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2016 North West Regional Championships
As it happened

All the action from the 2016 North West Regional Championships — as it happened.

North West • Sunday 28, 20:49:52

Congratulations to Foden's for their victory, to Wingates on joining Fairey in London in October and to all the other winners, qualifiers and prize winners in Sections 1-4 today.

That's the end of our live coverage. Thanks to the organisers for the invitation and help throughout the day. Good night from Blackpool.

Results:

Championship Section:
Test Piece: Cambridge Variations (Philip Sparke)

Adjudicators: John Berryman & Stephen Roberts

1. Foden's (Prof Nicholas Childs)**
2. Wingates (Paul Andrews)**
3. Fairey (Garry Cutt)*
4. Ashton-Under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
5. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
6. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)
7. Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas)
8. Co-operative Funeralcare North West (Jef Sparkes)
9. Diggle (Alan Wycherley)
10. Roberts Bakery (Simon Stonehouse)
11. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)
12. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)

*Pre-qualified for the National Final
** Qualify for the National Final

Centre Stage Best Percussion Prize: Wingates


First Section:
Test Piece: Essay (Edward Gregson)

Adjudicators: Colin Hardy & David Hirst

1. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Neil Samuel)*
2. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)*
3. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
4. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Kevin Gibbs)
5. Haslingden & Helmshore (John Hinckley)
6. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
7. Mossley (Duncan Byers)
8. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)
9. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
10. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
11. Marple (Sarah Groarke-Booth)
12. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Dave Collins)
13. Whitworth Vale & Healey (John Binns)
14. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final

Centre Stage Best Percussion Prize: Rainford


Second Section:
Test Piece: Mermaid of Zennor (Philip Harper)

Adjudicators: Mike Kilroy & David Lancaster

1. Haydock (Mark Quinn)*
2. Cheshire Constabulary (David Wollam)*
3. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)*
4. Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)
5. Crewe Brass (Wayne Ruston)
6. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
7. Besses Boys (James Holt)
8. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Michael Golding)
9. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)
10. Middleton (Andrew Baker)
11. Flixton (Jason M Smith)
12. Delph (Phil Goodwin)
13. Uppermill (Alan Widdop)
14. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
15. Old Hall Brass (John North)
16. Golborne Brass (Trevor Halliwell)
17. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
18. City of Chester (Ewan Easton)

*Top three bands qualify for National Final

Centre Stage Best Percussion Prize: Flixton


Third Section:
Test Piece: A Cambrian Suite (Michael Ball)

Adjudicators: Michael Fowles & David Roberts

1. Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)*
2. Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)*
3. Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)*
4. Eagley (Matthew Ryan)
5. Besses o'th' Barn (Phil Shaw)
6. Greenalls (Phil Boardman)
7. Trinity Girls (Ryan Watkins)
8. Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
9. Dobcross Silver (Tim Sidall)
10. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson
11. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)
10. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
12. Douglas Town (Robert Mitchell)
13. Rivington & Adlington (Malcolm Wilson)
14. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
15. Coppull & Standish (Matt Stringer)
16. Skelmersdale Prize (Karl Stott)
17. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
18. Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)
19. Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)

*Top three bands qualify for the National Final

Centre Stage Best Percussion Prize: Valley Brass (Haydock)


Fourth Section:
Test Piece: The Journal of Phileas Fogg (Peter Graham)

Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones & Kevin Wadsworth

1. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)*
2. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)*
3. Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth)
4. Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)
5. Blackley (John Atkinson)
6. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)
7. Rode Hall Brass (Nigel Butler)
8. Caddishead Public (Craig McFarland)
9. Manx Youth (Ian Clague MBE)
10. Lees (Matt Corrigan)
11. Brindle (Keith Richmond)
12. Stockport Silver (Ian Colwell)
13. Dobcross Youth (Richard Windle)
14. BMP Europe Goodshaw (Josh Hughes)
15. Denton Brass (Matthew Bailey)

*Top two bands qualify for the National Final

Centre Stage Best Percussion Prize: Formby
Youngest Player: Georgina Parkinson (9 years of age) - Dobcross Youth


North West • Sunday 28, 20:36:00

Results:

Championship Section:
Test Piece: 'Cambridge Variations' - Philip Sparke

Adjudicators: John Berryman & Stephen Roberts

Championship Section:
Test Piece: 'Cambridge Variations' - Philip Sparke

Adjudicators: John Berryman & Stephen Roberts

1. Foden's (Prof Nicholas Childs)**
2. Wingates (Paul Andrews)**
3. Fairey (Garry Cutt)*
4. Ashton-Under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
5. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
6. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)
7. Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas)
8. Co-operative Funeralcare North West (Jef Sparkes)
9. Diggle (Alan Wycherley)
10. Roberts Bakery (Simon Stonehouse)
11. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)
12. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)

*Pre-qualified for the National Final at the Royal Albert Hall
** Qualify for the National Final at the Royal Albert Hall

Percussion: Wingates


North West • Sunday 28, 20:24:23

Championship Section - Final round up:

A contest of huge contrasts and standards - from the outstanding to the below average and quite a few in between.

'Cambridge Variations' showed that it has lost none of its teeth baring difficulty since it was first used - and it was a painful experience for some. It is a benchmark piece for top section credentials though - so you can't really complain that it finds 'Championship Section' bands out.

Fairey was excellent in defence of their title - a wonderful sounding band that played with so much musicality to perhaps do just enough to retain their title from a resurgent Leyland with Fodens very close behind.

Then a clever bit of work from Milnrow could well just pip Ashton under Lyne and Wingates with a dark horse of Blackburn & Darwen.

What does the Editor know though...?

1. Fairey
2. Leyland
3. Foden's
4. Milnrow
5. Ashton under Lyne
6. Wingates

Dark Horse: Blackburn & Darwen


North West • Sunday 28, 20:12:32

Championship Section:

12. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)

A cleverly directed rendition this - making the most of the resources, enhancing elements and motifs to add detail and almost misdirecting the ear away from the transparent to the opaque.

That's an MD using his years of experience to good effect - enabling his Danish principal cornet and then flugel to take on the lead with classy aplomb. The lyrical sound of the band is not the strongest but the changes in dynamic levels make it a virtue.

The build for home is controlled in pace but robust enough to give it a sense of raw drive and excitement despite some scruffiness. A thumping last few bars rounds things off.

Overall:

A performance set out with a very deliberate sense of purpose and of approach by the MD - and taken on with enthusiasm and commitment by his players.


North West • Sunday 28, 19:50:40

Championship Section:

11. Oldham (Lees)

Another brave effort (of many today) - that saw players give their all to try and master the immense technical and musical difficulties of a test piece that is a bench mark of true Championship Section status.

Again - the MD uses his noggin and has ensured a dynamic and ensemble safety net is in place to mask the transparent inner workings that have caused so many problems today. The playing becomes a little strident as a result, but most of the challenges are met head on. The music though lacks subtle nuance and colour. That's the trade off.

There is just enough left in the tank for a bold drive for home, pushed along with energy and no loss of stamina to its close.

Overall:

Yet another hard grafted performance that intelligently made the most of limited resources.


North West • Sunday 28, 19:29:45

Results: First Section:
Test Piece: 'Essay' - Professor Edward Gregson

Adjudicators: Colin Hardy & David Hirst

1. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Neil Samuel)*
2. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)*
3. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
4. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Kevin Gibbs)
5. Haslingden & Helmshore (John Hinckley)
6. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
7. Mossley (Duncan Byers)
8. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)
9. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
10. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
11. Marple (Sarah Groarke-Booth)
12. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Dave Collins)
13. Whitworth Vale & Healey (John Binns)
14. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final in Cheltenham

Percussion: Rainford


North West • Sunday 28, 19:16:42

Championship Section:

10. Ashton under Lyne (Phil Chalk)

The inconsistencies and high unforced error count in the execution just tarnished this well though out account from the MD - one that had well judged dynamic contrasts, subtle changes of pace and clever use of texture - some neatly covering more exposed technical elements.

When it hit its straps it had real drive and purpose, and a bold confidence that seeped through the music as it drove to its close. Just those more fragile elements may cost it, but overall it very nearly tamed a feral beast of a test piece.

Overall:

An engaging performance that - musically interesting from start to finish even with those belimishes. Should give food for thought for a top six place in the box.


North West • Sunday 28, 19:15:06

Section 1:

Final Thoughts:

When it was announced that Essay had been chosen, there were certainly a few eye brows raised that it would be a tough test and so it has proved today.

This is a strong region, but it's certainly sorted the bands out today and it will be interesting to see what Colin Hardy and David Hirst think and wanted today.

Eccles Borough has just left the judges something to think about from the last band of the day and they could even steel victory. Rainford from the number one draw certainly left a musical mark that arguably deserves some reward today whilst Longridge may not be out of the equation for a finals berth.

Bollington, VBS Poynton, Wardle Anderson Brass could be fighting for podium finishes.

4BR Prediction:

1. Rainford
2. Longridge
3. Eccles
4. Bollington
5. Wardle Anderson Brass
6. VBS Poynton

Dark Horse: Hazel Grove


North West • Sunday 28, 19:06:28

Championship Section:

9. Fairey (Garry Cutt)

Such a high class defence of their title this - at its very best when they played with warm lyricism in the slower sections to showcase a wonderful ensemble sound topped with artistic soloists.

It did have its moment of unease in the more technical passages and just the odd little clip here and there in the solo lines, but it was that sense of dynamic control and contrast, subtle colour and timbre that so stood out. The muted balances in particular was so well observed as were the tasteful nuances in the build up to the final section.

Just the odd hint of tiredness creeps in here and it may have needed a touch more visceral power - but what a fine close to a performance of imposing stature.

Overall:

The MD couldn't have asked for more from his players - who responded to his direction with outstanding musicality.


North West • Sunday 28, 19:00:54

Section 1:

14. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)

It's a bold composed opening which is aiming to put across some astute musical points. It's paying dividends as well. The MD is doing a great job on keeping a tight reign on things here. There are some tricky moments but this has been well constructed and nothing is being asked of the band that they can not do.

The confidence remains within the ensemble, as they strive forward to put deliver their musical argument

Overall:

One that had a lot to admire and appreciate with the MD making sure the band wasn't stretched beyond their means here. Well done all, it could be a surprise contender today.


North West • Sunday 28, 18:50:07

Section 1:

12. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)

It's a nice persuasive opening that just needs a touch more to make it a more persuasive argument. The detail and style isn't too bad but errors creep in but they recover well.

As we come to the close, there is some more good stuff with just a hint of tiredness.

Overall:

Solid reading and one that could be in top 6

13.Whitworth Vale & Healey (John Binns)

It's a bold opening declaration of musical intent from Whitworth Vale & Healey. It's a touch edgy at times, but there is some good playing on show.

Not everything works as we move into the middle movement - well done cornet though for a fine contribution. The style here is admirable but there is still blemishes at times that creep in and they just take the edge off things as the piece closes.

Overall:

Not a bad reading at all, but it wasn't without its slips.


North West • Sunday 28, 18:43:33

Championship Section:

8. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

An interesting one this - with a very different sound pallette created by the band formation with euphs linked to the tubas, baris linked to the troms and with perc much more to the side and front.

We certainly hear different elements (especially bells) - and a different timbre to the bass colour - but at times it seems confusingly textured. The MDs reading is spacious and well paced, and the main solo lines do well - so it seems to have given the players confidence.

It becomes a little scrappy in places but maintains a purposeful drive and pulse. The close has a turbo boost to stamping close.

Overall:

Not perhaps the most subtle rendition - but certainly different and very effective. Lots to enjoy even with an odd eyebrow raised or two.


North West • Sunday 28, 18:22:15

Championship Section:

7. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)

Right from the start we hear a band on the front foot and playing with the confidence that they believe that the test piece is well within their technical and musical capabilities.

It's a touch strident at times - but it's consistent, sharp in execution and pulsing with energy. The MD is leading the way, drawing out the inner detail from the score with a dynamic safety net in place. Clever stuff.

This is high quality playing - not without its small blemishes, but with an openness and sense of purpose that drives everything forward. The final section has great thrust and momentum to such a thumping close.

Overall:

That was a riveting show - playing of such commitment to the MDs direction and interpretation too. Thrilling stuff.


North West • Sunday 28, 18:21:59

Section 1:

10. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)

Not a bad opening at all. This is a cohesive well thought out musical argument that has lots to appreciate and admire here. It's not being pushed beyond the bands boundaries with sensible tempo markings

Not for the first time today, there are times when not everything comes together as it should but this is laid out with good musical intentions but it tires at the end.

Overall:

The musical thought process was good, it was just the actual delivery that needed more clarity and detail to make a mark today.

11. Longridge (Mark Peacock)

It's a bold and persuasive argument for sure. Lots of colour, attention to detail and strong willed, it puts across its point very persuasively. There is more good playing to be heard and when done cornet for some excellent lead.

There is no shortage of confidence on show here, so well judged and delivered with so much belief and it closes well.

Overall:

A very well judged reading that could be not too far away today.


North West • Sunday 28, 18:04:10

Championship Section

Halfway point opinion:

The Editor is getting a bit of flak for the comments here - but this is supposed to be elite level UK banding. What do we all want? Taps on the head and to be told how brilliant we all are time after time.

This is a very, very difficult set work - no doubt about it - and it is showing its teeth in full - taking huge chunks out of bands who are not up to the task. But that is what contesting at this level is about - and so is the truth of the matter today that many have been found out.

There will be many, many more bands around the country who will also find that out the hardest way possible in the next few weeks too. Time to stop kidding ourselves that we have 80 or so elite level bands. This piece has showed that in microcosm.

Foden's are a class part so far with a very imposing, impressive marker, with the rest, having done their very best, a distance behind. It is beatable though.


North West • Sunday 28, 17:54:34

Championship Section:

6. Diggle (Alan Wycherley)

Another hard grafted, hard worked performance that was enhanced by some excellent solo interventions and contributions - especially the from the peerless David Pogson on flugel and their Swiss principal cornet.

It's the ensemble work that showed up the fragilities of course, but some intelligent directs from the MD ensured that a great deal was masked by re-evaluating balances. It did mean that it lacked the broadest contrast and razor shaper precision, but it meant that the pulse was maintained with the being too fractured.

Just got tired to close, but maintained its focus and rigidity right to the close.

Overall:

Another performance that certainly showed that hard graft and detailed prep had made a mark - plus some crafty work by the MD and some spotlight high class solo work.


North West • Sunday 28, 17:42:02

Section 1:

8. Marple (Sarah Groarke-Booth)

The opening isn't quite as convincing musical argument as the band would like, although it gets stronger as they go along.

The band is now pushing its argument hard. Not everything is coming across as well as they would have liked. The closing section see's the band find its feet though, but it wasn't to be for them today.

Overall:

A musical Essay that just never really made the impression that they will have wanted today.


9. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)

Gregson's Essay takes a while to settle. The argument isn't as forthright as it could be. It just needs a touch more clarification at times to make greater impact.

The argument is still being put forward but it needs more clarity and insight for ourselves to be persuaded.

We hear tiredness though as we reach for the end of the piece. This has proved to be a tough test of their musical credentials.

Overall:

A tough day at the office for Silk Brass but full marks for commitment.


North West • Sunday 28, 17:25:38

Championship Section:

5. Foden's (Prof Nicholas Childs)

This is in a different league - high class delivery allied to strict control over dynamics, pace and effect - and yet there are still there moments of occasional unease.

What we get at last are the glimpses of the inner workings of Sparke's masterful construction - the gubbings which are in plain sight all along. They are so complex but clearly defined that it takes very fine players to deliver them in comfort. We hear that now - precisely so.

Wonderful lyrical playing leads into a final section that has drive, purpose and precision - not without its little clips, but fizzing with energy to a commanding close.

Overall:

A very fine performance - so well laid out and executed - even with its noticeable small fragilities. Some sublime slow playing, but it still leaves the door open.


North West • Sunday 28, 17:19:17

Championship Section:

4. Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas)

Another incremental improvement from what has gone before - but to be honest, we didn't start from a very high level - and despite the honest, hard grafted efforts from everyone here, this one was another performance racked by inherent fragilities and unevenness.

Again - the MD does so well in keeping a tight lead on pace and dynamics, but the transparency of the writing leaves no hiding place - especially with those horrendously difficult chromatic runs in the ensemble and lead lines.

The best playing comes in the final sections (great trom and euphs) - and there is a real pulse and sense of style to the finale which results in a cracking close.

Overall:

A very hard worked, hard grafted performance of an exceptionally difficult work. To be in credit by its close was a fine effort.


North West • Sunday 28, 17:11:11

Section 1:

Half way thoughts

The one thing for certain is the passing of time hasn't made this piece any easier. Essay is proving to be a real challenge today for the ensembles to pull off.

Very little in it though with nothing to choose between two and three but

1. Rainford
2. Bollington
3. VBS Poynton


North West • Sunday 28, 17:07:19

Section 1:

7. Haslingden & Helmshore (John Hinckley)

Robust opening argument, coherent, but just needs a touch more musical argument but lots to admire though. The second section doesn't start off well and takes a while to get back on track again. When it does there is some fine playing and they close well.

Overall:

One that had quality but inconsistencies too but they are not alone in that department today.


North West • Sunday 28, 16:56:09

Championship Section:

3. Co-operative Funeralcare North West (Jef Sparke)

Another performance that owed so much to the intelligent approach of the MD in terms of pace and direction, although the balance and the technique was somewhat lacking in consistency.

Soloists play well - and MD gives enough slack to allow a touch or tasteful rubato. It's the inner workings though that showed just how difficult a piece this is - and highlighted some fragile technique. Those spaghetti long ensemble runs wriggled in unevenness - and their transparency couldn't be hidden.

The final section was the bands best - played with brio and verve, leading to a fine close.

Overall:

A decent enough one that ended up in the credit column thanks to the MDs approach. There were obvious problems at times, but in the end the hard grafted control and good sense won through.


North West • Sunday 28, 16:47:44

Section 1:

5. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Neil Samuel)

It's a confident argument being put forward right from the outset that has a lot to admire. It's disciplined, focussed and putting across its musical points in a persuasive manner.

There are some fine contributions coming forward here and this remains an impressive reading from the Cheshire band with a fine cornet lead although there are some tiny blemishes (soprano) in second movement.

We hear more fine playing as we head into the final section which is well controlled and delivered.

Overall:

Not a bad one at all, just a few moments here and there, but Essay is proving to be a hard test to pull off today

6. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Kevin Gibbs)

The Lancastrian's commence with a very strongly determined argument that needs a touch more clarity. The opening to the second movement isn't too bad at all, although the horn is a touch overbearing. The cornet line appears to be a team effort (?) it pays off though.

The approach isn't bad, but the execution just needs a touch more clarity at times to make a real impression. It's been a little too inconsistent to really carry a strong argument today

Overall:

A committed reading from Pemberton where it was all there but at times the musical argument didn't always come across


North West • Sunday 28, 16:25:41

Championship Section:

2. Roberts Bakery (Simon Stonehouse)

A much more coherent approach despite the obvious unevenness and fractures that were on show at times.

The soloists delivered as best they could - a fine euph the pick, but it was at the edge of extremities at times. MD's intelligent approach enabled the band to mask the more obvious transparent deficiencies and there was some substantive well worked playing in the final section coupled with a bold, well rounded sound that kept its focus right to the close.

Overall:

A hard grafted performance this that just about managed master a very difficult work. A performance that owed much to the MDs intelligent musical approach.


North West • Sunday 28, 16:11:10

Championship Section:

1. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)

You can't mix words at this level. This wasn't a performance of true Championship quality.

As much as the players and MD tried, it never sounded in control, technically coherent or musically concise. It was a mess - and beyond their capabilities.

There were brave efforts, enthusiasm and commitment by the bucketful, but it was almost meaningless as the band couldn't connect things together from start to finish. This was very poor indeed. The band sounded terrified at the prospect of playing it.

Overall:

Not good - not good at all. Bravery awards all round but the reality was horribly below average.


North West • Sunday 28, 16:09:08

Section 1:

4. Mossley (Duncan Byers)

This a well thought out musical argument that is thought provoking. Mossley and Duncan Byers give you something to enjoy and think about. This is measured musically, not pushed beyond its barriers and has good control.

There are occasions where the clarity of the argument gets lost in translation at times, but there has been a great deal of thought put into this by an astute MD.

Once more as we head for the close, there is much to appreciate and admire.

Overall:

An intriguing thoughtful Essay from Mossley that included a tricky middle movement.


North West • Sunday 28, 15:56:21

Draw:
Championship Section:
Test Piece: 'Cambridge Variations' - Philip Sparke

Opera House
Draw 1.45pm
Commence: After Second Section results

Adjudicators: John Berryman & Stephen Roberts

1. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)
2. Roberts Bakery (Simon Stonehouse)
3. Co-operative Funeralcare North West (Jef Sparkes)
4. Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas)
5. Foden's (Prof Nicholas Childs)
6. Diggle (Alan Wycherley)
7. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
8. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
9. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
10. Ashton-Under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
11. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
12. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)


North West • Sunday 28, 15:52:59

Second Section

Results:

1. Haydock (Mark Quinn)*
2. Cheshire Constabulary (David Wollam)*
3. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)*
4. Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)
5. Crewe Brass (Wayne Ruston)
6. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
7. Besses Boys (James Holt)
8. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Michael Golding)
9. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)
10. Middleton (Andrew Baker)
11. Flixton (Jason M Smith)
12. Delph (Phil Goodwin)
13. Uppermill (Alan Widdop)
14. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
15. Old Hall Brass (John North)
16. Golborne Brass (Trevor Halliwell)
17. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
18. City of Chester (Ewan Easton)

*Top three bands qualify for National Final

Best Percussion: Flixton


North West • Sunday 28, 15:34:27

Section 4:

Kevin Wadsworth - "The piece tested every facet of the bands. Basics; dynamics, tuning & control were important. MD individuality and interpretation also figured. Fanfares were fabulous. All bands thanked and encouraged for their efforts".


North West • Sunday 28, 15:33:45

Section 1:

1. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)

Persuasive opening, with a very thoughtful laid out approach from the middle. This is very structured in how MD Gareth Brindle wants to the musical argument to be portrayed. The dynamics and band sound gel together and this is an intriguing account being delivered.

The good playing remains, Morvern Gilchrist in form on principal cornet delivering a precise lead. This remains a very articulately and deliberately structured reading. The MD is paying close attention to the dynamics along with the tempos which are proving to be effective.

We hear further good playing that is disciplined and effective and a fine close.

Overall:

A good well rounded musical argument put forward by Rainford – went for it off of number one.


2. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)

It's not as compact and tidy as it could be to open and it takes time to settle down and bring across the thoughts it wants to deliver.

The musical argument isn't as clearly laid out as it could be; it needs more clarity and explaining. The cornet solo in the second movement is very well delivered though and the argument being put forward has more detail.
The concluding 'Epigram' bubbles along nicely with some well judged sounds not being pushed beyond their musical boundaries.

Overall:

An Essay that took time to put across its musical thoughts and arguments, but didn't always come off today/


North West • Sunday 28, 15:29:15

Results:
Section 4:

1. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)*
2. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)*
3. Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth)
4. Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)
5. Blackley (John Atkinson)
6. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)
7. Rode Hall Brass (Nigel Butler)
8. Caddishead Public (Craig McFarland)
9. Manx Youth (Ian Clague MBE)
10. Lees (Matt Corrigan)
11. Brindle (Keith Richmond)
12. Stockport Silver (Ian Colwell)
13. Dobcross Youth (Richard Windle)
14. BMP Europe Goodshaw (Josh Hughes)
15. Denton Brass (Matthew Bailey)

Best Percussion: Formby
Youngest Player: Georgina Parkinson (9 years of age) - Dobcross Youth


North West • Sunday 28, 15:08:55

Section 2 Round Up:

A contest that never quite made the type of splash Darryl Hannah made all those years ago with her fishy exploits, but engaging and enjoyable enough.

It was a decent standard overall but nothing more - and you got the feeling the bands and MDs perhaps under-estimated its challenges due to is melodic transparency. It was very easy on the ear - but some of the tuning today made you wince.

One band just stood a couple of fish fingers ahead of the rest for us - and Boarshurst could well be celebrating tonight with Lobster Thermidor let alone fish cakes and chips.

Joining them at Cheltenham?

Manx Concert Brass just get the nod for us over a very bold Besses Boys, with Delph snapping at their heels ahead of Middleton and Haydock. Our dark horse is Crewe.

4BR Prediction:

1. Boarshurst
2. Manx Concert Brass
3. Besses Boys
4. Delph
5. Middleton
6. Haydock

Dark Horse: Crewe Brass


North West • Sunday 28, 15:06:01

Section 4: - Final Analysis

This was a contest that delivered a solid show from the North West bands and it is not clear cut by any means.

Basics - Tuning, Balance and Dynamics are therefore sure to be well scrutinized by the men in the box.

All the bands could play the notes so on this occasion we think interpretation may figure hugely in the final analysis as well.

Our taste for top three fell in favour of bands :-
Formby (Louise Hough MBE) 9, Manx Youth (Ian Clague MBE) 3 and BMP Europe Goodshaw (Josh Hughes) 15

Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth) 1 and Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould) 2 though both laid down good early markers.

If we had a prize to give, our prize for MD would go to Nigel Butler of Rode Hall Silver.


North West • Sunday 28, 14:57:42

Section 2:

17. Crewe Brass (Wayne Ruston)

If a mermaid was ever to be caught by passion alone then she would have been nabbed hook, line and sinker with this. It was trembling with it - just a little too much in places, but always in search of warmth and emotion.

Lots to enjoy throughout - and even if not everything quite came off it always kept you engaged in the story right to the Mills & Boon end.

Overall:

A very individual approach - and one that very nearly came off in all its emotional glory. Could be a bit of a dark horse for a mention off the stage.


18. Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)

Not quite as passionately cut from the same cloth as Crewe - but still a well managed interpretation that relied on warmth and musicality. The middle section was particularly well done - led by euph.

Didn't quite have the same security in the outer movements, but the soft focus approach made for an enjoyable take on the mythical tale of watery love. Closed neatly too - led by a great ball-bearing firing bass trom.

Overall:

A neatly delivered performance of contrast and warmth. Just in need of a tad more fizz - but a good one nonetheless.


North West • Sunday 28, 14:56:37


First Section Draw:
Test Piece: 'Essay' - Professor Edward Gregson

Empress Ballroom
Draw 1.15pm
Commence: After results of the Third Section

Adjudicators: Colin Hardy & David Hirst

1. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
2. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
3. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Dave Collins)
4. Mossley (Duncan Byers)
5. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Neil Samuel)
6. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Kevin Gibbs)
7. Haslingden & Helmshore (John Hinckley)
8. Marple (Sarah Groarke-Booth)
9. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)
10. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
11. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
12. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
13. Whitworth Vale & Healey (John Binns)
14. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)


North West • Sunday 28, 14:55:10

Results: Third Section:
Test Piece:'A Cambrian Suite' - Michael Ball

Adjudicators: Michael Fowles & David Roberts

1. Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)*
2. Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)*
3. Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)*
4. Eagley (Matthew Ryan)
5. Besses o'th' Barn (Phil Shaw)
6. Greenalls (Phil Boardman)

other places when we get them.

*Top three bands qualify for the National Finals in Cheltenham

Percussion Prize: Valley Brass (Haydock)


North West • Sunday 28, 14:50:42

Section 4:

15. BMP Europe Goodshaw (Josh Hughes)

Good balance with confident lines. Not overstated to open.
Wood Block slightly out of time with forward moving ensemble but Moulin Rouge feels a bit hard on tone and drive.

Deliberate approach taken before a bevy of exotic ladies make most convincing valve gyrations!
A steady lyrical waltz has quality as the band find their platform shoes.

Good 'Hey' and safe fanfare (snare a touch heavy?) lead to a solid musical account and direction.

Nice approach through linking and thematic material is well handled.
Deliberate style and rhythmic pattern leads to good close.

Overall:
Goodshaw produced a solid warm brass sound with plenty to reward.


North West • Sunday 28, 14:33:24

Section 4:

14. Brindle (Keith Richmond)

Easy opening - just a slight balance issue we think - but solos lines are good. Tuning is a ear-catcher before Can-Can ladies slightly over hammer their dance.

Deliberate approach taken before the exotic beauties create a nice mood - but percussion slightly overtakes to close before a simple a direct waltz pattern carries music nicely forward.

Good cornet fanfare and confident rhythm makes music picture work very well. Basses show quality.

Calming euph gives the whole cohesion before a decent close

Overall:

Brindle went for the jugular a little too early - so just took a little too much time to settle before showing their true sound.


North West • Sunday 28, 14:25:10

Section 3:

Overall Thoughts:

It has been an intriguing, engaging contest lasting over four and a half hours. The piece has certainly sorted them out but it must have been one that they enjoyed playing.

As we said at the half way point, it's been the quiet, controlled playing that has sorted the wheat from the chaff and that has remained the same throughout the second half of the contest.

It will be interesting to see what the judges say about tuning though. Is there a clear winner or for the qualification places? Not for us. This could be a very tight fight indeed and will come down to personal preference from the box to what tickled the fancy of Michael Fowles and David Roberts.

Very little in it for us though and we anticipate it to be tight.

4BR Prediction

1. Farnworth & Walkden
2. Hawk Green
3. Greenfield
4. Blackpool Brass
5. Trinity Girls
6. Besses o' th' Barn

Dark Horse: Valley Brass (Haydock)


North West • Sunday 28, 14:23:22

Section 2:

15. Old Hall Brass (John North)

Lots of nice ideas in this - but nothing that drew a level of consistency out in the execution. A pity, as the MD wanted the music to tell a tale that unfolded in character and pace. Took risks too - especially in the middle section.

Not everything came off, but you have to applaud the approach. A capricious Mermaid that.

Overall:

An MD with a very clear minded musical approach to the score. It don't come off on this occasion but credit for the musical intent and the desire.


16. Pemberton Old Wigan DW B (Michael Golding)

There was a great deal of youthful vigour, purpose and endeavour about this - all controlled with a caring hand by the MD, who harpooned his prey early on and never let go.

Occasional fragilities and some untunefulness just let her go, but a well paced recovery that built in momentum and purpose led to a uplifting close. Lots to enjoy there.

Overall:

One that may make a mark if the judges appreciate the approach. A possible mention off the stage.


North West • Sunday 28, 14:18:19

Section 4:

13. Blackley (John Atkinson)

Very brightly lit opening with glock supporting really well. Confident muted cornets. Nice percussion once more balances as the dances unfolds to a confident can-can dance revue.

MD holds back before a Mata Hari middle band show exotic character. Sensible tempo keeps the balance and tone together as the waltzers slide.

Not the cleanest entry to the ensemble lines where really 'short' notes make a biting impression. Focus is a bit lost before a good bass end rhythmic progression to a solid ending.

Overall:

Well executed in the main by Blackley - just a slight dip in performance level after the waltz before good end.


North West • Sunday 28, 14:17:44

Section 3:

19. Dobcross Silver (Tim Sidall)

Very steady to open with a hint of caution around the ensemble. Things settle down though and confidence does grow, but the caution remains and doesn't go away.

Confidence builds with energy and passion and the light, bright finale sees the band in good form.

Overall:

A performance that took just too long to really make an impression, but who knows


North West • Sunday 28, 14:05:45

Section 3:

17. Skelmersdale Prize (Karl Stott)

A good opening that bolds well, and we hear lots of lyrical ensemble and solo playing. There are a few challenges but it certainly has a lot to admire as it goes along.

The quality continues to come through, but its not without the odd blemish along the way. It closes strongly though.

Overall:

An account that had a lot to admire and appreciate, but was it a real contender? Time will tell....


18. Besses o'th' Barn (Phil Shaw)

It's a very well judged and thought out opening - lyrically executed and delivered. We hear the Welsh tunes in Blackpool. The quality playing certainly continues. Nothing is being overdone here - it's all very measured and deliberate, with attention to detail.

After the good start though, not everything works as it should do - a real pity. If they had closed as they had started, it could have been a real contender.

Overall:

One that promised plenty but didn't quite come to fruition.


North West • Sunday 28, 14:04:22

Section 4:

12. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)

Solid no nonsense opening - direct and clean. A light approach makes way for a Moulin Rouge execution of steady rather than exuberant playing.

Confidence is not in question as a balanced style gives the Turkish Delight character and skaters make nice edges as a waltz of gentle style unfolds.

A robust 'Hey' follows an unfussy fanfare cornet. The musical picture is well depicted and generally clean sounds calm towards a well executed conclusion.

Overall:

Thornton makes a convincing statement depicting a clear musical journey.


North West • Sunday 28, 13:49:51

Section 4:

11. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)

Confident opening makes an immediate positive impression. Opening dance has a lightness of touch before the Can-Can is safely danced.

Deliberate style makes way for a nice belly dancer. Nice style asked from MD. Intonation issues just distract from an overall pleasingly lilting waltz.

Clean fanfare cornet sits above a little sticky snare. The music has direction again as MD gives clear signals to the band. An effective progression leads to a rewarding conclusion.

Overall:

Rode Hall deliver a nicely shaped and coherent musical picture. Well done MD (We know the men in the box can't see you but we can).


North West • Sunday 28, 13:48:44

Section 2:

13. City of Chester (Ewan Easton)

Just a few too many little slips and nerves cost this well planned account. The MD asked nothing that his players couldn't manage, but those annoying little unforced errors and some trembles just took the sheen off.

Overall:

This had the makings of a performance of note, but just when you thought it was all going to come together it never quite managed it. May struggle today, but the foundations of solid musicality were evident.


14. Middleton (Andrew Baker)

An engaging, well planned performance this - not without its errors and problems, but always with its eye on the music rather than the effect. Euph, cornet and sop were excellent.

MD kept a close eye on the dynamics and pace - and whilst it didn't throb with passion or tail flipping excitement to close, it certainly made its point. One that could have just benefitted from a bit more daring and devil make care attitude.

Overall:

Another well managed account that held your attention from start to finish. Not without its problems and just in need of a bit of fizz, but neatly done nonetheless.


North West • Sunday 28, 13:48:30

Section 3:

15. Rivington & Adlington (Malcolm Wilson)

Very steady to open - a little cautious at times. It's just in need of more security around the stand to make an impact for us.

This is one of the biggest sounding bands we have heard today, and whilst the commitment is evident there is uncertainty around the stands and a lack of clarity in the detail. As we head for the close their best playing comes a little to late make a real impact today.

Overall:

A reading that just didn't happen for them. Fully committed, but it just didn't come off.


16. Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)

The home town team feel quite at home in their local surroundings. It's a steady opening thar builds with confidence as it progresses. There is some effective ensemble and solo lines but not all gels together to really make things stand out.

The belief is there and the quality, but its a touch edgy at times. Saying that it was the type of performance that could just make an impression in the box!

Overall:

A performance that certainly wasn't low on confidence or belief. Could be a contender today if that approach ticks the boxes.


North West • Sunday 28, 13:36:04

Section 4:

10. Lees (Matt Corrigan)

Smooth phrasing with soft tongues to open. Opening dance rushes a little to open before the can-can girls stamp their feet. Heavy perc is perhaps a touch too much.

Again it is heavy into a real Eastern Orthodox thumper before an easy waltz glides nicely on smooth ice.

Clean fanfare cornet before confident 'shout' heralds a clean development where the bass end make a good account themselves.

Easy progression into a flowing style has a nice shape. Positive accents create a good pulse before a warm ensemble ending.

Overall:

A performance that had moments of good style but also some hard sounds that were a touch OTT


North West • Sunday 28, 13:22:01

Section 4:

9. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)

Brightly lit opening with balance and control. Opening dance has good style and again has smashing balance. The can-can girls legs work quickly with plenty of muscle definition.

Broad but quite biting style but ensemble stays in control with good dynamics. A well positioned exotic Dance has character and makes for very good character. A big confident sound. A snow waltz flows but it is quite a stately interpretation.

No nonsense fanfare before confident 'shout'. Solid thematic development where smashing ensemble sounds are to the fore.

Just 'clippy' but once into a lovely lyrical style it really makes you listen. Music has drama as it progresses to a forthright conclusion.

Overall:
A performance that has been a credit to both the MD and players. Well played.


North West • Sunday 28, 13:14:45

Section 2:

11. Delph (Phil Goodwin)

After the red blooded excitement of Besses, a more refined take from Delph - more Hans Christian Andersen inspired than their Herman Melville take - and just as effective in its contrasting way.

There was some lovely playing on show here - delicately phrased and shaped but still with sense of purpose and no little verve. Some little moments of intonation and a little tied to close, but what an enjoyable interpretation.

Overall:

A different approach and take on the tale - and it worked very well indeed. That had something about it that.


12. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)

Another well managed, well rounded approach that was rewarded by some excellent playing all round the stands. Bravo MD - he knew just what he wanted to do with the music and never deviated from his plan from the word go.

Compact, controlled and all ending with smiles all round as the lovers swam off in the direction of Douglas.....

Overall:

Another performance to give the judges plenty to think about that. Good to hear a band playing with such a degree of contesting control at this level.


North West • Sunday 28, 13:08:12

Section 4:

Section is now resuming following short interlude

9. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)

13.08hrs - On stage


North West • Sunday 28, 13:04:46

Section 3:

13. Greenfield (Tom Haslam)

Nice lyrical opening that brings the piece to life straight away. There's some effective ensemble and solo work taking place and any blips on the musical landscape are brushed aside as they move on without too much discomfort.

There is more stylish playing to be heard with effective attention to detail dynamically and tempo wise - and it closes well.

Overall:

An intriguing one full of style and musical character that just may be a contender today. Who knows, but the first in a while to make impact.


14. Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)

Not a bad opening, well thought out and executed. There are a few stumbles along the way but the style and dynamics are good. We have the energy but it just needs to flow a bit more freely to make a real impression.

There is cautious and consistent playing all rolled into one, which is a real pity as it offered huge potential if they could have just let themselves believe a bit more.

Overall:

A reading that just was a little too uneven throughout for us - but the potential was there.


North West • Sunday 28, 12:54:11

Section 4:

8. Dobcross Youth (Richard Windle)

Steady opening. Opening dance has decent style but leading to a rather strident can-can.

Broad ensemble stays in control with controlled dynamcics. Eastern Dance has character and makes good listening. An waltz style hints well at winter pleasures.

Solid fanfare before confident thematic development where good ensemble sounds are heard.

Good controlled ensemble has a most pleasing ear just some of the jig-saw pieces slip out of lock as it builds to the closing statement. Not quite as convincing to close when tiredness does affect the tuning.


Overall:

The young Dobcross charges gave a smashing account of themselves. Didn't quite sustain its consistency to the conclusion


North West • Sunday 28, 12:46:57

Section 2:

10. Besses Boys (James Holt)

Well that was like going a few rounds with a punchy conga eel let alone a hour-glass figured siren from the sea.

It was full of drama, excitement and passion (and good tuning it must be said) - but it was also very aggressive and over wrought too. This was a watery lass who could more than hold her own in a bar room brawl let alone a church vestry. The final romp for the waves saw her (and the MD who jumped two foot in the air) plunge into the waves like an Acapulco rock diver. Wow.

Overall:

Well they certainly didn't leave any rock unturned with that one. A little more restraint may have paid extra dividends but it certainly made an impression.


North West • Sunday 28, 12:42:29

Section 4:

7. Stockport Silver (Ian Colwell)

Brisk and brightly illuminated opening. Opening dance has good style but leading to a rather heavy can-can.

Dark and sombre ensemble stays in control but the Turkish Dance was a little unbalanced. The waltz style has an uneasy feel - just being a bit pedestrian.

The music continues quite strongly, making for quite a pleasing thematic development and very good ensemble sounds are noted.

Accented rhythm is well presented before a very closing sequence that has some unfortunate tuning problems.

Overall:

Good in parts but with some stylistic question marks in the overall shape.


North West • Sunday 28, 12:36:40

11. Eagley (Matthew Ryan)

It is a steady opening with just a hint of caution around the stands. Things settle down though as we hear some effective Welsh lyrical playing. There's a lovely contribution from euphonium and spirits and energy are very much on the up.

The light, bright final section is delivered with bustling energy, well judged tempo markings and dynamics.

Overall:

One that could be described as taking its time to come to the boil, but when it did, not a bad little Cambrian offering.

12. Greenalls (Phil Boardman)

It's a suspect opening that takes time to settle before the lyrical quality shines through. The good playing is mixed though, with the cautious bits impacting on the musical fluidity.

The unevenness continues - which is a real pity - but its full marks for digging in and persevering right to the end.

Overall:

One that had its moments but was a little too uneven for us today.


North West • Sunday 28, 12:32:19

Section 2:

Mid point prediction:

A contest that hasn't really come to life yet - just a couple of bands that have managed to catch the Mermaid's tail and give it a shaking. The rest have rather let her slip from their grasp.

It's Boarshurst by a margin so far from a spirited Haydock and Flixton, but you feel this is a contest that has yet to won....

1. Boarshurst
2. Haydock
3. Flixton


Second Section:
Test Piece: 'Mermaid of Zennor' - Philip Harper

Opera House
Split Draw: 9.00am & 11.00am
Commence: 10.00am

Adjudicators: Mike Kilroy & David Lancaster

1. Uppermill (Alan Widdop)
2. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
3. Flixton (Jason M. Smith)
4. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)
5. Golborne Brass (Trevor Halliwell)
6. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)
7. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)
8. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
9. Haydock (Mark Quinn)
10. Besses Boys (James Holt)
11. Delph (Philip Goodwin)
12. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
13. City of Chester (Ewan Easton)
14. Middleton (Andrew Baker)
15. Old Hall Brass (John North)
16. Pemberton Old Wigan DW "B" (Michael Golding)
17. Crewe Brass (Wayne Ruston)
18. Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)


North West • Sunday 28, 12:23:09

Section 2:

9. Haydock (Mark Quinn)

We have waited some time now for another band to really match their musical intentions to the technical demands of the work - and this one very nearly did it.

There was a salty brio to the opening, a warmth and passion to the central section and a sense of urgency about the close - as the locals up sticks and try to skewer the mermaid and her lover into fish cake kebabs. Just lost a little focus to close.

Overall:

Well done one and all - a fine effort full of character. Just some looseness - but it told the tail so to speak...


North West • Sunday 28, 12:11:37

Section 4:

5. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)

Bright opening with cracking solidly placed middle band. Opening dance has flow with a good pulse leading to a cheeky can-can.

Bold ensemble stays in control and a tasty bit of Turkish Delight sits well on the palatte. The waltz style has a very easy feel.

Bright fanfare opening is well executed and first solid vocal 'Hey' is a welcome addition. Unhurried MD makes for a pleasing thematic development and very good ensemble sounds are noted.

Accented rhythm is well presented before a very good closing argument.

Overall:

No lack of effort by the band.


North West • Sunday 28, 12:03:55

Section 3:

Half way thoughts

It's been an intriguing contest so far with the piece proving to be a stern test for the bands. It's the quiet, slow playing that is really sorting the bands out so far though and qualification for three bands in the autumn is very much wide open.

The style and dynamic contrasts are effective from the ensembles, and if bands nail the slow, quiet stuff and play in tune, they could tick the boxes Michael Fowles and David Roberts are looking for.

Not much in it though at the top end, but we go for...

1. Farnworth & Walkden
2. Hawk Green
3. Trinity Girls
4. Valley Brass


North West • Sunday 28, 12:00:55

Section 3:

9. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)

Things don't click into gear to start and the band takes a while to find its feet and steady the ship. The tricky and uncomfortable moments remain and it really does take the edge off things.

It's a tough ask at times, but full marks for the perseverance to dig in and get through it.

Overall:

A reading that never really engaged and proved a tough musical ask, but full marks for commitment from everyone.


10. Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)

It's a calm, composed opening, full of Welsh lyricism, nicely judged and not pushing the dynamics or tempo markings. The MD is keeping a close eye on his young band. This is a very measured and deliberate approach that is intent on not stretching them beyond their limits.

There's certainly lots to admire. Ok - not everything clicks, but the style and approach is good right through to the end.

Overall:

Not a bad effort at all, and great tempo choices throughout.


North West • Sunday 28, 11:59:26

Section 2:

7. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)

Oh how this rolled and swayed in unevenness. And what a pity too, as the MD captured the style in each of the three movements and the players gave of their best throughout - especially the solo cornet.

If they could only have sorted out the intonation and the unforced errors this really would have hit the mark. Instead the Mermaid got away just when the rozzers had her in their grasp....

Overall:

One of many so far today that had the various elements on show, but couldn't quite gel together.


8. Eccleston (John Wood)

Basic problems in tuning and ensemble precision cut the tail off this mermaid before she had time to nab her spouse and spend the rest of their time in harmony under the sea.

As with so many today it was a pity, as they style was captured in each of the movements - even if the final romp to the waves didn't quite crash in ecstasy like Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in 'From Here to Eternity'.

Overall:

A brave effort, but this one slipped from the grasp.


North West • Sunday 28, 11:56:11

Section 4:

4. Cadishead Public (Craig McFarland)

An effective opening just has a little loss of balance before its closing argument. Jolly opening dance theme with a good pulse but rather a heavy can-can with clogs on.

Thumping sounds again: A touch heavy, but a truly exotic dance unfolds before a heavy style opposes. The waltz style glides nicely over the ice.

Solo cornet delivers fine fanfare opening. Safe and well controlled development by MD and warm and controlled ensemble sounds are so pleasing to hear to a good conclusion.

Overall:

Fully committed and some lovely ensemble work. It just got high-jacked by some over enthusiastic and heavy attack.


North West • Sunday 28, 11:40:25

Section 4:

3. Manx Youth (Ian Clague MBE)

Confident from first note with bright illuminating sounds. Solid opening dance theme with a positive can-can.

Some intonation problems as stately sounds sought, but a confident pulsating dance unfolds. A snow waltz style has a few unfortunate bits of ice within it.

Fanfare opening well covered and steady tempo with good lower band. Hestitency and just a loss of lyricism just robs the atmosphere - which is a real shame.

Good finish with a nice pulse underpinned by good percussion. Good conclusion but with heavy cymbal roll.

Overall:

A solid and pleasing performance with so much to commend.


North West • Sunday 28, 11:29:25

Section 2:

5. Golborne Brass (Trevor Halliwell)

A bit of a hit and miss one this - the hits just outnumbering the misses though. It certainly had verve, colour and drive, but it was when a little more calm was called for that there were too many intonation undercurrents on show. The rousing close was pitchforks blazing stuff though - led by a barnstorming bass trom.

Overall:

This was a brazen mermaid all right - a no nonsense Mae West in a fish scale dress. Enjoyable, but needed a little more calmness in her endeavours.


6. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)

Another nearly one. Some cracking playing on show all around - especially sop and flugel, but if only some more time had been spent on getting the intonation spot on it would have been even better.

MD certainly shaped the middle section with a loving hand and chased down the lovers to close, but it just needed a touch more care and attention when the volume wasnt as loud.

Overall:

Another 'if only' one. A tale that couldn't quite make its mind up if it was a love story or action packed adventure.


North West • Sunday 28, 11:26:23

Section 4:

2. Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)

A bright and rhythmic start with attention to dynamic. A slight wobble in controlling opening theme but solid can-can.

Bold sounds before charged and characterful dance. Driving ensemble leads to a easy waltz section with nice solo lines. Odd crackles in upper lines but middle band has good style.

Fanfare well covered and steady tempo allows full bass tones. Strong finish with a nice direction and control.

Overall:

A very good account that found the musical styles very well.


North West • Sunday 28, 11:24:43

Section 3:

7. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)

It's not short of confidence to open - you can hear the Welsh singing 'Men of Harlech' on St David's Day for sure. There's energy and belief, but there's the odd tricky moment that just takes the musical sheen off things.

The energy and musical style remains as does the careful approach to dynamics. There is evidence of poor tuning once more but it closes confidently.

Overall:

Yet another reading today that certainly had its moments, but there was some uncomfortable tuning at times which could impact. We will see.

8. Coppull & Standish (Matt Stringer)

The opening is well judged and full of lyrical passion. The music sets well and is well delivered, despite the odd moment of unease.

Not quite everything works - be it nerves or tension - but the recovery is good and there is a nice feel-good factor to close.

Overall:

Not a bad reading from Coppull, but tuning issues again evident.


North West • Sunday 28, 11:13:53

Section 4:

1. Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth)

A bright and confident start with attention to dynamic - just the odd moment of hesitation noted. In control with comfortable tempo to opening theme and can-can.

Broad sounds before good rhythmic dance. Bold yet rich sounds preceed a steady waltz section with nice solo lines. Middle band has warmth.

Just a little jagged in brisker tempo and just looses a little focus as more lyrical style sought by MD.
Strong finish with warmth and control.

Overall:

A solid opener with control and a sensible style.


North West • Sunday 28, 11:11:16

Full Draw Third Section:
Test Piece:'A Cambrian Suite' - Michael Ball

Adjudicators: Michael Fowles & David Roberts

1. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
2. Trinity Girls (Ryan Watkins)
3. Douglas Town (Robert Mitchell)
4. Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)
5. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
6. Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)
7. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
8. Coppull & Standish (Matt Stringer)
9. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)
10. Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)
11. Eagley (Matthew Ryan)
12. Greenalls (Phil Boardman)
13. Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
14. Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)
15. Rivington & Adlington (Malcolm Wilson)
16. Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)
17. Skelmersdale Prize (Karl Stott)
18. Besses o'th' Barn (Phil Shaw)
19. Dobcross Silver (Tim Sidall)


North West • Sunday 28, 11:01:01

Section 4:

embedded picture

Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth) in registration


North West • Sunday 28, 10:57:19

Section 2:

3. Flixton (Jason M Smith)

A nicely shaped and well crafted effort this - helped by some fine solo work and a sense of engaging style in each of the movements. Not everything came off, but a fine solo cornet and a rousing close that had you joining in the chase down the beach, really brought the music to life.

Overall:

An enjoyable one this - full of character and verve. It was scrappy in places, but it held its shape and nerve right to the close.


4. Boarshurst (James Garlick)

Well this one certainly found its sea legs from the word go - and a cracking opening movement set the tone and style for what followed.

Lots to enjoy both musically and technically - with a lovely subtle hymnal lyricism to the middle section and a bold old romp to close as the locals chase the fishy heroes to the beach and into the rolling waves.

Overall:

What an enjoyable performance this - rich in character, fun and drama. MD must have been overdosing on Omega 3 oils. A clear marker to beat.


North West • Sunday 28, 10:55:28

Section 3:

5. Littleborough Public (Adrian Woodhead)

There are a few cautious moments to begin with, but last year's National finalist soon settles into their stride and confidence grows.

That confidence remains, but the band and conductor have to overcome some tricky obstacles along the way - although the energy and musical pulse remains until the close.

Overall:

One that grew in confidence as it went along today and certainly should hold its own.

6. Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)

It's a nice confident opening with the Welsh 'Men of Harlech'. There is a good appreciation here of the markings on the score.

There's a fine feel to the music - it's full of nice light and bright finale is full of energy. It moves freely with an effective light and bright closing section.

Overall:

Had its moments but perhaps wasn't as convincing as it could have been. One that got away?


North West • Sunday 28, 10:46:46

Section 2:

Even after a couple of bands we are starting to hear the elements and moments that will perhaps seperate the bands out on 'The Mermaid of Zennor'.

The opening moment asks quite a bit of ensemble precise and intonation - and any nervous baritone players. The rise and fall of the sea needs to shimmer as well as wobble like a spare tyre on a middle aged bloke in a tight football shirt, whilst the the middle movements demands warmth and passion as well as fragile beauty.

Get the romping feel to the final section and a band could be heading for Cheltenham - but tiredness may just see their chances slip below the waves to their doom.


North West • Sunday 28, 10:43:02

Section 4 - DRAW

Test Piece: 'The Journal of Phileas Fogg' - Peter Graham

Pavilion Theatre
Draw: 10.00am
Commence: 11.00am

Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones & Kevin Wadsworth

1. Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth)
2. Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)
3. Manx Youth (Ian Clague MBE)
4. Cadishead Public (Craig McFarland)
5. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)
6. Denton Brass (Matthew Bailey)
7. Stockport Silver (Ian Colwell)
8. Dobcross Youth (Richard Windle)
9. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)
10. Lees (Matt Corrigan)
11. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
12. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)
13. Blackley (John Atkinson)
14. Brindle (Keith Richmond)
15. BMP Europe Goodshaw (Josh Hughes)


North West • Sunday 28, 10:37:54

Section 4:

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The Pavilion Theatre in readiness

Just awaiting the adjudicators to enter the box


North West • Sunday 28, 10:31:11

Section 2:

1. Uppermill (Alan Widdop)

A bold, confident approach from start to finish this - a little scrappy in places, but full of character and a Cornish passion. The middle movement had a lovey feel to it with some nice phrasing a feature and the close had brio and verve.

Bravo solo cornet and the rest of the soloists - just a little tiredness crept in at the end.

Overall:

A solid marker - and a worthy final contest performance for Alan Widdop with his band. We will have to see how it fares though.


2. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)

Not quite the sum of some very tasty parts this. The solo work was excellent at times and the perc added just the right colour and texture, but the tuning was too wayward and the tiredness in the final movement took the gloss off somewhat.

A pity that as at times it was engaging stuff.

Overall:

A performance that never quite managed to gel together as it promised at the start.


North West • Sunday 28, 10:25:50

Section 3:

3. Douglas Town (Robert Mitchell)

The band from the Isle of Man starts off ok, but there are some tricky moments in the ensemble & solo lines although the tempo markings and dynamic contrasts are well managed.

Not everything clicks into place as they would like but there is confidence around the stand, together with a real good feel factor at the close.

Overall:

Had its moments of uncertainty and issues of tuning at times but fine effort

4. Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)

There's real confidence about this from the off from the Lancastrian outfit. Nothing is over done and it's all delivered with a sense of style and fun. The band and conductor are enjoying this.

It remains a bright and enjoyable musical journey. The dynamic contrasts are effective in the hall and very well judged as the performance closes.

Overall:

A good reading that whilst not without the odd moment, built on the band's winning outing at Preston a month ago. Who knows where it could end today though


North West • Sunday 28, 10:17:25

Section 2:

We should have a cracking contest here in the Opera House this morning thanks to Philip Harper's colourful fishy tale.

Plenty to test the soloists and the ensemble - and some tricky elements of pace and phrasing for the MDs to get hold of too. Get it right and its lobster thermidor and champers for tea - get it wrong and it's fish fingers and a cold cup of tea....


North West • Sunday 28, 09:55:55

Section 3:

1. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)

Confident, composed start, lots of life and energy around the ensemble. The steadiness and composed approach remains. There are some number 1, 9.30am nerves, but the detail shines through with good solo lines.

The confidence and controlled approach remains - the energy never diminishes right through to the end.

Overall:

Not a bad marker confidently delivered - but for a few moments. Certainly went for it off number one slot.


2. Trinity Girls (Ryan Watkins)

Bright, breezy opening, full of British pomp and circumstance. The ensemble isn't bad at all and there is a very effective euphonium. There is a real good feel as we move along. Its all bright, jolly and good fun. The ensemble and MD are enjoying this.

There is a really nice vibe to everything as we head for the close with controlled tempo markings and dynamics.

Overall: Not a bad effort at all - just a few uncomfortable moments


North West • Sunday 28, 09:54:02

The action has already started in the Third Section, but we are stuck right at the back of the enormous Opera House to enjoy Philip Harper's 'The Mermaid of Zennor' in the Second Section

I wonder if it's as good as this......

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North West • Sunday 28, 09:40:34

Second Section:
Test Piece: 'Mermaid of Zennor' - Philip Harper

Opera House
Split Draw: 9.00am & 11.00am
Commence: 10.00am

Adjudicators: Mike Kilroy & David Lancaster

1. Uppermill (Alan Widdop)
2. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
3. Flixton (Jason M. Smith)
4. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)
5. Golborne Brass (Trevor Halliwell)
6. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)
7. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)
8. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
9. Haydock (Mark Quinn)

Besses Boys (James Holt)
City of Chester (Ewan Easton)
Crewe Brass (Wayne Ruston)
Delph (Philip Goodwin)
Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
Middleton (Andrew Baker)
Old Hall Brass (John North)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW "B" (Michael Golding)
Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)


North West • Sunday 28, 09:29:04

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Unfurl your banner on high

We are about to get going here in Blackpool with the Third Section. 19 bands tackling Michael Ball's 'A Cambrian Suite'. Good luck to all not just in here today, but all sections, and remember to enjoy yourselves.


North West • Sunday 28, 09:24:05

Draw: Third Section:
Test Piece:'A Cambrian Suite' - Michael Ball

Empress Ballroom
Split Draw: 8.30am & 10.30am
Commence: 9.30am

Adjudicators: Michael Fowles & David Roberts

1. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
2. Trinity Girls (Ryan Watkins)
3. Douglas Town (Robert Mitchell)
4. Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)
5. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
6. Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)
7. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
8. Coppull & Standish (Matt Stringer)
9. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)
10. Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)

Besses o'th' Barn (Phil Shaw)
Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)
Dobcross Silver (Tim Sidall)
Eagley (Matthew Ryan)
Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)
Greenalls (Phil Boardman)
Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)
Rivington & Adlington (Malcolm Wilson)
Skelmersdale Prize (Karl Stott)


North West • Sunday 28, 08:34:15

As you can see, we have a full day of competitive action to bring you.

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Blackpool Winter Gardens - The hall awaits

4BR will be covering each section - with 4BR Editor Iwan Fox in the Opera House to bring you a taste of the Second and Championship Sections. Malcolm Wood is in the Empress Ballroom to enjoy the Third and First Sections, with John James in Pavilion Theatre for the Fourth Section.

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The impressive entrance hall to the Blackpool Winter Gardens

We will bring you the draws after the judges are in their respective boxes - and the first action as soon as the whistle goes.

Good luck to everyone.....


North West • Sunday 28, 08:31:09

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Those stars of yesteryear

The impressive entrance hall to the Blackpool Winter Gardens

The competing bands in the five sections today are as follows:

Championship Section:
Test Piece: 'Cambridge Variations' - Philip Sparke

Opera House
Draw 1.45pm
Commence: After Second Section results

Adjudicators: John Berryman & Stephen Roberts

Ashton-Under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas)
Co-operative Funeralcare North West (Jef Sparkes)
Diggle (Alan Wycherley)
Fairey (Garry Cutt)
Foden's (Prof Nicholas Childs)
Freckleton (Paul Dalton)
Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
Milnrow (Mark Bentham)
Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
Roberts Bakery (Simon Stonehouse)
Wingates (Paul Andrews)


First Section:
Test Piece: 'Essay' - Professor Edward Gregson

Empress Ballroom
Draw 1.15pm
Commence: After results of the Third Section

Adjudicators: Colin Hardy & David Hirst


Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
Haslingden & Helmshore (John Hinckley)
Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
Longridge (Mark Peacock)
Marple (Sarah Groarke-Booth)
Mossley (Duncan Byers)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Kevin Gibbs)
Poulton-Le-Fylde (Dave Collins)
Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)
Vernon Building Society Poynton (Neil Samuel)
Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
Whitworth Vale & Healey (John Binns)


Second Section:
Test Piece: 'Mermaid of Zennor' - Philip Harper

Opera House
Split Draw: 9.00am & 11.00am
Commence: 10.00am

Adjudicators: Mike Kilroy & David Lancaster


Besses Boys (James Holt)
Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)
Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)
City of Chester (Ewan Easton)
Crewe Brass (Jamie Meredith)
Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)
Delph (Philip Goodwin)
Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
Flixton (Jason M. Smith)
Golborne (Trevor Halliwell)
Haydock (Mark Quinn)
Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
Middleton (Martyn Evans)
Old Hall Brass (John North)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW "B" (Michael Golding)
Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)
Uppermill (Alan Widdop)

Third Section:
Test Piece:'A Cambrian Suite' - Michael Ball

Empress Ballroom
Split Draw: 8.30am & 10.30am
Commence: 9.30am

Adjudicators: Michael Fowles & David Roberts

Besses o'th' Barn (Phil Shaw)
Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)
Coppull & Standish (Matt Stringer)
Dobcross Silver (Tim Sidall)
Douglas Town (Robert Mitchell)
Eagley (Matthew Ryan)
Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)
Greenalls (Phil Boardman)
Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)
Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)
Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)
Rivington & Adlington (Malcolm Wilson)
Skelmersdale Prize (Karl Stott)
Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
Trinity Girls (Ryan Watkins)
Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)

Fourth Section:
Test Piece: 'The Journal of Phileas Fogg' - Peter Graham

Pavilion Theatre
Draw: 10.00am
Commence: 11.00am

Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones & Kevin Wadsworth

Blackley (John Atkinson)
BMP Europe Goodshaw (Josh Hughes)
Brindle (Keith Richmond)
Cadishead Public (Craig McFarland)
Denton Brass (Matthew Bailey)
Dobcross Youth (Richard Windle)
Formby (Louise Hough MBE)
Lees (Matt Corrigan)
Manx Youth (Ian Clague MBE)
Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)
Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth)
Stockport Silver (Ian Colwell)
Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)
Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)

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A master underlines the performers at this famous venue


North West • Sunday 28, 08:22:46

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4BR League Cup prediction

Welcome to Blackpool. The sun is peeking out high in the sky and the great bunch of volunteers of the Regional Committee are already working hard setting things up in the various halls.

We will start bringing you a taste of the action when we are all set up in the various halls - so keep your eyes peeled.

We are looking forward to a great day of competitive music making and the announcement of the first 2016 Regional Champions...



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


Enfield Citadel Band -

Saturday 25 November • The Salvation Army. 42 Clarence Road. Southend. SS1 1AN SS1 1AN


Newstead Brass -

Saturday 25 November • John Godber Centre. Ogle Street. Hucknall. Nottingham NG15 7FQ


The Corsham Band

November 23 • With promotion to the 2nd Section from January 2018 the band are now looking to fill a couple of vacancies. One back row cornet (2nd or 3rd) plus an EEb Bass.


Thoresby Colliery Band

November 22 • Sadly due to work commitments we are looking for an experienced Percussionist to join our friendly and progressive Band. The Band has experienced a recent run of good form and is currently enjoying a sensible mix of contests, concerts and recordings.


Thoresby Colliery Band

November 22 • Sadly due to work commitments we are looking for an experienced BBb Bass player to join our friendly and progressive Band. The Band has experienced a recent run of good form and is currently enjoying a sensible mix of contests, concerts and recordings.


Stan Lippeatt

BA, LRSM
Conductor, adjudicator, tutor