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2017 North West Regional Championships
As it happened

All the action from the 2017 North West Regional Championships — as it happened.

Sunday 26, 22:28:25

Goodnight from Blackpool

That brings to an end our live coverage from The Winter Gardens of the North West Regional Championships. Congratulations to all the winners and qualifiers for the National Finals and congratulations to Regional Secretary, Peter Bates and his army of volunteers. They have done a terrific job today running the contests in three separate halls.

Goodnight from Blackpool. Next stop is Huddersfield.


Sunday 26, 20:00:02

Result:

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1st Place Foden's

Championship Section:

Test Piece: 'Pageantry' — Herbert Howells
Adjudicators: David Lancaster and Dr Roger Webster

1. Foden's (Prof Nicholas Childs)*
2. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)*
3. Fairey (Garry Cutt)**
4. Co-operative Funeralcare North West (Jeff Sparkes)
5. Ashton-Under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
6. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
7. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
8. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Stig Maersk)
9. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
10. Diggle (Steven Walsh)
11. Roberts Bakery (Simon Stonehouse)
12. Blackburn & Darwen (Neil Samuel)


*Foden's and Milnrow qualify for National Finals
**Fairey pre-qualified


Sunday 26, 19:40:55

Result

Third Section:

Test Piece: 'Darkwood' — Dan Price

Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones and Glyn Williams

1. Rivington & Adlington (Matt Whitfield)*
2. Trinity Girls (Ryan Watkins)*
3. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)*
4. Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
5. Eagley (Chris Wormald)
6. City of Chester (Ewan Easton)
7. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)
8. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
9. Skelmersdale Prize (James Hall)
10. Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)
11. Greenalls (Phil Boardman)
12. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
13. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
14. Dobcross Silver (Grenville Moore)
15. Douglas Town (Ken Mitchell)
16. Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth)
17. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
18. Coppull & Standish (Matt Stringer)

*Top three bands qualify for the National Finals in Cheltenham


Sunday 26, 19:05:05

Championship round-up and prediction:

What a contest of contrasts — and proof is any was needed, that 'Pageantry' remains a great test of musical character, intuition and refinement of musical mind.

Foden's produced a very fine performance today — so detailed, compact and cohesive, whilst Fairey, although not at their very best pushed them close with wonderful rich sounds and stylish musicality. Just a few to many little errors may be the difference between the two heavyweights.

Behind then, Ashton was very impressive and deserve to get the nod ahead of equally engaging Milnrow with Leyland not at their best having perhsoperhapsperhaps to be content with fifth place ahead of Longidge with Wingates our dark horse.

4BR Prediction:
1. Foden's
2. Fairey
3. Ashton
4. Milnrow
5. Leyland
6. Longridge

Dark Horse: Wingates


Sunday 26, 19:01:23

Third Section:

Final thoughts and Predictions

It has been a contest today where the piece has certainly ensured there has been plenty to keep players, judges and audience alike engaged.

Dan Price’s Darkwood is a good test at this level and has provided plenty of challenges for the bands to pull off.


It really is how the judges call it in the box though and this won’t be the easiest contest to predict:

4BR Prediction:

1. Trinity Girls
2. Stalybridge Old
3. Formby
4. Eccleston
5. Hawk Green
6. Eagley

DH: Dobcross Silver


Sunday 26, 18:57:43

18. Eagley (Chris Wormald)

Now then, the final band of the contest and day in The Arena, Eagley Band certainly gives the judges Steve Pritchard-Jones and Glyn Williams something to ponder after a rendition that had plenty to admire.

MD, Chris Wormald brought the piece to life in a way not many have today. Built on good foundations and as one of the few bands not to suffer challenging intonation or tuning issues, it gave all concerned so much confidence to go forward positively.

Some of the tempo’s were risky, but it could just surprise a few today. Who knows….


Sunday 26, 18:48:22

Championship Section:

12. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Stig Maersk)

Blimey Charlie. This is so loud to open. The King's Herald enters on a steam punk nag wielding an anti-tank bass trom bazooka strapped to his leg. MD has taken a very specific approach here — one that may or may not appeal in the box — even one as far away as Bristol. All the good work is lost in the Viking volume — so little filigree detail can get through.

It the same story in the 'Cortege' — lovely long lines of phrasing. It's certainly passionate and emotive, but is it also misplaced? What a great climax though — that would wake the dead all right. Rich and robust, it stirs the soul — but the close is hampered by the noticeable camouflage link on cornet to sop.

A solid joust to open and it grows in confidence — although that desire for the Spinal Tap volume control loses the sense of regalit and majesty. Super close you have to say — riveting in all senses. No doubting those final few bars.


Sunday 26, 18:43:36

17. Greenalls (Phil Boardman)

Greenalls become the latest band to find Darkwood a tough piece to pull off today. The musical foundations were not totally secure from the early part of the performance and it caused hesitation and caution around the stand.

When the nerves dispelled the quality of the playing came through, but it just had too many inconsistencies today.


Sunday 26, 18:31:59

Third Section:

16. Rivington & Adlington (Matt Whitfield)

Rivington delivers a performance of the set work that built in stature as it went along.

There was some uncertainties and anxious moments, but those aside the self belief grew and it hadn’t been for the errors, who knows how things may have panned out?


Sunday 26, 18:31:54

Championship Section:

11. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)

MD sets out his opening with a deliberate sense of style. It's all angular shapes and well defined lines — as if the herald is wearing on old Hugo Boss wide-shoulder suit from a Miami Vice film. It certainly makes a mark — and the consistency of the approach carries onto the end. A bit different that — but interesting nonetheless.

A more languid approach to the 'Cortege' — building to a robust climax. MD just pulls back the odd phrase ending to fine effect — like the steps soldiers take when carrying a coffin — just a little longer than the norm. The final section is nicely controlled too.

Another slightly clippy jousting opening take time to find its hoofs — but when it does there is a fine sense of control about the playing . The music builds without recourse to artifice and the final section comes off splendidly to round off a performance of interest and merit.


Sunday 26, 18:15:07

Third Section:

15. Greenfield (Tom Haslam)

Greenfield becomes the second Saddleworth based band to take to the stage on the trot. They deliver an intriguing account that certainly keeps you on your toes from the first note until the last.

It also includes a vocal support of approval from the middle as the piece goes along. There was a lot to appreciate here especially the way the conductor did not ask his players to do anything they could not do. He knew the challenges of the piece and took them into consideration from the outset.


Sunday 26, 18:14:18

Championship Section:

10. Co-operative Funeralcare North West (Jef Sparkes)

What a welcome straight forward, no nonsense approach. No 'Fancy Dan' herald this — just plain, simple and effective. We perhaps miss the in-depth forensic detail heard by the very best today, but in return we don't hear the over emphasised stridency either. MD is using is noggin — and it pays off.

The 'Cortege' is a bit of a budget plan 'booted and boxed' funeral — but again, it does what it says on the side of hearse. There was much to admire — with a tasteful, warmly toned climax. Just the close, after a sweet sop, faltered very uncomfortably — like hearing a mobile phone ring tone in the casket.

The opening joust just clips — but the recovery is so spirited and free flowing. Now the MD just gives the band it's head and they respond. Adrenaline tiredness sees a few too many scrappy moments creep in and it gets harsh, but it keeps hold of its form to a bold close.


Sunday 26, 17:59:42

Third Section:

14. Dobcross Silver (Grenville Moore)

The Saddleworth based ensemble certainly delivers a thoughtful reading of the set test. At no point did the MD want to push the band beyond their comfort zone and they certainly brought the music out of the piece.

The band and soloists dug deep though today and came out with a huge amount of credit.


Sunday 26, 17:55:54

Championship Section:

9. Longridge (Mark Peacock)

A bold sense of bombast permeates the opening movement — just on the right side of good taste. MD is pacing this so well — building in intensity and richness of timbre without losing the ability to feature touches of delicate filigree. Not everything comes off, but the intentions were admirable in every sense of the word.

The same goes for the sombre 'Cortege' — introvert to start before emerging with Bible black intensity to the climax. It's a pity the niggling unforced errors can be heard — like a mourner tripping on a wreath, as there was something moving and longing about this musical approach.

Again — just the odd little stone in the hoof to upset the jousting horse — but it recovers with splendid verve. Spacious little fanfares are a feature before we build to a rather strident, but exciting close to round off a performance of merit.


Sunday 26, 17:48:29

Third Section:

13. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)

Pilling Jubilee doesn’t quite pull off Darkwood in all its glory. There were some fine moments throughout the three movement piece, but also some tricky ones.

Full marks to the band though for keeping going right to the end, although it did test them today.


Sunday 26, 17:44:05

Championship Section:

8. Roberts Bakery (Simon Stonehouse)

That was a King's Herald racing on like Usain Bolt over the castle drawbridge. Why the pace you wonder? The tempo loses that heraldic feel of poise, pomp and raffish style. That was a bit of testosterone fuelled stridency. It's a pity as the band has such a fine sound to exploit.

The 'Cortege' is also a little individualistic — although the long, linear phrases are played with cultured refinement. Some odd moments though and a missing line is heard — or not as they case may be. A fine climax and again MD shapes the music to his will. Bravo sop and ensemble to close — one of the best today.

It's a turbo charged jousting match — and as such it's all bluster when a bit of cold eyed Assasin Creed was required. It's excitable rather than exciting, but that boldness does make an impression as the ensemble sound is rich, dark and imposing. The race is on to close, but it holds form and finishes with a touch of majesty.


Sunday 26, 17:28:03

Championship Section:

7. Blackburn & Darwen (Neil Samuel)

There is a boldness about this playing, which at times just borders on the harsh. It's a very modern King's Herald this — out of the Transformer film franchise. The music has lost its poise and although we hear detail it is edgy and messy. Will this idiosyncratic approach appeal in the box we wonder?

What a pity there is noticeable fragility about the playing in the spacious 'Cortege'. MD has shaped this so nicely — but the execution doesn't do it justice. Fine climax but the nervousness robs the sense of melancholy. Delicate sop is a lovely angelic voice, but the close falls from grace.

A stuttering opening to the finale — and it never quite recovers its sense of regal poise thereafter. Again, MD gives the music space and then winds it up so well, but the scrappiness in the ensemble robs it of majestic integrity.


Sunday 26, 17:27:35

Third Section:

12. Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)

Farnworth deliver a secure account that left you wanting just a little bit more. The basics were fitted nicely together and the three sections linked well each bringing out style and character.

The safety element was there and fair play to the conductor he kept a firm hand on things, but you knew the band just wanted to push things along a little bit more.


Sunday 26, 17:26:35

Result:

Second Section:

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1st Place. Flixton (Ian Brownbill)

Test Piece: 'Rhapsody in Brass' — Dean Goffin
Pavilion Theatre
Adjudicators: Stephen Roberts and Kevin Wadsworth

1. Flixton (Ian Brownbill)*
2. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woolam)*
3. Delph (Philip Goodwin)*
4. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)
5. Crewe Brass (Jamie Meredith)
6. Horwich RMI (Matt Ryan)
7. Marple (Stephen Curtis)
8. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
9. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Michael Golding)
10. Old Hall Brass (John North)
11. Besses Boys (James Holt)
12. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
13. Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)
14. Haydock (Mark Quinn)
15. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Christopher Binns)
16. Besses o'th' Barn (Mark Wildie)
17. Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)
18. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
19. Golborne (Mark Harrison)
20. Uppermill (Dean Redfern)
21. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)

*Top three bands qualify bands for National Final in Cheltenham


Sunday 26, 17:14:14

Third Section:

11. Skelmersdale Prize (James Hall)

Skelmersdale Prize became the latest band today to be challenged with putting three solid movements together.

The basics were put in place but the musical cement just didn’t stick together to allow them to build a performance of note. Enjoyable but tricky piece to master this is.


Sunday 26, 17:12:45

Championship Section halfway round-up

'Pageantry' has not lost any of its regal bite and ability to cause havoc to those who under estimate it.

Foden's produced a wonderful account — so detailed, composed and purposeful that you feel they have kept their hands on the North West trophy unless something excoetionally unexpected now happens.

Fairey were not at their very best today — at times beautifully cultured, but the errors were noticeable, whilst Ashton-Under-Lyne may have pushed themselves right into the Albert Hall from after that impressive account.

4BR Prediction:
1. Foden's
2. Fairey
3. Ashton-Under-Lyne


Sunday 26, 17:05:24

Fourth Section:

Celebrations in Blackpool

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Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig) show their winning prizes with pride


Sunday 26, 17:00:53

Third Section:

10. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)

Hawk Green certainly enjoys its Blackley inspired set work. Neil Hewson brought energy, good style and musical character to a work that was enjoyed by all.

Some sections worked better than others, but the sheer hard determination of getting right through the piece drove them on and the MD made sure they enjoyed it.


Sunday 26, 16:59:21

Championship Section:

6. Ashton-Under-Lyne (Phil Chalk)

There was a bit of a pageant exodus after Foden's — but it doesn't deter Ashton who start with confidence, detail and heraldic balance. Just the odd moments here and there, but this is so well shaped and paced. Nothing like after the Lord Mayor's Show here. That was solid stuff.

The 'Cortege' is not quite as successful — not immediately knowing what pace it should settle at, as it meanders between military and New Orleans Creole. Finally it makes its mark and the warmth of the ensemble playing is shown in the fine climax. The repose just falters a touch, but sweet sop and balanced ensemble close things off so well.

The finale is a little bit of a romp — jousts on Derby nags. That pace just robs the music of its regality but the confidence is marked and the purpose of the playing gains in energy and focus. Nearly tips over itself but what a thump to end things off. Very impressive that.


Sunday 26, 16:58:03

Second Section round up and prediction

After 21 performances of this piece I could listen to another 21. Its music of the highest caliber. The piece was definitely a winner today.

The bands who took the time to take care of the basics will have featured well today. Intonation and rushing rearing its ugly head in many performances. Style and soloists also had a big part to play and the best bands played with authority and style.

We waited all day to hear a winner and for us the final two performances were the best by a considerable margin. That said the earlier performance of Blackpool Brass caught the ear. There were also spirited attempts from Besses Boys, Haydock, Horwich and Whitworth.

Crystal ball time… we are going for

1. Boarshurst Silver
2. Pemberton B
3. Blackpool Brass
4. Haydock
5. Besses Boys
6. Horwich RMI

Dark Horse: Whitworth Vale & Healey


Sunday 26, 16:56:18

Second Section:

21. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)

Some very bold mature sounds from Boarshurst in the opening section. They are quickly establishing themselves as contenders here. Music full of life and colour that has a real sense of quality.

Horns are so beautiful to open and the second movement unfolds into a serene, beautiful picture full of style and space. The soloists are in fine form with good interjections from Trombones and Euph. Just the odd slip in delivery, but a neat and tidy close.

Its a start to the 3rd movement that has a sense of purpose and it really ticks along. There are some untidy moments in semiquavers and ensemble but not enough to detract. The chorale has shape and tone but it’s not always 100% together. The drive to home is an exciting romp. Superb close!!!

Overall: Did they save the best until last. It would appear so! What a superb performance from Boarshurst Silver.


Sunday 26, 16:46:53

Result:

First Section:

Test Piece: 'Land of the Long White Cloud' — Philip Sparke

Adjudicators: Paul Holland and David Roberts

1. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)*
2. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)*
3. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
4. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
5. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)
6. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
7. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
8. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Andrew Warriner)
9. Mossley (Duncan Byers)
10. Haslingden & Helmshore (Simon Cowen)
11. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)
12. Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)
13. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)

Best Trombones: Pemberton Old Wigan DW

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final in Cheltenham


Sunday 26, 16:43:55

Full Draw

Third Section:

Test Piece: 'Darkwood' — Dan Price

The Arena

Draws: 1.00pm & 3.00pm
Commence: After results of First Section

Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones and Glyn Williams

1. Coppull & Standish (Matt Stringer)
2. City of Chester (Ewan Easton)
3. Douglas Town (Ken Mitchell)
4. Trinity Girls (Ryan Watkins)
5. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
6. Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth)
7. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)
8. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
9. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
10. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
11. Skelmersdale Prize (James Hall)
12. Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)
13. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)
14. Dobcross Silver (Grenville Moore)
15. Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
16. Rivington & Adlington (Matt Whitfield)
17. Greenalls (Phil Boardman)
18. Eagley (Chris Wormald)


Sunday 26, 16:42:54

Third Section:

Half way thoughts

It has been intriguing Third Section contest so far where bands have found Dan Price’s Darkwood an interesting piece to play.

You could say local knowledge could influence the bands in this area, but it has not really done that at all. The bands that have done well are those that have laid good basic musical foundations and built a three movement piece on top of it.

It’s not exactly warm in The Arena today and that may well impact on some performances, but the quality has come through so far.

4BR Prediction:

1. Trinity Girls
2. Stalybridge Old
3. Formby


Sunday 26, 16:38:31

Championship Section:

5. Foden's (Prof Nicholas Childs)

A real sense of occasion to the opening — a King's Herald that you take notice of as soon as he enters the castle. A touch of imperial pomp about that — all shiny armour and a codpiece the size of grand national winner. So much detail, clarity and cohesiveness that knitted together so well.

The 'Cortege' is business-like — nothing over sentimental or lachrymose — dark, sombre and affecting (with just the odd clip). The touching cornet solo leads to huge climax and a sense of release as sop delicately snuffs out the candle and the ossuary door is closed.

More quality to the 'Jousts' — bold then playful. This has been super playing — again the forensic detail is heard but the music always flows. Just the odd harsh moment or two but you know where this heading. What a super finale — building in excitement and energy before the regal denouement.


Sunday 26, 16:35:05

Third Section:

9. Eccleston (John Wood)

Eccleston takes both audience and judges to the break with a performance that never really caught fire from our perspective.

There was caution, nerves and unease at times and this was unfortunate as the music was not beyond them.


Sunday 26, 16:26:58

Second Section:

20. Pemberton Old Wigan DW “B” (Mike Golding)

The MD adopts the steady approach to the first movement. The tempo is consistent and clarity and detail are evident throughout. A very fine close too. Full of style and purpose.

Horns engage in the style right from the first entry and the music flows with style and shape. This really does have style and shape — Bravo MD. Such lovely playing from the Euph and Horns. Superb ending to the movement, best of the day so far.

The final movement starts in tiger same vain although there are occasional slips in the delivery of solos. The chorale has flow and shape and is so well played. The final drive for home has character and poise.

Overall: A performance of real quality this. Well thought out and delivered. The audience (Pemberton A Band) goes wild and why not.


Sunday 26, 16:21:12

Third Section:

8. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)

The band from the outskirts of Rochdale possibly leaves the stage today thinking what could have been?

It wasn't a reading that was lacking in inner-belief or confidence just unforeseen errors which got in the way of the overall picture.

There was still enough quality about it though, but could those blips cost?


Sunday 26, 16:19:16

Championship Section:

4. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

There is a bold confidence about this playing in the opening section — one that occasionally just got the better of itself. It's all puffed out chest stuff — but it lacks that real detail — the crisp forensic edges and nuances. It moves with purpose and a touch raw splendour but you don't quite get that sense of heraldic pomp.

The 'Cortege' is sombre and measured — but little slips are noticeable and detract. It's a pity as the breadth given by the MD to the music invites artistry. A lovely climax but again it falls away somewhat. The close is well handled — restful and refined.

Fine opening clarion call promises much and in part it's delivered. some super inner detail is heard but the overall picture doesn't quite project that majesty required. Fine build tot he close, but untidiness just takes the edge off.


Sunday 26, 16:17:37

Second Section:

19. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)

The first movement has direction and purpose and is well controlled. There are errors in the opening statement and a sense of rushing in the ensemble that the MD works hard to keep in control.

The central movement has a lyrical flow that is well directed. The simpleness of the solo lines is embedded with an ease on the ear. This is good music making, just the occasional slip of intonation.

The third movement has a solidarity about it mixed with an air of safety. It’s all good and well played but it never really grabs the attention. Its certainly a neat close — well played band.

Overall: A solid show that just didn't have the clarity and finesse needed to make its mark on the top 6.


Sunday 26, 16:09:58

Second Section:

18. Uppermill (Dean Redfern)

The first movement has so many inconsistencies in tempo. It seems to slow down when the music gets quieter. There is also insecurity in the semiquavers. When the music is loud it has purpose and drive and is well played.

Second movement has shape and style but again liberties are taken with the tempo. Lovely soft sounds have shape and style but heavier passages rush forward. Lovely Sop and very tuneful final chord — well done.

The final movement is lively and dynamic in approach and style. The error count in solo lines is becoming noticeably high. Superb Basses and Bass Trom in the choral. Bold close to the piece.

Overall: This just took too many liberties with the tempo and had a high error count. The band sounded like a mature, good higher section band, but the clarity and pulse was not enough to make an impression today.


Sunday 26, 16:05:44

Third Section:

7. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)

Now then, that was a reading from Formby that really grew in stature as it went along. There was the odd bit of hesitancy at times, but it never stopped them on focussing on the overall musical picture.

The piece was nicely styled it was just that little bit of 'yes, we can play this piece' that held them back a touch at times.


Sunday 26, 16:02:09

Championship Section:

3. Diggle (Steven Walsh)

The bold start adds a sense of depth and grandeur to the approach, but the minor error count is noticeable. It is the inner workings that are untidy and rob the herkadic feel — like knight taking three attempts to get up on his steed. Lovely touches in places, but it doesn't quite hang together.

The 'Cortege' is sombre, refined and just a little reluctant to flow, but there are some fine sounds and tasteful solo interventions. The climax is bold but thereafter it feels uneasy and lacks repose. Sweet sop is a touching presence but the close feels a little to fragile.

Decent sense of jousting splendour but it becomes scrappy and uneven. It recovers with a bravura sense of style, but that untidiness conuntues to niggle. The sense of real majesty is just list to close.


Sunday 26, 15:49:33

Championship Section:

2. Fairey (Garry Cutt)

A crisp opening is full of pacy detail — a real heraldic feel of purpose and splendour. There is colour and texture too — with a lovely ensemble sound that has a cultured matt timbre — not over-ripened by vibrato. The boldness continues to a striking close — snapped close with alacrity.

The 'Cortege' is the band at its best — such broad, warm, balanced sounds. Just the odd little hint of unease, but again the overall picture is one of sumptuous, dark, melancholic colours. Fine close — with yearning sop even if last ensemble chord just meanders a touch.

Not quite perfect to open but it sets the scene so well — and the sense of drive, jousting power and thrust is evident. Lovely change of pace and then it returns to a free flowing majesty to close. No we hear the warmth added by vibrato as it closes in regal pomp.


Sunday 26, 15:48:30

Second Section:

17. Besses Boys (James Holt)

Great sounds to open — this has bravado and character. Semiquavers sometimes rush creating some looseness in ensemble. The percussion have a massive impact on the overall impression. Good close to the movement.

Second movement has flow and shape. Lovely warm sounds and the MD gives his soloists time to play. The lyrical playing has breadth and emotion. Good Sop to close.

The MD adopts the high octane stuff for his finale and percussion really go for it. It sometimes works well but sometimes it is too loud. Troms go for it too and its absolutely OTT, such a harsh end to proceedings in the chorale. Certainly a bold finish too.

Overall: Shouldn't be too far away and a certain chance of a top 6 birth. The ending seemed to get close to the limits of respectable sound but it was a good show.


Sunday 26, 15:47:35

Third Section:

6. Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth)

Confidence flowed through the musical veins of the oldest band in the world after a confident opening section.

There was a determined effort from the middle to keep everything as neat and tidy as possible and this paid dividends as the ensemble depicts the Manchester village in an engaging manner.

The confidence never really wavered. Yes, moments of uncertainty but no shortage of belief.


Sunday 26, 15:47:04

Result:

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1st place Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: 'St Andrews Variations' — Alan Fernie
Adjudicators: Gary Davies and Simone Rebello

1. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)*
2. Allerton Brass (Adam Taylor)*
3. Brindle (Keith Richmond)*
4. Cadishead Public (David Holland)
5. Parr St. Helens (John Ludden
6. Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)
7. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
8. Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)
9. Denton Brass (Matthew Bailey)
10. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)
11. Blackley (John Atkinson)
12. Ramsey Town (Robert Quane)
13. BMP Europe Goodshaw (Joshua Hughes)
14. Heyrod Brass (Lee Dunkley)
15. Stockport Silver (Ian Colwell)
16. Dobcross Youth (Matt Hindle)
17. Lees (Adam Niels)

*Top three bands qualify for the National Finals


Sunday 26, 15:33:53

Third Section:

5. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)

The Lancastrian outfit takes its time with getting to grips with Mancunian life. When they do, there is some good playing on show and the band relaxes.

It was a reading that took a little too long to comfort to life otherwise the whole musical picture could have been very interesting.


Sunday 26, 15:30:51

Championship Section:

1. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)

Just a hint of intonation on the opening cornet fanfare, but it settles with a neat sense of heraldic detail and balance — with the triple work in particular crisp and clean. MD gives the music space and the inner detail is heard so well. Close is neatly accomplished.

'Cortege' has slow, sombre pulse that grows in intensity to the central climax. Again — it is the breadth and space that is earmarked. Just the occasional moment of unease but a sweet sop tops things with delicacy although ending is fragile.

The opening is bold although it does click, but again the music rolls out with spacious purpose. Some little moments, but there is a stately feel to the music as we draw though to the well paced finale — all bravura fission


Sunday 26, 15:29:55

Second Section:

16. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)

It's a concise opening that has pulse and drive. The first band to really keep a hold of all the semiquavers — well done MD. A good bold ending too bringing a close to a movement that had style in an abundance.

Second Movement is tender and simple just as intended. Odd moments of lapses and intonation appear but it's certainly well controlled good playing. There is a major lapse in the final bars — such a shame.

The final movement has a rhythmic shape not heard before today. While this isn't the high octane stuff we have had it seems to be just on the money in many ways. Bravo MD a well directed show.

Overall: How much will they punish them for their lapses in the 2nd movement. This one had it all — certainly right up there at the top.


Sunday 26, 15:28:40

Second Section:

15. Marple (Stephen Curtis)

The band sound has depth and warmth, although intonation really suffers in the opening section. It soon settles down and finds its groove. Bold sounds are excellent and the detail is evident. Good purposeful close.

Again intonation suffers to open the movement and soloists seem to be on edge. The band has a lovely warm sound and good balance. Intonation continues to be a problem throughout. Lovely playing from Sop to close.

The band slips into 6th gear now and lets rip with some well prepared playing. This is more like it — big, bold, warm and solid in equal measure. Another cracking final movement.

Overall: Another band that grew in confidence and had a final movement that was worthy of any winning performance. The first two movements were just not on the same level'


Sunday 26, 15:23:16

Draw:

Championship Section:

Test Piece: 'Pageantry' — Herbert Howells
Opera House
Draw 1.45pm
Commence after Fourth Section results
Adjudicators: David Lancaster and Dr Roger Webster

1. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
2. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
3. Diggle (Steven Walsh)
4. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
5. Foden's (Prof Nicholas Childs)
6. Ashton-Under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
7. Blackburn & Darwen (Neil Samuel)
8. Roberts Bakery (Simon Stonehouse)
9. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
10. Co-operative Funeralcare North West (Jeff Sparkes)
11. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)
12. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Stig Maersk)


Sunday 26, 15:17:42

Third Section:

4. Trinity Girls (Ryan Watkins)

Trinity Girls and its conductor, Ryan Watkins produced a reading that engaged from the word go. The Brighouse trombonist knew how he wanted to portrait the work and he ensured that his band enjoyed the music.

Yes, there were tricky moments, but the music was full of life and had a sense of fun about it. The North Manchester village really was alive throughout. Well done all.


Sunday 26, 15:03:25

Third Section:

3. Douglas Town (Ken Mitchell)

The village of Blackley (pronounced Blakeley) is brought to life by the band from the Isle of Man. The opening march styled The Broggart is taken at a steady tempo whilst there is plenty of fine playing in the following two sections.

The basics of banding are put in place and there is a really nice feel to the music. There was hints of intonation and tuning at times but it did not detract from the determination shown.


Sunday 26, 14:59:14

Second Section:

14. Crewe Brass (Jamie Meredith)

A bold and confident first movement that had style but lacked poise and control. Semiquavers continue to be a problem through the movement. It’s bold enough to make a mark though.

Second Movement is confident and boisterous. It just lacks that breathing space needed for the soloists to really shine. It all feels a little rushed and hurried. Sop plays with panache and its a good close.

Its a lively depiction of the 3rd movement really catching the style of the composition. The band is really enjoying this movement, some very fine playing on show. Solid close.

Overall: Another band that grew in confidence. Probably the best last movement of the day so far. but you have to nail all three to win. A contender for the top 6.


Sunday 26, 14:56:49

Second Section:

13. Flixton (Ian Brownbill)

Some of the best playing so far in the opening section. Attention to detail is good. The inconsistencies creep in as we progress and the semiquavers start to rush.

I admire the approach to the second movement. The style is just right — well done MD. There are some pretty major intonation problems though that really do detract from the lovely solo playing on offer.

The final movement is steady but has the detail nailed — Sop and Euph contribute well. The chorale is lively in tempo but expansive in style — very nice. Error count mounted in the drive towards the end.

Overall: Some very good playing marred by mounting errors. A little more consistency and this would have been right up there.


Sunday 26, 14:51:06

Third Section

2. City of Chester (Ewan Easton)

Chester delivers a reading of Darkwood that was nicely styled and full of musical character. Not everything gelled into place though but there was a lot to appreciate from the respected Halle Orchestra MD.

Ewan Easton kept everything as simple as he could do for the band and it paid dividends. They were not pushed beyond their limits.


Sunday 26, 14:41:08

Fourth Section round up and prediction:

It's been an engaging, enjoyable contest — if a little uneven in quality.

At the top end for us there was a clear winner in Allerton, who were excellent, whilst there were some very well directed accoutns from Thornton Cleveleys and Lostock Hall, which could well claim the other qualification places, whilst Rode Hall, Parr St Helens and Tarleton could be snapping at the heels.

Out dark horse is Brindle off the number 1 draw with a special mention to the youngsters at Dobcross Youth.

4BR Prediction:
1. Allerton
2. Thornton Cleveleys
3. Lostock Hall
4. Rode Hall
5. Parr St Helens
6. Tarleton

Dark Horse: Brindle


Sunday 26, 14:36:09

Fourth Section:

17. Blackley (John Atkinson)

The long wait may have taken a bit of the energy out of Blackley here — a warmly played account just sounding a little tired in places.

MD lets the music move along at some neatly chosen tempi, and there is a lot to enjoy — with a lovey euph and cornet, even if it needs a little bit more of a defined pulse in places. Not a bad one to close the contest though.


Sunday 26, 14:35:42

Third Section

1. Coppull & Standish (Matt Stringer)

Coppull opens up the Third Section with a determined account that tested the band at times. The basics were in place but the piece never really cemented together as a whole as much as the band and conductor would have liked.

There was that number one feel about it though, disappointment, but someone has to do it.


Sunday 26, 14:22:09

Fourth Section:

16. Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)

MD has worn her heart on her sleeve here and drawn out every last ounce of passion and character out of the music. Some lovely little touches to go with a few that just raised the eyebrow — but it made the music jump off the page and seep into the listeners mind.

Not everything came off — but did was splendid — all the way to the 'All Creatures Great and Small ' cipher and the Mussorsky build to the close. One that may nick in here for a mention.


Sunday 26, 14:17:57

Draw

Third Section:

Test Piece: 'Darkwood' — Dan Price

The Arena

Draws: 1.00pm & 3.00pm
Commence: After results of First Section

Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones and Glyn Williams

1. Coppull & Standish (Matt Stringer)
2. City of Chester (Ewan Easton)
3. Douglas Town (Ken Mitchell)
4. Trinity Girls (Ryan Watkins)
5. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
6. Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth)
7. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)
8. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
9. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
 

Other competing bands

Dobcross Silver (Grenville Moore)
Eagley (Chris Wormald)
Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)
Greenalls (Phil Boardman)
Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)
Rivington & Adlington (Matt Whitfield)
Skelmersdale Prize (James Hall)


Sunday 26, 14:17:34

Second Section:

12. Old Hall Brass (John North)

Plenty of character and style in the opening movement. The occasional slip and sense of rushing does detract. Bold and colourful close.

Some lovely sounds in the middle movement. Well played Euph and Sop although there are just some real lapses in intonation from the trombones and basses. It’s a neat close and well done Sop on final entry.

The final movement is light and nimble in approach. Tempo is good and the band seems to lift a gear towards the end. The chorale just needed to be a little more expansive. Bold and big close.

Overall: A well led approach from the MD that included some very nice subtle touches of interpretation. The band seemed to grow in confidence as it progressed. A good overall show.


Sunday 26, 14:13:47

Second Section:

11. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woolam)

It’s a bold, if not totally secure opening. Strong sounds and good attention to detail are evident. We are just lacking in clarity of the semiquaver passages.

The middle movement is again safe in dynamic approach and lacks the emotive approach to solos. They are well played but not given enough space to really sing leading to a nicely rounded close.

Some of the bands best playing on show here. Controlled yet powerful and stylish. What a final flourish we have too. Great playing.

Overall: A band that seemed to grow in confidence as it went along. Will there earlier lapses count against them? Certainly another performance of merit overall.


Sunday 26, 14:11:47

Result

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1st Place and Best Trombones — Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)

First Section:

Test Piece: 'Land of the Long White Cloud' — Philip Sparke

Adjudicators: Paul Holland and David Roberts

1. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)*
2. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)*
3. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
4. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
5. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)
6. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)

Best Trombones: Pemberton Old Wigan DW

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final in Cheltenham


Sunday 26, 14:09:10

Fourth Section:

15. Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)

Another well put together performance — aided by the MDs excellent approach to pace and dynamic contrats and the solidity of all the main soloists. There was also a rich timbre to the ensemble sound.

Just the odd moment when it just didn't gell, but overall that was compact, cohesive and controlled. Some late bands making a surge for the Cheltenhan line here.


Sunday 26, 13:58:00

Second Section:

10. Horwich RMI (Matt Ryan)

It’s a steady opening tempo. Detail is evident and the sounds are compact and tight. Sometimes the upper dynamics become harsh in tone and approach. There is lots to admire — especially in the soloists.

Second movement has warmth and paints a lovely colour of sound. The quieter dynamics are also attempted well. Intonation suffers and so does balance in the horns tune and accompaniment. Lovely Sop to close.

Movement 3 is again steady in approach. Bold and colourful complimented by fine percussion playing. The drive to the end is a little bit of a scrabble to the surface. But it's a good close.

Overall: It's certainly a contender for a top 6 and not a bad return for the 1922 champions of Britain — good show.


Sunday 26, 13:52:37

Fourth Section:

14. Parr St Helens (John Ludden)

What a crafty, clever, and well thought out bit of musical contesting work from the MD and his players here.

The player shortfalls were covered expertly by some expert camouflage work, the set-up with the cornets opposite where they usually sit worked and the tempo choices and style was bob on. Add some super solo contributions and you got a performance of real interest and merit — and one that could push into the stage mentions. MD deserves a pint at the bar for that.


Sunday 26, 13:43:21

First Section

Final thoughts and Prediction

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Well, Philip Sparke's work has certainly tested the bands in this section today. And its worth remembering that it is one of the strongest around the country.

The spies from other regions will know how much work they will have to do to pull this off whilst they will be hoping the judges give them some food for thought also.

The standard was good though with just a few knowing it was a little too tough. The quality has certainly come to the fore and a couple of contenders maybe just ruing their luck at missing out on qualification for Cheltenham or a podium finish.

Rainford, Oldham (Lees), Eccles Borough and Wardle Anderson battling it out for us with Freckleton and Pemberton Old vying for contention.

Our first prediction (or curse) of the Regional month is:

4BR Prediction

1. Rainford
2. Oldham (Lees)
3. Eccles Borough
4. Wardle Anderson Brass
5. Freckleton
6. Pemberton Old

DH: Haslingden & Helmshore/Manx Concert


Sunday 26, 13:40:01

Second Section:

9. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)

The opening movement lacks clarity in the semiquaver passages, but has a nice feeling and style. The occasional blemish, but it’s mostly focussed and detailed.

Movement 2 is stylish in approach but its not always delivered with the conviction that is intended and we start to see errors in pitch and notation. It’s lyrical and full — well done soloists.

Movement 3 has a lack of poise and like so many others just tends to rush. Chorale is good and the sop player shines. A bold race to the end that could have just been a little more purposeful.

Overall: Not a bad one. Just detail and notation errors that will cost. Plenty to admire in the approach from the MD.


Sunday 26, 13:36:47

First Section

13. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)

Eccles brings the First Section to a close courtesy of a performance that showed that they didn't fear the piece at all. Mareika Grey used her noggin right from the first note and did not ask her band to do anything they could not contend with.

The end result was nothing overdone or overstretched, but a disciplined account that never took risks and kept things simple. There was plenty to appreciate and admire here. Well done all.


Sunday 26, 13:36:20

Fourth Section:

13. Allerton Brass (Adam Taylor)

What a splendid performance — rich in character, style, free flowing musicality, super solo leads and warm, well balanced ensemble.

That was classy stuff — directed with a touch of aplomb by the MD. All the players responded to the clear direction and delivered with such control and a real pinch of panache. A clear leader for us — and by some margin. Cheltenham here they come?


Sunday 26, 13:30:05

Draw:

Third Section:

Test Piece: 'Rhapsody in Brass' — Dean Goffin
Pavilion Theatre
Draws: 10.00am & 12.15pm
Commence: 11.00am
Adjudicators: Stephen Roberts and Kevin Wadsworth

1. Delph (Philip Goodwin)
2. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
3. Golborne (Mark Harrison)
4. Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)
5. Besses o'th' Barn (Mark Wildie)
6. Haydock (Mark Quinn)
7. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Christopher Binns)
8. Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)
9. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)
10. Horwich RMI (Matt Ryan)
11. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)
12. Old Hall Brass (John North)
13. Flixton (Ian Brownbill)
14. Crewe Brass (Jamie Meredith)
15. Marple (Stephen Curtis)
16. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
17. Besses Boys (James Holt)
18. Uppermill (Dean Redfern)
19. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
20. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Michael Golding)
21. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)


Sunday 26, 13:22:27

Fourth Section:

12. Lees (Adam Neild)

Congratulations to all concerned here. This was a real combined effort of will power and determination — as they were players short and had plenty of youngsters giving it their all.

MD encouraged and enthused — and his players responded. Special mention to the cracking lad on sop and the Trojan trom player all on his own (until joined by the bass trom who came on stage for the last movement). Bottle the enthusiasm and keep battling on. Bravo MD and band.


Sunday 26, 13:19:19

First Section:

12. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)

Oldham (Lees) having made an impression at Butlins last month continued their early season contesting form at the Lancashire seaside town.

John Collins engaged his players and audience right from the opening bars, and the end result was a rendition that really did make a very credible musical impression.

The players were allowed to express themselves and revelled in the opportunity to do so. It wasn't flawless by any means, but it brought a smile to the face.

One thing for sure — it's a contender today


Sunday 26, 13:17:34

Second Section:

8. Valley Brass (David Chadwick)

It's solid and compact this. Safety seems to be the key feature. Because of this we are lacking in the quieter dynamics. The subtlety of the score is lost in favour of playing the notes. It's solid and tasteful in places and frail in others.

The overall flow of the second movement was nice. But we again miss the subtlety and beauty of the quiet playing. It perhaps needs to be more than just safe and compact.

There is a sense of rushing towards the finish and all the safety of earlier movements is abandoned. The error count is mounting and this could prove costly. A high octane close.

Overall: Certainly a very different approach between the movements. A mix of safety and bravado that the band will be hoping to find favour with.


Sunday 26, 13:13:28

Second Section:

7. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Christopher Binns)

Opening movement is solid and safe. Lapses occur but they don't detract from this good opening section. Stylistic and full of poise. Well led by the young MD.

Second movement lacks flow, but its well managed. Soloists lead the way — a star on sop. Wow, the quiet section, a very brave attempt that almost comes off brilliantly. Well worth the risk. Some serious intonation on the final chord does detract.

The errors start to mount in the final movement from the soloists. It's certainly emotive in approach but its beginning to tire. Just enough left in the tank for a spirited drive home though.

Overall: One that started with so much promise but just fell short of the best today. Superb quiet playing will gain them points, but it tired too much towards the end for a podium place. It was certainly a good performance though.


Sunday 26, 13:01:21

First Section

11. Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)

As with other contenders today, Tyldesley found out just how tough a test piece at this level Land of the Long White Cloud is.

The quality playing shone through, but so did the nerves and the gremlins which was a real pity at it took the sheen off what could have been a performance to make an impression today.

Full marks for perseverance though.


Sunday 26, 12:57:38

Fourth Section:

11. Denton Brass (Matthew Bailey)

The story of the day unveils another chapter of the same characteristics. MD keeps the music flowing, the playing is at its best when the dynamics are full and the ensemble can blow so the sense of character can emerge from the score.

Some lovely moments (super euph and solo from), but also ones when the fragilities were so obvious. Players worked hard from start to finish — but that unevenness may cost.


Sunday 26, 12:51:02

Second Section:

6. Haydock (Mark Quinn)

It’s a bold and stylish opening, but not without blemishes. The bold style continues and its secure and tight if sometimes brash. Detail is evident and it’s well managed, and right up there with the best of the day

Class is being shown here in droves. Lovely playing and the soloists really shine. Sometimes it’s a little brash in the upper dynamics. Lovely singing Sop — well done.

Movement 3 is definitely brash in approach for the upper dynamics and the percussion nearly lift the roof off. You can’t fault the commitment on show. It's detailed and compact in style and approach.

Overall: A committed and detailed performance. Well done soloists. The harshness of tone sometimes detracted in the upper dynamics. But you can't deny this was a performance of merit. Will it be enough to win a second time here though?


Sunday 26, 12:44:16

Fourth Section:

10. Cadishead Public (David Holland)

A bold and bravura approach this — and it nearly paid off. The opening and closing sections were super — full of brio and energy, but it was the more exposed moments that were fragile.

The MD brought the character out of the music — and it was certainly full of life. Just those obvious fragilities and the need for a bit more dynamic may cost?


Sunday 26, 12:43:26

First Section:

10. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)

The reigning Senior Cup champion and First Section National finalist last year delivers a bristling and sparkling account.

With close attention to detail, conductor Gareth Brindle allowed his ensemble to lift the music from the pages of the score. All of the principal players put a real shift in and there was a real tightness about the ensemble sound.

The quality shone through though. The experienced heads around the stand (and in the middle) certainly brought all their know how to the performance.

On a different level so far for us today.


Sunday 26, 12:36:33

Second Section:

5. Besses o' th' Barn (Kenny Pain)

Sensible tempo and good sounds again, but we hear rushing in the semiquavers and ensemble. Rhythmically its just falling forward too much. The detail is evident and well prepared and the percussion add to the band well. A purposeful close.

A sense of safety in the opening of movement 2 shows a well prepared band, but there are insecurities in the ensemble. Nice blended sounds but again the tempo seems to rush. Well done soloists. Good Sop to close.

It's a strange tempo choice to the final movement. There is a definite difference between exciting and excited. This is the latter, but the band hold it together well at the fast tempo. Chorale is well managed and its a bold close.

Overall: Speed kills, and this could be the case for Besses. Some very fine playing but rushing and tempos detracted.


Sunday 26, 12:32:15

Fourth Section: Halfway roundup

It's been an enjoyable contest with plenty of musical endeavour on show from each of the bands. The piece is proving to be a tricky little tester though — especially in the more exposed passages where intonation problems have been obvious.

What has been noticeable though is that the MDs are all trying to keep the music flowing and bring out the character even if some of the basic building blocks in tuning and solo solidity have been a little uneven in the process.

As for our top three? Thornton Cleveleys remain in front for us, with Rode Hall and Brindle fighting it out with BMP Europe Gooodshaw. Special mention to Dobcross Youth though — a real joy.

1. Thornton Cleveleys
2. Rode Hall
3. Brindle


Sunday 26, 12:27:07

First Section:

9. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)

Pemberton delivers a rendition that certainly found favour with the audience but what about the men in the box?

Bright, breezy and so well thought out, there was plenty to admire, but not everything came off though. One for food for thought for the judges we think.

Some of the tempos were really pushing the boat. It could be an account that the judges love or loathe. Only they matter of course.


Sunday 26, 12:26:59

Draw:

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: 'St Andrews Variations' — Alan Fernie
Draws: 9.00am & 11.00am
Commence: 10.00am
Adjudicators: Gary Davies and Simone Rebello

1. Brindle (Keith Richmond)
2. Stockport Silver (Ian Colwell)
3. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
4. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)
5. Heyrod Brass (Lee Dunkley)
6. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)
7. BMP Europe Goodshaw (Joshua Hughes)
8. Ramsey Town (Robert Quane)
9. Dobcross Youth (Matt Hindle)
10. Cadishead Public (Craig McFarland)
11. Denton Brass (Matthew Bailey)
12. Lees (Adam Nield)
13. Allerton Brass (Adam Taylor)
14. Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)
15. Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)
16. Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)
17. Blackley (John Atkinson)


Sunday 26, 12:17:35

Fourth Section:

9. Dobcross Youth (Matt Hindle)

You've got to take your hat off (if I was wearing one) for that one. What a joyful, youthful, energy packed performance that flowed with musicality and character.

The tuning was AWOL at times, but the sheer verve and brio of the playing from such young performers (with special mention to the leading soloists) was great. Super direction from MD and such a display of collective confidence.


Sunday 26, 12:12:12

Second Section:

4. Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)

Solid opening and the tempo suits the direction and style. Its subtle and nicely rounded playing. Some slips but nothing that detracts from an excellent opening movement.

Lovely start to movement 2 and what a star on Euph — singing away. This really has a sense of passion and finesse. Lovely sensitive playing all around. Bravo. Some insecurity in final passage.

It's a controlled and detailed start and some very neat playing. Bold when its needed. Its not faultless but its close. Superb close

Overall: A good performance. Certainly a contender from the local band. Well done all round. Bravo Euph.


Sunday 26, 12:07:00

First Section:

8. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Andrew Warriner)

The contest resumes with the ensemble based closest to the Blackpool venue at this level, Poulton-Le-Fylde.

For us, it was a little claustrophobic at times and needed more time to breathe with space between the music.

The quality within the ensemble was there, but it was an account that just did not resonate with ourselves.


Sunday 26, 12:01:26

Fourth Section:

8. Ramsay Town (Robert Quane)

A familiar tale today — and another enjoyable, musically engaging performance that was just blighted by nervousness and some fragility.

Again, when it came together it was sprightly and vibrant, whilst the hymn section was broad and warmly toned. Will those little errors count against them though?


Sunday 26, 11:52:44

Second Section:

3. Golborne (Mark Harrison)

It's a steady and sensible approach to the 1st movement. The technical aspects are so nearly there. Blend and balance is well managed.

Movement 2 is right on the money for style and ensemble, Well done MD. It's just at the limits sometimes as we progress up to the higher register. Well managed and lovely horn playing.

Again a solid and steady approach from the MD giving his players the chance to play. They respond with plenty of enthusiasm. Nice rounded sounds to finish.

Overall: A well led performance. It's well set out and enthusiastically played, but just lacking the finesse to compete at the top today?


Sunday 26, 11:50:50

Halfway thoughts

It has been an intriguing contest here in The Arena in Blackpool.. Sparke’s piece has certainly tested bands at this level (as did London Overture two years ago) and there are plenty of spies in from other regions doing some homework.

Not many have really mastered the work so far. The challenge is knitting everything together as is intended but not many Antipodean journeys have flowed freely so far.

Cracking crowd in though and more seats will be put in at the back.

Very little in it at the top end though between the top two with a gap to the others

4BR Prediction:

1. Wardle Anderson
2. Freckleton
3. Haslingden


Sunday 26, 11:48:42

Fourth Section:

7. BMP Europe (Goodshaw) (Joshua Hughes)

A deliberately set out performance full of spirit and style here — so what a pity those little errors just took the gloss off things.

When it did come together the warm sound of the ensemble was marked and the music flowed (the waltz was a cracking one in a bar). They may just have left the stage knowing that it just didn't quite come off as hoped. Close though.


Sunday 26, 11:40:11

First Section:

7. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)

Bollington Brass takes the audience and judges to the comfort break with a hard working and not error free.

It was a touch nervous and cautious at times, but when the band found its feet, there was some fine playing on display.

A pity about the nervousness as the players on stage could certainly play it.


Sunday 26, 11:35:42

Second Section:

2. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)

Movement 1 is well controlled and a good tempo. Semiquavers again causing problems in the ensemble with rushing evident. This movement is well played though overall.

Movement 2 has depth and and style but tends to lack flow in the musical lines. Good solo contributions from Euph and Horns. Liberties taken with rubato and style — really going for broke

It's a quicker opening movement 3, but the ensemble stays mainly tight and together. Minor blemishes do start to detract but the band makes a spirited drive to the close.

Overall: Really going for broke here with this. Looking to be remembered from an early draw for the right reasons. A bold bass led performance.


Sunday 26, 11:31:57

Fourth Section:

6. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)

Another slightly uneven one here — and again, what a pity that the more exposed parts sounded a little fragile, as the flow of the music and subtle changes in style were so well portrayed.

When it did come together it was full of life and brio, but those nerves may just cost on a performance that nearly but not quite came off so well.


Sunday 26, 11:24:01

First Section:

6. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)

Now then, Freckleton really brings us a 'White Cloud' to enjoy. The approach was deliberate but Paul Dalton wanted to let the music breathe and it worked for his ensemble. The principal players all worked their socks off and there was some fine individual contributions around the stand. One of the cleanest renditions so far.

The tempos and dynamics along with contesting fusion got the blood going though. A case of compare and contrast between them and band 4 at the moment for us. Only the thoughts of Paul Holland and David Roberts that counts though.


Sunday 26, 11:21:49

Second Section:

1. Delph (Phillip Goodwin)

Movement 1 is bold in style and approach with big sounds. Little blemishes in semiquaver passages but its mostly well played. The music could use a little more pulse and poise.

Its a superb opening to movement 2. Lovely soprano sounds and some excellent solo contributions. The quiet playing is good. A lovely end too Bravo Soprano Cornet.

Movement 3 is again bold and strident in approach. Lacking that nimble feel in the quieter passages of Goffin’s scoring and the semiquavers sometimes rush. Intonation suffers in the chorale but it recovers well to a good close.

Overall: Its certainly a good marker. Bold and tight. Bravo Sop!


Sunday 26, 11:18:23

Fourth Section:

5. Heyrod Brass (Lee Dunkley)

An uneven one from Heyrod that at times shone with musicality and security and at others seemed a little too fragile and blighted by poor intonation.

A pity that as the MD brought the character out of the music and when it did all come together the warm band sound was so well balanced. A nearly one.


Sunday 26, 11:13:53

Fourth Section:

There is a lovely bit in Alan Fernie's 'St Andrew's Variations' that reminds you of the classic 'Good Old Days' song from Gus Elen — 'If it wasn't for the 'ouses in between'.

Check it out — it's a brilliant Cockney song from 1899,

Maestro please....

'Because we have such nobby distant views

Oh! it really is a wery pretty garden
And Chingford to the Eastward could be seen
Wiv a ladder and some glasses
You could see to 'Ackney Marshes
If it wasn't for the 'ouses in between'


Sunday 26, 11:06:17

First Section:

5. Mossley (Duncan Byers)

An intriguing and engaging account from the band from Whit Friday territory. Of key importance to the MD was letting his band play. No dynamics nor tempos were pushed to where they became tricky and uncomfortable. As with other contenders so far, there were some delicate moments that proved treacherous but the ensemble dug in deep.

One that certainly improved as it went along though.


Sunday 26, 11:04:21

Second Section:

The stage is set.

A very competitive section is about to start here in Section 2. The judges are in the box and will have the task of separating 21 bands.

What a wonderful selection of a piece too — the melodic driven 'Rhapsody In Brass' by Dean Goffin. Will the bands be able to conquer the challenges ahead? Only time will tell… It will be a hard day for the soprano players that’s for sure.

Good luck to one and all.


Sunday 26, 10:59:22

Fourth Section:

4. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)

What an enjoyable performance — led by the MD who really tried to bring so much character from the score — pulling it about like a recalcitrant teenager with a piece of bubble gum hanging from their gob.

Not everything quite gelled with intonation at times, but the subtle changes in pace and dynamics were marked and brought the music to life from start to finish. A bold and very stylish approach that should make a lasting impression. Bravo.


Sunday 26, 10:50:13

First Section:

4. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)

Now then, the Lancastrians certainly made everyone take notice of that one. Measured, well thought out and neatly delivered from the middle.

What came across to us was the relaxed feel of the players and how much they enjoyed it. Fair play to all involved — plenty to admire throughout on what is a challenging work.


Sunday 26, 10:47:56

Draw:

Second Section:

Test Piece: 'Rhapsody in Brass' — Sir Dean Goffin
Pavilion Theatre
Draws: 10.00am & 12.15pm
Commence: 11.00am
Adjudicators: Stephen Roberts and Kevin Wadsworth

1. Delph (Philip Goodwin)
2. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
3. Golborne (Mark Harrison)
4. Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)
5. Besses o'th' Barn (Mark Wildie)
6. Haydock (Mark Quinn)
7. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Christopher Binns)
8. Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)
9. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)
10. Horwich RMI (Matt Ryan)

Besses Boys (James Holt)
Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)
Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)
Crewe Brass (Jamie Meredith)
Flixton (Ian Brownbill)
Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
Marple (Stephen Curtis)
Old Hall Brass (John North)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Michael Golding)
Uppermill (Dean Redfern)


Sunday 26, 10:43:36

Fourth Section:

3. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)

Another hard working account that flowed with musicality from the MD, even if it was a little uneven in technical execution.

Super euph was a classy lead and the hymn tune was so well shaped — just a pity some other little bits and pieces didn't quite come off in the early sections, as collectively it got better and better as it went along.


Sunday 26, 10:31:29

First Section:

3. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)

The band from the Isle of Man enjoys its Antipodean journey. There was plenty life within the piece and the MD made sure the pulse didn't drag.

Not everything clicked into place as the MD and ensemble would have liked though, but the tempos, (some a little under than written) and dynamics produced an impressive balanced sound throughout.


Sunday 26, 10:28:19

Fourth Section:

2. Stockport Silver (Ian Colwell)

A battling effort from everyone here — led by the MD who kept the music flowing and all the lead soloists who added colour and texture.

Just a little uncomfortable in a few too many places with tuning, but it's very transparent writing. Lots of energy and a great bravura close though rounded off a spirited account.


Sunday 26, 10:16:46

Fourth Section:

1. Brindle (Keith Richmond)

After the National Anthem to warm up, Brindle enjoyed themselves on a neatly portrayed account that had plenty of style, vibrancy and some neat touches from all the soloists.

MD kept the music flowing and the subtle changes in pace made for a solid marker.


Sunday 26, 10:13:25

Fourth Section:

Alan Fernie is such a clever writer for this level of banding — and there are plenty of little motifs and handles to identify and grab hold on for the player and the listener.

Whether some are deliberate or note is a question only the composer can say, but listen out for a touch of Sousa's 'Stars and Stripes', 'My Fair Lady', 'All through the Night' and a few more Scottish ciphers besides.


Sunday 26, 10:11:20

First Section:

2. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)

Silk's rendition doesn't quite come to life for us today. There is a gentle and nervous feel throughout, but it just needed a bit more spark (apologies for the pun) and vibrancy to make an impact for us.

All of those on principal seats dug deep though and kept things ticking along, but tiredness crept in at the end.


Sunday 26, 09:59:17

Ready for the off in the Fourth Section

It's a sparse sprinkling of banding humanity in the audience for the start of the Fourth Section, but let's hope a few more are persuaded to come in as we go along.

The announcements are about to be made and then we are off with the first performance of 'St Andrew's Variations'.

First of all though it's 'The Queen'. Can't see her here either....


Sunday 26, 09:52:40

First Section:

1. Haslingden & Helmshore (Simon Cowen)

Haslingden opens up the contest with a well thought out, measured reading. The dynamic and tempo markings remained under firm control. There was just the odd occasion that contesting adrenaline kicked in and the band wanted to gallop, but full marks to the MD for reigning it in.

Not a bad marker it has to be said


Sunday 26, 09:47:15

Draw:

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: 'St Andrews Variations' — Alan Fernie
Draws: 9.00am & 11.00am
Commence: 10.00am
Adjudicators: Gary Davies and Simone Rebello

1. Brindle (Keith Richmond)
2. Stockport Silver (Ian Colwell)
3. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
4. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)
5. Heyrod Brass (Lee Dunkley)
6. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)
7. BMP Europe Goodshaw (Joshua Hughes)
8. Ramsey Town (Robert Quane)
9. Dobcross Youth (Matt Hindle)

Allerton Brass (Adam Taylor)
Blackley (John Atkinson)
Cadishead Public (Craig McFarland)
Denton Brass (Matthew Bailey)h
Lees (Adam Nield)
Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)
Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)
Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)


Sunday 26, 09:37:47

Here we go

The North West Regionals is about to get underway with Section 1. Good luck to everyone today in Blackpool and remember to enjoy yourselves. Yes, it's competition, but it is about enjoyment........


Sunday 26, 09:21:03

Draw

First Section:

Test Piece: 'Land of the Long White Cloud' — Philip Sparke
The Arena

Draw: 8.30am
Commence: 9.30am

Adjudicators: Paul Holland and David Roberts

1. Haslingden & Helmshore (Simon Cowen)
2. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)
3. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
4. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
5. Mossley (Duncan Byers)
6. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)
7. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
8. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Andrew Warriner)
9. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
10. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
11. Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)
12. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
13. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)


Sunday 26, 06:59:31

Travel disruptions

If you are on your way to Blackpool today then please check that you give yourselves plenty of time to get here. There are both road and rail disruptions in place, so please check the link below and add a few minutes onto your journey.

http:/­/­www.4barsrest.com/­news/­detail.asp?id=28328


Sunday 26, 06:57:26

Good morning from Blackpool

It was wet and windy in the St Tropez of the north last night, with the promise of it reverting to good old Lancashire weather today.

No worries for those who will be in the warmth of the Winter Gardens though — as snug as bed bugs in a local Bed & Breakfast, as the action kicks off at 9.00am with what promises to be a cracking Fourth Section contest as the curtain raiser for the Championship battle to follow his afternoon.

Elsewhere there are some tasty contest to look for ward to on the other sections as well — so never mind the weather, get to Blackpool (remember the traffic problems) and enjoy a great day.


Saturday 25, 18:04:43

Heading north...

Despite the defeat of the Welsh rugby team in Scotland, the 4BR Editor will soon be on the road to head north for a battle of a different kind.

Lots to look forward to at the Winter Gardens for certain — and maybe, just like Murrayfield, perhaps a shock result or two as well...


Saturday 25, 12:58:46

Runners & Riders

Championship Section:

Test Piece: 'Pageantry' — Herbert Howells
Opera House
Draw 1.45pm
Commence after Fourth Section results
Adjudicators: David Lancaster and Dr Roger Webster

Ashton-Under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
Blackburn & Darwen (Neil Samuel)
Co-operative Funeralcare North West (Jeff Sparkes)
Diggle (Steven Walsh)
Fairey (Garry Cutt)
Foden's (Prof Nicholas Childs)
Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
Longridge (Mark Peacock)
Milnrow (Mark Bentham)
Roberts Bakery (Simon Stonehouse)
Vernon Building Society Poynton (Stig Maersk)
Wingates (Paul Andrews)

First Section:

Test Piece: 'Land of the Long White Cloud' — Philip Sparke
The Arena
Draw: 8.30am
Commence: 9.30am
Adjudicators: Paul Holland and David Roberts

Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
Freckleton (Paul Dalton)
Haslingden & Helmshore (Simon Cowen)
Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
Mossley (Duncan Byers)
Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
Poulton-Le-Fylde (Matthew Ryan)
Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)
Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)
Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)

Second Section:

Test Piece: 'Rhapsody in Brass' — Sir Dean Goffin
Pavilion Theatre
Draws: 10.00am & 12.15pm
Commence: 11.00am
Adjudicators: Stephen Roberts and Kevin Wadsworth

Besses Boys (James Holt)
Besses o'th' Barn (Mark Wildie)
Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)
Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)
Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)
Crewe Brass (Jamie Meredith)
Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)
Delph (Philip Goodwin)
Flixton (Ian Brownbill)
Golborne (Mark Harrison)
Haydock (Mark Quinn)
Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
Horwich RMI (Matt Ryan)
Marple (Stephen Curtis)
Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
Old Hall Brass (John North)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Michael Golding)
Uppermill (Dean Redfern)
Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)
Whitworth Vale & Healey (Christopher Binns)

Third Section:

Test Piece: 'Darkwood' — Dan Price
The Arena
Draws: 1.00pm & 3.00pm
Commence: After results of First Section
Adjudicators: Steve Pritchard-Jones and Glyn Williams

City of Chester (Ewan Easton)
Coppull & Standish (Matt Stringer)
Dobcross Silver (Grenville Moore)
Douglas Town (Ken Mitchell)
Eagley (Chris Wormald)
Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)
Formby (Louise Hough MBE)
Greenalls (Phil Boardman)
Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)
Rivington & Adlington (Matt Whitfield)
Skelmersdale Prize (James Hall)
Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
Stalybridge Old (David Ashworth)
Trinity Girls (Ryan Watkins)

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: 'St Andrews Variations' — Alan Fernie
Draws: 9.00am & 10.00am
Commence: 10.00am
Adjudicators: Gary Davies and Simone Rebello

Allerton Brass (Adam Taylor)
Blackley (John Atkinson)
BMP Europe Goodshaw (Joshua Hughes)
Brindle (Keith Richmond)
Cadishead Public (Craig McFarland)
Denton Brass (Matthew Bailey)
Dobcross Youth (Matt Hindle)
Heyrod Brass (Lee Dunkley)
Lees (Adam Nield)
Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)
Parr St. Helens (John Ludden)
Ramsey Town (Robert Quane)
Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)
Stockport Silver (Ian Colwell)
Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)
Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)



Cory Band - Rhymney School ACW Concert

Thursday 29 June • Rhymney Comprehensive School, Abertysswg Road, Tredegar NP22 5XF


Regent Hall Concerts - Junior Guildhall Brass Band

Friday 30 June • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street.opp. BHS. London. W1C 2DJ W1C 2DJ


Skelmanthorpe Prospect Brass - Skelmanthorpe Band & Skelmanthorpe Training Band

Saturday 1 July • Thorncliffe Working Mens & Social Club. 11 Thorncliffe . Kirkburton . HD8 0UG HD8 0UG


Jackfield Band - Pershore Midsummer Brass Festival

Saturday 1 July • Angel Inn Hotel, High Street, Pershore, Worcestershire WR10 1AF


Friary Guildford Brass Band - Boscombe Band of the Salvation Army

Saturday 1 July • Boscombe Salvation Army, Palmerston Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset BH1 4HT BH1 4HT


Bedford Town Band

June 28 • Bedford Town Band (London and SC) has vacancy for a Flugel Horn player. We are a friendly and ambitious 1st section band with a good diary of concerts and contests planned.


Foss Dyke Band

June 28 • Eb and Bb BASS REQUIRED . Foss Dyke Band need basses for the National Finals in Cheltenham and beyond.


Ocean Brass

June 27 • Ocean Brass (2nd Section) are looking for percussionists. We rehearse on a Thursday evening at St Mary's College, Bitterne, SO18 4DJ. .


Alan Fernie

DRSAM, Dip.NCOS
Arranger, composer, adjudicator, conductor