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2017 West of England Regional Championships
As it happened

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

West of England

Monday 13, 12:57:42

Fourth Section: Awards

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1st Place: Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)

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2nd Place: Saltash Town (Robert Julian)

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3rd Shanklin Town (IoW) (Malcolm Lewis)


West of England

Monday 13, 12:49:32

Third Section: Awards

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1st Place: Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)

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2nd Place: Corsham (Colin Hogg)

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3rd Place: Midsommer Norton & Radstock Silver (Joanne Sykes)


West of England

Monday 13, 12:40:24

First Section: Awards

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1st Place: SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)

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2nd Place: Bournemouth Concert Brass (Matthew Brown)

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3. Hyde (Jonathan Lush-Camps)


West of England

Monday 13, 12:29:54

Championship Section: Awards

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Woodfalls takes the spoils in Torquay

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1st Place: Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)

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2nd Place: Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)

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3rd Place: Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)


West of England

Monday 13, 10:08:15

Second Section: Awards

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Bodmin achieve Regional glory in Torquay


West of England

Sunday 12, 21:05:16

The end of the contesting weekend

So that's it. The end of a mamoth contesting weekend around the UK with some of the pre-contest favourites going through and some bands heading home ruing their luck.

We trust you have enjoyed our coverage. News reports will appear in the coming days and then the Regional series concludes with London & Southern Counties and the Welsh Championships.

Good night from four corners of the UK.


West of England

Sunday 12, 19:28:20

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Results:

Championship Section:

Test Piece: 'Pageantry' (Herbert Howells)

Adjudicators: Paul Norley and Stephen Roberts

1. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)*
2. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)*
3. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
4. Flowers (Paul Holland)
5. Lanner & District (David Hamilton)
6. St Dennis (Darren Hawken)
7. Aldbourne (David Johnson)
8. Camborne Town (Michael Fowles)
9. St Austell Town (Steve Sykes)
10. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)
11. Mount Charles (Stan Lippeatt)
12. Brunel Brass (Paul Collis-Smith)
13. Roche Brass (Garry Cutt)
14. Yeovil Town (Ian Holmes)

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final at The Royal Albert Hall


West of England

Sunday 12, 19:21:03

Editor's Championship Section round-up

A contest that rather fell into Flowers lap you suspect — and that after they didn't really play to their tip top form. There was still enough class there though as others simply made far too many unforced errors and mistakes.

The battle for second place is a close one though with Woodfalls just getting the nod over St Dennis for us with Aldbourne in fourth. Filton and Lydbrook the other top six places for us, with our dark horse of Verwood Concert.

4BR Prediction:
1. Flowers
2. Woodfalls
3. St Dennis
4. Aldbourne
5. Filton Concert
6. Lydbrook

Dark Horse: Verwood Concert


West of England

Sunday 12, 19:04:43

Championship Section:

14. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)

Such an impressive opening — neat, compact, concise and no nonsense. A bit like having the heraldic message delivered by one of those hard as nails Mexican flyweight boxers. It really was nipped and clipped — so clean. It didn't harm the music at all though as that essential pose remained intact. Super.

What a pity the 'Cortege' wasn't in the same league — despite the fine musical intent by the MD. Those pesky nervous mourners returned once again and the processional become a bit of a blubfest. It recovered but never quite settling the emotions. Super climax but the final repose wavers.

Odd little clarion call, but once in their stride that opening sense of compactness makes a welcome return. MD really has had this by the scruff of the neck. Fine control to build to the climax which has a nice fresh majesty — topped by ballpin sop. Pacy close too — to round off a rendition that was bookended by two outer movements of high quality.


West of England

Sunday 12, 18:45:16

Championship Section:

13. St Austell (Steve Sykes)

What a pity the opening call to arms was bent as if it was made by Harry James with a banana in the end of his trumpet as thereafter the neat precision and the flow of the music had a sense of poise and rigour. MD is another who knows not to fiddle with Howells' intentions — and as a result all is well.

The tasteful delivery of the 'Cortege' is one to admire — no fuss, just plain and simple in approach and execution. The build to the climax is played with growing dramatic input — but never over-egged. MD takes a few risks in the final resting passage — and his players respond beautifully. Nice.

Just a little clarion blip, but then we hear plenty of good quality playing. Some of the detail is lost in places as the dynamic contrasts narrow but the music still flows with nobility. A little scrappy to close but they have given everything here.


West of England

Sunday 12, 18:25:23

Championship Section:

12. St Dennis (Darren Hawken)

There was a touch of youthful rhythmic enthusiasm about this opening — a bright, bubbling herald — like a LA rapper. Not perfect by any means, but the approach, with a mature lightness of touch from the MD is laced with intelligence. Goes a little Snoop Dog to close, but you can forgive them for that.

The 'Cortege' is so well delivered — again, no nonsense, no nerves, no fuss. The build to the emotional peak is taken in well judged incremental steps — and then explodes in an outpouring of grief. What a wonderful restful final journey — the velvet curtain closed with such tenderness as the body heads to join the chorus of the choir invisible. Lovely that.

Just the odd little clip in the clarion call, but once again the MD is using his musical noggin. His band responds with noble vigour and no little poise. Just gets a little tired in places, but this has been impressive playing. The control to the final climax which is board and lyrical. So well done this — and so is the elongated plum drop close.


West of England

Sunday 12, 18:09:38

Championship Section:

11. Brunel Brass (Paul Collis-Smith)

The opening herald is one of considered dynamic and well paced manners — much like the MDs engaging approach to the music. It doesn't have that sense of arrogance or pimped up bling with the effects, but listen carefully and it's all there. The high error count does them no favours, but there was something about this.

The same with the 'Cortege' — played with a strict military processional feel that only occasional meanders. No 'tired and emotional' mourners to kick over an occasional wreath either — with the climax reserved but still emotionally charged. What a lovely close — the best of the day to round off a funeral that put a smile on the face with its lack of over-sentimentality.

A clarion call of substance leads into a jousting match that has a light, dance like quality. Again, the errors and occasional smudges may cost, but the approach to the music and the way the MD has laid it out has been so refreshing. Just a little tired and untidy to close, but what an engaging musical interpretation.


West of England

Sunday 12, 17:51:39

Championship Section:

10. Mount Charles (Stan Lippeatt)

A well managed herald comes knocking. Not the heavyweight presence of some today and a little scruffy around the edges, but the message was delivered with purpose, detail and clarity of musical thought. Just the odd moment of unease (and breathing miscommunication in the three tubas?) but it held its own.

A bit of a Co-op 'box and drop' funeral procession — but all the better for it. No over emotional nervousness — just settled humanist good sense. Again, it just lacked that raw power in the climax, and the final draw to the resting place was just a touch uncaring — although it eventually ended nicely.

A bold clarion call and the music unfolded with rich character and purpose. MD has used all his experience here to make sure the detail is heard without losing the noble majesty of the music. The lack of ensemble weight just loses the sense of presence, but it's neatly tailored off to close.


West of England

Sunday 12, 17:38:00

Championship Section:

9. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)

Oh what a fine opening — full of stentorian command, detail and brio. The two sop approach is like seeing identical twins coming forward with the heraldic message, but the filigree work is splendid. Lots of detail and flow to the music which the MD lets speak for itself. Such solid attributes on show — and a close that had a stamp of splendour.

Those troublesome aunts are sniffing again (and at one point one steps in something unpleasant before entering the hearse) but the flow of the music has such a processional feel. There is a dark melancholy on display — relative but still with an underlying bubbling emotion. Superb climax, but just the little bump before the final resting place.

Superb opening clarion call, and what a sense of noble majesty about the playing. Great detail on show with euph and cornet once again featuring so well. The build to the final climax is paced so well by the MD and the denouement is thrilling.


West of England

Sunday 12, 17:16:30

Championship Section:

8. Aldbourne (David Johnson)

An opening as bold, upright and commanding as a Royal Marine on duty at Buck House. Little scratches where heard, but this was playing of poise, detail, flow and precision. Bravo MD — laid out the kit as if for parade inspection and it passed with flying colours. That had a stamp of purpose.

Not so the 'Cortege' that once again took time for the chief mourners to stop blubbering uncontrollably into their silk hankies. What a pity — the hearse is halfway to the bone house before the rest get a comfortable lift. The MD draws things together so impressively at the graveside — with a wonderful climax and tempered poise for the tender close though.

A rousing jousts brings things to a close with a majestic throb of noblesse-oblige — and it is fine stuff. Again the detail is evident to bolster the well balanced ensemble. The control to the final climax and ride for home is also so well handled too.


West of England

Sunday 12, 17:04:39

4BR Editor's halfway view and prediction:

You have to say this has been a real disappointment so far — with no band playing to their obvious potential and all delivering performances that were marked by unforced errors.

Flowers are out in front, and by a margin, but this was not vintage Flowers by any means, whilst the rest simply made far too many basic mistakes. The MDs must be pulling thier hair out as they have certainly some their jobs. It's Flowers for us from Filton and Lydbrook, with the rest rueing those costly mistakes.

4BR Prediction:
1. Flowers
2. Filton Concert
3. Lydbrook


West of England

Sunday 12, 16:50:16

Championship Section:

7. Yeovil Town (Ian Holmes)

Just the occasional trip and stub of the toe for the herald — which was delivered with purposeful intent and the MDs desire to let the score speak for itself without any added personal addendum. Little bits and blobs didn't quite work but the close was handled with a touch of nonchalant ease.

What is it with this opening? It's like trying to usher two blubbering old aunties into the first car behind the hearse. So simple but oh so troublesome. The 'Cortege' recovers its poise and rich sense of melancholic loss, and the climax is well portrayed — whilst the final resting place is subtle and touching.

A deliberate clarion call, and again, the MD allows the score to reveal its inner detail without unnecessary prompting. Now the band is playing to its potential — broad and noble and with a touch of juice in the old loins to muster a heraldic close too.


West of England

Sunday 12, 16:32:21

Championship Section:

6. Roche Brass (Garry Cutt)

A refined, tasteful herald knocks the door here — suited and booted, but hiding the casual bling. Not quite everything is sharply focussed and detailed as we look close at his garb, but it's still well heeled in its musicality and ensemble sonority. Some lovely touches from the MD draws the music from the score, but not too sure about the last bar?

Uncontrolled Princess Di type emotional blubbering at times from a few featured mourners — and again, its such a pity as the broad scope of the music is so well set out by the MD. This has got the better of a few at the graveside here, but it recovers well for a lovely climax and a final resting place.

At last — playing rich in security (despite little ending blip) that matches the majestic sweep of the MDs intent. Now there is a touch of pomp, arrogant poise about things — with a great climax and noble reprise. Speedy close is well handled to a thumping denouement. Why did it take so long though?


West of England

Sunday 12, 16:19:52

Championship Section:

5. Camborne Town (Michael Fowles)

A performance of musical character completely blighted by unforced errors, annoying mistakes and perhaps a lack of concentration.

The opening was heraldic almost in an amnesiac way — the amount of detail quickly forgotten so soon after it started so impressively was startling. The music had such poise — but what use? The herald looked the part but announced his proclamation like the shopkeeper Arkwright.

More of the same — with lovely long phrases and broad, warmly hued sounds of melancholy, but each time you sensed it was going to touch the emotional core, it faltered. It was like someone coughing all the way through the Archbishop's homily. So frustrating as the musical picture was sumptuously dark and touching.

A bold joust tripped along, and again the MD brings flowing musicality from the score. It's just the horses trip over their own hooves. Majestic sounds and great nobility to close, but why has it taken so so long for this to come to glorious life. What a frustration.


West of England

Sunday 12, 15:52:35

Championship Section:

4. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)

A rather circumspect opening overcomes its initial reticence and builds with a free flowing sense of musicality. MD's neutral reading is welcome — no enforced artifice allowing Howells' detailed score to speak for itself. The blemishes are heard, but it retains a heraldic poise.

Hints of nervousness and lack of ensemble cohesion makes for a 'Cortege' that never quite sounded at ease — all weepy nose blowing relatives. It recovers as the processional enters the graveyard and the controlled warmth of the climax keeps over-sentimentality at bay. Lovely horn closes the ossuary door.

The opening joust raises an eyebrow, but again the MDs good musical sense keeps things on track. There is a pulse and purpose to this, even if it need a touch more majestic depth. A fine closing section rounds things off.


West of England

Sunday 12, 15:33:50

Championship Section:

3. Flowers (Paul Holland)

The rather weak opening motif raises an eyebrow — as if the old herald was giving a Phil Bennett side step feint, but it soon gets into its stride, with a delivery that is packed with detail. Some lovely moments appear out of the cover — from filigree sop in particular. The denouement is substantial but retains that sprightly feel.

The 'Cortege' is classy — from opening baris and horn to sweet cornet and sop to close. MD does not pour out the lachrymosity either — keeping the emotion in check with stiff upper lip. The climax is a spasm of grief and the repose closes with touching affection.

A bold call to arms — and then the band unveil their full gamut of technical precision. This is fine playing — with head of steam that remains controlled and majestic. MD makes some carefully aimed breaks and the final home romp has such purpose even in elongated mode.


West of England

Sunday 12, 15:17:45

Championship Section:

2. Lanner & District Silver (David Hamilton)

The heraldic opening never quite sounded at ease here — as if the poor lad was unsure of his opening lines, but it soon recovered with a touch of pomp and poise. Not everything came off and the close was untidy, but mission accomplished — just.

Not a good 'Cortege' though — from the start which sounded as if the mourners were grief stricken. The music didn't flow with any processional intent and the nervousness robbed any sense of emotion. The climax was heartfelt, but the close was a touch uncomfortable to say the least.

The joust got off to a bit of a lumpy start and although it recovers its poise, there was no real sense of majesty or nobility about the playing. A tired, brave band gave it their all to close.


West of England

Sunday 12, 15:05:31

Championship Section:

1. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)

A performance very much in three parts — the first a bold, bravura Herald, full of pomp and purpose.

That was a fine start, with some neat little touches from the MD in the malleability stakes, and was followed by a broad, sweeping Cortege, that just had the odd slip but still retained its reflective melancholy. The climax had a touch of profound emotion and the response was settled.

The joust was edgy in places, but full of heroic splendour. Again MD takes some tasty risks with his interpretation, but this had a robust nobility that was high on the excitement counter. Just gets a little harsh as the lactic acid creeps into the armour, but what a final fling to the end.


West of England

Sunday 12, 14:51:56

2016-2017 Grading Table

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Table showing the grading positions in advance of the contest and will be used in combination with the 2017 results to determine gradings for 2018

In accordance with National Grading Rule Q WEBBA plan to re-balance the sections after the 2017 Area.

Draw: Championship Section:

Test Piece: 'Pageantry' (Herbert Howellsh
Sunday 12th March
The Forum
Draw 1.00pm
Commence: Not before 2.30pm
Adjudicators: Paul Norley and Stephen Roberts

1. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
2. Lanner & District (David Hamilton)
3. Flowers (Paul Holland)
4. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)
5. Camborne Town (Michael Fowles)
6. Roche Brass (Garry Cutt)
7. Yeovil Town (Ian Holmes)
8. Aldbourne (David Johnson)
9. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
10. Mount Charles (Stan Lippeatt)
11. Brunel Brass (Paul Collis-Smith)
12. St Dennis (Darren Hawken)
13. St Austell Town (Steve Sykes)
14. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)


West of England

Sunday 12, 14:20:36

Results: Third Section:

Test Piece: 'Darkwood' (Dan Price)
Adjudicators: Sam Hairsine and Les Neish

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Cheltenham Silver proudly say; "West of England third section champions in 1959 and now 2017!!

Third Section:

Test Piece: 'Darkwood' — Dan Price

Adjudicators: Sam Hairsine and Les Neish

1. Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)*
2. Corsham (Colin Hogg)*
3. Midsommer Norton & Radstock Silver (Joanne Sykes)*
4. Bath Spa (Martin Perry)
5. Cinderford (Chris Howley)
6. Gillingham Imperial Silver (James Bennett)
7. South Molton Town (Gil Taylor)
8. Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)
9. Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)
10. Bratton Silver (Simon Carr)
11. Swindon Pegasus (Nathan Jones)
12. Wilton & District (Derek Broadbent)
13. St Stythians (James Burns)
14. Spinnaker Brass (Ted Howard)
15. Tewkesbury Town (Nigel Morgan)
16. Bugle Silver (Steve Osborne)
17. Swindon Brass (Francis Cowley)
18. Weymouth Concert Brass (Kevin Goodwin)

*Top three bands qualify bands for National Final at Cheltenham


West of England

Sunday 12, 14:07:32

4BR Editor's final round-up and prediction:

A contest that took a while to really come to life. Lots of musical takes on the score, but not too many that were able to marry the good intentions with consistent technical security. The best did, but so many will have rued the unforced errors.

The best for us today was Lydney with a classy account, closely followed by Gillingham Imperial. Just missing out on a place at Cheltemham may be St Stythians and Midsomer Norton & Radstock with Cheltenham and Cinderford hot on their heels. Our dark horse is Corsham.

4BR Prediction:
1. Lydney
2. Gillingham Imperial
3. St Stythians
4. Midsomer Norton & Radstock
5. Cheltenham
6. Cinderford

Dark Horse: Corsham


West of England

Sunday 12, 13:53:59

Third Section:

18. Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)

A solid, well tempered account to round off the contest. Nothing overdone of overplayed for that matter — just simple stuff that adhered to the score and allowed the players chance to shine.

Just the few odd gripes, but overall this was pretty good stuff — aided by the eminently sensible approach to the score by the MD. Enjoyable music making that.


West of England

Sunday 12, 13:39:17

Third Section:

17. Bath Spa (Martin Perry)

What a pity this one didn't quite gell as the musical intentions were splendid — tasteful in style, dynamic and tempo. MD shaped the music with a tender hand — and there were some lovely moments as a result (esp solo cornet). The final movement was played with a touch of classy reserve.

The unforced errors were a bit too obvious and plentiful, but they haven't been alone in this today. Special mention to the great young girl on timps and glock.


West of England

Sunday 12, 13:26:05

Third Section:

16. Bratton Silver (Simon Carr)

Oh so close to fulfilling the rich promise of the opening which was delivered with just the right sense of dark, impish style. Lovely sop and rep combined so well and did the euphs and baris.

It just lost focus in places, but there was a broad, hymnal quality to the middle section and the finale was full of brio and push — keeping its energy and bobbly feel all the way to the close, helped by great perc.


West of England

Sunday 12, 13:15:13

Third Section:

15. Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)

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Kevin Ford rehearses Lydney Town before their stage performance in a picture shared by the band

The contest is really coming to life now with another very well handled and executed account — as neatly pressed and presented as the white shirts of the MD and players.

Some little tuning issues here and there, but the subtle tempo changes and the warm tonality (lead by fine tuba team with one 'mini' member) of the band was great to hear. Super solo cornet led the way throughout — and the spirit and verve of the final section with fruity bass trom giving a great edge was done to a tee.


West of England

Sunday 12, 13:03:18

Third Section:

14. St. Stythians (James Burns)

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St. Stythians share a photograph of their warm-up

Another band that upped its game here and made a significant mark. MD kept a tight rein of the dynamics but still allowed the band to sound broad and warm, whilst the tempos were carefully paced but never lost focus or pulse.

Neat solo interludes and that well balanced tonality saw them through without too many major errors — just about to the end when a odd moment raise an eyebrow. They didn't lose a wink of composure though and gave a rousing close.


West of England

Sunday 12, 12:43:20

Third Section:

13. Gillingham Imperial Silver (James Bennett)

We have been waiting for one to gell — and this has been it for us. Bravo MD (and what a lad to take or the stage in white shirt and red braces) who had a splendid take on the score.

His players responded in kind too — just little bits and pieces went awry, but the confidence and the stylish execution won through. Impish opening, Methodist melancholy to follow and real joivre de vivre in the finale. Super stuff with some great soloists too — from sop down. The leader for us now.


West of England

Sunday 12, 12:26:26

Third Section:

12. Weymouth Concert Brass (Kevin Goodwin)

As Kenneth Williams once nearly said in 'Carry On Cleo' — 'Inconsistencies, Inconsistencies — they've all got Inconsistencies!'

It's been the bane of just about every performance here this morning — such stylish playing but so many little errors and clips. This was the same — plenty of character, some great lead lines (esp euph) and contrast in styles. Those annoying little tuning issues and little blobs. Another nearly one.


West of England

Sunday 12, 12:20:48

Third Section:

11. Swindon Brass (Francis Cowley)

Another well led rendition this — even if the fragilities in the more transparent sections were obvious.

There was neat impish quality to the opening section, followed by the lyrical sonority of the central interlude where the excellent euph and cornet shone. The finale just lacked a touch of energy and pulse, but it got there in the end.


West of England

Sunday 12, 12:10:47

Third Section:

10. Wilton & District (Derek Broadbent)

Another one that could end up in the 'nearly had it nailed' category — especially after such a fine start that had a real crepuscular sense of dark mischief.

The MD used all his experience to keep things moving and the balance in check. Little moments of unease were evident, but there were superb little touches a round the band. Final movement just waned stamina, but it had the energy for a fine close.


West of England

Sunday 12, 12:03:56

4BR Editor's Third Section halfway opinion and prediction:

A contest that hasn't quite come to life — despite the best efforts of the bands. All have brought character to the music in each of the three movements, but the fragilities in execution have been noticeable.

The marker for us has come from Midsomer Norton & Radstock with Cinderford and Spinnaker just behind. Then it's a bit of a jumble with the judges having to compare and contrast the well managed style with the error counts.

4BR Prediction:
1. Midsomer Norton & Radstock
2. Cinderford
3. Spinnaker


West of England

Sunday 12, 11:48:13

Third Section:

9. Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)

Well that certainly woke up the seagulls — in Torbay let alone on Torquay seafront. So much verve and spirit, some great solo playing and lovely warm sounds in the central section. MD kept the music flowing and brought out some character too.

It's was loud though — led by the timp player who was on 'Ben Hur' Roman galleon ramming speed mode in places. That loss of ensemble focus may cost — but it was exciting.


West of England

Sunday 12, 11:28:52

Nice touches

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Raise your banner high

There have been some lovely added touches to the West of England Championship this year — not just the impressive banners above the stage and the new stage stand banners. Each player gets a pin label badge in recognition of the 65th anniversary of the championships.

Bravo to Sue Oldfield and her hard working team here — it's a super event, so well run and with such a warm welcome. Even the press have a special butler who has been bringing us coffee and biscuits!!


West of England

Sunday 12, 11:22:09

Third Section:

8. South Molton Town (Gil Taylor)

A bit of an inconsistent one this — which had some great moments and a few that raised an eyebrow or two.

Some lovely solo playing on show, and the MD really captured the different musical character of each movement. Just those bits when it sounded a little too fragile for comfort took away some of the gloss.


West of England

Sunday 12, 11:08:17

Third Section:

7. Corsham (Colin Hogg)

MD used all his years of experience to manage his troops here and it came off pretty well. There was a dark, mischievous quality to the opening and the lyrical hymnal sounds in the central interlude.

The final section had drive and pulse, and the compactness of the ensemble was really effective. Just got a little wayward to close, but what a fine effort — and helped by the brilliantly ambidextrous one man band on the percussion section.


West of England

Sunday 12, 10:53:14

Third Section:

6. Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver (Joanne Sykes)

The first band today that has really captured the differing styles to a tee — with a real impish Tyrion Lannister feel to the opening — dark minded and mischievous. It's followed by the warm glow of the chapel on high — all Methodist minor melancholy and the spirited verve of the finale.

Lots to enjoy — led by the MD with some great lead lines and two little imps of their own on perc and their pal on third cornet. The marker for us.


West of England

Sunday 12, 10:50:13

Third Section:

5. Swindon Pegasus (Nathan Jones)

An early contender for the 'nearly nailed it' prize, after a performance that dint quite live up to all that early promise.

That said, there were some lovely moments and the MD elicited the contrasts in each of the three movements — from impish malevolence and biblical reflection to spirited joyfulness. Just run of steam though at the end.


West of England

Sunday 12, 10:38:58

Cheltenham Gates

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The gateway to the National Finals


West of England

Sunday 12, 10:20:35

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The silverware glistens as it awaits its new owner

Third Section:

4. Bugle Silver (Steve Osborne)

It's great to see Bugle back again this year — and another fantastic effort by their MD Steve Osborne and his players. Numbers still not back to full strength but the grit and determination on show was superb.

Well done to the tuba section which had two young lads pumping it out, and the rest of the lead lines. A band making the long term moves in the right direction — so despite the obvious fragilities the outlook is looking up.


West of England

Sunday 12, 10:15:32

Third Section:

3. Spinnaker Brass (Ted Howard)

A carefully set out and delivered account this — with MD keeping a tight rein on dynamics and tempos.

It had its fragilities (you suspect many will have today in the more exposed parts), but it benefited from the approach (with great perc team) with a nice head of steam built up in the final section in particular.


West of England

Sunday 12, 09:46:02

Third Section:

2. Cinderford (Chris Howley)

After his rather unlucky disappointment with Forest of Dean off the number 1 draw yesterday in the First Section, Chris Howley gets another early bird dip in the velvet bag.

It's a well worked rendition this — all warm sounds and lyrical intent. Just the odd moments of unease when the writing was more exposed, but some lovely Vaughan Williams chords and a great sense of sprit in the final section.

PS. We won't give it the usual kiss of death — so a bottom three finish from us.... 😀


West of England

Sunday 12, 09:32:21

Third Section:

1. Tewkesbury Town (Nigel Morgan)

Not a bad start to the day from Tewkesbury, who gave us a tasteful National Anthem and followed it by an equally tasteful performance.

Light, stylish and delicate, it just had its moments of fragility but also plenty of spirit too.


West of England

Sunday 12, 09:15:11

Draw: Third Section:

Test Piece: 'Darkwood' (Dan Price)

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'Darkwood' Boggart Hole Clough

Sunday 12th March
The Forum
Draw: 8.15am
Commence: 9.30am
Adjudicators: Sam Hairsine and Les Neish

1. Tewkesbury Town (Nigel Morgan)
2. Cinderford (Chris Howley)
3. Spinnaker Brass (Ted Howard)
4. Bugle Silver (Steve Osborne)
5. Swindon Pegasus (Nathan Jones)
6. Midsommer Norton & Radstock Silver (Joanne Sykes)
7. Corsham (Colin Hogg)
8. South Molton Town (Gil Taylor)
9. Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)
10. Wilton & District (Derek Broadbent)
11. Swindon Brass (Francis Cowley)
12. Weymouth Concert Brass (Kevin Goodwin)
13. Gillingham Imperial Silver (James Bennett)
14. St Stythians (James Burns)
15. Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)
16. Bratton Silver (Simon Carr)
17. Bath Spa (Martin Perry)
18. Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)

2016-2017 Grading Table

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Table showing the grading positions in advance of the contest and will be used in combination with the 2017 results to determine gradings for 2018


West of England

Sunday 12, 09:08:18

Swab for Sykes

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Meeting old friends — Steve Sykes will be in Torquay today

Please come along and support the DKMS Blood Cancer Charity 'Swab for Sykes' campaign — over 150 people signed up yesterday in Torquay.

More to come as well in Stevenage and Swansea...


West of England

Sunday 12, 08:59:02

Good morning from the Regionals

The teams are already getting for the action at Perth, Torquay, Durham and Bedworth, so sit back and enjoy the action as it unfolds...

It should be a cracking day of contesting.


West of England

Saturday 11, 19:48:39

Result:

First Section:

1. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)*
2. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Matthew Brown)*
3. Hyde (Jonathan-Lush Camps)
4. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
5. Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)
6. Wotton Under Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)
7. St Keverne (Gareth Churcher)
8. AW Parker (Drybrook) (Josh Ruck)
9. Michelmersh Silver (Wayne Landon)
10. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
11. Forest of Dean Brass (Chris Howley)

*Top 2 bands qualify for National Finals in Cheltenham


West of England

Saturday 11, 19:44:18

Results

First Section:

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

Adjudicators: Les Neish and Paul Norley

1. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)
2. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Matthew Brown)*
3. Hyde (Jonathan Lush-Camps)
4. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
5. Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)
6. Wotton-under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)
7. St Keverne (Gareth Churcher)
8. AW Parker (Drybrook) (Josh Ruck)
9. Michelmersh Silver (Wayne Landon)
10. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
11. Forest of Dean Brass (Chris Howley)

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final


West of England

Saturday 11, 19:11:49

First Section round up and prediction:

As we missed the first three bands here as we were in the Fourth Section results we will defer to my learned colleague from British Bandsman for part of the results.

Therefore our combined opinion on this is as follows:

4BR Prediction:
1. Forest of Dean
2. Bournemouth
3. Sidmouth
4. SW Comms
5. Michelmersh
6. St. Keverne

Dark Horse: AW Parker (Drybrook)


West of England

Saturday 11, 18:57:14

First Section:

11. St. Keverne (Gareth Churcher)

A idiosyncratic interpretation just about came off thanks to the spirited playing of both soloists and ensemble here. The use of two flugels, with just two horns, three solo cornets but an extra back row player may have had something to do with that, but the MD rather compartmentalised both sections and phrases at times.

The band certainly bought into the approach though, and the sensible tempos and compact dynamics ensured things didn't go as musically south as Napier. It also meant that they weren't sucking in air like an old collier to close either as it was rounded off with a touch of verve.


West of England

Saturday 11, 18:37:37

First Section:

10. Michelmersh Silver (Wayne Landon)

Another brave performance that unfortunately failed to meet the challenges of Philip Sparke's work. There was plenty of effort, grit and determination — but at this level that isn't enough on a piece that although demanding, should be within First Section scope.

Some nice touches on the solo lines from sop and solo cornet, but elsewhere the fragilities were far too transparent. MD kept a tight rein on tempos and the ensemble retained its cohesive qualities as a result, but this took its toll. The closing sections were laced with lactic acid, but there was just enough in the pipes for a fizzy finish.


West of England

Saturday 11, 18:22:34

First Section:

9. AW Parker (Drybrook)

Unfortunately this was another performance that found Philip Sparke's demanding work at the limit of their current capabilities.

There were glimpses of the potential of both the band and their young MD in the free flowing musicality of the lyrical interludes and the enthusiastic fizz of the vivace sections, but some of the basic errors were too obvious to ignore. Stamina waned and took the energy away in the closing moments.


West of England

Saturday 11, 18:04:09

First Section:

8. Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)

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On Stage: Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)

A performance that fell away some what after a promising start. This was at the limit technically — but they stuck to the task.

It was not the soloists that were fragile, but the cohesive qualities of the ensemble, which made far too many basic errors. A lovely soprano stood out and the euph and cornet showed the lyrical qualities required to make the music sound sumptuous.

The ensemble tuning was not great though. The vivace reprise had an uneven pulse but plenty of spirit and energy, although by the time we came to the close the stamina tanks were running on fumes.


West of England

Saturday 11, 17:55:34

First Section:

7. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Matthew Brown)

A broad, majestic vista opened a performance that set its stall out and maintained its form — with just occasional moments of unease and fragilities.

Super middle band sounds and robust lower brass led by sonorous euphonium were the foundation here, and allowed the slightly more fragile top end to sit astride with its bright tonality. MD shaped the slow movement well despite the moments of unease and the vivace reprise was full spirited to a romp of a close.


West of England

Saturday 11, 17:47:38

First Section:

6. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)

A performance that held rich promise with a wonderfully majestic opening, but never quite built on that from then on.

There were moments that followed that captured the verve and free flowing spirit of the vivace sections, but the niggling errors started to build. Insecurities also arouse in the lyrical interlude, but the broad sweep of the musicality for the MD gave it a persuasive feel.

The precision started to go a little awry the longer it went on, but a vivacious closing section that had drama and pulse brought things to a rousing close.


West of England

Saturday 11, 16:48:15

Results:

Fourth Section:

Adjudicators: Sam Hairsine and Garry Davies

1. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)*
2. Saltash Town (Robert Julian)*
3. Shanklin Town (IoW) (Malcolm Lewis)*
4. Indian Queens (Mark Arnold)
5. Exeter Railway (Graham Eaton)
6. Heyl Town (Scott Matters)
7. Pillowell Silver (Ian Whitburn)
8. Gosport Solent Brass (Colin Garner)
9. Tiverton Town (John Fitton)
10. Pendeen Silver (Darren Jenkin)
11. Test Valley Brass (Paul Dove)
12. Verwood Town (Emma Button)
13. Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)
14. Okehampton Excelsior Silver (Richard Beardon)
15. Nailsworth Silver (Ross Salvage)
16. Wincanton Silver (Joanne Sykes)
17. Totnes (Alan Wilmott)
18. Launceston Town (Colin Gay)
19. Bideford Town (Mark Durham)
20. Shaftesbury Town Silver (Martin Hill)


West of England

Saturday 11, 16:17:19

Fourth Section: Final thoughts and opinions

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It's been a super contest here in the Fourth Section — one that started off with playing that spoilt the listeners rotten, and very nearly kept up the same level of joyfulness right to the very end.

There was more variance in the standard in the second half it has to be said, and one or two of the contenders may just creep in. The marker set from number 1 by Hatherleigh couldn't be beaten for us though — they were really excllent.

Pillowell. Indian Queens and Bideford could well scrap it out for the other qualifying places alongside Verwood, Saltash and our joint dark horses of Heyl and Chalford.

Congratulations to everyone who take part though — it was super way to spend a day listening to brass bands.

4BR Prediction:
1. Hatherleigh
2. Pillowell
3. Indian Queens
4. Bideford
5. Verwood
6. Saltash

Dark Horses: Heyl and Chalford Acadmey


West of England

Saturday 11, 16:08:03

Fourth Section:

20. Launceston Town (Colin Gay)

The Cornish band round off a highly enjoyable contest with a spirited effort on a test-piece that has been a huge hit with bands and audience alike.

It was an inconsistent one, but as with all today, the sheer enthusiasm, vibrancy and joyfulness pushed them through to the end. Bravo.


West of England

Saturday 11, 15:56:56

Section Two — Result:

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Test Piece: 'Rhapsody in Brass' (Dean Goffin)
Adjudicators: Paul Norley and Stephen Roberts

1. Bodmin Town (John Maines)
2. Otterbourne Brass (Melvin White)
3. Helston Town (John Berryman)
4. Andover Town (Steve Large)
5. Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope)
6. City of Bristol Brass (Bryn James)
7. Poole Borough (Martin Portman)
8. Bream Silver (Philip Turner)
9. Downton (Paul Williams)
10. Soundhouse Brass (Lee Clayson)
11. Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (Tom Griffin)
12. St. Pinnock (John Ward)
13. Weston Brass (Bryn James)
14. Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)
15. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)
16. New Forest Brass (Ian Luxford)
17. Ocean Brass (Martin Humphries)


West of England

Saturday 11, 15:54:56

Fourth Section:

19. Tiverton (John Fitton)

Oh — a really nearly one this! Some super playing on show throughout and the MD had a lovely take on the score — all broad sounds and free flowing musicality. Nothing rushed, but nothing over indulged either.

When it all came together it really was lovely, but it also teetered on the edge at times too. Lots to enjoy, but tiredness just saw it fall away after all that rich promise.


West of England

Saturday 11, 15:46:04

Draw: First Section:

Test Piece: 'Land of the Long White Cloud' (Philip Sparke)
Saturday 11th March
The Forum
Draw: 1.00pm
Commences: not before 3.15pm
Adjudicators: Les Neish and Paul Norley

1. Forest of Dean Brass (Chris Howley)
2. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
3. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
4. Hyde (Jonathan Lush-Camps)
5. Wotton-under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)
6. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)
7. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Matthew Brown)
8. Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)
9. AW Parker (Drybrook) (Josh Ruck)
10. Michelmersh Silver (Wayne Landon)
11. St Keverne (Gareth Churcher)

2016-2017 Grading Table

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Table showing the grading positions in advance of the contest and will be used in combination with the 2017 results to determine gradings for 2018


West of England

Saturday 11, 15:33:24

Fourth Section:

18. Saltash Town (Robert Julian)

We have waited a while for a performance that really lived up to its obvious potential and we got it here.

The band made a lovely sound and the MD ensured that the music flowed with purpose. There were the occasional edges and clips, but it don't really detract. Lead lines played with confidence and the hymn tune in particular was chapel-tastic as we say in the valleys. It kept its form all the way to the end too.

PS. Special mention to the young lad on percussion with his mentor. Great stuff!!


West of England

Saturday 11, 15:14:36

Fourth Section:

17. Pendeen Silver (Darren Jenkin)

A bit of a hit and miss one here — but when it did hit it was cracking.

MD had a lovely reading of the score — one that flowed and meandered with such good taste. It was a pity that occasionally then it sounded a little out of synch in the ensemble. The tubas made a lovely sound and the horns and flugel gave a middle band solidity that few matched today. The splendid close offered a tantalising glimpse of perhaps what have might have been.


West of England

Saturday 11, 15:08:46

Fourth Section:

16. Shaftesbury Town Silver (Martin Hill)

There have been a lot of bands who have made a very decent stylistic fist of Alan Fernie's set work today — even though they also produced performances that had obvious flaws and inconsistencies.

This was one — a splendidly musical, characterful rendition that kept you engaged from start to finish. Some fine contributions from the cornet, euph and the oddly placed flugel all added merit, so it was just a pity that some errant intonation and obvious little fragilities knicked at the picture.


West of England

Saturday 11, 15:02:16

Second Section — Round Up

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A mixed bag of a contest here in Torquay, with around half of the bands giving Rhapsody in Brass a good run for its money.

Nobody nailed it from start to finish, but the think that the overall quality in Bodmin should just be enough to hold on to the top spot.

There are four or five other contenders for qualification though, so we could see any combination the above when the real judges have their say.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 14:42:04

Second Section

16. Weston Brass (Bryn James)

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On Stage: Weston Brass (Bryn James)

Another well laid-out opening from Bryn James and the band almost delivers all that is asked. A couple of moments where soloist and ensemble weren't together but good overall.

Excellent horns to open the slow movement and the soloist is on top form. Tuning is inconsistent and the ensemble becomes rather muddy as the movement progresses. Horn is classy again as the final movement kicks off at a well-measured tempo. Excellent soprano in the intricate solo.

We get the disco lights again in the Meno Mosso but the band plays on gallantly (well done again the soprano player!). Terrific energy in the finale. Another good one!

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 14:35:53

Fourth Section:

15. Totnes (Alan Wilmott)

Another performance rich in musical interest and style, just blighted by fragilities and inconsistencies. It's a real pity as it was splendidly shaped and phrased in the more lyrical sections.

Some neat solo contributions from around the stand, but the ensemble never quite settled for long enough for it all to come together. Plenty to work on though.


West of England

Saturday 11, 14:27:17

Second Section

15. Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)

As precise an opening as we've heard and the third man on the front row is superb in the solo.

A hint of rushing at times, especially towards the end, but an excellent opening movement overall. Horn tuning is suspect in the opening and the overall feeling is less secure here. Some excellent solo contributions, especially from the euphonium.

Final movement starts out well and it's good rhythmically where many have been less so. Meno Mosso also works well. And the finale has real vigour. A possible contender!

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 14:22:47

Second Section

14. Bodmin Town (John Maines)

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On Stage: Bodmin Town (John Maines)

A very neat and tidy opening and the band sound is balanced and dynamic. Super cornet leads a very good team of soloists. Some untidy semiquavers in the closing bars but a very good opening overall.

Good start to the middle movement from the horns and the soloist is excellent. Lovely touches from the conductor — the music has life — but the band delivers it all with apparent ease. Control in the final bars is excellent.

Nice tempo in the final movement and the correct dynamics create a platform for clarity in ensemble that we've thus far unheard. One or two soloistic clips in the detailed work but these are minor in comparison to all the good playing here. Meno Mosso feels just right and, but for a slight loss of the top line, the performance builds to a fine close. Overall a very well prepared and delivered performance that is the new leader for us.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 14:11:51

Fourth Section:

14. Okehampton Excelsior Silver (Richard Beardon)

Congrats all round for this hard working account — with the depletion in numbers more than made up for in sheer determination and bravura playing.

Not everything came off of course, but the ensemble still made a warm, focussed sound and the music had character and style. The tasteful perc playing and the lovely sounding horns were a feature. Tiredness just crept in towards the close, but well done MD and players for such a show of character themselves.


West of England

Saturday 11, 14:06:18

Fourth Section:

13. Exeter Railway (Graham Eaton)

What a pity there were just a few too many inconsistencies and fragilities in the execution in this performance, as it was very neatly laid out by the MD.

When it gelled it was very musical — especially the hymn which was phrased with tender lyricism. Just a few too many minor obstacles and intonation hiccups though that made for an occasionally bumpy ride.


West of England

Saturday 11, 13:59:50

Second Section

13. New Forest Brass (Ian Luxford)

Some untunefulness in the opening and the ensemble struggles to stay together at times during the first movement.

Excellent horn solo opens the middle section but untunefulness again becomes an issue. A better ending though, and the final movement is well measured to open and the band copes far better with the technicalities than it did earlier.

Meno Mosso is also very good and the energetic finale works well. A bit of a curios performance, which improved as it progressed.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 13:52:59

Fourth Section:

12. Gosport Solent Brass (Colin Garner)

A bold one this — but it had plenty of character and spirit. MD kept the music flowing and the styles came through along with those familiar motifs. Super leads from the main solo lines and perc added effect and colour.

Just the inconsistencies and fragilities tarnished a few moments, but overall that was a well structured and maintained account.

Ps/ Is the MD related to the great Wesley Garner of Soent fame many year again we wonder? If he is, he is a chip off the old block.


West of England

Saturday 11, 13:50:32

Second Section

12. Otterbourne Brass (Melvin White)

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O Stage: Otterbourne Brass (Melvin White)

Tidier opening than many and we hear possibly the finest cornet solo so far. All very well laid out by the conductor and nothing sounds either hurried or out of place. Very good indeed.

Middle movement continues in the same vein — very well led with just occasional lapses in security, especially towards the end.

Final movement is lively in tempo and played with spirit. There are a few sticky moments, but we hear real quality around the band in Meno Mosso. Final section is all in place and delivered with energy to end another very good performance here.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 13:28:43

Fourth Section:

11. Test Valley Brass (Paul Dove)

A bold effort this, but what a pity it had the obvious high error count and some poor intonation, as the style was there in spades.

Some super playing from the main soloists — led by a classy solo cornet and sonorous euph, and the MD kept the music flowing in all the sections. Just got a little tired towards the close, but plenty of encouraging signs of a band on the up here.


West of England

Saturday 11, 13:18:49

Second Section:

11. City of Bristol Brass (Bryn James)

Very good opening movement. Secure all the way and soloists all play with some style.

Opening to two is slightly less confident but it soon dances along with style — very well put together and the euphonium plays with real aplomb. Terrific overall, although the semiquaver background isn’t 100% together. End of the movement not quite secure and that continues into the start of the final movement.

Still, there is some super work around the stand and the Meno Mosso feels just right for style. Conductor in full control to the end of a very good show that could well be right up there.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 13:11:34

Fourth Section:

10. Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)

Wowee — a band packed to the rafters with youngsters not old enough to enjoy a Woodpecker shandy cider on the bar, but playing with the maturity of bandsmen who have sunk a few beers in celebration in their time. The third and fourth man solo cornets won't be shaving until 2035!

MD does a fantastic job in keeping the obvious enthusiasm in check, and they produce a lovely tone — based on two young tuba stalwarts. The hymn is a delight — shaped with a loving hand that. So much to enjoy despite the obvious little blips and blobs. Bravo!!


West of England

Saturday 11, 13:01:39

Second Section:

10. Soundhouse Brass (Lee Clayson)

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Opening is one of tidiest of the day and wear a good, balanced sound form the band. A handful of minor clips detract slightly but this has been well assembled.

Middle movement also opens well but the ensemble becomes disconnected at times, especially towards the end of the movement.

Good tempo in the final movement and the rhythm has good discipline. Meno Mosso captures the style and the finale is mainly in good order, although with some detail going astray at times. A performance with character but unfortunately just too many times that it didn't hold together.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 13:01:34

Fourth Section:

9. Shanklin Town (IoW) (Malcolm Lewis)

What isn't to like about a band led by an MD in a Persil white jacket, black shirt and white bow tie eh?

And his band certainly lived up to his dapper appearance with a solid, neatly cut and shaped rendition that had character and style by the bagful. Some lovely touches from the soloists too — notably the euph and sop. Just the occasional moments when it wavered, but a super close rounded things off with touch of well tailored élan.


West of England

Saturday 11, 12:49:51

Second Section:

9. Poole Borough (Martin Portman)

Bold opening is full of character but again it is quite untidy at times with quite a number of split notes detracting from the overall scene. Excellent cornet solo is the highlight of a well-shaped movement.

Horn does well at the start of the second movement but there is an air of insecurity in the accompaniment. It continues well and the difficult ending is well managed.

Final movement has a lot of spirit at a tempo the band handles well. Meno Mosso captures just the right mood too, although it isn’t quite all together. Good finish to a well put together show that just had a few accidents along the way.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 12:42:27

Fourth Section: Halfway opinion and prediction:

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Well — if things carry on like this the judges could send six qualifiers to Cheltenham. It's been splendid stuff — and all credit to the MDs who have all tried to bring the character out of the music without going over the top with the dynamics or tempos.

Hatherleigh produced a high quality marker off the number 1 draw and still lead for us, but it's so close behind with the likes of Pillowell, Indian Queens, Bideford, Verwood and Wincanton. Everyone is on with a shout so far though.

4BR Halfway prediction:
1. Hatherleigh
2. Pillowell
3. Indian Queens
4. Bideford
5. Verwood
6. Wincanton


West of England

Saturday 11, 12:35:48

Fourth Section:

8. Verwood Town (Emma Button)

We are being spoiled rotten here — as Verwood deliver a splendid little account, so well directed by the MD, who really is as bright as the proverbial. This was so rich in musical character.

Just lost a little security and some wonky intonation took a touch of the glossy finish off in the quieter sections and at the end but that pulse in the last section bounced along like Barbara Windsor in Carry On Camping in Cornwall.


West of England

Saturday 11, 12:34:38

Second Section:

8. Helston Town (John Berryman)

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On Stage: Helston Town (John Berryman)

Opening dances along and we hear the full dynamic contrast in the score for the first time today. Ensemble and all soloists remain in good shape all the way through the opening movement, although there is a hint of rushing in the final bars.

Fine opening to second movement and solo horn is in full control. Some beautifully controlled dynamics later in the movement and a super euphonium solo sets the band up for a fine close to this difficult movement.

Well-measured opening to final movement if a bit 'clippy' in the cornets, but it's soon back on track. One or two insecure moments in the melody and some intonation in the trombones detract a little from the overall picture but this has been a very good performance that we expect to see near the top as the day progresses.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 12:16:44

Second Section:

7. Downton (Paul Williams)

Committed opening and it is generally tidy throughout the opening movement. Solo cornet does very well with the testing solo. One or two interesting dynamic effects add to the overall picture.

Nice horn solo in the second movement sets the band up well but the ensemble occasionally lacks security as it progresses. Closes very well though.

Nice tempo in the final movement and the conductor controls the ensemble very well. There is a hint of nervousness in quite a few of the individual sounds though. Overall this was a tough test for the band that it negotiated very well, but there were quite a few moments of insecurity.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 12:15:42

Fourth Section:

7. Heyl Town (Scott Matters)

I don't know what they put in the cider down in these parts, but here comes another rendition full of vitality, splendid confidence and stylistic character.

MD whips up the tempos like Devon clotted cream in places, but it brings real verve and excitement to the music. The hymn section wasn't quite as comfortable — but it was still so nicely shaped and the close was a real old romp.


West of England

Saturday 11, 11:57:44

Fourth Section:

6. Pillowell Silver (Ian Whitburn)

Another performance in an increasingly long line of well directed efforts this — sprightly and vibrant when required, contrasted with broad lyrical interludes too.

There was some super solo playing on show and the ensemble sound was rich and warm. Just a bit of intonation here and there may cause a tick or two off the points but overall one to sit back and enjoy from start to finish.


West of England

Saturday 11, 11:52:58

Second Section:

6. Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope)

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On Stage: Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope)

Tidiest opening so far and the young players deliver with disciplined approach to the rhythm. Just the occasional blip but there are some super players around the stand.

Middle movement opens well and the horn solo is delivered with style. Nice close in which the soprano is in full control.

Third movement is quite lively for tempo but it soon settles to a more comfortable one and the band feels in full control. Some poor tuning does affect the overall picture in the Meno Mosso section. Superb soprano (again) in the final section and it all stays well under control as the energy builds up towards the conclusion. A very good performance from this mainly very young band, which could take a bit of beating today.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 11:47:25

Fourth Section:

5. Bideford Town (Mark Durham)

A malleable interpretation of the score from the MD enhances the stylistic contrasts here — even if some issues with intonation just took a nick or two out of the enjoyable finish.

There were some really tasteful solo contributions as well — from sweet sop and melodic euph to the trio of uber-concentrating blokes on perc — whose wives surely ironed their pristine white shirts! Lots to enjoy in an engaging performance.


West of England

Saturday 11, 11:35:38

Second Section:

5. Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (Tom Griffin)

Strong opening at a good tempo but there is an awful lot of rushing within the bars and the ensemble becomes disconnected at times.

Middle movement lacks a bit of confidence, although the band at full strength sounds very good.

Off like a train in the final movement and it struggles to maintain rhythmic control. Quite a few clips and splashes along the way but the sound stays strong to the end. Not the tidiest performance of the day but one with plenty to build upon.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 11:27:24

Fourth Section:

4. Nailsworth Silver (Ross Salvage)

A very different approach from Nailsworth — and a more lyrical set of stylistic pen portraits, that at times may just have needed a touch more pace and pulse.

The solid ensemble and tasteful soloists were a feature, but some tuning issues in the hymn section just took a little gloss off. It was very deliberately set out by the MD though and had a great deal of merit in its execution (super perc) even if we just needed a touch more bubbly fizz.


West of England

Saturday 11, 11:24:26

Second Section:

4. Bream Silver (Philip Turner)

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On Stage: Bream Silver (Philip Turner)

Quite a lively opening but again we get quite a lot of untidiness in the semiquavers, which continues throughout the first movement.

Better start to the middle movement finds the solo horn in good shape and the conductor shapes it very nicely. There are a few problems though, including a prominent wrong note and some very poor intonation towards the end.

Conductor works hard in the final movement to keep the tempo in check and we hear the band coping well. Again there are a number of ensemble issues as at progresses but overall the band should be pleased with its efforts on a very tough test.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 11:12:57

Fourth Section:

3. Indian Queens (Mark Arnold)

Three down and my giddy aunt Nelly — we have three little crackers. The chaps in the box must be thinking they have dropped into the Second Section by mistake.

Another performance rich in style, confidence and sheer hutzpah — led by the MD is his brilliantly OTT waistcoat. It's just got a little ripe in the volume and tone at times, but what a vibrant approach — and played with such musical character. So much to enjoy again.


West of England

Saturday 11, 11:10:30

Second Section:

3. Ocean Brass (Martin Humphries)

Opens well but again there is untidiness and a rogue sound, but it continues well with only occasional rushing in the cornets.

Second movement opens well but perhaps lacks a bit of confidence. Superb euphonium but there is some poor intonation around the stand.

Nice and steady in the final movement and most of the rhythms are faithful to the score, but we lose security on the solo lines occasionally. Energetic finale to a well-directed performance overall with just one or two areas that didn’t quite come off today.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 10:56:09

Fourth Section:

2. Wincanton Silver (Joanne Sykes)

If things carry on like this we will be spoilt today. What a stylish performance — full of nobility then melancholy followed by verve and fizz.

Intonation issues may prove costly in a few places and a bit of blobby start, but after that it was super stuff. Bravo MD who had this by the scruff of the stylistic neck and the players who responded in kind.


West of England

Saturday 11, 10:47:36

Second Section:

2. St. Pinnock (John Ward)

Well-measured opening but there is quite a lot of untidiness, especially in the cornets. It continues in good shape overall though, and the 19 brass players and two percussionists are giving it their all.

Horn solo in the second movement is very nice and other soloists add with quality. Again it is well shaped overall and the difficult closing bars are very well controlled.

Sudden appearance of disco lights delay the start of the final movement by quite a few minutes, which must have been very disconcerting to the band. Back to the playing and again it’s intelligently put together and we hear well-measured rhythms. Some lovely delicate soprano playing too. It continues well to the end, the energy building up appropriately. A very good show from an under-strength band that had also to face some very difficult circusmtances during the performance.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 10:32:19

Fourth Section:

1. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)

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What a cracking start to the contest, with the defending champion throwing down the musical gauntlet in super fashion.

Lovely rounded, warm sounds, solid soloists and a great sense of style in each of the mini-portraits. The break before the hymn tune was like reboot mode. MD Matt Green has done a splendid job here with his uber-confident troops. As a number 1 that is some marker. Sousa, Mussorgsky and Liza Dollittle would be proud as punch.


West of England

Saturday 11, 10:24:02

Second Section:

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On Stage; Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)

1. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)

Quite a tentative opening and not all the melodic lines speak clearly. Some scrappy moments in the animated cornet playing later in the movement too.

Second movement starts much better and the solo horn plays beautifully. Some well controlled playing in this movement, but just some minor discomfort in the final stave or two.

Third movement sets off at a comfortable tempo and the band sounds at its best here. Occasional solo blips and some rushing in the semiquavers but on the whole this is better. A bit of cutting and pasting on the high solo doesn't come off but the band stays on track to the end of the performance of a piece that pushed it to its limits.

Kenny Crookston (Courtesy of British Bandsman)


West of England

Saturday 11, 10:16:57

2016-2017 Grading Table

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Table showing the grading positions in advance of the contest and will be used in combination with the 2017 results to determine gradings for 2018

Draw: Fourth Section:

Test Piece: St Andrews Variations' (Alan Fernie)
Saturday 11th March
The Arena
Draw: 9.15am
Commence: 10.30am
Adjudicators: Gary Davies and Sam Hairsine

1. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
2. Wincanton Silver (Joanne Sykes)
3. Indian Queens (Mark Arnold)
4. Nailworths Silver (Ross Salvage)
5. Bideford Town (Mark Durham)
6. Pillowell Silver (Ian Whitburn)
7. Heyl Town (Scott Watters)
8. Verwood Town (Emma Button)
9. Shanklin Town (IoW) (Malcolm Lewis)
10. Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)
11. Test Valley Brass (Matt Pithers)
12. Gosport Solent Brass (Colin Garner)
13. Exeter Railway (Graham Eaton)
14. Okehampton Excelsior Silver (Richard Beardon)
15. Totnes (Alan Wilmott)
16. Shaftesbury Town Silver (Martin Hill)
17. Pendeen Silver (Darren Jenkin)
18. Saltash Town (Robert Julian)
19. Tiverton Town (John Fitton)
20. Launceston Town (Colin Gay)

Withdrawn: Torbay Brass (Joe Rowlands)


West of England

Saturday 11, 09:58:31

2016-2017 Grading Table

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Table showing the grading positions in advance of the contest and will be used in combination with the 2017 results to determine gradings for 2018

Draw: Second Section:

Test Piece: 'Rhapsody in Brass' (Dean Goffin)
Saturday 11th March
The Forum
Draw: 8.45am
Commence: 10.00am
Adjudicators: Paul Norley and Stephen Roberts

1. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)
2. St Pinnock (John Ward)
3. Ocean Brass (Martin Humphries)
4. Bream Silver (Philip Turner)
5. Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (Tom Griffin)
6. Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope)
7. Downton (Paul Williams)
8. Helston Town (John Berryman)
9. Poole Borough (Martin Portman)
10. Soundhouse Brass (Lee Clayson)
11. City of Bristol Brass (Bryn James)
12. Otterbourne Brass (Melvin White)
13. New Forest Brass (Ian Luxford)
14. Bodmin Town (John Maines)
15. Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)
16. Weston Brass (Bryn James)
17. Andover Town (Steve Large)


West of England

Saturday 11, 09:21:13

Getting set in Torquay...

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All things ready for the action to start in the Fourth Section here in Torquay

Ther action will start at 10.00am in Torquay in the Second Section with the Fourth Section a little later at 10.30am.

There have been some lovely touches added this year to the proceedings with brand new stage stand banners and as its the 65th Regional Championship event, every player will get a little lapel badge.


West of England

Saturday 11, 08:55:44

Good morning from round the country

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Tewkesbury Town Band "We're on our way to Torquay for the West of England Areas"

It's going to be a bit of a busy day today with reports and opinions coming in from Perth, Torquay, Durham and Bedworth.

There are some staggered start times, so don't panic if you haven't seen any report about how your favourite band has performed at the same time as rivals elsewhere.

We will try and keep you up to date with all the action as it comes through — with draws, opinions and results.

Sit back and enjoy — it's going to be a great day of contesting.


West of England

Wednesday 8, 12:23:28

West of England line-up

Championship Section:

Test Piece: 'Pageantry' — Herbert Howells
Sunday 12th March
The Forum
Draw 1.00pm
Commence: Not before 2.30pm
Adjudicators: Paul Norley and Stephen Roberts

Aldbourne (David Johnson)
Brunel Brass (Paul Collis-Smith)
Camborne Town (Michael Fowles)
Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
Flowers (Paul Holland)
Lanner & District (David Hamilton)
Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)
Mount Charles (Stan Lippeatt)
Roche Brass (Garry Cutt)
St Austell Town (Steve Sykes)
St Dennis (Darren Hawken)
Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
Yeovil Town (Ian Holmes)

First Section:

Test Piece: 'Land of the Long White Cloud' — Philip Sparke
Saturday 11th March
The Forum
Draw: 1.00pm
Commences: not before 3.15pm
Adjudicators: Les Neish and Paul Norley

AW Parker (Drybrook) (Josh Ruck)
Bournemouth Concert Brass (Matthew Brown)
Chalford (Steve Tubb)
Forest of Dean Brass (Chris Howley)
Hyde (Jonathan Lush-Camps)
Michelmersh Silver (Wayne Landon)
Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)
Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
St Keverne (Gareth Churcher)
SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)
Wotton-under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)

Second Section:

Test Piece: 'Rhapsody in Brass' — Sir Dean Goffin
Saturday 11th March
The Forum
Draw: 8.45am
Commence: 10.00am
Adjudicators: Paul Norley and Stephen Roberts

Andover Town (Steve Large)
Bodmin Town (John Maines)
Bream Silver (Philip Turner)
Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope)
City of Bristol Brass (Bryn James)
Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)
Downton (Paul Williams)
Helston Town (John Berryman)
New Forest Brass (Ian Luxford)
Ocean Brass (Martin Humphries)
Otterbourne Brass (Melvin White)
Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (Tom Griffin)
Poole Borough (Martin Portman)
Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)
Soundhouse Brass (Lee Clayson)
St Pinnock (John Ward)
Weston Brass (Bryn James)

Third Section:

Test Piece: 'Darkwood' — Dan Price
Sunday 12th March
The Forum
Draw: 8.15am
Commence: 9.30am
Adjudicators: Sam Hairsine and Les Neish

Bath Spa (Martin Perry)
Bratton Silver (Simon Carr)
Bugle Silver (Steve Osborne)
Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)
Cinderford (Chris Howley)
Corsham (Colin Hogg)
Gillingham Imperial Silver (James Bennett)
Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)
Midsommer Norton & Radstock Silver (Joanne Sykes)
Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)
South Molton Town (Gil Taylor)
Spinnaker Brass (Ted Howard)
St Stythians (James Burns)
Swindon Brass (Francis Cowley)
Swindon Pegasus (Nathan Jones)
Tewkesbury Town (Nigel Morgan)
Weymouth Concert Brass (Kevin Goodwin)
Wilton & District (Derek Broadbent)

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: St Andrews Variations' — Alan Fernie
Saturday 11th March
The Arena
Draw: 9.15am
Commence: 10.30am
Adjudicators: Gary Davies and Sam Hairsine

Bideford Town (Mark Durham)
Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)
Exeter Railway (Graham Eaton)
Gosport Solent Brass (Colin Garner)
Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
Heyl Town (Scott Watters)
Indian Queens (Mark Arnold)
Launceston Town (Colin Gay)
Nailworth Silver (Ross Salvage)
Okehampton Excelsior Silver (Richard Beardon)
Pendeen Silver (Darren Jenkin)
Pillowell Silver (Ian Whitburn)
Saltash Town (Robert Julian)
Shaftesbury Town Silver (Martin Hill)
Shankling Town (IoW) (Malcolm Lewis)
Test Valley Brass (Matt Pithers)
Tiverton Town (John Fitton)
Torbay Brass (Joe Rowlands)
Totes (Alan Wilmott)
Verwood Town (Emma Button)
Wincanton Silver (Joanne Sykes)



Foden's Band - Matt Ford - Lichfield Cathedral

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


Lofthouse Brass Band - Pudsey Churches Together Christmas Concert

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


Lofthouse Brass Band - Lofthouse Christmas Fair

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


Enfield Citadel Band -

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


Newstead Brass -

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


Olney Brass

November 23 • 2nd Trombones, look no further. We are looking for a 2nd trombone to join our band. We are an ambitious 3rd section band with a new MD, winning the ODBBA winter contest 2017. Any other instruments, we would be interested to talk, please get in touch.


The Corsham Band

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


Thoresby Colliery Band

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


Jack Capstaff

Bmus (Hons)
Conductor | Composer