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2011 London & Southern Counties Regional Championship — Stevenage preview

Banding south of the Watford gap is bucking the trend it seems — numbers are up and there are successes to boast about too.

StevenageWith the rest of UK banding feeling the pinch it seems the long awaited green shoots of recovery may well be sprouting in the London & Southern Counties region.

No double dip

It’s still a little hit and miss in places, but overall things are looking encouraging – no double dip recession for certain.  

Amazingly, numbers have increased (just the one extra, but a great effort considering there are 77 bands taking to the stage). It’s good to see City of Oxford and Cottenham return to the contesting fold after a period away.

Harrogate success

Success has come on the contest stage too - especially at the lower sections in Harrogate last year.

Friary Guildford came back as First Section National champions, whist there were seven other bands claiming top 10 finishes.

The top section bands didn’t make an impression on the tent at the Royal Albert Hall, but their counterparts certainly did at the International Conference Centre.

Healthy numbers

Hopefully that will continue this year, although the problem with having such a large entry list is that some of the contests here are pretty unwieldy beasts – with a bloated Championship Section contest of 12 bands.

There is still a great entry list in the lower sections with a number of bands starting to gain success at other national events in the last couple of years.

And whilst there is currently no regional representative at the British Open, the likes of Redbridge, Aveley and Zone One have started to make an impression on their travels – from Butlins to Brass in Concert, Blackpool to Yeovil.

Amazing job

Dave Hobbs and his team do a quite amazing job in keeping things ticking over at the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre, and whilst it is not the prettiest contest venue in the world, it certainly does its job.

The region may not have the strength in depth of others, but the organisation of local events has been revitalised of late – especially with the Southern Counties Amateur Bands Association events at Folkestone and Hove.

Could it be that ‘southern’ banding is starting to lead the way into the second decade of the new Millennium? It may well look like it is.

Iwan Fox



Egremont Junior Band - Egremont Town Band and Workington Town Band

Friday 27 April • Workington CA14 3AW


Regent Hall Concerts - Clarendon Brass Ensemble

Friday 27 April • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Wotton and District Silver Band - Tom Hutchinson

Saturday 28 April • St Mary's Church, Wotton Under Edge, Gloucestershire GL12 7LS


Black Dyke Band - Lincoln Cathedral

Saturday 28 April • Minster Yard, Lincoln LN2 1PX


The Fairey Band - Pre-European Championships concert

Sunday 29 April • Glossop Old Bandroom. Derby Street, Glossop SK13 8LP SK13 8LP


The Hepworth Band

April 26 • The Hepworth Band has a vacancy for solo horn. We rehearse Tuesdays and Thursdays 8pm and are based in Hepworth, near Holmfirth, Huddersfield


Kippax Band

April 26 • Kippax Band. Require a Musical Director. Due to the work and family commitments of our current MD, Kippax Band are looking for a new Musical Director to take us forward.. We rehearse Monday and Thursday at our own bandroom in Kippax 8.00-10.00pm.


The Corsham Band

April 26 • Due to work commitments, a vacancy has arisen for a Tenor Trombone player. First or Second position available. We are a newly promoted Second Section band with a friendly and enthusiastic team.


Sarah Groarke-Booth

BA (Hons) MA
Conductor, Adjudicator, Compere, Actor