There was plenty of keen competition on show at the North Wales Brass Band Association Rally held on the weekend at Ysgol Brynhyfryd in Ruthin.
The Open Section saw Northop reclaim the title honours for the first time since 2012 with a fine performance of John Golland's 'Sounds' under guest conductor John Doyle.
They also took home the 'Best March' accolade for their rousing rendition of 'The President', whilst to complete the clean sweep of prizes, Aled Williams and Keith Jones took the 'Best Soloist' and 'Best Flugel' accolades.
Just behind came solid performances from the rapidly improving Deiniolen with their colourful take on 'The Mermaid of Zennor', whilst there was a warm welcome for third placed Ifton Colliery playing 'Renaissance'. The band was making their first 'official' appearance as a Welsh registered band at the contest.
With the Welsh Regional contest only a few months away in Swansea, the result gave Northop a time boost of confidence as they look to claim one of the two extra qualification places that will be up for grabs at the Brangwyn Hall next March.
Guest conductor John Doyle told 4BR: "I really enjoyed working with Northop for this contest, and you tell there is a desire to be in the hunt for prizes at Swansea next year. There is a focus about what they want to do.
There is also so much untapped playing talent in North Wales banding, but the investment in youth by the likes of Northop and others means the future looks bright."
There was also plenty of other fine music making for judges Paul Wilson and John Glyn Jones to enjoy in the other sections, with Porthaethwy Menai Bridge led by Chris Williams securing the Section 4 honours for the first time since 2003, whilst Northop Training made it a 'double' by emulating their senior counterparts with victory in Section 5 led by a busy Aled Williams.
There was also plenty of super playing on show in the youth sections, where the outstanding work undertaken by local bands was showcased to fine effect.
Llangollen conducted by Trevor Williams claimed the Youth Section 6b honours, whilst there was a real showcase of talent from both Beaumaris Youth and Denbigshire Music Co-operative Youth in the Youth Section 6a event — underlying their positions as two of the leading youth set ups in the country.
Beaumaris eventually claimed the title for the tenth consecutive time under Gwyn Evans, whilst Denbigshire showed further evidence of the progress they are making under the baton of John Powell.
I really enjoyed working with Northop for this contest, and you tell there is a desire to be in the hunt for prizes at Swansea next year. There is a focus about what they want to doJohn Doyle
1. Northop Silver (John Doyle)
2. Deiniolen (Lois Eifion)
3. Ifton Colliery (Scott R Lloyd)
4. Royal Buckley Town — (Karl Stott)
Best Soloist: Aled Williams (euphonium) — Northop Silver
Best March: Northop Silver
Best Flugel: Keith Jones (Northop Silver)
1. Porthaethwy Menai Bridge (Chris Williams)
2. Buckley Brass (Steve Pugh-Jones)
3. Holywell (Aled Williams)
4. Dyffryn Nantlle (Gwenellian Jones)
Best Soloist: Jude Kimber (cornet) — Porthaethwy Menai Bridge
Best March: Porthaethwy Menai Bridge
1. Northop Training (Aled Williams)
2. Dyffryn Nantlle Training (Charlotte Green)
3. Menai Bridge Beginners (Hannah Retallick)
4. Llandudno Training (Sue Hughes)
Best Hymn: Dyffryn Nantlle Training
Best Soloist: Kit percussion (Dyffryn Nantlle)
Youth Section 6a:
1. Beaumaris Youth (Gwyn Evans)
2. Denbighshire Music Co-operative Youth (John Powell)
Best Hymn: Beaumaris Youth
Best Soloist: Josh Glover (cornet) — Denbighshire Music Co-operative Youth
Youth Section 6b:
1. Llangollen (Trevor Williams)
2. Beaumaris Intermediate (Bethan Evans)
3. Llandudno Intermediate (Sue Hughes)
Best Soloist: Taya Castley (cornet) — Llangollen
Best Percussionist (from Section 6a & 6b): Mia & Ifan from Beaumaris Intermediate
Best Hymn: Beaumaris Intermediate