As has been the case around many of the regions this year with 'Rhapsody in Brass', an accumulation of invaluable contesting experience was brought to bear as Duncan Beckley led Glossop Old to a richly deserved victory in the Second Section.
That experience — which has seen him lead bands to over 30 Area victories at every level — Fourth to Championship — since 1982, was certainly displayed in full as Glossop Old made an immediate return to the National Finals with a performance that also marked the latest step back in the resurgence of a famous banding name from the northern most tip of Derbyshire.
Joining them at Cheltenham will be Foss Dyke, as they claimed their second appearance in the last three years under the baton of Colum O'Shea.
Just missing out was a spirited performance from Burbage Buxton led by Steve Critchlow, who very nearly held onto their qualification slot off the number 1 draw until Burbage took to the stage as the last band of the day. The remaining top-six places in a contest that showcased a number of well directed accounts and performances of merit came from Avonbank (Evesham), City of Coventry and Hucknall & Linby.
"I'm delighted to have been able to help Glossop Old once again," Duncan told 4BR, as he renewed a musical acquaintance with a band that he first led in a contest as far back as 1986. "They worked very hard on the piece and followed what I wanted them to do with it perfectly. It was a cracking performance."
The musical compliment was certainly appreciated by the delighted members of the band, with spokesperson and tuba player Marcus Jones telling 4BR: "It's been great to have Duncan back with us.
He works so hard and it was obvious from the word go that he knew this music inside out. It's another great step in the right direction for us — especially as less than three years ago we were down to the bare bones."
He added: "Now we've got a great learner band to produce the players of the future, enjoy full rehearsals and have brought back free Sunday afternoon concerts to the Glossop bandroom. We can now look forward to life in the First Section in 2018. We enjoyed the Cheltenham experience last year, but this year we are out to make a real impression."
There will be little doubt that they will certainly make a mark on that contest if they repeat the type of form that was encapsulated in a performance that combined technical confidence with stylistic verve to claim the title off the early number 3 draw.
The plaudits certainly came from the remarks of the judges David Hirst and Derek Renshaw, both of who, as became clear from the pre-results remarks, also knew the piece inside out. Reference to balance, dynamic contrast and nuanced tempo, rhythmic accuracy and stylistic reverence left no one in any doubt about what they were looking for in the box.
Meanwhile, Foss Dyke will not be too far behind them either, after they rounded off the contest with a performance that also displayed a great deal of stylistic nuance from a reading of intellectual rigour from their MD.
Although there will be some disappointment for third placed Burbage, just a few little slips in a very musical account may just have cost them in the final furlong.
Behind them there was much to enjoy in Avonbank's bold approach — one that just fell away after a superb start, the contrasting elegance of City of Coventry in fifth and the considered approach of Hucknall & Linby that rounded off a good quality top-six, whilst each band below them brought something of musical merit form a work that in other areas has created immense problems.
He works so hard and it was obvious from the word go that he knew this music inside out. It's another great step in the right direction for us — especially as less than three years ago we were down to the bare bonesMarcus Jones, Glossop Old
Test Piece: 'Rhapsody in Brass' (Dean Goffin)
Adjudicators: David Hirst and Derek Renshaw
1. Glossop Old (Duncan Beckley*
2. Foss Dyke (Colum O'Shea)*
3. Burbage Buxton (Steve Critchlow)
4. Avonbank (Evesham) (Ceri Thomas)
5. City of Coventry (Stephen Cooper)
6. Hucknall and Linby MC (Paul Whyley)
7. Raunds Temperance (Robin Norman)
8. Daventry (Bob Stradling)
9. Bakewell Silver (Jim Henson)
10. Pleasley Colliery Welfare (Geoff Benson)
11. Newhall (Kevin Holdgate)
*Top two bands qualify for National Final at Cheltenham