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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



Foden's Band - RNCM Brass Band Festival

Friday 26 January • RNCM. 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9RD M13 9RD


Regent Hall Concerts - The Countess Of Wessex's String Orchestra

Friday 26 January • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Elland Silver Band - Elland Silver Youth & The Cory Band

Saturday 27 January • Halifax Minster HX51 1 QL


Tredegar Town Band - RNCM Brass Band Festival

Saturday 27 January • RNCM. 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9RD M13 9RD


Black Dyke Band - RNCM Brass Band Festival

Saturday 27 January • RNCM, 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9RD


East London Brass

January 22 • Champ Section Band are looking for a top quality BASS TROMBONE PLAYER to complete their line up for some very exciting concerts and major contests in 2018/2019. We are only 5 mins walk from Walthamstow Central tube/train/bus station.


St Albans City Band

January 22 • Want to start 2018 with a change? Fancy another blow each week? We are a friendly community band looking for new players to join our group. All welcome but especially cornet, horn, baritone, Bb Bass and Percussion.


Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

January 21 • We are a friendly non-contesting community band within easy reach of Maidenhead, Bracknell and Reading. We look forward to an exciting year under our new MD, Steve Block, and urgently need cornet players, both front and back row, baritones and BBb bass..


Martin Heartfield

GGSM, ARCM, PGCE
Conductor, Adjudicator, Educationalist