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2014 West of England Regional Championships — As it happened

All the action from the 2014 West of England Regional Championships — as it happened.

West of England • Sunday 9, 20:00:47

Championship Section: Results
Test Piece: 'St Magnus' - Kenneth Downie

Sunday 9th March
The Forum

Adjudicators: Derek Broadbent and Frank Renton

1. Flowers (Paul Holland)*
2. Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs)*
3. Aldbourne (David Johnson)
4. Mount Charles (John Ward)
5. Lydbrook (Tom Davoren)
6. Camborne Town (John Berryman)
7. St. Dennis (Darren Hawken)
8. Sherborne Town (Paul Cosh)
9. Lanner & District Silver (Stuart Chappell)
10. Michelmersh Silver (Melvin White)
11. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Major David Barringer)

* Top 2 qualify for the National Final


West of England • Sunday 9, 19:16:51

4BR Prediction:

An outstanding performance from Flowers has won this with something to spare - any other result would be a travesty.

Bravo to them - and to MD Paul Holland - it was very classy indeed.

Behind them we go for Woodfalls with Camborne third and Mount Charles in fourth. Lydbrook may come in fifth with Bournemouth just edges out Aldbourne for sixth.

4BR Prediction:

1. Flowers
2. Woodfalls
3. Camborne
4. Mount Charles
5. Lydbrook
6. Bournemouth

Dark Horse: Aldbourne


West of England • Sunday 9, 18:54:28

Championship Section:

11. Flowers (Paul Holland)

At last a start of real quality and it continues throughout the following variations - with a touch of poise to with the clarity of the detail and the excellent dynamic contrast.

More top class playing follows - this really is top notch stuff as we flow with drive and focus all the way to the climax before Var 4.

Not many words can describe the quality of the euph playing - awesome. It's followed by tasty solo cornet all the way down to the tuba.

Excellent tempo choice gives the music so much time to find just the right pulse. Great detail on show here and the quality of the ensemble is first rate too. Bravo MD for this - and to the players. The finale is right on the limit, but played with a touch of finesse and élan.

What a fine close too - not over blown and possessing such balance too.

That was a very fine performance by anyone's standards - and a clear winner. A fine band on very fine form that.


West of England • Sunday 9, 18:53:07

We have a real delay here as a lady has been taken ill in the main hall and an ambulance has had to be called.

Thankfully, it appears that she is now OK although we still wait to see when Flowers will take to the stage.


West of England • Sunday 9, 18:30:26

Championship Section:

10. Lydbrook (Tom Davoren)

Slightly hesitant opening with an odd little rubato pull, but it soon develops into something more orthodox, with detail and clarity to the fore.

Its gets a little scrappy in places and loses its dynamic focus but there is still enough about it to make an impression for all the right reasons. Nice flowing approach to the lyrical section which is just tarnished by a few littles and fragilities, but this has been moulded with an eye on the musical score.

Gets a bit tired and raw after this, but the pulse remains steady and consistent - something that too many haven't achieved today. The finale though is a bit wayward as stamina starts to ebb away, but the MD hasn't gone hell for leather and that means he has something in reserve for a fine finish to a performance of merit.


West of England • Sunday 9, 18:13:37

Championship Section:

9. Michelmersh Silver (Melvin White)

An unfortunate opening takes time to settle as nerves jangle. It recovers thanks to MDs experience and nous and some brave playing from everyone around the stand.

This is a struggle though and the technical aspects are not overcome, despite the fine efforts from individuals and a bold ensemble sound. MD once again uses all his experience to keep things on track.

Bravery isn't enough though and this is really struggling. Full marks for the desire and commitment and to the MD for his efforts, but this is backs to the wall stuff.

Second wind and the final fling for home sees the band relax and finally enjoy themselves after a performance that tested them to the very limit. What a baptism of fire and the generous applause tells its story. They knew this was a and giving its all against insurmountable odds.


West of England • Sunday 9, 17:54:11

Championship Section:

8. Camborne Town (John Berryman)

An awful opening two bars (one of the two soloists fails to recognise the MD preparation beat) gets things off to a terrible start, but it soon recovers and we hear plenty of fine playing.

The following variations are so well handled with the detail and precision really marked. Lots to enjoy here in high class technical playing all the way to the build to Var 4.

Bravo euph - that really was classy stuff and the following lyrical playing from the cornet all the way to the tuba has a stamp of authority and tonal quality.

Just gets a little scrappy in places, but the sensible approach to the tempo has worked, although the accelerated finale is jump started somewhat. This is edgy and at times a bit of bluff, but it is very colourful and exciting nonetheless.

A great build and bold as brass close that thumps out with such purpose rounds off a fine performance that grew from the most terrible of beginnings.


West of England • Sunday 9, 17:35:25

Championship Section:

7. Lanner & District

Just a little slip to start but it recovers well and there is plenty of solid, well rehearsed playing on show. MD uses his noggin and has just taken the limiter off to ensure clarity and to stop the ensemble from sounding raw.

The technical fragilities are clear but there is plenty if intelligent playing going on here - especially flugel and horn. Build to Var 4 is decently handled and euph gives it his all. This struggles a little but once again MD keeps the flow.

It gets much more difficult and imprecise as we go on, with real struggles in overcoming the technicalities. The finale hangs in there - just you have to say. Brave stuff from one and all, but this is now very ragged as the stamina wanes.

MD draws on reserves and the band respond with a bravura close to a performance that battled hard against a most severe test of top flight credentials.


West of England • Sunday 9, 17:21:08

Championship Section: Editors half way point prediction

A contest that has taken a while to really come to life and hasn't quite sparkled as we may have expected either.

Woodfalls are a good margin out in front for us although there were moments when a few eyebrows were raised and there were some fragilities.

Mount Charles delivered a really musical performance that had flow and control, despite its obvious flaws, whilst Bournemouth started so well but fell away when they got tired, and Aldbourne had one of those days when too many unforced errors and mistakes robbed such a well laid out interpretation from their MD.

4BR half way prediction

1. Woodfalls
2. Mount Charles
3. Bournemouth
4. Aldbourne


West of England • Sunday 9, 17:04:23

Championship Section:

6. Mount Charles (John Ward)

Just a little blip takes the gloss off a well structured opening, which leads into a set of variations that have contrasts in dynamics and reveal the detail too. Despite little clips there is a lovely flow to the much here - just the right side of tasteful malleability. The perc section is top notch.

Build to Var 4 is well done too, and euph does well without overplaying her hand. The lyrical interlude that follows is so well shaped - and retains its sense of momentum too all the way to the close.

Tiredness and loss of focus means the faster elements are scrappy and the obvious technical fragilities are shown clearly, but the MD has kept an admirable lid on the dynamic excesses and so it doesn't sound raucous or desperate.

MD loses score but doesn't lose focus for a fine close in a performance rich in musical merit.


West of England • Sunday 9, 16:41:08

Championship Section:

5. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)

A fine start leads into variations that have detail and precision. There is a lot of good quality playing on show here - with the MD giving the music time to find a persuasive pulse. Some trademark Childs touches with the detail jump out of the score, as do a couple of moments when you raise the odd eyebrow.

The build to Var 4 is classy - as is the euph solo (played by the second euph) - very classy in fact. Once again the music is allowed to find its natural flow helped by warm toned cornet and robust tuba to close.

The pace to follow is well maintained despite the occasional little blip, and the finale is right on the limit you suspect. Its is all just about going in with euphs leading splendidly. The close has that sense of authority the music demands.

A leader by a considerable margin. A fine performance but one that can be beaten.


West of England • Sunday 9, 16:21:15

Championship Section:

4. Bournemouth Concert (Major David Barringer)

At last an opening that works and it leads into opening variations that hold their focus. The sensible approach of the MD ensures time and space, and although there isn't a great deal of contrast on show, the detail does come through.

There is a solid feel about the execution - a bit workmanlike, but that isn't a bad thing today. Fine build to Var 4, which is neatly directed and handled by the players. Not everything comes off, and thee are some glaring inconsistencies and variables, but this works well.

When tiredness creeps in the problems begin to mount though - and it becomes increasingly messy and imprecise.

Something goes wrong in the perc once too often although the band just has enough to push through to a bold end.

Until tiredness crept in it was pretty solid stuff but as the stamina waned there was a noticeable drop in quality.


West of England • Sunday 9, 16:02:07

Championship Section:

3. St Dennis (Darren Hawken)

A solid start leads into well rehearsed variations, although there isn't a great deal of dynamic contrast on show and the detail doesn't always present itself.

There are some neat touches of class in places above we get to Var 4, where it starts to lose focus (especially with tuning).

MD is trying to bring out the musical picture and succeeds for the most part, but the technical aspects are troublesome. The approach to Var 5 is sensible, but then becomes incoherent for the finale. Lost of brave playing on show, and there is another stamina left to produce a fine, robust close.

A decent effort on a very difficult test piece and one that benefited from the MDs intelligent approach to the score.


West of England • Sunday 9, 15:46:52

Championship Section:

2. Aldbourne (David Johnson)

Not quite the secure start that would have been hoped for and the following variations take time to settle. This sounds nervous and fragile.

The big picture is set out, but the lack of detail and precision is robbing this of stature and authority. The fragility in ensemble and leading lines is pronounced at times. Its a pity as the musical picture is well laid out. Var 4 is a case in point.

Its recovers poise and its sense of brio, but it becomes so messy and overwrought. A tired band heads for home and gives it their all to close with a thumping end.

Overall though a very disappointing one. It was riddled with fragility, despite a fine reading from the MD that sought the musical core.


West of England • Sunday 9, 15:30:28

Championship Section:

1. Sherborne Town (Paul Cosh)

A solid start leads into some well managed variations, but the detail is not that apparent and the precision varies at time too.

MD has got the measure of the tempos and the flow of the music, but the technical hurdles are not always overcome by the players in execution. There is a sensible approach here and it is working for the most part, although the lyrical Var 4 doesn't quite sound comfortable.

MD uses all his experience to keep things on track after this, as a tied band battles bravely to match the difficulties this piece poses. Some nasty moments before the final ride for home, but there is just enough left in the tank for a bold finish.


West of England • Sunday 9, 15:22:32

Draw:

Championship Section:
Test Piece: 'St Magnus' - Kenneth Downie

Sunday 9th March
The Forum
Commence: 3pm approx after Second Section
Draw: 12.30pm

Adjudicators: Derek Broadbent and Frank Renton

Aldbourne (David Johnson), 2
Bournemouth Concert Brass (Major David Barringer), 4
Camborne Town (John Berryman), 8
Flowers (Paul Holland), 11
Lanner and District Silver (Stuart Chappell), 7
Lydbrook (Tom Davoren), 10
Michelmersh Silver (Melvin White), 9
Mount Charles (John Ward), 6
Sherborne Town (Paul Cosh), 1
St. Dennis (Darren Hawken), 3
Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs), 5


West of England • Sunday 9, 15:17:44

Results:

Second Section:
Test Piece: 'Chaucer's Tunes' - Dr Michael Ball

Sunday 9th March
The Forum
Commence: 10.00am
Draw: 8:45am

Adjudicators: Mike Kilroy & Steve Pritchard-Jones

1. Forest of Dean (Chris Howley)*
2. St Keverne (Gareth Churcher)*
3. Ocean Brass (Edward March)
4. Poole Borough (Martin Portman)
5. Wotton under Edge (Ian Dickinson)
6. AW Parker (Drybrook)
7. Downton (Dr Chris Davis)
8. Bream Silver (Phil Turner)
9. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
10. Swindon Pegasus (Graeme Lewis)
11. Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (Adam Glynn)
12. Bugle Silver (Jeremy Willcock)
13. City of Bristol (Kevin Robbins)
14. Bodmin Town (John Maines)
15. Weston Brass (Tony Osborne)

Qualified

Disqualified: Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)

National Rule 17d concerning registration was broken with Denmead who have been disqualified.

The band was informed of this before taking to the stage. The band asked to play and be judged. They were initially placed 7th by the adjudicators (who did not know this at the time the band performed) but their placing is not taken into account for the official results.

All bands initially placed behind them in the results move up one place.


West of England • Sunday 9, 14:20:40

Section 2: 4BR Editor's Prediction:

It's been a thoroughly enjoyable contest here this morning and afternoon - one that contained a number of performances that were full of character.

None emerged unscathed though - not even the two best for us in St Keverne and Swindon Pegasus, but the quality seemed to shine through with two fine readings from the MDs.

Forest of Dean should make it into the top six, with Sidmouth, Wotton and Ocean Brass for us.

A good contest that.

4BR Prediction:

1. St Keverne
2. Swindon Pegasus
3. Forest of Dean Brass
4. Sidmouth
5. Wotton under Edge
6. Ocean Brass


West of England • Sunday 9, 14:16:16

Section 2:

16. Bodmin (John Maines)

The contest is rounded off by a decent show from Bodmin that wasn't quite the sum of its parts. Too many little errors just blighted the overall picture - one that the MD had used all his years of experience to shape and mould with subtle nuance and a touch of well disguised man management.

Enjoyable, but it may struggle to make a mark today.


West of England • Sunday 9, 13:57:42

Section 2:

13. Downton (Dr Chris Davis)
14. Ocean Brass (Edward March)
15. AW Parker (Drybrook) (Josh Ruck)

Three different approaches and three different end results really.

Downton's bold and colourful approach would have been a cracker if the error court hadn't been so high. A real pity as the MD had a fine interpretation to unfold - pompous, warm, witty and bold - all in equal measure. A bit of a missed opportunity this.

Ocean opted for a meatier, bolder approach and it paid off. Bold sounds from the lower end contrasted with some tasteful cornet and especially sop playing which was first rate. Had a few problems in the slower section, but this was a performance that could make a mark. Enjoyable stuff that.

Finally, a 'nearly one' from AW Parker (Drybrook) that had some lovely moments, but also too many loses phrase endings. MD kept a great pulse and flow to the music, but those little errors and sloppy moments just took the gloss off a performance that had the makings of a real contender.


West of England • Sunday 9, 13:29:38

Section 2:

This has been a very enjoyable contest - and all the MDs so far have tried to search for the character in the music.

May be they are all former English Literature A level students, because the portraits they have come up with have been colourful, witty, descriptive and always interesting - if occasionally a little scruffy around the edges.

The best have really made the music jump off the page with St Keverne still in the lead for us ahed of Swindon Pegasus and Forest of Dean.


West of England • Sunday 9, 13:17:32

Section 2:

10. Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (Adam Glynn)
11. Weston Brass (Tony Osborne)
12. Wotton under Edge (Ian Dickinson)

It was a real pity that Phoenix was so inconsistent in their execution today as it was a cracking reading from the MD that made the most of the different characteristics in each of the movements. Lots to enjoy, but in the end, just too many little unforced errors cost this one dear.

One out of the same package from Weston - and again, a real pity as the MD sought the character of the music. It's was just untidy too often to really feel totally at ease. Some lovely little moments and a bold close, but they could be cursing the high minor error count.

An exciting colourful one from Wotton - led by a vibrant sop and tasteful cornet. Not everything quite came off at times, but the experience of the MD shone through - making the most of his resources and bringing little details to the fore. Could make a bit of a mark this one.


West of England • Sunday 9, 12:37:27

Section 2

Still lots of bands to come:

AW Parker (Drybrook) (Josh Ruck), 15
Bodmin Town (John Maines), 16
Downton (Dr. Chris Davies), 13
Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (Adam Glynn), 10
Ocean Brass (Edward March), 14
Weston Brass (Tony Osbourne), 11
Wotton-under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson), 12


West of England • Sunday 9, 12:31:21

Section 2:

7. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
8. Bugle Silver (Jeremy Willcock)
9. St Keverne (Gareth Churcher)

The contest is hotting up here now with a fine performance from Sidmouth Town, full of sensible musicality and well executed solo lines. Nothing overdone but just enough subtle character brought out in each of the movements. Stylish this and confident.

Bugle give it their best shot too - thanks to a flowing interpretation from the MD that didn't linger or overplay things. Good sensible direction from the middle made the most of resources. Just a few too many little insecurities, but a nice approach this.

A real bomper to close this trio from St Keverne - full of vitality and youthful verve. There was a real emphasis on detail - and although one or two moments were a bit edgy, the sense of style was transparent and so well delivered. Just the odd blip and clip, but overall a performance that sat up and made you listen from start to finish.


West of England • Sunday 9, 12:23:01

Section 2:

This contest has burst into life in the last hour - with some cracking performances following on from each other.

The audience has been a bit of a treat - and have shown their warm appreciation too. There is a nice atmosphere down here with the prospect of it hotting up in a few hours time when the Championship bands take to the stage.


West of England • Sunday 9, 11:44:19

Section 2:

4. Poole Borough (Martin Purtman)
5. Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)
6. Swindon Pegasus (Graeme Lewis)

Another trio of contrasting performances to follow, with Poole just a little too inconsistent in execution to make a well laid out interpretation fully bloom into character. All the elements were there, but they never quite gelled together despite the persuasive vibrancy.

Denmead was almost the opposite - a much more compact, undemonstrative set of portraits. They were neat and tidy, but just needed a touch more fizz and flair. The characters in Chaucer are no shrinking violets. Well directed this, but a touch more vibrant colour would have made this leap off the page.

The MD of Swindon Pegasus was certainly inspired here - no score and a real intuitive feel for the character of each of the movements.

Little clips and blips, but so what - Chaucer's characters had warts and all too. Some lovely subtle phrasing and the finale was played with such boldness and brio. A very good one this.


West of England • Sunday 9, 11:32:26

Section 2:

It's developing into an interesting contest here - five decent performances so far - all well led, but all with slightly different takes on the clever Chaucer portraits.

Nobody has gone over the top in trying to make it all style and no substance - but there have been some nice efforts to try and give the different movements a touch of robustness, warmth, wit and pomposity.

They like their Chaucer down these parts - especially as there must by a few wives of Bath in the audience or in the bands....


West of England • Sunday 9, 10:47:21

Section 2:

1. City of Bristol Brass (Kevin Robbins)
2. Bream Silver (Phil Turner)
3. Forest of Dean Brass (Chris Howley)

A trio of solid, musically intersecting and well led performances to kick off proceedings here in Torquay.

City of Bristol recovered from a hesitant start and some nervousness to deliver a stylish and compact account under Kevin Robbins.

Bream Silver followed with a more colourful, characterful account under Phil Turner that had drive and verve to the playing, even though it was a bit scrappy in places.

Forest of Dean seemed to be a combination of the two - a thoughtful interpretation by Chris Howley that had plenty of space and time about it. Just a few nerves and a couple of scruffy corners, but a solid account nonetheless.

A good start this - its seems the bands and especially the MDs are trying to capture the style of the music.


West of England • Sunday 9, 10:42:57

Section 2:

It's just as keen a battle in the sartorial elegance stakes here in Torquay this morning as it is with the music making.

First we had Kevin Robbins looking dapper at the helm with City of Bristol in a tasty whistle and flute, before Phil Turner sported that cracking bow tie combo so beloved of 1970s working men's club comedians. Now Chris Howley comes dressed like an extra from Tony Soprano's Bada Bing Club.

Lots of smart dudes strutting their stuff down this neck of the woods....


West of England • Sunday 9, 10:26:41

Good to see there is still an MD around proud enough to take to the stage wearing a bow tie.

Its the old Peruvian velvet fruit bat variety too - as big as the ears on a Picasso cubist painting of Mickey Mouse.

Bravo Phil Turner with Bream Silver - Bravo.


West of England • Sunday 9, 10:15:49

Section 2:

We have just got underway here in Torquay - and it is all a little low key at the moment.

Not the biggest audience in so far - perhaps they are enjoying a stroll on the sea front or having a cream bun or two in the excellent cafe here.

Oddly, there is a full row of people sat within two fee of the flimsy tent. No problem you suspect at this level, but I wonder if those same seats will be filled with a few loud voiced supporters of a few bands come this afternoon.

Or is that being just a little cynical.....


West of England • Sunday 9, 09:34:25

What a beautiful day down here in Torquay.

The sun is starting burn off the early morning haze and it promises to be scorching hot - especially on the stage here at the Forum.

Lots to look forward to today - with a solid line up of bands in the Second Section and then the battle for just two places in the top section where Flowers are aiming to make it a hat trick of victories.

Should be a great day then.

Now where's that sun cream......


West of England • Sunday 9, 06:50:24

Section 1:

The two judges were not as impressed with the overall standard in the First Section it must be said.

Steve Pritchard Jones stated that he and Frank Renton listened to performances on ‘Cry of the Mountain’ that ranged from ‘fair to excellent’, and later refined that when talking to 4BR to say that only two bands were in the latter category.

The rest they said were very much in the former—and a number at the bottom end of the ‘fair’ range.

They were very impressed by the winners though - Frank Renton adding that they really captured the drama of the composer’s intentions, whist St Austell also did the same if not quite with the same overall consistent quality.

Tuning was a real bug bear - especially at the beginning: ‘Painful’ was how Steve Pritchard Jones described it at times, whilst the slow section caused the usual problems - with Frank adding that at times the music just lacked any forward momentum.

Overall they were surprised that the piece had caused so much musical difficulty for the MDs and technical problems for the players.


West of England • Sunday 9, 06:41:01

Section 4:

As expected, the two judges in the Fourth Section yesterday thoroughly enjoyed themselves—calling the winning performances that got through to Cheltenham ‘a sheer delight’.

Both Mike Kilroy and Derek Broadbent gave excellent pre results speeches—full of warm wit, technical detail and lot of praise.

Mike said that the top few bands, ‘did exceptionally well’ and that the area ‘was sending quality to the finals’.

He did say that some bands fell into the obvious traps and that an appreciation of style was very important on this piece.

Derek agreed—one or two points catching bands out such as the need for a proper Pesante feel to the music around Rehearsal letter C, which had to have authority as well as a sense of heaviness, and for players not to bonkers on the trills!

Two excellent summing ups—and afterwards both said to 4BR that the overall standard was very good and the winners really brought the music off the page.


West of England • Sunday 9, 05:47:58

Draw:

Second Section:
Test Piece: 'Chaucer's Tunes' - Dr Michael Ball

Sunday 9th March
The Forum
Commence: 10.00am
Draw: 8:45am

Adjudicators: Mike Kilroy & Steve Pritchard-Jones

AW Parker (Drybrook) (Josh Ruck), 15
Bodmin Town (John Maines), 16
Bream Silver (Phil Turner), 2
Bugle Silver (Jeremy Willcock), 8
City of Bristol Brass (Kevin Robbins), 1
Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood), 5
Downton (Dr. Chris Davies), 13
Forest of Dean Brass (Chris Howley), 3
Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (Adam Glynn), 10
Poole Borough (Martin Portman), 4
Ocean Brass (Edward March), 14
Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey), 7
St. Keverne (Gareth Churcher), 9
Swindon Pegasus (Graeme Lewis), 6
Weston Brass (Tony Osbourne), 11
Wotton-under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson), 12


West of England • Saturday 8, 19:39:56

That's all from Day One in Torquay. 4BR Editor, Iwan Fox will be back with more coverage of Section 2 and Championship Section on Sunday.


West of England • Saturday 8, 19:18:23

Result: Section 1

First Section:
Test Piece: 'Cry of the Mountain' - Howard Lorriman

Saturday 8th March
The Forum
Commence: 3.30pm approx after Third Section
Draw: 12.30pm

Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones and Frank Renton

1. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)*
2. St. Austell Town (Steve Sykes)*
3. Yeovil Town (David Hayward)
4. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
5. Brunel Brass (John Winterflood)
6. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
7. Pendennis Brass Falmouth (Steve Thomas)
8. Roche Brass (Simon Badge)
9. Otterbourne Brass (Gareth Pritchard)
10. Helston Town (Derek Johnson)
11. Hyde (Callum Gray)
12. St. Pinnock (Chris Spreadbury)
13. Lympstone South West Telecoms (Charles Fleming)
14. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)

*Top 2 bands qualify for National Final


West of England • Saturday 8, 18:52:41

Section 1: 4BR Editor's Prediction:

Overall, this has been a disappointing contest.

Just two very fine performances and the rest going from average to pretty poor. Don't know quite why the bands struggled so much on this piece, but somehow the vast majority could not get inspired by it at all.

Oddly deflating, as there was a great deal of expectation that this could have been a cracker.

4BR Prediction:

1. Filton Concert
2. St Austell
3. Chalford
4. Brunel Brass
5. Otterbourne
6. Verwood


West of England • Saturday 8, 18:43:52

Section 1:

13. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
14. Pendennis Brass Falmouth (Steve Thomas)

Two contrasting performances to close with a solid and workmanlike reading and execution from Verwood that had all the right elements of good basic playing in place. Just needed a touch more excitement perhaps but one that may make a mark today.

To round things off, a slightly more excitable one from Pendennis that just needed a little more control to have really captured the essence of the music to a tee. Lots to commend about it though on a day when others took perhaps too many liberties and got found out.


West of England • Saturday 8, 18:35:38

Section 1:

10. South West Communications Lympstone (Charles Fleming)
11. St Pinnock (Chris Spreadbury)
12. Filton Concert (Tim Davoren)

Three contrasting performances at the tail end of the contest here.

There was some solid non nonsense playing on show form Lympstone, but it was undermined by a litany of annoying errors that took a great deal of gloss off the overall musical picture that was well created by the MD.

After a solid start it was a struggle, for St Pinnock, who never got to grips with the technical aspects of the piece. As a result the musical picture couldn't develop as the MD obviously wanted. Not a great one you have to say.

Filton on the other hand could well have booked their place at Cheltenham with a fine show that had all the basic elements in place and was added to by just the right amount of drama, pathos and final excitement.

That was the only other performance of the day that gave us the musical picture that the composer intended - and will push St Austell so close at the top.


West of England • Saturday 8, 18:23:55

Result Section 4:

Fourth Section:
Test Piece: 'Three Spanish Impressions for Brass Band' - Alan Fernie

Saturday 8th March
The Arena
Draw: 10.30am
Commence: 12 noon

Adjudicators: Derek Broadbent & Mike Kilroy

1. Corsham (Colin Hogg)*
2. Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)*
3. Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope)*
4. Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)
5. Spinnaker Brass (Mike Pennicote-Henrie)
6. Weymouth Concert Brass (Kevin Goodwin)
7. Cheltenham Silver (Rob Folland)7
8. Tewkesbury Town (Nigel Morgan)
9. Verwood ‘B’ (Barry Harkcom)
10. Tiverton Town (David Boorer)
11. Gosport Solent Brass (Stephen Dunster)
12. Shanklin Town (Malcolm Lewis)
13. Nailsworth Silver (Paul McLaughlin)
14. Pendeen Silver (Dave Hamilton)
15. Pillowell Silver (Ian Whitburn)
16. Totnes (Alan Wilmott)
17. Wellington Silver (Gordon Francis)
18. Marshfield (Philip Anderson)
19. Okehampton Excelsior Silver (Richard Beardon)
20. Torbay Brass (TBA)
21. Saltash Town (Mike Faro)

*Top 3 bands qualify for National Final


West of England • Saturday 8, 17:43:56

Section 1:

You have to say - this has been one of the most underwhelming First Section contests of recent memory for the 4BR Editor.

St Austell are a mile in front and sound like a decent Championship band in the making. The rest are Second Section bands on this evidence.

If there was ever a case for re-grading this has been it.


West of England • Saturday 8, 17:12:19

Section 1:

7. Helston Town (Jimmy Gribben)
8. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)
9. Brunel Brass (John Winterflood)

A brace of performances that struggled to overcome the technical aspects of the test piece from Helston and Shrewton Silver.

Both seemed off the pace (literally in Helston's case in the finale section) and the tuning with both was really poor too at times. Shrewton had their moments, but some of the playing both as an ensemble and individually wasn't up to scratch.

Two performances that will find it hard to make a mark today with think.

Not Brunel at its best either - at times very good, but too many annoying fragilities to really make the most of the MDs excellent flowing approach to the music.

At first they didn't take too much veneer off, but after a while they mounted up far too much. So much to enjoy about the approach, but the execution was too wayward today.

It says a great deal of the standard today that this may well force its way into the top six.


West of England • Saturday 8, 17:03:41

Section 1: 4BR Editor's Half way prediction and analysis

Apart from one outstanding performance from St Austell it's been pretty average and slightly disappointing stuff in the First section here.

Steve Sykes drew a very fine performance out of St Austell and they are a country mile ahead for us. Then its Chalford's solid, workmanlike account and perhaps Otterbourne, but after that the rest are at base camp compared to St Austell almost at the summit.

Halfway Prediction:

1. St Austell
2. Chalford
3. Otterbourne


West of England • Saturday 8, 16:53:27

Section 4:

There has been plenty of quality on show in the Fourth Section, but as yet we haven't heard a band that we think may have the beating of Camborne Junior Band.

Tewkesbury is the latest to come close - recovering after a bit if a dodgy start to produce a performance rich in style and drama.

We may find that the judges will commend a lot of bands for the way in which they have tried to draw the music and the character out of the score today, but will remind them that at this level you can only do that successfully if the real basics of good brass band playing are under control.

Ambition has just carried further than realism on a few occasions.

It's been a great contest though and with four bands to go its is still up for grabs.


West of England • Saturday 8, 16:28:34

Section 1:

4. Hyde (Calum Gray)
5. Roche Brass (Simon Badge)
6. Otterbourne Brass (Gareth Pritchard)

A little bit of variable fayre to follow in the First Section, as Hyde really opt for the drama and excitement but fail to overcome the trickier technical hurdles.

It was certainly exciting, but at times it was a little too scrappy and that just tarnished the overall picture.

If Roche had been able to sort out their awful tuning and nerves in the opening then they wouldn't have had to work so hard to get back into contention.

At times it was cracking stuff (a top class euph especially) but all too often things went awry elsewhere. Sounded a band of too many individual, parts - not all in tune technically or musically with each other.

If the start had been in tune then Otterbourne would have been right in the mix with this colourful and dramatically musical account.

Really enjoyable approach of drive, texture, lyricism and excitement on show - just that awful start could cost them dear today.


West of England • Saturday 8, 16:01:26

Section 1:

1. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
2. Yeovil Town (Dave Hayward)
3. St. Austell (Steve Sykes)

A cracking start to the First Section here in Torquay with Chalford opening proceedings with a solid, well led account that had drama, tension and a touch of free wheeling splendour about it.

Not everything quite hung together at times - especially in the middle vistas, but it recovered for a bold finish.

Yeovil recovered from a hesitant and untuneful start to produce a reading that was full of power and raw emotion - very well led by the MD, who sought the emerging drama for the score.

Some of the trickier technical aspects didn't quite come off, but for sheer verve this was a real bobby dazzler.

High class playing from start to finish from St Austell - and we do mean high class. There was so much clarity and precision about the technical aspects that were balanced by lovely, dark textures and a sense of foreboding as we approach an avalanche that swept just about everything up in its path.

A cracking show that will take some beating for us.


West of England • Saturday 8, 15:52:14

Section 4:

It's been a cracking contest in the Arena auditorium on Alan Fernie's 'Three Spanish Impressions' - with a performance out of the very top drawer from Camborne Junior Band under Alan Pope the early high class marker.

Gosport Solent Brass right after pushed them all the way, with Verwood B soon after also making a big impression.

Tonnes is the other band that has caught the ear, but overall the standard has been very good from all the bands.

Camborne really went for the drama, passion and 'will she won't she' romance in the Basque waltz that worked a treat - it was smashing playing.

In contrast Verwood played it much safer, but still brought out the colour and textures of the music, whilst Gosport's bold rendition was consistent and detailed from start to finish.

Tones could be a bit if a dark horse with a performance that had a great deal of character but just a few too many minor errors - much like the majority of the bands today.


West of England • Saturday 8, 15:21:49

Well there is certainly a buzz about the hall in Torquay at the moment after the results of the Third Section.

Frank Renton talked very specifically about MDs needing to 'respect' the indications given by the composer in the score - and as he said, '...not many of the MDs did that today.'

'I implore you,' he said. 'Look at the score and respect what the composer writes'. He added; 'The net result today were performances that did not encapsulate his (Wilby's) intentions.'

The shock on the face of the winning conductor was a thing of bewilderment and joy - he couldn't quite believe he had led his band to victory.

Others may differ with their opinion, but the judges thought it the best of the day - and that's all that counts.


West of England • Saturday 8, 15:13:35

Section 1 Draw:

First Section:
Test Piece: 'Cry of the Mountain' - Howard Lorriman

Saturday 8th March
The Forum
Commence: 3.30pm approx after Third Section
Draw: 12.30pm

Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones and Frank Renton

1. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
2. Yeovil Town (David Hayward)
3. St. Austell Town (Steve Sykes)
4. Hyde (Calum Gray)
5. Roche Brass (Simon Badge)
6. Otterbourne Brass (Gareth Pritchard)
7. Helston Town (Derek Johnson)
8. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)
9. Brunel Brass (John Winterflood)
10. Lympstone South West Telecoms (Charles Fleming)
11. St. Pinnock (Chris Spreadbury)
12. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
13. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
14. Pendennis Brass Falmouth (Steve Thomas)


West of England • Saturday 8, 14:55:51

Result: Section 3:

Saturday 8th March
The Forum
Commence: 10:00am
Draw: 8:45am

Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones and Frank Renton

1. Bratton Silver (Simon Carr)*
2. New Forest Brass (Ian Luxford)*
3. St. Stythians (James Burns)
4. Gillingham Imperial Silver (Jim Bennett)
5. Andover Town (Steve Large)
6. South Molton Town (Gil Taylor)
7. Bath Spa (Dave Walker)
8. Heyl Town (Shaun Marsden)
9. Cinderford (Kevin White)
10.Wilton and District (Colin Herbert)
11. Midsomer Norton and Radstock Silver (Joanne Sykes)
12.Swindon Brass (Francis Cowley
13. Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)
14.Launceston Town (Jeremy Taylor)

withdrawn: Bristol East and Kingswood (Ben Vleminckx)

*Top 2 qualify for National Final


West of England • Saturday 8, 13:57:59

Section 3: 4BR Editor's Prediction:

Well now - an enjoyable contest despite the fact that not one band managed to master 'Partita' with four totally consistent postcard portraits.

The best for us today though were Heyl with their bold and confident approach and Bath Spa at the end, who despite the dodgy last few bars, produced the best third movement of the day.

Midsomer Norton & Radstock's well managed account may just miss out with Gillingham, Wilton & District and New Forest Brass making up our top six.

4BR Prediction:

1. Heyl Town
2. Bath Spa
3. Midsomer Norton & Radstock
4. Gillingham Imperial Sikver
5. Wilton & District
6. New Forest Brass


West of England • Saturday 8, 13:52:07

Section 3:

13. South Molton Town (Gil Taylor)
14. Bath Spa (Dave Walker)

The final two bands of the day also give inconsistent performances, with South Molton showing plenty of verve and drive in the outer sections, but just losing a bit if flow and musical pulse in that all important third movement Pastorale.

Bath also show plenty of keen vibrancy - and they have the added bonus of a lovely flow to the Pastorale that is led by an excellent tenor horn. More bold and confident playing follows in a performance that built in quality with each movement - despite nearly losing the end.


West of England • Saturday 8, 13:38:57

Just the two bands to go now - and you can spy down into the auditorium and see supporters anxiously looking at their mobiles and tablets to find out how this contest is unfolding - according to the 4BR Editor anyway.

Most will be happy with their efforts today we suspect, and will know that they will be better bands for tackling a fine set work by Philip Wilby.

However, the age old problem of getting the basics right at this level first, and building a performance on top of them has been crystal clear.

The better bands so far have just about managed to do that - but none has really fully mastered the basics plus the aesthetic extras. The third movement has been the Achilles heel - maintaining flow and pulse has been a real problem.

A couple of bands to go, and this contest is still wide open....


West of England • Saturday 8, 13:15:38

Section 3:

10. New Forest Brass (Ian luxford)
11. Swindon Brass (Francis Cowley)
12. Heyl Town (Shaun Marsden)

A brace of 'nearly ones' from both New Forest and Swindon Town.

The strengths and the weaknesses were almost identical in both performances - decent openings and bright dance movements, but loss of momentum and flow in the 'Pastorale' and tiredness in the 'Parade' will surely prove costly.

When it was good both shone - with a fine solo cornet with New Forest a real plus, and a classy horn with Swindon sure to add points, but overall both were too inconsistent.

Heyl had that touch more quality about them today - and even though the last movement just stumbled a little there was so much good playing in the other three movements to out them right in the mix.

Well led, laid out and delivered this - just the odd moment or two, but overall the most consistent performance so far today.


West of England • Saturday 8, 12:48:29

The prize for the men with the best moustache of the day undoubtably goes to the baritone player of New Forest Brass.

By heck - the last time we saw a walrus winger like that it was on the fizzog of mad Kaiser Wilhelm in 1914.

Could they be in anyway related we wonder. A truly magnificent specimen.


West of England • Saturday 8, 12:36:09

It still hasn't quite caught fire in Torquay as yet, but its great to see the crowds starting to pile in for the Fourth Section contest.

21 bands - and it looks like every one of them has brought a bus load of supporters with them.

The Arena auditorium is an unforgiving place to play though - as boomy as an old aircraft hanger despite the Arabic tent top that covers the area when the bands play.

Still - the standard is usually very good here with the promise of some cracking bands - so plenty for Mike Kilroy and Derek Broadbent to enjoy in the Bedouin tent of their own.


West of England • Saturday 8, 12:23:13

Section 3:

7. Midsomer Norton & Radstock (Joanne Sykes)
8. Launceston Town (Jeremy Taylor)
9. St Stythians (James Burns)

The marker performance for the rest of the field to try and beat has come from Jo Sykes and her confident and bold Midsomer Band. There was consistency throughout all four movements her - and the musical flow was always maintained.

Launceston struggled a little (especially with tuning issues), but the encouragement of the MD pulled them through - aided by great little individual efforts from the youngest players in the band on rep, trom, baritone and especially percussion.

St Stythians gave a performance that at times was the most refined and musical of the day, but on other occasions just fell away. Some lovely little touches and fine solo playing though and bold close should see them hold their own.


West of England • Saturday 8, 12:08:29

Section 4 Draw:

Fourth Section:
Test Piece: 'Three Spanish Impressions for Brass Band' - Alan Fernie

Saturday 8th March
The Arena
Draw: 10.30am
Commence: 12 noon

Adjudicators: Derek Broadbent and Mike Kilroy

1. Weymouth Concert Brass (Kevin Goodwin)
2. Okehampton Excelsior Silver (Richard Beardon)
3. Pendeen Silver (Dave Hamilton)
4. Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope)
5. Gosport Solent Brass (Stephen Dunster)
6. Wellington Silver (Gordon Francis)
7. Verwood ‘B’ (Barry Harkcom)
8. Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)
9. Cheltenham Silver (Rob Folland)
10. Corsham (Colin Hogg)
11. Torbay Brass (TBA)
12. Totnes (Alan Wilmott)
13. Tiverton Town (David Boorer)
14. Shanklin Town (Malcolm Lewis)
15. Saltash Town (Mike Faro)
16. Pillowell Silver (Ian Whitburn)
17. Tewkesbury Town (Nigel Morgan)
18. Nailsworth Silver (Paul McLaughlin)
19. Marshfield (Philip Anderson)
20. Spinnaker Brass (Mike Pennicote-Henrie)
21. Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)


West of England • Saturday 8, 12:08:23

Section 3 Halfway point prediction and analysis:

It's been a little inconsistent so far down here - with a few postcards a bit smudged and having the occasional wrong musical address, but each band has given it a bright and confident effort.

The third movement remains the key - as you suspect it will all around the country this year.

Great to see so many young players on show - and enjoying themselves too.

The marker performance has been provided by Midsomer though and leads the way for us from solid efforts from a confident Gillingham Imperial and Wilton & District off the number 1 draw.

Halfway point prediction:

1. Midsomer Norton & Radstock
2. Gillingham Imperial
3. Wilton & District


West of England • Saturday 8, 11:34:30

Section 3:

4. Gillingham Imperial Silver (Jim Bennett)
5. Bratton Silver (Simon Carr)
6. Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)

Three contrasting performances - with Gillingham bold and confident under their expansive MD. Just took a little time to find its feet after a bit if shakes start, but got better and better as it went on.

Bratton had a bit of inconsistent day - with some cracking playing interspersed with some stuff that struggled somewhat. The perc section was very good though but overall didn't quite all gel together.

A great cry of support for the youngsters of Chalford Academy - and they deserved every bit of it. A little up and own I.n places, but so what. Cracking young players with a great lad on second man down playing the solos and a lovely sounding trombone too. Well led by the MD - a real triumph for a great band with the right competitive ethos. Everyone looked like they enjoyed it!


West of England • Saturday 8, 11:31:05

What a fantastic sight to gladden the heart of every brass band lover - Chalford Academy take to the stage packed to the gunnels with young players.

The euph section is aged 13 and 11 be all accounts and some of the other players are knee high to a timp. Just a couple of older heads lending support - wowee - this is a wonderful example of investing in youth.

And they are enjoying themselves too.


West of England • Saturday 8, 11:18:04

Its always good to see so many young players in each of the bands down here - with Gillingham Imperial the latest to show that investment in youth pays off.

They had a cracking little lad on bottom third cornet bursting with pride as he played his part on stage!

Hope he's rewarded with half a Top Deck shandy in the bar! (Anyone under the age of 40 may not know what we are talking about here)


West of England • Saturday 8, 10:59:53

Its a bit of a slow burn build up of atmosphere in Torquay at the moment - the main hall isn't exactly buzzing with a throng of expectant humanity, but then again the good folk down here don't quite display the feral nature of their banding support as openly as those in Yorkshire.....

Still - it's starting to fill up - and Philip Wilby's music is a bit of a treat.

The opening section sets the nostalgic scene followed by the sprightly Lord of the Dance - but it's the third movement that's the key - as was shown in Yorkshire. Get that right and its like music to a Werther's Original advert - get it wrong and clogs up your teeth like sticky American hard gums.


West of England • Saturday 8, 10:47:56

Section 3:

1. Wilton & District (Colin Herbert)
2. Andover Town (Steve Large)
3. Cinderford (Kevin White)

A brace of well led and well played performances and one that struggled a bit to start the day in Torquay.

Wilton was bright and breezy - giving the music time to settle and find its natural flow. Some neat interplay from the main solo lines was a real feature - with a sweet sounding sop the pick. Lovely middle section too.

Andover's young players did their MD proud too - laying with real brio and verve when required and just relaxing and showing warmth and a touch of nostalgia too. Just a few minor errors and a couple of wrong notes may cost.

Cinderford give it their best shot, but it was just a little too inconsistent. Some lovely little moments and well led by the MD but it may just struggle to make a mark today.


West of England • Saturday 8, 10:32:02

There is a real tradition of well led, well taught bands at Third and Fourth section level here in the West of England - and one we are looking forward to hear this morning is Chalford Academy which has an average age of just 16. Take out a couple of their older players and that drops to 13!

They are not alone either with the cracking nippers of Camborne Junior Band in the Fourth Section defending their title today under the inspirational leadership of Alan Pope.

The bar does a roaring trade in lemonade and crisps as well as beer and Cornish Pasties.....


West of England • Saturday 8, 10:12:57

As always there is a warm welcome here in Torquay - and with the sun shining outside it promises to be a good day of solid banding in the Third Section and the First Section here in the Forum. The Fourth takes place in the Arena starting around mid day.

Could be a long day for Frank Renton (who was on sprightly form this morning before being shoved in the box) with Steve Pritchard Jones. As soon as they are finished with 14 bands in the Third Section its straight in to 'Cry of the Mountain' and another 14 performances.

They are certainly getting their money's worth out of Fun time Frankie then...


West of England • Saturday 8, 10:03:01

We are in the main Forum auditorium here in Torquay with a sprinkling of hardy souls waiting for the first band Wilton & District to tackle the test piece 'Partita for Band' by Philip Wilby.

'The Queen'! Nope - she's not here. The sound of proud Englishmen and women signing their hearts out is drowned by the band - and they were not playing very loud.....

Off we go then....


West of England • Saturday 8, 09:48:20

Section 3 Draw

Third Section:
Test Piece: 'Partita for Band' (Postcards from Home) - Professor Philip Wilby

Saturday 8th March
The Forum
Commence: 10:00am
Draw: 8:45am

Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones and Frank Renton

1. Wilton and District (Colin Herbert)
2. Andover Town (Steve Large)
3. Cinderford (Kevin White)
4. Gillingham Imperial Silver (Jim Bennett)
5. Bratton Silver (Simon Carr)
6. Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)
7. Midsomer Norton and Radstock Silver (Joanne Sykes)
8. Launceston Town (Jeremy Taylor)
9. St. Stythians (James Burns)
10. New Forest Brass (Ian Luxford)
11. Swindon Brass (Francis Cowley)
12. Heyl Town (Shaun Marsden)
13. South Molton Town (Gil Taylor)
14. Bath Spa (Dave Walker)

withdrawn: Bristol East and Kingswood (Ben Vleminckx)


West of England • Friday 7, 20:19:34

4BR Editor Iwan Fox will be making the trip down the M5 to Torquay for the weekend to enjoy the action at the West of England Regional Championships, whilst Malcolm Wood leads the team in the North West on Sunday.

Chris Thomas is in Bedworth with his intrepid duo of helpers whilst we are working in partnership with British Bandsman in Scotland to bring you the action North of the border.


West of England • Friday 7, 11:39:30

For West of England preview & predictions go to:
www.4barsrest.com/­articles/­2014/­1438.asp




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Neil Samuel


Conductor