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2016 North of England Regional Championships
As it happened

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

North of England • Sunday 13, 20:11:28

That's the end of our coverage from Durham. We hope you have enjoyed our coverage. Well done to all taking part especially those going to the Finals in September and October.

Good night from Durham.


North of England • Sunday 13, 20:10:12

Result

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

Sunday 13th March

Adjudicator: Mark Wilkinson


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Winners - Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)

1. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)*
2. EYMS (Stig Maersk)*
3. NASUWT Riverside (John Berryman)
4. Fishburn (Joe Cook)
5. Easington Colliery (Chris Bentham)
6. York Railway Institute (Chris Hirst)
7. Shepherd Building Group (Richard Wilton)
8. Kirkbymoorside (John Woodward)

Soprano: EYMS
Cornet: Philip Tait (Reg Vardy)
Euphonium: EYMS
Trombone: NASUWT Riverside
Bass Section: Reg Vardy
Percussion Section: Easington Colliery

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final


North of England • Sunday 13, 19:08:21

Before the results a massive thank you to the North of England Regional Committee and Tony Griffiths for their warm welcome and hospitality this weekend.

We look forward to returning next year and the years ahead and well done on a great run event with the Secretary actually qualifying for the National Final.


North of England • Sunday 13, 19:04:45

Championship Section: Overall thoughts and prediction:

Cambridge Variations has shown its difficulties once more today and the bands here can take comfort that all of the six regions faced with it so far, have found it a really tough musical nut to crack.

The quality really was at the top with a variable degree in the standard the further down the pecking order you go. The challenges of Championship Section banding are just that, a challenge, but one that the ensembles took on today.

Being honest, if it was a football result, Cambridge Variations would come out on top by a good margin. This has tested the bands, really tested them today.

It is worth remembering today that whilst Mark Wilkinson was only asked to undertake the Championship Section this week, he won on the piece with Foden's two weekends ago and will have known every note in his sleep.

It will be interesting to hear his thoughts though, but we think the top four could well be along the lines of:

4BR Prediction:

1. Reg Vardy
2. EYMS
3. NASUWT Riverside
4. Fishburn


North of England • Sunday 13, 19:03:40


Championship Section:

8. Kirkbymoorside (John Woodward)

The final rendition of CV today certainly was a test for Kirbymoorside Town that stretched them but certainly didn't break them.

It was fragile at times especially in the slower lyrical sections, but the MD deserves a large drink for keeping a firm hand on the rudder and ensuring that things hung together. This was careful, considered stick work to keep the music flowing through the blood and guts of his hard working players.

They seemed at home in the quicker sections, but there was tiredness and it was a little one dimension dynamically at times but full marks for reaching the end.

Overall:

A performance full of sheer bloody-minded guts, determination and commitment. It was tough though. But they are not alone here today or around the UK.


North of England • Sunday 13, 18:42:22

Championship Section:

7. Shepherd Building Group (Richard Wilton)

It wasn't Shepherd on top of their game today. With former Leyland, YBS top man, Iain Culross, bringing stability and warmth to the cornet bench, this was a fully committed reading from the word that just needed greater musical impetus to make it stand out today.

The opening held promise and Iain aside the main solo lines never really felt at ease and there were challenges within the inner parts of the ensemble that proved to be a tough nut to crack. The good stuff was good though, but the challenges of the piece stretched them somewhat, but they never lost their nerve or drive to reach the end and the focus was superb.

Overall:

A reading that deserves huge credit today. They became the latest to be tested but lived to tell the tale.


North of England • Sunday 13, 18:18:15

Championship Section:

6. Fishburn (Joseph Cook)

Fishburn and Joseph Cook built a performance based upon some well structured musical foundations. The MD knew from the off that he couldn't push the ensemble beyond their limits and he deserves a huge pat on the back for his sensible approach. His tempo's and pacing were measured and well thought out.

There was good inner detail and some not so good inner detail at times but there was some fine efforts in the solo's, some better than others and some less strained than others also. The fanfares and runs never really knotted together as solidly as they'd have liked either.

The change in gears stretched them at times but again credit goes to the MD, he really did use his head here when it counted today.

Overall:

A CV that tested the band but benefited from a very sensible well judged handle by the MD


North of England • Sunday 13, 17:55:57

Championship Section:

5. NASUWT Riverside (John Berryman)

There were some inconsistencies and unforced errors that put a blemish or two or three on a very well thought out reading but the highly respected John Berryman. It was one that was well judged by dynamic contrasts, sensible pace and an understanding of the MD's resources around the stand.

When it was on the button it was full of drive and purpose, not to mention a bold approach but there were some fragilities that could prove costly today.

Overall:

In many ways, it was one that offered a great deal of musical potential but it didn't all come off today due to errors and fragilities. One that you'd expect to hold its own today though.


North of England • Sunday 13, 17:40:25

Championship Section:

As we have reached the half way point, the North of England has found Cambridge Variations as difficult a nut to crack as the rest of the UK.

Halfway Prediction:

1. Reg Vardy
2. EYMS


North of England • Sunday 13, 17:32:25

Championship Section:

4. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)

Russell Gray leads Reg Vardy in his lucky blue dapper suit that saw him get Carlton Main Frickley to London.

The partnership ensured we went up another notch on the ante as we got a reprise of the interpretation from Bradford seven days earlier.

They didn't disappoint either as they delivered not just a hard working rendition, but one that shows what is needed to tame Sparke's work. It was by no means flawless, but the quality of the ensemble and solo work was in the high quality bracket with everybody playing their part.

A high point came in the cornet solo from young Philip Tait, who was measured and consistent in his delivery. There were some inconsistencies at times, but the road for home was full of drive, energy and unrivalled passion. A real juggernaut of a close

Overall:

In a different league to anything that has gone before it today. One hand on the trophy and qualification for Kensington Gore? Quite possibly, but its going to take a real top draw reading to topple it after a superb engrossing reading from an MD who thrives on music such as this.


North of England • Sunday 13, 17:12:40

Championship Section:

3. EYMS (Stig Maersk)

We up the ante here from the first two accounts of the contest with a reprise of the MD's no nonsense approach with Yorkshire Imps in Bradford a week ago. The chemistry between MD and ensemble gelled well here. An extra layer of polish would have been useful at times but nothing more.

The opening section was fairly secure with good solo work (especially flugel and cornet) impressing. There were some ensemble lapses evident though.

The fanfares and runs were a bit hit and miss at times, but more hits than misses we should point out. The MD had an efficient change of gears that worked, a bit more restrained than a week ago with Imps but more than sufficient to make an impact momentum wise.

Overall:

On a different level to the two ensembles that had played previously and whilst it was by no means perfect, it was a reading and a performance that could make impact today. It's beatable though.


North of England • Sunday 13, 16:48:24

Championship Section:

2. Easington Colliery (Chris Bentham)

This was another performance that owed a great deal to the MD for his intelligent approach in the way he handled this reading. The pace and technique wasn't bad, but it lacked consistency at times.

The soloists did well and again the MD let them express themselves. The inner parts of the piece were yet another reminder on the Regional circuit just how difficult this piece is. The taxing long ensemble runs were more than a touch uneven. The transparency could not be hidden unfortunately.

It's in the concluding section where we arguably hear the band at its best with verve and brio and fair close, although you can tell they are tired.

Overall:

Another commendable one that was full of commitment, but it really stretched them at times.


North of England • Sunday 13, 16:26:33


Championship Section:

1. York Railway Institute (Chris Hirst)

A performance that certainly challenged the ensemble but one that benefited from a sensible approach from the middle despite its unevenness at times.

The soloists were certainly tested but can hold their heads up high as they gave it their best shot. The top man was the best of the bunch. Huge credit must go to the MD Chris Hirst though for his intelligent approach throughout here as he kept things as safe as he could.

The MD made sure the hard work paid off though with a well rounded sound throughout.

Overall:

A hard graft of a rendition from the York outfit that was not short on commitment, but tested them today.


North of England • Sunday 13, 16:00:03


Draw

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

Sunday 13th March

Draw tbc
Commence: After Second Section results

Adjudicator: Mark Wilkinson

1. York Railway Institute (Chris Hirst)
2. Easington Colliery (Chris Bentham)
3. EYMS (Stig Maersk)
4. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
5. NASUWT Riverside (John Berryman)
6. Fishburn (Joe Cook)
7. Shepherd Building Group (Richard Wilton)
8. Kirkbymoorside (John Woodward)


North of England • Sunday 13, 15:59:27

Results

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

Adjudicators: Alan Morrison

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Winners - Dunston Silver (Aidan Hodgson)

1. Dunston Silver (Aidan Hodgson)*
2. Houghton Brass (Tom Gibson)*
3. Ashington Colliery (David Kendall)
4. East Riding of Yorkshire (Garry Hallas)
5. Durham Miners Association (Stuart Gray)
6. NASUWT Concert (Andrew Hunter)
7. Ellington Colliery (Jonathan Fenwick)
8. Billingham Silver (Vaughan Evans)

Euphonium: NASUWT Concert
Bass Section: Dunston Silver
Soprano: Ashington Colliery

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final


North of England • Sunday 13, 15:32:45

Section Two: Overall Thoughts

Being honest, nobody has really tamed Philip Harper's intriguing musical tale today. Some have got close but we've not really had the convincing renditions to make you sit up and go 'yes, that's in the frame etc'. We've had a number of inconsistent performances and this is really going to be a tough one to call.

4BR Prediction:

1 Dunston Silver
2 Houghton Brass
3 Durham
4. East Riding of Yorkshire


North of England • Sunday 13, 15:28:30

Section Two:

7. Dunston Silver (Aidan Hodgson)

With four trombones in the ranks, Dunston starts well but tuning is an issue in a big sounding ensemble. It's not bad though, just a wee shame about the few uncertainties.

There is a nice feel as we move into the central section with an impressive hymn tune and we hear the MD either singing or encouraging for a moment, but it sounded very strange. There is a very vivid musical picture being portrayed as we move for the close although we catch tuning blemishes towards the end.

Overall:

One that certainly had plenty to appreciate. Not always on the button, but a possible dark horse today.

8. Billingham Silver (Vaughan Evans)

It's not a bad opening, a little tentative at times but with interesting musical contrasts and great percussion clogs, bravo!

The tentative stuff remains in the slow section and things don't hold together as well as they should do despite a nice hymn.

We hear lots of scrappy playing as we head for home and tiredness within the ranks.

Overall:

One that never came off today, but the notes were there, we suspect they've given better accounts previously.


North of England • Sunday 13, 14:53:53


Section Two:


5. East Riding of Yorkshire (Garry Hallas)

It's not a bad opening but we do hear tuning gremlins but there is all good detail and dynamic contrasts.

It's a little cautious to open as the slow movement continues to challenge the ensembles today but the hymn is nicely controlled and delivered.

There's a nice dramatic feel as the movement opens and whilst there are some uncertain entries, they close well.

Overall:

Certainly some good stuff but a little too inconsistent perhaps today?


6. Ashington Colliery (David Kendall)

The opening isn't bad with a nice musical picture of the rise and fall of things at sea. The ensemble may not always be as precise as it could be, but we are getting decent clarity of sound.

We hear some uncertainties in the slow movement as it commences. The hymn tune is ok but those suspect moments remain in place.

The segment opens well and there is drama and a good musical picture being painted. Occasionally focus is lost but they recover and the close isn't too bad.

Overall:

There was some good playing in parts but it didn't quite come together as a whole


North of England • Sunday 13, 14:17:40

Section Two:


3. Ellington Colliery (Jonathan Fenwick)

It's not a bad opening with a confident band sound but the ensemble and percussion don't appear to be in sync tempo wise. There is a celebratory feel as we head into the 'Church' section though.

Not everything is settled as we come to the Hymn tune, with some uncomfortable entries but the band sound is good. The closing bars work well.

Not all of the drama is heard as we start off the closing section, and despite the good band sound, we sense a touch of caution around parts of the stand, which is a real pity, but they recover to close well.

Overall:

A performance that offered potential but did it really deliver what it set out to achieve?

4. Durham Miners Association (Stuart Gray)

It's not a bad opening is we imagine the swell of the seas, but they do hit troubled waters, it's not quite 'May day, May day' as they survive, but it unnerves them, but they recover their poise.

We hear tuning that takes the edge of things as we open but once things settle, the hymn has a warmth and confidence about it.

Not all of the detail is heard as excitement overtakes clarity but in fairness to MD he pulls things back and the detail comes through.

Overall:

One that offered potential today but like others, we're not totally sure if they brought it off in the way the judge wants?


North of England • Sunday 13, 13:42:59

Section 2:

1. Houghton Brass (Tom Gibson)

The National Champion of the Third Section Three starts off confidently and we hear lots of engaging and descriptive musical sounds.

The slow movement is nicely done, sits well on the ear and the hymn has a feel of pathos about it. There is a really nice atmosphere about it.

Return to the Waves is an interesting opening, with reasonable detail and dynamics and a good close.

Overall:
Nicely shaped but dynamically needed a bit more

2. NASUWT Concert (Andrew Hunter)

It's not a bad opening with a good sense of style that has a real sense of celebration about it. It's not bad at all, although we wonder how much Red Bull the sop has drunk, this is super sparkling hyper stuff going in on his part.

In the central movement we wonder if the dynamics can be pushed down just a little bit more? It's not bad at all though, well controlled and thought out. The soloists are a touch nervy in parts but not a bad section this.

We close very boldly (sop makes mega impression again) and its very dramatic in the way it is being executed. Excitement levels are high.

Overall:

One that engaged from start to finish, with some fine ensemble and good all round contributions.


North of England • Sunday 13, 13:02:16

Draw

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

Sunday 13th March

Draw: tbc
Commence: 1pm approx at conclusion of Third Section results

Adjudicators: Alan Morrison

1. Houghton Brass (Tom Gibson)
2. NASUWT Concert (Andrew Hunter)
3. Ellington Colliery (Jonathan Fenwick)
4. Durham Miners Association (Stuart Gray)
5. East Riding of Yorkshire (Garry Hallas)
6. Ashington Colliery (David Kendall)
7. Dunston Silver (Aidan Hodgson)
8. Billingham Silver (Vaughan Evans)


North of England • Sunday 13, 12:57:27

Results

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

Adjudicator: Mark Wilkinson

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Winners - J36 Brass (Andrew Warriner)

1. J36 Brass (Andrew Warriner)*
2. Bearpark and Esh (Peter Elcoat)*
3. North Skelton (George Nicklin)
4. Murton Colliery (Tom Maddison)
5. Marske (Alun Prest)
6. Ferryhill Town (Andrew Hall)
7. Kingsway Cleethorpes (Steve Askew)
8. Barton Community (Gary Oglesby)
9. Backworth Colliery (Colin Harris)
10.Trimdon Concert (Philip Tait)
11. Burneside Brass (Laurie Johnston)

Percussion Section: Bearpark and Esh
Best Cornet: John Evans (J36 Brass)

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final


North of England • Sunday 13, 12:34:14

Section 3: Overall Thoughts

What an intriguing contest where the standard varied and a lot of the performances had a number of similarities.

We anticipate very little though to choose between them at the top end, but we think Ferryhill may just edge out J36.

4BR Prediction:

1. Ferryhill Town
2. J36
3. Bearpark
4. Kingsway Printers
5. Murton
6. North Skelton


North of England • Sunday 13, 12:30:26

Section 3:

11. J36 Brass (Andrew Warriner)

There's quality on show right from the off, but blimey, it's rather fast, sorry for the obvious pun, but it's like trying to get from Junction 36 to 34 in 90 seconds.

The quality playing is going in though, make no mistake about that and there is real confidence around the stand, but we will ask the odd question on the tempos

More quality playing, and they close with real confidence but so well played right up to thend.

Overall:

Terrificly well played and without question but will it win? Not sure to be honest, but a qualifier

The confidence they showed in the 4BR hotel this am was in evidence though.


North of England • Sunday 13, 12:16:03

Section 3:

9. Barton Community (Gary Oglesby)

It's not always totally together from the start, but we like the style and the sop is on fire so far. Not everything clicks into gear but it's a fine effort, good detail.

It's ditto as above, good detail but not everything being nailed down which is a real pity, but that aside, there is some good playing on show. We like this slow movement.

They close confidently but there remains some scrappy and untidiness within the ranks

Overall:

One of those engaging ones but the scrappiness could cost, a pity though as they could play it.

10. Ferryhill Town (Andrew Hall)

One of the best openings we've heard for a while from a good sounding, confident outfit. Yes, they have a few blemishes, but it doesn't affect them. Nice euphonium.

Lovely slow movement, clean, clear and pretty much on the button. Impressive stuff this

The good playing continues and its right on the ball right till the end.

Overall:

A real quality show this, that has really put the cat amongst the pigeons for us


North of England • Sunday 13, 11:51:22

Section 3:

7. North Skelton (George Nicklin)

It's a really nice composed opening with a good sound and impressive attention to detail from the National Fourth Section runner up of 2014.

There are question marks for us though on the tempos, they've struggled to maintain it at times, but the playing isn't too bad at all. The challenges come and go, but they just dust themselves and don't worry about things.

There is confidence, but the tempo's are perhaps not always what they should be, but they close well.

Overall:

A rather engaging one from start to finish, some good playing but tempo's were certainly different

8. Kingsway Cleethorpes (Steve Askew)

Impressive opening from KIngway Cleethorpes and we hear detail that hasn't always been in evidence today. The control is good, there is a lot of attention to how things are written on the pages here.

The slow movement is again confidently controlled, just a few tiny foibles but nothing overly serious to detract from the picture, although the close of the second movement is a challenge.

Once more we hear confident playing that is nicely styled as we head for the close but some uncertainties take sheen off things.

Overall:

Not a bad one at all, and a real maybe? Up until the end it was in with a serious shout, it could be close though.


North of England • Sunday 13, 11:23:10

Section 3:

5. Marske (Alun Prest)

It's not a bad opening, steady and confident, but they start to encounter problems in the slower sections which is a real pity as it was good stuff up until then.

They get back on track though with some composed playing that's nice and lyrical but they still encounter the odd challenge or two and not quite as focussed as they reach the end

Overall:

One that nearly came off, it was solid at times but not flawless either, a real pity.

6. Murton Colliery (Tom Maddison)

It's not a bad opening although is a little too quick we wonder, but we plenty of Welsh lyricism shining through.

There is some good playing, all composed around the stand (well done sop) but we just have the tiniest of question marks over the tempo markings. It's been brisk at times but you never know it could tickle Mr Wilkinson's fancy.

Overall:

Interesting one, a bit quick at times but there was some good playing, but this is tough contest to call.


North of England • Sunday 13, 10:59:51

Section 3:

3. Backworth Colliery (Colin Harris)

It's a slower paced start than written that doesn't detract too much from the musical picture, it allows the players to play the notes, which they do with confidence, but the tempo just needs to be touch quicker.

There's a nice warmth to the musical picture here. It is a touch slower than written, but its allowing the notes to flow with fluidity. The solo contributions are not perfect, but really committed workman like contributions.

We hear more confident playing as we head for home and they close well.

Overall:

A performance that certainly had lots to appreciate and has stuck itself in front

4. Bearpark and Esh (Peter Elcoat)

Bearpark start's off well, but they soon come across troubled musical waters but stay afloat and move on. They're not at full strength but are making a fine sound and a good fist of this. It challenges them though, but top marks for effort here.

There may be some over compensation at times in the sound for not being at full strength, but the fine committed effort remains right up until the end.

Overall:

This was one that tested them but one where they all walk off with heads held high for giving it a real go, they were not at full strength but bravo. Well done all. It may cause a surprise today


North of England • Sunday 13, 10:25:45

Section 3:

1. Trimdon Concert (Philip Tait)

Trimdon starts off a little tentatively before they settle although there are nerves and caution around the ranks.

We hear Welsh lyricism though in Durham, with nice euphonium playing. Things do remain steady and cautious but full marks to MD, Philip Tait who is keeping everything simple.

The band is now at ease for the first time as they head into the closing section where we hear some confident and composed playing right up until the end.

Overall:

Full marks for commitment here, but they were tested at times during the performance.

2. Burneside Brass (Laurie Johnston)

Burneside finds their feet quickly and appear relaxed and quite at home with the music. There are some challenges and nerves though, particularly in the quieter passages but they put it behind them and move on without too much difficulty.

The confidence remains, the impressive approach from the middle continues. Fair enough, not everything is going in as solidly as they'd like, but they've enjoyed playing this today.

Overall:

A confident, if not flawless show with good tempos that was well constructed and delivered.


North of England • Sunday 13, 09:53:05

Draw:

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

Sunday 20th March

Draw: 8.30am
Commence: 10.00am

Adjudicator: Mark Wilkinson

1. Trimdon Concert (Philip Tait)
2. Burneside Brass (Laurie Johnston)
3. Backworth Colliery (Colin Harris)
4. Bearpark and Esh (Peter Elcoat)
5. Marske (Alun Prest)
6. Murton Colliery (Tom Maddison)
7. North Skelton (George Nicklin)
8. Kingsway Cleethorpes (Steve Askew)
9. Barton Community (Gary Oglesby)
10. Ferryhill Town (Andrew Hall)
11. J36 Brass (Andrew Warriner).


North of England • Sunday 13, 09:19:19

Morning from Durham where the early morning mist leaves a chill in the air, but it looks like being nice day outside.

It will b e warm in the Gala Theatre today as 27 bands battle for glory. We start at 10.00am with the biggest section of the weekend with eleven bands tackling 'A Cambrian Suite'.

We will post the draw once Mark Wilkinson, goes in the box around 9.45am.

Join us later.


North of England • Sunday 13, 06:31:26

Today's action in Durham is in the Championship, Second and Third Sections.

2016 North of England Regional Championships from the Gala Theatre in Durham.

Championship Section:
Test Piece: 'Cambridge Variations' - Philip Sparke
Sunday 13th March
Draw tbc
Commence: After Second Section results
Adjudicator: Mark Wilkinson

Easington Colliery (Chris Bentham)
EYMS (Stig Maersk)
Fishburn (Joe Cook)
Kirkbymoorside (John Woodward)
NASUWT Riverside (John Berryman)
Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
Shepherd Building Group (Richard Wilton)
York Railway Institute (Chris Hirst)


Second Section:
Test Piece: 'Mermaid of Zennor' - Philip Harper
Sunday 13th March
Draw: tbc
Commence: 1pm approx at conclusion of Third Section results
Adjudicators: Alan Morrison

Ashington Colliery (David Kendall)
Billingham Silver (Vaughan Evans)
Durham Miners Association (Stuart Gray)
Dunston Silver (Aidan Hodgson)
East Riding of Yorkshire (Garry Hallas)
Ellington Colliery (Jonathan Fenwick)
Houghton Brass (Tom Gibson)
NASUWT Concert (Andrew Hunter)


Third Section:
Test Piece:'A Cambrian Suite' - Michael Ball
Sunday 13th March
Draw: 8.30am
Commence: 10.00am
Adjudicator: Mark Wilkinson

Backworth Colliery (Colin Harris)
Barton Community (Gary Oglesby)
Bearpark and Esh (Peter Elcoat)
Burneside Brass (Laurie Johnston)
Ferryhill Town (Andrew Hall)
J36 Brass (Andrew Warriner)
Kingsway Cleethorpes (Steve Askew)
Marske (Alun Prest)
Murton Colliery (Tom Maddison)
North Skelton (George Nicklin)
Trimdon Concert (Philip Tait)


North of England • Saturday 12, 17:23:33

That's the end of a short (by comparison to other regions) enjoyable opening day in Durham

We're back tomorrow though at 10.00am for the Third, Second and Championship Sections.

Off to watch the end of an England win at rugby (with apologies to the 4BR Editor) and a bit of football.

Congratulations to the winners and qualifiers today.

See you tomorrow


North of England • Saturday 12, 17:12:12

Results:

First Section:

Test Piece: 'Essay' - Edward Gregson

Adjudicator: Alan Morrison

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Winners - Lockwood (John Roberts)

1. Lockwood (John Roberts)
2. Ripon City (Martin Hall)
3. Harrogate (David Smith)
4. Westoe (Lee Morris)
5. GT Group Peterlee (Ian Langthorne)
6. Cockerton Silver (Michael Hardman)

Trombone: Lockwood Brass
Bass Section: Lockwood Brass
Percussion Section: Lockwood Brass

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final


North of England • Saturday 12, 16:47:26

Section One: Overall Thoughts

It's been an intriguing short but sweet Essay assignment for the bands and adjudicator, Alan Morrison today.

Some bands put across more convincing musical arguments than others and it really depends on what tickles Alan Morrison's fancy?

We anticipate this to be quite close today with even very little to chose between one and two, let alone three and four with whoever comes third perhaps feeling a touch aggrieved they've missed out on the promised land of the National final.


4BR Prediction:

1. Lockwood Brass
2. Westoe
3. Ripon
4. GT Group Peterlee


North of England • Saturday 12, 16:43:16

Section One:

5. GT Group Peterlee (Ian Langthorne)

A performance that certainly brought out musical colours and features that we had not heard so far today. It's not all picture perfect though. The tempo's don't always sit comfortably for us in the opening movement.

The middle section, is it slower than the man in the box wants?. This is a purposeful and thoughtful musical argument that whilst persuasive isn't flawless either, but it lacks no shortage of confidence.

As we head towards the end, the confidence of the playing remains undaunted but they probably know its not as solid as when it started.

Overall:

One that impressed early onwasn't without foibles or question marks? The familiar Joe Cook, well known in these parts made his presence felt in the bass end. May miss out today

6. Westoe (Lee Morris)

This was another well laid out set of answers to Gregson's taxing Essay question. You can't help wondering though if those answers just fell a touch short today.

There was no shortage on confidence around the stand though with a big sound in evidence. The opening 'Dialogue' was compacted well with nice sounds and tempos with the minimal of challenges overcome without too much difficulty.

The ''Soliloquy' was free flowing but not error free To close another confident and competent section that was full of good musical character and a tasty finish

Overall:

You know what, this is one of those renditions that could have given the adjudicator something to ponder now he is at the end of the contest. It may just have got in the top end today….there was lots of quality on display for sure.


North of England • Saturday 12, 16:10:45

Section One:

3. Harrogate (David Smith)

Harrogate under Black Dyke's David Smith delivers an Essay that certainly held promise but possibly didn't always deliver its potential?

The opening 'Dialogue' held lots of promise and was free flowing. There was a nice feel to the central section including an efficient bit of cornet work, but sometimes the argument needed a touch more clarity as not of all the soloists were totally clean and convincing.

As we head for the close, there is some fine confident playing on display but there is a hint of tiredness in the ranks as well.

Overall:

One that certainly had promise but it didn't really deliver its potential today. You never know though.

4. Ripon City (Martin Hall)

Another performance that certainly held promise but it did bring out all of the musical argument in the way it wanted to do today?

The opening 'Dialogue' wasn't bad at all, thorough and detailed with just a few tiny blemishes along the way. The 'Soliloquy' certainly had its moments too including a nice free flowing cornet line and nice euphonium.

The final section is quick, but you just feel it needs a touch less speed to really bring everything out with clarity.

Overall:

An intriguing one that just leaves a question mark on whether it came across in the manner all would have wanted today and most importantly, what Alan Morrison is looking for. The 5 basses certainly made their presence felt though and its thrown itself into contention with two to go.


North of England • Saturday 12, 15:33:45

Section One:

1. Cockerton Silver (Michael Hardman)

Cockerton delivers a musical Essay that grows in strength and character as it goes along.

The argument isn't totally audible to begin with as the points are a touch scrappy, but the listener soon gets to understand their points in detail.

The central section features some fine contributions from euphonium and horn, but there are noticeable inconsistencies at times that take the sheen off.

As we head for the close, it's a mixed bag of playing, some good stuff and some inaudible playing that loses focus.

Overall:

A little bit of an inconsistent one today, they fell into a number of musical traps.

2. Lockwood (John Roberts)

It's a bold confident opening that sets the tone for Lockwood. We are hearing the same interpretation that gave Drighlington a podium finish a week ago and there is some fine compacted playing taking place all over the stage.

This is a fine musical argument complete with good ensemble and solo lines, especially flugel. The good shaping and balanced sounds work so well.

The central 'Soliloquy' features a measured and control line whilst there are good contributions from euphonium and trombone. We do hear tiny slips, but that's all they are, blips don't distort the musical picture or argument being delivered.

The 'Epigram' is nicely delivered with a fine pulse ending with a tasty musical flourish

Overall:

This was the marker to base the rest by today. The approach was well drilled and disciplined and the MD stuck to what worked for him in Bradford last Sunday. Whilst not at full strength with just three basses there was so much to admire here and it was a real team effort.


North of England • Saturday 12, 15:01:42

We are now set for six renditions of Gregson's 'Essay'. This has sorted them out in Blackpool and Bradford, so lets see what happens in Durham.


North of England • Saturday 12, 14:45:13

Draw:

First Section:

Test Piece: 'Essay' - Edward Gregson
Saturday 12th March
Draw: 12.45pm
Commence: 3pm approx at conclusion of Fourth Section results

Adjudicator: Alan Morrison

1. Cockerton Silver (Michael Hardman)
2. Lockwood (John Roberts)
3. Harrogate (David Smith)
4. Ripon City (Martin Hall)
5. GT Group Peterlee (Ian Langthorne)
6. Westoe (Lee Morris)


North of England • Saturday 12, 14:39:26

We have a break now till six bands take to the stage in the First Section. We will post the draw once Alan Morrison goes back in box.


North of England • Saturday 12, 14:25:56

Results:

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

Adjudicator: Alan Morrison

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Winners - Jayess Newbiggin (Andrew Griffiths)

1. Jayess Newbiggin (Andrew Griffiths)*
2. Knaresborough Silver (Steve Moreland)*
3. Swinton and District (Robin Rutter)
4. Penrith Town (M. Wilkinson)
5. Beverley Brass (Peter Kench)
6. Spennymoor Town (Neil Davies)
7. Craghead Colliery (Jack Dodds)
8. Lanchester (Steve Robson)

Soprano Cornet: Craghead Colliery
Euphonium: Lanchester
Commendation: Basses, Jayess Newbiggin

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final


North of England • Saturday 12, 14:04:49

Section Four: Overall Thoughts

It's been a very enjoyable short but sweet (under hours playing time) contest where every single ensemble brought something out of the piece.

There may not be much in it, with the cleaner accounts of Knaresborough and Jayess Newbiggin just outdoing Swinton and Penrith who delivered two musical accounts but not quite as clean.

It's only the Brighouse, AoBBA chairman's view that counts though but

4BR Prediction:

1 Knaresborough Silver
2 Jayess Newbiggin
3 Swinton & District
4 Penrith Town


North of England • Saturday 12, 13:57:29

Section Four:

7. Craghead Colliery (Jack Dodds)

Not a bad opening at all. Steady without being over flamboyant but some good all round contributions going in here including the percussion.

It's nicely shaped and styled. Not everything is going in as solidly as they'd like, but lots to admire and appreciate here. The tempos are a touch erratic though at times (which could count against them) but there remains a confidence about the playing.

Yes, it challenges them at times, but they give the kind of commitment, fans of the black and white at St James' Park want to see in the coming weeks.

Overall:

One that grew in confidence as it went along, with some intriguing tempo choices,

8. Beverley Brass (Peter Kench)

Bright and breezy opening, that sets their stall out. You get the feeling straight away, this will be a no nonsense musical offering.

There is a good band sound that is styled well, but there a few challenges around the stand but top marks for commitment, even if everything isn't going in the right places when it should do. The tempos are pulled back but credit to the MD for making sure that it works for the ensemble.

It comes across a bit slower than it needs to be, but what the heck, there is some fine playing on show here despite the nerves.

Overall:

A pretty good show this, there were a few moments though and it was a touch slower at times but you never know.


North of England • Saturday 12, 13:28:47

Section Four:

5. Jayess Newbiggin (Andrew Griffiths)

There's some tentative moments but it settles well with the two basses working their socks off as that section isn't at full strength. This though is developing into a fun musical journey. It's light on the feet stuff. You can almost see the audience wanting to get up and dance, especially in the waltz. The cornet is a little fire cracker. He really goes for it big time.

There is caution at times, but the players know not everything is going to plan, but the commitment is first rate and everybody is putting a shift in.

Overall:

It was cautious at times and tested them but full marks for the neat and tidy way it was delivered and full marks to the duo bass section who did a sterling job. It may not be too far away today, who knows?

Great to see Regional Secretary Tony Griffiths doing his bit on stage, now he can relax and enjoy running his contest with his great team.


6. Swinton and District (Robin Rutter)

It's a purposeful opening, that has lots to appreciate. The band sound is good although the tempos are being pushed, but the ensemble copes with them.

We are hearing musical detail that hasn't always been in evidence today. There are a few tuning gremlins around the stand, but the control here is very commendable..

There are few challenges along the way, but the overall band sound was good, although tiredness at the end.


Overall:

A reading that had lots to admire, a few inconsistencies though


North of England • Saturday 12, 12:57:10

Section Four:

3. Spennymoor Town (Neil Davies)

There's a cautious start which means it takes a while to click into gear, but when it does, there are some nice band sounds. Did we speak too soon? There is some nice stuff going on but we hear a very powerful soprano making their presence felt and it is overpowering to us.

The cornet plays with flair and there is a nice feel to the music here. Everybody is putting a shift in. There is some over enthusiastic adrenaline fuelled playing at times perhaps caused by nerves, but we are hearing a very commendable account here.

Fair enough, not everything works and there is tiredness at the end, but they got there.

Overall:

A cautious and inconsistent account but one full of blood, guts and musical endeavour.

4. Lanchester (Steve Robson)

Lanchester settles well. It's steadily paced though rather than straight of the blocks, but its one that works well for the ensemble. They're relaxing and enjoying it, as opposed to being pushed outside of their comfort zone.

The steady approach continues and it works for all concerned. This is an enjoyable musical reading that everyone is contributing to and thriving upon. The cornet player delivers his solo lines with great glee along wth euphonium. Well done.

There are moments of unease but the confidence remains right up until the end even though there is tiredness.

Overall:

A reading of a piece that worked for the band, it was steady throughout


North of England • Saturday 12, 12:27:45

Section Four:

1. Knaresborough Silver (Steve Moreland)

It's a confident opening, lively, delivered with no shortage of confidence. The ensemble is in good heart here after its purposeful start. This is a nice sounding rehearsed performance. The tempo's are brisk, but manageable, but the basics are being put in place.

The waltz is a little beauty, so well judged, whilst the cornet is on fire in Spain. You can hear new Newcastle United boss, Rafael Benitez doing the Ole's . Great fun this.

The confident feel good factor remains right up until the end and closes well.

Overall:

A confident opening performance, that had a few challenges but extremely enjoyable.

2. Penrith Town (Mark Wilkinson)

Nice tasty opening, that is well judged and paced from the middle. The MD's direction is clear and precise. Ok there are a few tricky corners to navigate, but this is an impressive musical journey.

There is lots of energy around the stand and everybody is contributing. The percussion team are having a blast adding their parts that blend in as oppose to over power the band sound..

The soloists are doing well here, lots of bright, joyful playing. Everybody is enjoying it and confidence has grown as they have progressed but tiredness in evidence at the end.

Overall:

A really enjoyable offering that benefited from good ensemble, solo work and astute stick work from the middle.


North of England • Saturday 12, 12:00:09

Knaresborough are on stage so off we go here in Durham. Best of luck to everybody on and off stage this weekend.


North of England • Saturday 12, 11:52:04

We are just a few minutes away from the start of the contesting weekend in Durham. Eight bands will have no doubt enjoyed putting Peter Graham's musical journey together.

Alan Morrison is in the box and we'll be under way soon.


North of England • Saturday 12, 11:45:21

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

Saturday 19th March

Draw: 10:30am
Commence: 12.noon

Adjudicator: Alan Morrison

1. Knaresborough Silver (Steve Moreland)
2. Penrith Town (Mark Wilkinson)
3. Spennymoor Town (Neil Davies)
4. Lanchester (Steve Robson)
5. Jayess Newbiggin (Andrew Griffiths)
6. Swinton and District (Robin Rutter)
7. Craghead Colliery (Jack Dodds)
8. Beverley Brass (Peter Kench)


North of England • Saturday 12, 10:07:12

Good morning from the Gala Theatre in Durham where all the last minute preparations are being put in place.

We don't actually start until 12 noon here, with the Fourth Section kicking us off followed by the First Section later on.

There's lots of smiling faces though here as there should be, not just because you always get a friendly welcome, but because they've got a National Champion in their ranks, Houghton Brass.

Wonder how many times that will get mentioned between now and Sunday night eh? Perhaps as much as the Middlesbrough fanatic, Alan Morrison who is judging here this weekend, may mention the tough time Newcastle & Sunderland fans are having in these parts.

The football is about bragging rights just like the banding. The draw for Section Four is at 10.30am and we will post once Alan goes in the box around 11.45am.

Just a reminder that Mark Wilkinson has replaced Dr Roger Webster this weekend as an adjudicator. Mark will be judging Sections 3 and Championship tomorrow.

Brew time, join us later.


North of England • Saturday 12, 05:45:53

Competing bands at the 2016 North of England Regional Championships from the Gala Theatre in Durham.

Championship Section:
Test Piece: 'Cambridge Variations' - Philip Sparke
Sunday 13th March
Draw tbc
Commence: After Second Section results
Adjudicator: Mark Wilkinson

Easington Colliery (Chris Bentham)
EYMS (Stig Maersk)
Fishburn (Joe Cook)
Kirkbymoorside (John Woodward)
NASUWT Riverside (John Berryman)
Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
Shepherd Building Group (Richard Wilton)
York Railway Institute (Chris Hirst)


First Section:
Test Piece: 'Essay' - Edward Gregson
Saturday 12th March
Draw: tbc
Commence: 3pm approx at conclusion of Fourth Section results
Adjudicator: Alan Morrison

Cockerton Silver (Michael Hardman)
GT Group Peterlee (Ian Langthorne)
Harrogate (tbc)
Lockwood (John Roberts)
Ripon City (Martin Hall)
Westoe (Lee Morris)


Second Section:
Test Piece: 'The Mermaid of Zennor' - Philip Harper
Sunday 13th March
Draw: tbc
Commence: 1pm approx at conclusion of Third Section results
Adjudicators: Alan Morrison

Ashington Colliery (David Kendall)
Billingham Silver (Vaughan Evans)
Durham Miners Association (Stuart Gray)
Dunston Silver (Aidan Hodgson)
East Riding of Yorkshire (Garry Hallas)
Ellington Colliery (Jonathan Fenwick)
Houghton Brass (Tom Gibson)
NASUWT Concert (Andrew Hunter)


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

Sunday 13th March
Draw: 8.30am
Commence: 10.00am
Adjudicator: Mark Wilkinson

Backworth Colliery (Colin Harris)
Barton Community (Gary Oglesby)
Bearpark and Esh (Peter Elcoat)
Burneside Brass (Laurie Johnston)
Ferryhill Town (Andrew Hall)
J36 Brass (Andrew Warriner)
Kingsway Cleethorpes (Steve Askew)
Marske (Alun Prest)
Murton Colliery (Tom Maddison)
North Skelton (George Nicklin)
Trimdon Concert (Philip Tait)


Fourth Section:
Test Piece: 'The Journal of Phileas Fogg' - Peter Graham
Saturday 12th March
Draw: 10:30am
Commence: 12.noon
Adjudicator: Alan Morrison

Beverley Brass (Peter Kench)
Craghead Colliery (Jack Dodds)
Jayess Newbiggin (Andrew Griffiths)
Knaresborough Silver (Steve Moreland)
Lanchester (Steve Robson)
Penrith Town (M. Wilkinson)
Spennymoor Town (Neil Davies)
Swinton and District (Robin Rutter)



Walsall Brass Band - Willenhall Singers

Saturday 18 November • Sneyd Communnity Centre, Vernon Way, Bloxwich, Walsall. WS3 2PA


Rushden Town Band -

Saturday 18 November • Park Rd Baptist Church, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0RW


Contest: Brass in Concert

Saturday 18 November • Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead NE28 2JR


Foden's Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 18 November • Queen Street, Morley LS27 9DY


Black Dyke Band - Waterford, Ireland

Saturday 18 November • Carriganore Arena, Waterford Institute of Technology Sports Campus tbc


Newstead Brass

November 18 • Bb Cornet (position negotiable). . Newstead Brass, established Midlands Championship section, have opportunity for an additional cornet player. Suitable for experienced player or someone looking to take the next step in their development.


Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

November 17 • FRONT ROW CORNET. SOLO TROMBONE. . The band have an exciting concert/contest/marching schedule ahead. We are looking for a committed front row cornet and solo trombone player to come and join us in the Yorkshire 1st Section! MD: Richard Larder.


Glossop Old Band

November 17 • SOLO TROMBONE. The Glossop Old Band Welcomes applications for the Solo Trombone Chair. The Band will be competing in the First Section as of 2018 and are looking to continue its progression back to the top levels of performance


James Chamberlain

BMus (Hons) PGCE
Conductor, Teacher