playing in the cornets taxing many. 

Celebrating
Time to celebrate for the 2010 Pontins champions...

Buckley pulls no punches 

Brian Buckley was very clear in his remarks on behalf of the judges, both directly to the bands at the conclusion of the contest and when speaking to 4BR a little later in the day.

Both men had judged at Harrogate a month earlier, and the same things they were looking for in the sections there, applied here: A précis would read; Get the basics right, follow the composer’s intentions and markings and don’t try to do something that isn’t written.

At Second Section level, it’s a pretty sensible way to ensure you get in the prizes.  
 
Haydock triumph 

Haydock and Mark Quinn captured both the descriptive and technical impact that the judges were looking for. 

There was some fine playing from the band from Merseyside and it was certainly a forthright approach from the MD, although the percussion section (bass drum in particular) made their presence felt.  Having drawn six, Haydock knew they'd played well, but to say they were a little surprised to have taken the title is an understatement. 
 
Youngest player
Yorkshire grit claims second place for Barnsley

Yorkshire grit 

Barnsley Building Society and Rob Straw played right in the middle of the contest with a performance of real Yorkshire grit.  The MD had made sure his band was very well prepared and they dug very deep to give a performance of merit that was rewarded with second place. 

Haslingden & Helmshore under David Holland was the first band to really give a musical insight into the piece.  Just like Barnsley, it was well prepared and there were some impressively accurate tempos with the whole piece having a nice flow to it.  

Any blips were quickly forgotten about and come its conclusion there was no surprise that it would feature highly in the judges opinion making.

Third place
Third place for Haslingden & Helmshore

Disappointment 

When Rainford under Graham O'Connor took to the stage as the penultimate band on the day the contest was still up for grabs.

A confident and controlled display followed and whilst for most of those in the hall, (4BR included) it seemed to have that extra touch of quality about it to be a clear winner the judges were less impressed and felt it didn’t quite match what they were expecting to hear from the score. 

4th may have been a touch harsh, but the judges were very clear in their opinions to why it had failed to capture their favour.

Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Silver and Glyn Davies brought the contest to a close with a performance that although having its moments never quite had enough about it to finish anywhere else than just below half way. 

Youngest player
Youngest player Harry Handford of Wellington Telford

The bottom three 

The bottom three bands on the day had an assortment of problems that they could quite overcome.

Leicestershire (Snibston) under Graham Jacklin went for it from the outset and although there was some good playing, some of the tempos were a touch on the quick side and that proved costly. 

To be fair to both Downshire Brass and Wellington (Telford), both struggled with the piece and it was more than a touch outside their comfort zone. Both though deserve credit for their perseverance and commitment. They were contest performances of character, even if they also struggled. 
 
Exact science

Contesting is never an exact science, but at Second Section level, it is about getting the basic elements in place before trying to produce the finished product.

And in the opinion of the judges – the only opinion that counts on contest day – it was Haydock who did just that.

Malcolm Wood

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