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2011 Welsh Regional Championship — Postcard from Swansea

Despite the quality the quantity remains the problem in Wales...

Welsh
An illusion or reality?

The Welsh illusion remains; despite the hazy miasma of outstanding musical performances in Swansea almost masking the reality.  

Imperious victory


There was no doubting Cory’s imperious victory in the Championship Section, or the impressive standard of the other winners – but peer into that celebratory mist and the substance of Welsh banding still exhibited the crumbling texture of a Caerphilly cheese.  

Kid themselves all they like; padding out the Sunday with a short concert by the students of the Royal Welsh College and a leisurely lunch break was a neat bit of window dressing, but what was a few years ago a bit of a worry, has now started to take on the look of a full blown panic.

And the Welsh don’t panic very well.

Return home

Cory, Beauaris and Tredegar will hope to return home from the Albert Hall with at least an automatic qualification place for 2012, whilst the bands that travel to Cheltenham have realistic hopes of celebrating another batch of podium silverware.

Wales will be sending a strong set of representatives to the Finals, but even though there will be a great deal of pride in what they will achieve, back at home things are not looking so rosy.

Sobering experience

Talking to people connected with bands at the Brangwyn Hall was a sobering experience – and not just because the bar prices have been hiked up.

French retirement

At least one band in the top section had to call in no end of old favours to coax people out of retirement to be bale to make it to the starting line up, whilst a band in the First Section even had to drag one player out of their enjoyable French retirement to ensure they were able to compete.

Of the five bands in the Fourth Section, two were fledgling returnees in very fragile states of rebuilding, whilst a number of others in the Third and Second were unable to field full compliments of players.

Postcard
Well done Dad! Chris Turner and daughter celebrate Cory's win

Fragile state

4BR was sat with Paul Hindmarsh, one of the most respected commentators on the banding movement in the UK over the last 25 years or more, and although he was suitably impressed by the standard of the best bands in each of the five sections, he also expressed his concern over the lack of numbers and the fragile state of many of the other competitors on display.

Good news

The good news is that work is now being done to rescue Welsh banding from being added to the list of the endangered species of the musical world.

The Royal Welsh College is providing a lifeline of young playing talent that is being encouraged to join bands in the Welsh valleys, (although further North there are still great difficulties as seen by the reported demise of Pont of Ayr once again), whilst the Welsh League of contests is attracting more interest, and there is a Welsh Open contest for lower section bands in Porthcawl later in the year.

Trotman
Roll of Honour for John Trotman

Good price

Swansea Council still provides the superb Brangwyn Hall at a price not to be sneezed at, and the organisation as always over the two days remains slick and professional – and bi-lingual too.

Service

There were plenty of supporting families enjoying the music in what was an encouraging take up of paying customers, and there was a fine response to the annual ‘Roll of Honour’ award to John Trotman of Cory, for his dedicated years of service to Welsh banding.

He can only hope that there are to be many more bands for him to serve so well in the year’s to come.

Iwan Fox 



Walsall Brass Band - Willenhall Singers

Saturday 18 November • Sneyd Communnity Centre, Vernon Way, Bloxwich, Walsall. WS3 2PA


Rushden Town Band -

Saturday 18 November • Park Rd Baptist Church, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0RW


Contest: Brass in Concert

Saturday 18 November • Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead NE28 2JR


Foden's Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 18 November • Queen Street, Morley LS27 9DY


Black Dyke Band - Waterford, Ireland

Saturday 18 November • Carriganore Arena, Waterford Institute of Technology Sports Campus tbc


Newstead Brass

November 18 • Bb Cornet (position negotiable). . Newstead Brass, established Midlands Championship section, have opportunity for an additional cornet player. Suitable for experienced player or someone looking to take the next step in their development.


Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

November 17 • FRONT ROW CORNET. SOLO TROMBONE. . The band have an exciting concert/contest/marching schedule ahead. We are looking for a committed front row cornet and solo trombone player to come and join us in the Yorkshire 1st Section! MD: Richard Larder.


Glossop Old Band

November 17 • SOLO TROMBONE. The Glossop Old Band Welcomes applications for the Solo Trombone Chair. The Band will be competing in the First Section as of 2018 and are looking to continue its progression back to the top levels of performance


Ian Holmes

BA (hons), PGDip (RCM), ARCM, ALCM
Conductor, piano accompanist and educator