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2017 Wales and London & Southern Counties Regional Championships
Second Section previews

4BR looks forward to a friendly renewal of banding hostilities of Dean Goffin's timeless 'Rhapsody in Brass'.

Middle East campaign
Dean Goffin's music was written at the height of the Middle East Campaign

Over the last few weeks ‘Rhapsody in Brass’ has been a wonderful, but ever so slightly over- ambitious choice for the Second Section: Enjoyable and educational as it has been for all concerned, its age has not wearied its challenges for players and conductors alike.

Much like ‘Pageantry’ in the top section, its timeless qualities remain a mystery to just about anyone under the age of 35 brought up on a diet of PLC blockbuster smart bombs and Thomas Doss ‘fly by wire’ musical drone technology.  This is music of an age when you almost had to see the whites of your opponent’s eyes.

Refined and elegant

The transparent immediacy of the writing - simple, refined and elegant, holds so many pitfalls and man-traps; from the anxious optimism of the opening and reflective melancholy of the central interlude, to the free spirited joyfulness of the finale.  It is music that explores emotion without recourse to misplaced sentimentality.

It was written by a man who had seen his fair share of loss and who knew just how precious life was. Not someone with a penchant for an X-Box ‘Medal of Honour’ approach.

Mid Rhondda
2016 Champion: Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda


Just the seven bands compete in the Second Section on Saturday lunchtime, with Mike Kilroy and Derek Broadbent hoping that the quality will more than make up for the lack of quantity.

Given the record at the National Finals in the last decade, hopes should be high, as since 2007 the nation’s representatives have notched up no less than six victories and at least half a dozen top-six finishes. However last year’s qualifiers found themselves in the midfield also-rans, so perhaps a little bit of work to do this time around.    

Abergavenny Borough has been making solid progress and could be looking at a finals place for the first time since 2003, whilst Seindorf Arian Crwbin and Royal Buckley Town could also pose qualification threats. 

The vastly experienced Tony Small leads a Penclawdd Band on the up again with the emerging Melingriffith 2 and Ammanford worth an each-way bet alongside our dark horse of 4BR hometown favorites Blaenavon.

4BR Prediction:

1. Abergavenny Borough
2. Royal Buckley Town
3. Seindorf Arian Crwbin
4. Penclawdd
5. Melingriffith 2
6. Ammanford

Dark Horse: Blaenavon Town

2016 Champion: Cawston went on to claim a top-six place at Cheltenham

London & Southern Counties:

It’s a field double the size of that found in Wales for Steve Sykes and Roger Webster to compare and contrast on Saturday afternoon - with 16 well matched outfits taking to the Gordon Craig Theatre stage.

It could be a hard one to call - with a number of bands showing decent, if not spectacular, form of late.

Five contenders were at Butlins where Waterbeach claimed a top-ten finish as the best of them, whilst last year’s runner-up St Sebastian Wokingham returns after posting a solid ninth place finish at Cheltenham.

Milton Keynes Brass didn’t really shine in Skegness but will be hoping that was down to early season rustiness, whilst Grimsdyke and Littleport Brass could be two to watch out for come the results alongside our dark horse of newly promoted Chinnor Silver.

4BR Prediction:

1. Waterbeach Brass
2. St Sebastian Wokingham
3. Grimsdyke
4. Milton Keynes Brass
5. Littleport Brass
6. BAE Systems 

Dark Horse: Chinnor Silver

Contest: London & SC Regional Championships

Saturday 17 March • Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage SG1 1LZ

Contest: Welsh Regional Championships

Saturday 17 March • Brangwyn Hall, The Guildhall, Swansea SA1 4PE

Contest: North of England Regional Championships

Saturday 17 March • The Gala Theatre, 1 Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA

Black Dyke Band - Victoria Hall, Bolton

Saturday 17 March • 37 Knowsley St, Bolton BL1 2AS

Contest: London & SC REgional Championships

Sunday 18 March • Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage SG1 1LZ

Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

March 17 • Musical Director due to work commitments, the Wakefield Metropolitan Band seeks applications for this position. 1st section band with a 5th place at the areas. We require someone with the drive and ambition to take us to the next level is this you ?

Walsall Brass Band

March 17 • WALSALL BRASS BAND are looking for Cornets, 1st Baritone, 2nd Euphonium, Bb Bass and Percusion.

Cheshire Constabulary Band

March 17 • We are urgently looking for a Tenor Horn, Cornet and snare drummers (for our Corps of drums). Smart friendly well run band with varied engagements, just one rehearsal a week. Open to all walks of life ( you do not need to work for the Police!)

Alan Fernie

Arranger, composer, adjudicator, conductor