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2011 North West Regional Championship — Blackpool preview

Despite losing a few bands this year, the North West continues to be the powerhouse of UK banding.

Winter GardensSome things are changing in Blackpool – and some things are not.

The Winter Gardens is undergoing a bright and breezy overhaul - which will come as a pleasant surprise to the hordes of bandsmen and women who have had to put up with a fairly decrepit venue for far too long.

Depth of quality

However, something’s remains pleasantly the same - such as the North West’s ability to provide an unparalleled depth of quality to its five competitive sections.

Not for the first time the returns from representatives at the Royal Albert Hall and Harrogate were something to be proud of, and whilst it is now five years since a top section band was crowned National Champion, another two lower section outfits returned home with the title added to their name in 2010.

Rude health

And despite the Area contest losing five bands overall there is good news in that there are four new or returnees in the Fourth Section, which remains in rude health with 23 competitors.

The North West remains the powerhouse of UK banding and the facts at the Nationals speak for themselves: 79 top six finishers – including 16 National Champions since 2000.

Sterling job

Peter Bates and his team of volunteers do a sterling job hosting this event on the one day and they deserve the plaudits – as well as a bit of extra help if anyone out there is offering! The whole event runs very smoothly – from the first note in the Third Section at 9.45am to the last in the top section around 7.30pm.

There is still some debate about the decision to carry on with just one judge in the box here – especially in the Fourth Section with its 23 competitors, but it seems to work, despite the odd moan from some quarters in the past.

Thrills and spills

This year the top section should provide plenty of thrills and spills as the rival contenders seek the two London qualification places on offer, but there may be just as much enjoyment to be found in the lower sections with high quality fields to be found in the Pavilion Theatre and Empress Ballroom.

Get there early – and make sure you check you car parking fees – by all accounts prices have gone up.

You should be in for a great day and an odd surprise or two.

Iwan Fox



Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Wind Soloists

Friday 19 January • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Black Dyke Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 20 January • Morley Town Hall, Morley, Leeds LS27 8DX


Wantage Silver - Gary Curtin

Saturday 20 January • Reading Central Salvation Army RG1 7JR


The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - EYMS Brass Band at Hull City Hall

Saturday 20 January • Hull City Hall. 67 Carr Lane,. Kingston upon Hull HU1 3RQ


The Hepworth Band - Soprano Sarah Ogden

Sunday 21 January • Christ Church, Sude Hill, New Mill, Holmfirth HD9 7BL


The Corsham Band

January 18 • Having now been promoted to the 2nd Section for the forthcoming Contest season, the band are now looking for a back row cornet player, 2nd or 3rd, to join our team


Derwent Brass

January 17 • Derwent Brass | Championship | Midlands invites applications for PERCUSSION. At Derwent Brass percussion is an important and integral part of the band. We are looking for a talented percussionist, ideally with good tuned ability, to complete the section.


Milnrow Band

January 17 • *PRINCIPAL TROMBONE*. The Milnrow Band has a vacancy for Principal trombone.. Our own Bandroom is easily accessible by car (J21 M62) or by the Manchester Metrolink.


Ian Porthouse


Cornet soloist, clinician, conductor and adjudicator