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2012 West of England Regional Championship — Torquay preview

West of England banding is on the up — and now its lead is coming from the top down...

TorquayWest of England banding is on the up – and perhaps for the first time in a generation it is being led from the top down.

Famed for the excellence of their lower section bands over the past decade or more, the good times are now starting to roll at Championship and First Section levels too.

Numbers up


Numbers are up (an additional 8 bands make it to the starting line to bring the total to 81), the organisation at the Riviera Centre under Brian Elliot’s command is slick, happy and very professional, and the Region can boast two National Champions after the superb performances from just about all their qualifying bands at Cheltenham.

The only down side is the acoustic at the both the Forum and Arena venues – both splendid for the spoken voice and fun and games, but neither ideal for a brass band contest – although the amenities are excellent and the welcome is always warm and friendly.

Cheltenham excellence


Aldbourne and Brunel Brass were worthy National title winners of the First and Second Sections, but it is also important to add that there were excellent performances in each of the sections – with Bournemouth runner up in the First behind their rivals, Pendennis claiming 5th in the Second Section, Sidmouth 6th in the Third, and New Forest Brass coming runner up in the Fourth.

To top it all though, Flowers has built on its solid 2011 season and has started this year like a F1 car, Woodfalls and Mount Charles are certainly on the up and Aldbourne was on fire last year. No wonder there are envious glances from other regions in the country.

Puffed out

You get the feeling that there will be plenty of puffed out chests at Torquay this weekend.

It should also make for keenly fought contests too – with Woodfalls hoping to finally put the dreaded defending champions curse to bed in the Championship event on Sunday, and with the prospect of some cracking battles in each of the other sections.

No wonder an experienced team of judges has been drafted in.

What the rest of the contesting year brings we wait and see, but unlike other false dawns of recent times, especially in the top section, there is a look of growing sense of permanency about the quality of the bands here now.

4BR will be there on the weekend to enjoy the new found confidence of a regional event that promises to be a cracker.

Iwan Fox



Lofthouse Brass Band - Mayor's Annual Charity Concert

Monday 23 April • Ossett Town Hall, Market Place, Ossett WF5 8BE WF5 8BE


Regent Hall Concerts - Clarendon Brass Ensemble

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


Egremont Junior Band - Egremont Town Band and Workington Town Band

Friday 27 April • Workington CA14 3AW


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


Silver Spectrum Wind Band

April 24 • Brass Players wanted for established Sheffield based wind band. MD George Morton.. Rehearsals Mondays 7:30 to 9:30 pm. We enter the NCBF festival where we have gained many gold awards and on one occasion a platinum.. Wind players also welcome to apply.


The Corsham Band

April 24 • With a solid result in our first year in the Second Section at the Regional Contest, the band are now looking for an experienced Front Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team.


Hathern Band

April 23 • Hathern Band are looking for a PRINCIPAL EUPHONIUM to join their Championship Section Band. This position has become vacant because the present player wishes to retire. We are looking for a committed player to fill this key seat. www.hathernband.co.uk.


Steve Pritchard-Jones

FTCL LTCL LDBBA DipMusEd GMus QTS NPQH
Conductor, Adjudicator, Teacher