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2015 Spring Festival — Senior Trophy: As it happened

All the action from the 2015 Spring Festival Senior Trophy — as it happened.

Senior Cup • Saturday 9, 18:58:51

Result:

The Spanish Hall
Test Piece: Tallis Variations (Philip Sparke)

Adjudicators: Adrian Morris & Mark Wilkinson

1. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)*
2. Llwydcoed (Christopher Turner)*
3. VBS Poynton (Neil Samuel)*
4. Newtongrange (Keith Wilkinson)*
5. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
6. Unison Kinneil (Craig Anderson)
7. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
8. Dalmellington (Richard Evans)
9. Medway (Melvin White)
10. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
11. SPAL Automotive Sovereign Brass (Trevor Jones)
12. Longridge (Mareika Gray)
13. Jackfield (Elcock Reisen) (Simon Platford)
14. Felling (Phil Rosier)
15. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)
16. Wakefield Metropolitan (Richard Larder)
17. Hatfield Colliery (Stan Lippeatt)
18. Blidworth Welfare (Martin Heartfield)
19. Wantage Silver A (Phillip Bailey)
20. Lochgelly (Kenny Letham)

Best Instrumentalist: Morvern Sinclair (cornet) Rainford

*Promoted to Senior Cup


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 18:07:12

Final thoughts and prediction:

An interesting contest day of variable quality it must be said here in the Spanish Hall.

Tallis proved to be a well chosen set work - just the right side of challenging without posing insurmountable problems for all the bands. However, some of the approaches form MD's made you wince although we hope the ones that took the risks, especially with dynamic contrasts and finding the subtle changes of pace and phrasing will gain reward.

For us that could mean a win for SPAL Soveriegn Brass although there is a huge question mark over whether their tempo choices found favour in the box. They could end up out of the top six.

Filton high risk approach should also hopefully find reward alongside the solid accounts from Rainford and Poynton, with Oldham and Dalmellington making up our top six.

Dark horses to look out for include Wantage (if they liked the agressive approach), Newtongrange and Llwydcoed.

Prediction:

1. SPAL Sovereign Brass
2. Filton Concert
3. Rainford
4. VBS Poynton
5. Oldham Lees
6. Dalmellington

Dark Horses: Wantage, Newtongrange and Llwydcoed for top ten


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 17:45:47

20. Unison Kinneil (Craig Anderson)

A well managed account from the Scots to close - as neatly packaged and clearly set out as a SNP election leaflet through an Edinburgh letterbox.

Nothing overdone or overwrought, although like some election promises, there were some things that didn't quite add up or make clear sense under the microscope. The soloists played with tasteful restraint and the MD never allowed the music to wallow in self indulgence - but it needed a touch more passion to run through the veins.

The final ride for home is well handled - if a little out of kilter in terms of balance - but there is a rousing climax to enjoy and the final repose has the settled feel of peaceful serenity.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 17:28:45

13. Newtongrange (Dr Keith Wilkinson)

A performance that didn't quite live up to its initial promise for us - although it got close at times thanks to a splendid reading of the score from the MD.

It just got a little overwrought in places when less enthusiasm and a pinch more refinement was called for. It was certainly bold, exciting and free flowing, but it was also untidy and a little too error strewn also.

The big, 'McTallis' stuff was played with a brio that would have sent the old enemy packing any day of the week off a battlefield North of the border, but elsewhere it also needed more dynamic contrast to show they had refinement of a Miss Jean Brodie too.

A fine finish rounded off a performance up there for a mention and possible qualification place, but not a winner.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 17:03:08

18. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Neil Samuel)

You have to hand it to the MD and his band - they opted to go for it with a show of bold, energetic confidence and it paid off.

Not particularly subtle or refined it must be said - but everything was laid out with purpose and drive when required and balanced with a purposeful lyricism too. It got a little raw in places when enthusiasm just got the better of them - but the superb euph was such a classy focal point throughout.

This was Thomas Tallis as BA Baracas - but this was no damn fool performance by any means. All that was missing was Hannibal and the rest of the gang.

They took no prisoners but it may well see them squeeze a possible qualification place out of the end result. This lot could well escape out of the high security facility that is the Senior Trophy after that.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 16:44:07

17. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)

A performance that didn't quite amount to the sum of its parts from the Yorkshire contenders.

Some of those parts were very good, but some were average and some even a bit odd (the gong after the opening sounded like the end of Bohemian Rhapsody) - but unfortunately the disparate elements never quite gelled as you thought they would.

The MD cleverly used his resources with some neat camouflage work to fill in a wrinkle or two Joan Collins would have been pleased about, but it couldn't quite hide the fact that underneath it all it never felt totally secure.

A bit hit and miss this - but it should end up in the credit side of the final results table.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 16:20:30

16. Hatfield Colliery (Stan Lippeatt)

Much to enjoy here even if the performance varied greatly in quality of execution at times.

MD had the measure of the score - making the subtle changes in pace, dynamic and style without recourse to crass artifice.

The middle section was a case in point - so well shaped and phrased even if not everything quite came off. Top notch euph and sop led the ride for home, and it very nearly came off with a bold flourish to the main climax and a gentle lyrical feeling of repose to close.

Should more than hold its own.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 16:12:09

15. Felling (Phil Rosier)

A well thought out lyrical approach by the MD is just marred in execution by far too many small, but annoying errors and mishaps.

There was also a question of percussion balance too - the bass drum simply obliterated in places - it really was like the Krakatoa explosion East of Java - or the Golden Mile in this case.

The middle section saw the best playing, with a fine solo cornet and horn the pick, but the outer sections struggled at times to be played with consistency and precision.

A bit of a mixed 'pick & mix' goody bag with a 'Bazooka Joe' bubblegum bass drum that just blew a hole in its chances of coming any higher than midway.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 15:42:47

14. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)

The second North West rival to opt for the sensible 'as it says on the tin' approach with the MD directing operations with a head full of good musical ideas that are put into practice by his players.

Lots to enjoy - nothing to knock your socks off, but enough to warm your little piggy toes all the way to the prize giving market.

Solo cornet is the pick of some classy soloists - the best we have heard today by a margin - and the ensemble kept its form and cohesion just about all the way to the end.

The lactic acid just seeped into a few tired lips in places as the band just hit the wall in the last run for home, but the repose and end was nicely done to close a performance that could well gain recognition.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 15:20:34

13. Oldham Lees (John Collins)

What a solid, well directed, sensible account this was from the North West contender. No frills or anything too radical - just basic band playing delivered with confidence. A Lancashire hot-pot of good ingredients with just the right touch of red cabbage to tang it up.

All the main soloists did what was expected of them and the ensemble was controlled and respectful to the MDs wishes to keep the music flowing.

Just got a little wayward and harsh as they headed for home, but you could forgive them for their enthusiasm - even if it did just get a tad scrappy in places. Lovely close rounded off a performance that could find itself being mentioned in dispatches.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 15:02:15

12. Wantage Silver (Phil Bailey)

Well now - Tallis played with a steroid injection that bulked up bigger than Ben Johnson in his Seoul prime.

You have to say to though that it was also played with eyeball popping boldness too - the mince pies were out on stalks at times with agressive intent.

The MD set out his stall to take no prisoners and his band gave him what he wanted - although it was debatable that the score needed to be interpretated in such a way. Bravura solo interventions from all round the stands - especially flugel - were played with uber-confidence.

At times harsh and brazen - but it certainly left an impression on the mind. However, as Cool Hand Luke once said - so does being hit on the back of the head with a shovel.

Could win it - could end up halfway.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 14:51:20

11. Lochgelly (Kenny Latham)

Unfortunately this won't be one Scottish candidate that will be getting the ballot box full of the all important votes today - despite a brave old go at Tallis, played with passion and no little amount of commitment.

Started well, but despite the MDs efforts to keep the momentum flowing in the music, it came unstuck by a high minor error count. A fine solo cornet lead was one of the best of the day so far, but elsewhere it struggled to remain cohesive and precise, whilst tuning also suffered.

Not their day today - but it may just about hold it's own.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 14:31:55

Halfway Prediction:

It hasn't been a contest to thrill you to the marrow at the moment, but it has certainly been interesting, even if the standard has varied greatly.

The bands that have taken the risks have made a mark for us - led by SPAL Sovereign Brass - although if they were playing poker with their rendition of Tallis they would be going all in on a pair of Queens - and hoping nobody can trump them with a rag Ace on the river.

We liked it though - despite it wallowing in places, although you could see why the judges may just prefer the ever so slightly less high risk hand played by Filton (although not far behind) and Dalmellington. If Mr Morris and Mr Wilkinson are more risk averse in the box then Llwydcoed could feature.

It's a contest still up for grabs then.

Prediction:

1. SPAL Sovereign Brass
2. Filton Concert
3. Dalmellington
4. Llwydcoed


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 14:03:44

10. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)

What an interesting one - a lovely elegant take on Tallis by the MD - but one certainly with its fair share of minor blemishes and errors that in the end perhaps just took one too many layers of musical gloss off the finished product.

Some lovely subtle touches, changes of pace and dynamics which gave the music a depth of clarity and understanding few have matched today, but it was like admiring the Mona Lisa painting only to find she has a bit of a bonk eye.

Nearly something of sublime beauty - but not quite today.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 13:40:10

9. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)

The inheritor of the Richard Evans risk taking genome - you always get something of interest and engagement from Mr Davoren. The chromosome is certainly working overtime with this performance too - some moments of sublime intuition - others when you scratch your head in puzzlement.

The good stuff is very good though - driven, purposeful, compact and cohesive. The little blips in some solo lines and the little lack of flow in others just take a thin veneer off the gloss.

Overall though this has been a rendition that always kept you listening intently - and you can't ask for much more than that.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 13:35:18

Full Draw:

1. Longridge (Mareika Gray)
2. Wakefield Metropolitan (Richard Larder)
3. Medway (Melvin White)
4. SPAL Automotive Sovereign Brass (Trevor Jones)
5. Llwydcoed (Christopher Turner)
6. Jackfield (Elcock Reisen) (Simon Platford)
7. Dalmellington (Richard Evans)
8. Blidworth Welfare (Martin Heartfield)
9. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
10. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
11. Lochgelly (Kenny Letham)
12. Wantage Silver A (Phillip Bailey)
13. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
14. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
15. Felling (Phil Rosier)
16. Hatfield Colliery (Stan Lippeatt)
17. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)
18. VBS Poynton (Neil Samuel)
19. Newtongrange (Keith Wilkinson)
20. Unison Kinneil (Craig Anderson)


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 13:23:45

8. Blidworth Welfare (Martin Heartfield)

A brave effort this - a battle from start to finish for a band on the limit technically, but the musical approach was always engaging and the sense of flow was maintained by the MD.

The obvious fault lines in the ensemble were heard, but the sense of adventure was commendable even when tiredness crept into the lips. Some lovely little moments too - and the final bold climax section was driven and purposeful.

A debut of merit, even if they do now leave knowing just what it will take to make a mark at this level of contesting.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 12:59:04

7. Dalmellington (Richard Evans)

The peerless Richard Evans still retains the unique ability to inject musical life into any band at any level - and by heck, he does it again here.

It's colourul, exciting, bravura, messy, bold, at times inspired, at times wayward and wonky - but it is always musical, always interesting and always so engaging to listen to.

The band sound is warm and welcoming, and as round as a Buddha belly - and despite the knocks, scraps and minor errors, each phrase is delivered with purpose and meaning. Class never fades - it just takes longer to get up in the morning. In the mix this.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 12:36:39

6. Jackfield (Elcock Reisen) (Simon Platford)

Oh what would Jackfield give to have just ridded themselves of the litany of small but annoying errors that blighted this well thought out performance.

They were dotted all over the place like blackheads on a spotty teenager. Nothing acne serious but enough pustules to blight the chances of success. A real pity as the stuff between was so well played - from a near perfect flugel to rampant sop and facile euph. Great ensemble sounds too - warm, cohesive and compact - all the way to the end.

A nearly one - but those damn spots!


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 12:15:03

5. Llwydcoed (Chris Turner)

A very nearly one this - right from the start in fact. Lots to enjoy with the free flowing musical approach from the MD and the warm tonality from the band.

Just the occasional loss of focus and odd little blips and clips, but the approach is very engaging (the clever use of two sops is noted too). There are tasteful touches and shaping of the phrases and there is plenty in the tank to deliver a bold climax and relax for the peaceful, well timed ending.

An intersting and engaging one this - not without its errors, but it certainly brought the music to life.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 11:50:47

4. SPAL Sovereign Brass (Trevor Jones)

I would take my hat off to the MD here if I hadn't already posted it to Paddy Ashdown - as Mr Jones has really taken a risk with both the well defined dynamics and tempo changes in the score. It's not the most subtle approach, but it's very effective and well executed by the soloists and ensemble.

Careful though - the desire to wallow is getting a bit self evident - but it is saved by the quality of the ensemble sound and balance.

It catches up in the Jubiloso - but only just - it just needs more energy to compliment the classy delivery. More deliberately laid out execution takes us to the final boldly played climax and tasteful repose in a performance that was a touch idiosyncratic but always interesting.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 11:30:09

3. Medway (Melvin White)

A confident opening and the bold approach continues, helped by the MD highlighting the subtle changes in pace.

The band responds in kind with bravura solo leads and cohesive ensemble playing. It's not the warmest in tonality, but the music is certainly shaped with a knowing hand.

Just gets a little brazen in the upper dynamics and untidy in places as the ensemble tires, although the music flows along to its climax and well controlled repose.

The MD used all his years of experience to good effect here - and it rubbed off on his band.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 11:07:48

2. Wakefield Metropolitan (Richard Larder)

After a bold start the band soon runs into problems despite the MD keeping the music flowing throughout.

The unevenness in the execution is at times so pronounced - some decent stuff interspersed with sub standard ensemble playing, whilst the solo lines also vary between being very good and very average. It's is hard work at times this - right on the edge of the band's technical abilities. MD takes credit for trying to bring out the textures of the score.

Brave and battling from start to finish - but overall not great.


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 10:45:37

1. Longridge (Mareika Gray)

Not a bad sprinkling of an audience in the Spanish Hall - a bit like shrimps in pan of paella.

After the National Anthem we get down to business, but after a well worked start things start to get untidy and uneven.

MD has certainly got the measure of the subtle changes in pace and style, but the execution is so variable from the band - both in lead lines and with the ensemble.

A very fine solo cornet is the pick, but elsewhere it sounds strained whilst the ensemble balances in the lively acoustic also sound wayward too.

The musical shape of the score is been well constructed, but this was a performance that lacked substance and authority in execution. Hard to see how this will hold its own, but you never know....


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 10:32:01

Draw:

Comments: Iwan Fox

Test Piece: Tallis Variations (Philip Sparke)
The Spanish Hall
Split Draws: 9.40am & 1.10pm
Commence:10.40am

Adjudicators: Adrian Morris & Mark Wilkinson

1. Longridge (Mareika Gray)
2. Wakefield Metropolitan (Richard Larder)
3. Medway (Melvin White)
4. SPAL Automotive Sovereign Brass (David Maplestone)
5. Llwydcoed (Christopher Turner)
6. Jackfield (Elcock Reisen) (Simon Platford)
7. Dalmellington (Richard Evans)
8. Blidworth Welfare (Martin Heartfield)
9. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
10. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)

Bands in Second Half

City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)
Felling (Phil Rosier)
Hatfield Colliery (Stan Lippeatt)
Lochgelly (Kenny Letham)
Newtongrange (Keith Wilkinson)
Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
Unison Kinneil (Craig Anderson)
VBS Poynton (Neil Samuel)
Wantage Silver A (Phillip Bailey)


Senior Trophy • Saturday 9, 09:42:48

Enjoying a warm bacon butty and a weak cup of coffee before the action starts here at the 2015 Spring Festival - kicking off with the Senior Cup and 'Festival Music' at 10.00pm.


Senior Trophy • Friday 8, 15:59:01

Summary of Winners

2014 Friary Guildford
2013 Newtongrange
2012 Wakefield Metropolitan
2011 Aldbourne
2010 Beaumaris
2009 United Norwest Co-op Milnrow
2008 Powerfuel Hatfield Colliery
2007 Stockbridge
2006 Kingdom Brass
2005 Alliance Brass
2004 Staffordshire
2003 Pennine Brass
2002 Pemberton Old Wigan


Senior Trophy • Friday 8, 12:40:43

Senior Trophy:

Spanish Hall

TEST PIECE - Tallis Variations—Philip Sparke (Published by Studio Music.)

First Half Draw 9.40 am
First Band 10.40 am

Second Half Draw 1.10 pm

F: First half draw
S: Second half draw

Blidworth Welfare (Martin Heartfield) (F)
City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey) (S)
Dalmellington (Richard Evans) (F)
East London Brass (Jayne Murrill) (F)
Felling (tba) (S)
Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren) (F)
Hatfield Colliery (Stan Lippeatt) (S)
Jackfield (Elcock Reisen) (Simon Platford) (F)
Llwydcoed (Christopher Turner) (F)
Lochgelly (Kenny Letham) (S)
Longridge (tba) (F)
Medway (Melvin White) (F)
Newtongrange (tba) (S)
Oldham (Lees) (John Collins) (S)
Rainford (Gareth Brindle) (S)
SPAL Automotive Sovereign Brass (David Maplestone) (F)
Unison Kinneil (Craig Anderson) (S)
VBS Poynton (Neil Samuel) (S)
Wakefield Metropolitan (tba) (F)
Wantage Silver A (Phillip Bailey) (S)



Gloucestershire Brass Band Association - Own Choice March & Test Piece Contest

Sunday 19 November • All Saints’ Academy. Blaisdon Way. Cheltenham GL51 0WH


Rotherham Schools' Youth Brass Band - Fountain City Brass Band

Monday 20 November • Rotherham Minster - Rotherham s60 1pd


Foden's Band - Matt Ford - Lichfield Cathedral

Friday 24 November • 19A The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD


Lofthouse Brass Band - Pudsey Churches Together Christmas Concert

Saturday 25 November • Pudsey Parish Church, Church Lane, Pudsey, LS28 7BD LS28 7BD


Lofthouse Brass Band - Lofthouse Christmas Fair

Saturday 25 November • Lofthouse Methodist Church, Leeds Road, Lofthouse, Wakefield WF3 3NE


Hucknall & Linby Brass

November 20 • Hucknall and Linby Band - 2nd section- Require a front row cornet player. We rehearse Thursdays 7.30 -9.30 in Hucknall, Nottingham. With great transport links to the city centre and the universities.


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.


Brett Baker

BSc (Hons), ARCM, PG Dip
Rath clinician, conductor, teacher, adjudicator, editor