There was an excellent day of keenly fought competition at the Leicestershire Brass Band Association Open Contest held at Loughborough Endowed Schools, where the new partnership between Wantage and Paul Holland took the honours in the Championship Section.
Their solidly portrayed account of Philip Sparke's 'A Tale As Yet Untold' saw them claim a clear two-point winning margin over defending champion Derwent Brass who played 'Spiriti', with Ratby Co-operative in third with, 'As if a voice were in them…'.
There was no doubting the sense of ambition from a number of bands with their selections, although it was the more traditional strengths of well managed tempos, dynamic balances and competent execution that certainly earmarked Wantage's winning performance — something that the winning MD was happy to acknowledge when speaking to 4BR.
"I felt it was important to push the band, but not unrealistically so with our own-choice," Paul Holland said.
"I was very pleased at the way we performed as it also showed how much work we've done together, but also how much work we still have to do to raise ourselves up to the next level in Championship Section banding. This is a great contest to do that at the end of long season."
There was certainly a great deal of ambition on show in the First Section. Kidlington Concert Brass rounded off an excellent contesting year under Duncan Wilson by successfully defending their title, thanks to a boldly performed rendition of 'Hypercube' by Oliver Waespi — a work originally commissioned Paris Brass Band to be used at the 2016 European Championships.
It proved good enough to repel the strong challenge of another form band of 2017 in Enderby, who opted for 'A London Overture', with Langley's 'Isaiah 40' claiming the final podium slot.
Elsewhere, adjudicator Chris Wormald had the difficult task of comparing works as diverse as 'Cloudcatcher Fells', 'Trittico' and 'The Plantagenets'.
Crofton's colourful account of 'Fire in the Blood' saw the Yorkshire band round off their season with a victory in the Second Section under Dean Jones — ending a point ahead of Flixton's 'Music for a Legacy' with Hucknall & Lindby in third playing 'Cry of the Mountain'.
Meanwhile, there was another successful title defence in the Third Section, as Midlands Area champion Rolls Royce (Derby) led by Graham Cardwell took the honours ahead of Simon Langton Brass with Matlock in third, thanks to a well structured reprise of the National Finals test-piece, 'Hinemoa'.
It was the same story in the Fourth Section too, as Alex Parker enjoyed a fine debut contest outing as MD of the University of Warwick, by successfully defending their title ahead of Moulton 77, with Syston in third.
The Unregistered Section saw success for Enderby Concert ahead of spirited accounts from Coleshill Youth and Ratby Juniors.
I was very pleased at the way we performed as it also showed how much work we've done together, but also how much work we still have to do to raise ourselves up to the next level in Championship Section bandingPaul Holland
Adjudicator: Brett Baker
1. Wantage (Paul Holland) — 195
2. Derwent Brass (Keith Leonard) — 193
3. Ratby Co-operative (Mareika Gray) — 192
4. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks) — 191
5. Aveley & Newham (Alan Duguid) — 189
6. Blidworth Welfare (Simon Oates) — 188
7. East of England Co-op (Nigel Cooper) — 186
8. Brunel Brass (Paul Collis-Smith) — 184
Best Instrumentalist: (euphonium) — Blidworth Welfare
Best Trombones: Ratby Co-operative
Adjudicator: Chris Wormald
1. Kidlington Concert (Duncan Wilson) — 193
2. Enderby (Simon Gresswell) — 192
3. Langley (Cliff Parker) — 191
4. Foresters Brass (John Davis) — 190
5. Oddfellows (Rob Boulter) — 189
6. City of Cambridge (Peter Bassano) — 188
7. Bedford Town (Steve Phillips) — 187
8. Hathern (David Newman) — 186
9. Ibstock Brick Brass (Simon Willis) — 185
10. The Wigston Band (Rob Boulter) — 184
11. Kibworth (Karl Busch) — 183
12. Rushden Town (Adele Hudson) — 182
13. Leicestershire Co-op (Graham Jacklin) — 181
14. Shirebrook Miners Welfare (Colum O`Shea) — 180
15. Harborough (Brad Turnbull) — 179
Best Instrumentalist: (euphonium) — Langley
Adjudicator: David Hirst
1. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones) — 188
2. Flixton (Ian Brownbill) — 187
3. Hucknall & Linby M.C. (Paul Whyley) — 186
4. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathon Mott) — 184
5. Bakewell Silver (Jim Henson) — 183
6. City of Coventry (Stephen Cooper) — 182
7. Littleport Brass (Nicholas Garman) — 181
Best Instrumentalist: (euphonium) — Crofton Silver
Adjudicator: David Hirst
1. Rolls Royce (Derby) (Graham Cardwell) — 188
2. Simon Langton Brass (David Cutting) — 187
3. Matlock (Geoff Hawley) — 185
4. Towcester Studio (Paul Fensom) — 184
5. Cubbington Silver (Mark Phillips) — 183
6. Rockingham (Adam Whittle) — 182
7. Dinnington Colliery (Lindon Bolt) — 181
8. Amington (Alan Gifford) — 180
9. Melton (Graham Sutton) — 179
10. Hemel Hempstead (David Edmonds) — 178
Best Instrumentalist: (cornet) — Rolls Royce (Derby)
Adjudicator: Steve Hartley
1. University of Warwick (Alexander Parker) — 180
2. Moulton 77 (Colin Jones) — 179
3. Syston (Chris Banks) — 178
4. Kirkby Colliery Welfare (Neville Buxton) — 177
5. Ratby Co-op Mid (Geoff Wood) — 176
6. Corby Silver (Cathy Fountain) — 175
7. Newark Town (Rupert Trippett) — 174
8. Croft Silver (Ian Needham) — 173
9. Wantage Academy (Nikki Jones) — 172
10. Whitwell Brass (Ryan Stacey) — 171
11. City of Wolverhampton (George Draycott) — 170
Best Instrumentalist: (flugel) — Syston
Adjudicator: Steve Hartley
1. Enderby Concert (Steward Osgood) — 179
2. Coleshill Youth (Stephen Fagg) — 178
3. Ratby Beginners/Juniors (Becky Moss) — 177
Best Instrumentalist: (flugel) — Coleshill Youth