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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



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


Phil Lawrence

ARCM PGRNCM MFTCL ARCM B.Mus.
Composer and conductor