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2011 Welsh Regional Championship — Swansea preview

You may have to rub you eyes in disbelief in Swansea — as there may be something of an illusion going on...

BrangIf you ever want to find out exactly t why the Welsh cling to romantic notions about their position in the greater scheme of things, then you need to read a book called ‘The Welsh Illusion’ by a long dead political commentator, Patrick Hannan.

Myth

His sharp eye shed a caustic gaze at what he believed made those who inhabit the Principality persist in believing the myth of their own making – from the political struggles over devolution to the almost comic surrealism of the running of the old British Steel Corporation – or ‘Monty Finniston’s Flying Circus’ as it was known in the valleys.

Before he died, he should have taken the time to write about the state of Welsh banding: because that’s an illusion if ever there was one.

Shrunk

It is one that has produced 14 top six finishers in a row at the Royal Albert Hall, six national champions at First and Second Section level in the past four years, two podium finishers in the last three in the Third, and five in the last six in the Fourth.

All that from a region that despite the success has shrunk from being able to field 58 bands in 1999, to 40 this year.

That’s some illusion in anyone’s book.

Combination of factors

Through a combination of factors, Welsh banding has succeeded in producing champions at all levels, despite its playing base shrinking at an alarming rate.

Quality not quantity the supporters will chirp in the bars of the Brangwyn Hall: Accident rather than design the same drinking naysayers will say in reply.

Illusion or not, Wales will send three bands to Kensington in October once more, and last year came back from Harrogate with a fourth successive Second Section champion, podium finishes in the First and Third, and a top six finisher in the Fourth.

All that and Cwmaman, Point of Ayr, Ebbw Vale, Royal Oakeley, Pontypool, Rhyl and Upper Rhondda are missing from 12 months ago, whilst former National champions of 21st century vintage in  Newbridge and Ammanford are longer term absentees.

Good news


The good news is that there is a warm welcome back for Severn Tunnel, Treherbert, Cwmbran and Ystradgynlais, but the Fourth Section still only has 5 bands and even the top section, which will see a battle royal on Sunday, has only seven contenders.

Dichotomies


Welsh banding is an illusion of dichotomies: Plenty of well run events such as the Welsh area itself, and bands winning titles right, left and centre.

The trouble is that there are less and less of them each year doing it.

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


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.


Milnrow Band

January 17 • *Cornet Vacancies* Due to maternity leave and work commitments, The Milnrow Band has immediate vacancies for 2 FIRST CLASS CORNET PLAYERS (positions negotiable). Our own Bandroom is easily accessible by car (J21 M62) or by the Manchester Metrolink.


Dave Collins

BA (Hons) (Dunelm) I, FSCO
Composer and Arranger