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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



Foden's Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 18 November • Queen Street, Morley LS27 9DY


Contest: Brass in Concert

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


Rushden Town Band -

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


Walsall Brass Band - Willenhall Singers

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


Black Dyke Band - Waterford, Ireland

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


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


East London Brass

November 17 • Champ band under their INSPIRATIONAL MD Jayne Murrill are looking for a top quality BASS TROMBONE player to join our team. Lots of exciting projects (concerts and contests) lined up in the next 2 years.


Dr. Stephen Arthur Allen

D. Phil. (Oxon) [Ph.D Oxford University], GBSM, LTCL, ABSM, ALCM, Cert. Ed.