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Results: 2012 Scottish Championship

Wins for Scottish Funeralcare, Clackmannan, Croy, Jedforest and Kingdom Brass B at Glenrothes.

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A high class performance of ‘The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ saw Co-operative Funeralcare reclaim the Scottish title in Glenrothes with a performance that drew an emotional response from the players and supporters of the newly crowned champions.

Great figure

The joy of victory was tempered by the news of the death of Bram Thompson, aged 90, one of the great figures of the band’s near 100 year history.

"The news of the death of Bram Thompson came as a great shock to everyone," professional MD Dr Nicholas Childs told 4BR.

"Although he was a ‘Co’ man through and through, he was highly respected throughout Scotland and the UK as a great servant to the banding movement. The victory was dedicated to the memory of this outstanding man."

Tribute

Band Manager Martin Stack agreed: "This was a very emotional win for the band. We held an open rehearsal in Motherwell where we recorded two hymns for the family—a personal favourite in ‘Cwm Rhondda’ and appropriately enough, ‘How Great Thou Art’.

Those and the victory were our heartfelt personal tribute to a great man and his contribution to the ‘Co’ and the whole of the banding movement."

Devil Double

The victory saw Scottish Funeralcare crowned Scottish Champion for the third time in four years, whilst the victory gave MD Dr Nicholas Childs a ‘Devil’s Double’ after leading Black Dyke to victory at the Yorkshire Area Championship in Bradford.

He is now looking to make it a hat-trick in Darlington with Reg Vardy this weekend, whilst Scottish Funeralcare looks forward to representing Scotland at the European Championships both in Rotterdam later this year and in Oslo in 2013 thanks to the victory.

Back

"All my concentration was on this performance," Nick added. "You are only as good as your last result though, so who knows what the weekend will bring. I’m exceptionally pleased for Scottish Funeralcare though. The band is really moving forward in every way.

They are back where they belong and they will be a band to fear at the majors this year I’m certain."

Outstanding

And although the MD reserved special mention to his prize winning duo of Charlie and Caroline Farren, he also singled out horn player Alison Hall for her outstanding contribution.

"The Farren’s are great players and fully deserved their prizes, but I have to give a special mention to Alison for her overall contribution. Her solo playing really sealed the victory for me."

Real quality

Adjudicators David Thornton and Jonathan Corry agreed, with David later telling 4BR that there was real quality about the qualifiers who will make the trip to the Albert Hall.

"The top two bands were very obvious in their quality. They really grasped the ‘Devil’," he said.

"Both produced high class, well measured, and thoughtfully planned performances, with the winners just having that extra control, especially in the exposed solo lines we were looking for. It was close though and we gave the result a great deal of thought."

Plenty admire

David also revealed that although there was a gap between the two heavyweight rivals and the rest of the 10 band field, there was plenty of quality playing to admire in a number of performances.

"Both the third and fourth placed bands gave us accounts of real merit, although they couldn’t quite match the consistency of the top two. Some bands below them though did struggle on a very difficult test piece."

The ‘Co’ will be joined at the Royal Albert Hall by Exchange Communications, as the defending champion narrowly failed to retain their title under the baton of Ian Porthouse.

Happy

Although disappointed on missing out on a successful title defence, Ian was still happy with the way his band performed.

"We couldn’t really have done anything more. Congratulations to Scottish Funeralcare because I know they will have had to given an outstanding performance to beat us on the day.

There is disappointment at not retaining the title, but I think this result provides a very solid foundation for the challenge to get back to the British Open at the Grand Shield in a couple of months time."

That foundation will be based on the band’s prize winning bass end, after they took the hard fought section award, whilst baritone player Colin McCabe of third placed Kingdom Brass and young soprano star Calum Tonner of Kirkintilloch also claimed individual prizes.

Third force

Kingdom Brass continued to show that their long term plans to become the third force in Scottish banding are now paying significant dividends, as they claimed third place under the direction of Frans Violet.

Band Manager John Todd told 4BR: "We are a little disappointed not to be going to London, but the gap between us and the two best bands in Scotland is getting narrower by the contest.

This result also gives us a huge boost of confidence for the rest of an important season."

Top six

The remaining top six places were taken by former champions Kirkintilloch conducted by Philip McCann, who just couldn’t quite overcome some nasty errors to challenge closer for a qualification place.

Meanwhile, last year’s podium finishers Lochgelly showed that they continue to grow as a top section force by coming fifth under Allan Ramsay direction.

The final top six place was taken by an encouraging performance from Dalmellington, conducted by the experienced Archie Hutchison.


Bram Thompson was highly respected throughout Scotland and the UK as a great servant to the banding movement. The victory was dedicated to the memory of this outstanding manDr Nicholas Childs

First Section:

In the First Section there was a first Scottish title for Clackmannan, as Paul McKelvie OBE led his band to success on the set work, ‘Mountain Views’.

They will head to Cheltenham for the first time since 2008, where they will be joined by Dalkeith & Monktonhall, as the 2010 Second Section winners claimed their qualification place conducted by James Chamberlain.

Short address

In a short address, adjudicator Steve Pritchard-Jones told the audience that both he and Dr Roger Webster agreed that one performance stood out on a test that may not have really enthused bands.

"We realised that it isn’t the most exciting piece to rehearse," he said. "One band did tell the whole story though, whilst the rest were a little more varied. The winner’s certainly observed the composer’s intentions in the score."

Main objectives

Clackmannan Band Secretary Anne McInnes told 4BR that the band was delighted to be heading to Cheltenham.

"To get to the National Finals was one of our main objectives for the year," she said.

"To do it such a way by winning the Scottish title was great, especially as we have only been working with our new MD Paul McKelvie for a few months. His input in that time has given us a huge boost of contesting confidence and that was shown on stage."

Late night

Anne also revealed that the victory celebrations went on long into the night too.

"I’m sure not too many players got a full night’s sleep," she laughed. "The celebrations were still going strong well into the wee hours!"

Early marker

Led by Whitburn’s flugel player James Chamberlain, Dalkeith & Monktonhall provided the judges with the early contest marker off the number 2 draw, with rendition that grew in confidence after a nervous start, whilst just missing out was a boldly coloured performance for Johnstone Silver under the direction of Co-op trombone star Paul Kiernan.

Solid

Newmilns & Galston, claimed fourth place after Nigel Boddice MBE, directed his band in a solidly portrayed account of the mountainous musical terrain, whilst Bon Accord was fifth.

Their performance conducted by Alan Duguid was enhanced by the prize winning contribution from flugel horn Oliver Mason. Granite City came sixth under the baton of Alan Haggart, whilst Cheryl Saunders of City of Discovery won the ‘Best Horn’ prize, as she helped her band to seventh.

Second Section:

Ten years after they last qualified for the National Finals, Croy Silver will head to Cheltenham after Kenneth Blackwood led the band to victory on ‘Cross Patonce’.

They will be joined there by Coalburn Silver after Gareth Bowman ensured his band bounced back from their relegation from the First Section last year.

Deserved place

The winning MD was delighted that after such a long time his rapidly improving band had secured a deserved place at the National Finals once more.

Music off the page

Kenneth Blackwood told 4BR: "It’s the real reward for a great deal of hard work and commitment by the players. We really played well on the day, and I was particularly delighted that in their written remarks the judges said that ‘the music was coming off the page’.

That meant a great deal as that was what we set out to achieve with the music right from the word go."

The small mining village of Croy in North Lanarkshire has a proud banding history, with the band formed in 1875.

Improving

This will be the eighth time that they will have headed to the National Finals, and they are looking forward to it, as the MD explained.

"We have been improving over the last couple of years, and have gained a good reputation for our innovative concerts, which can be seen online. Now we can back that up with a Scottish Championship victory too."

Kenneth certainly brought his wide orchestral experience to bear on his interpretation of the demanding set work—something which he felt helped to catch the ear of the two men in the box.

Broad and lyrical

"As an orchestral French horn player I felt this was music that would really benefit from a broad lyrical approach, and so we did produce a performance that was different in style to many rivals. All credit goes to the players as they really bought into what I wanted to portray."

Future

The future also looks good for the band—and not just because of the trip to Cheltenham, with Kenneth’s role as Head of Brass in East Renfrewshire starting bring a new dynamism to banding in the region.

"I hope that we can help as many bands as possible, and that includes Croy. We are already planning for the future and utilising the experience of people such Lynda Nicholson to help. That can only be good for Croy and Scottish banding."

Raised eyebrows

In a contest that raised more than a few eyebrows when the results were eventually announced, Dr Roger Webster and Steve Pritchard-Jones kept the audience somewhat in the dark with the reasons behind their decision, after the Grimethorpe principal cornet gave a compact pre-results analysis.

Mixed standard

"It was a mixed standard today," he said. "Not all the bands made the most of their opportunity and not all made it through with ease. The best were generally well shaped, but our reasons are all in the remarks to the bands."

Just missing out on a long trip to Cheltenham was Campbeltown Brass, who opened the contest off the number 1 draw with a purposeful account that just strained at times in tonality, although it did feature a fine prize winning individual contributions from euphonium players George Good and Fraser Cosgrove.

Lively

A lively rendition by Kilmarnock Concert fourth, with Annan Town and Shott’s St Patrick’s claiming the remaining top six places in the results.

Talking point

The main talking point however was the seventh placed finish of the much fancied Tullis Russell Mills conducted by Martyn Ramsay.

Their purposeful account, full of solid lines and bold ensemble seemed to have certainly resonated with the audience, many of whom thought it to be a clear winner—but not so in the box.

Third Section:

There was a first Scottish Championship title since 1968 for Jedforest Instrumental in the Third Section, as Phil Rosier led his band to a long overdue success and a place at the National Finals for the first time since 2004.

Joining them at Cheltenham will be Perthshire Brass conducted by George Annan, who continued on their upwardly mobile progress with a qualification place after just missing out in the last two years.

Tears of joy

Jedforest’s Nicola Currie told 4BR that after such a long wait it came as no surprise that a few tears of joy were shed by the players.

"It was an amazing experience—such an emotional win," she said.

"We knew when we walked off stage that we had played really well. Phil has been with us just over a year and we have come on leaps and bounds. When the results were announced the celebrations really began. There were plenty of tears of celebration!"

"There are still a few who remember the 1968 win," she added. "But this one is for a new generation of Jedforest players. We are already starting the fundraising plans to make sure we get to Cheltenham."

Not born

Adjudicators John Doyle and David Thornton were not even born when Jedforest last won a Scottish title, but had no doubt that this one was well deserved.

John told 4BR: "The winners were very good indeed. They made a fine, well balanced band sound, did all the basics very well and made our decision an easy one."

Praise

David agreed, but also praised runner up, Perthshire Brass on their fine performance: "Both qualifiers gave us exactly what we were looking for. They were measured performances, very well directed with an understanding of the pace and flow of the music.

There was also some very good horn playing on show too from both bands that really caught our ears in the box."

Innovative

In an innovative pre-results analysis, John took an interactive approach with the audience to ensure they were left in no doubt just what it takes to produce good contest winning performances.

Just missing out on a trip to the Finals this year was an exciting and colourful rendition from Selkirk Brass, conducted by Alan Fernie, whilst the remaining top six places were taken by Drumfries Town, McTaggart Scott Loanhead and Langholm Town.

Roslyn Neil, principal cornet of Buckhaven & Methil took the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ Award, much to the delight of her husband, David who conducted the band.

Fourth Section:

There was a brilliant celebration for the growing Kingdom Brass organisation as their debutant ‘B’ Band took the honours in the Fourth Section directed by Bede Williams.

Tangible

It provided the ground breaking Kingdom organisation with the first tangible contesting triumph of their long term development plans for providing a stream of playing talent that stretches from their beginners group to their senior Championship Section ensemble.

Senior Band Manager John Todd was absolutely delighted with the debutants win: "It really shows that we are successfully implementing our long term aims and objectives from the grass roots up.

Over half this band is under the age of 16, with ten under the age of 14, whilst the rest is a mixture of adult players who are enjoying a more social banding atmosphere and mature learners who want to be part of a progressive musical organisation."

The band’s tuba player Danielle Stark was presented with the ‘Youngest Player’ Award.

Kitted out

With the band kitted out in brand new walking out jackets they took to the stage under conductor Bede Williams to provide adjudicators John Doyle and Jonathan Corry with a winning performance of great clarity and determination, even if it was colourful to say the least, as John explained.

"It really was an exuberant performance," John told 4BR. "It was a very modern take on a classic piece of brass band repertoire, but the quality of the playing stood out. It was very exciting and colourful to say the least."

Bus booked

Despite the youthfulness of the majority of the players, the celebrations went on long into the night, as John Todd revealed.

"Everyone was so excited by the win that I don’t think many of the youngsters got much sleep! Bede did a wonderful job and was perhaps the happiest of the lot! We’ve already booked the hotel and the bus, so now we can concentrate on a trip to Cheltenham.

It’s going to be a great experience for everyone."

Fine runner up

They will joined at the Finals by another up and coming ‘B’ Band in Bon Accord Silver, who claimed the second qualification place under the direction of Richard Kidd, after they produced a fine performance that certainly caught the ear of the judges.

"That was a little cracker too," John added. "It was very well directed and put together."

The band’s principal cornet player Mark James won the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ Award.

Nervous

Although John told 4BR that the top two bands did stand out a little from their rivals, there was also fine performance from third placed Tullis Russell Mills Intermediate.

"A lot of bands found their form after slightly nervous starts. The reprises were invariably better, although some MDs will have to take a closer look at getting the basics such as tuning right if they are to really challenge for the prizes at this level."

The remaining top six places were claimed by Dunfermline Town, Hawick Saxhorn and Dysart Colliery.

Full results

Additional comments and thoughts on our twitter site:
http:/­/­twitter.com/­4barsrest

Championship Section:

Sunday 11th March

Test Piece: 'The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea' — Derek Bourgeois
Adjudicators David Thornton & Jonathan Corry

1. Co-operative Funeralcare (Dr. Nicholas J. Childs), 10 197*
2. Exchange Communications Whitburn (Ian Porthouse), 5 196*
3. Kingdom Brass (Frans Violet), 2, 194
4. Kirkintilloch (Phillip McCann), 7, 193
5. Lochgelly (Allan Ramsay), 9, 191
6. Dalmellington (Archie Hutchison), 3, 190
7. Bo’ness & Carriden Silver (Steve Sykes), 1, 189
8. Kirkintilloch Kelvin (Charles Keenan), 4, 188
9. Newtongrange Silver (Nigel Boddice MBE), 6 187
10. Broxburn & Livingston (Craig Anderson), 8 186

Best Cornet: Calum Tonner — (soprano) — Kirkintilloch
Best Trombone: Charlie Farren (Bass Trom) Co-operative Funeralcare
Best Horn: Caroline Farren (Flugel) Co-operative Funeralcare
Best Bari/Euph: Colin McCabe (Baritone) — Kingdom Brass
Best Basses: Exchange Communications Whitburn

* Top two bands qualify for National Finals

First Section:

Sunday 11th March

Test Piece: 'Mountain Views' — Bertrand Moren
Adjudicators: Dr Roger Webster & Steve Pritchard Jones

1. Clackmannan (Paul McKelvie OBE), 3, 189*
2. Dalkeith & Monktonhall (James Chamberlain), 2, 188*
3. Johnstone Silver (Paul Kiernan), 7, 187
4. Newmilns & Galston (Nigel Boddice MBE)10, 186
5. Bon Accord Silver (Alan Duguid), 8, 185
6. Granite City Brass (Alan Haggart), 5, 184
7. City of Discovery (Bruce Wallace), 1, 183
8. Arbroath Instrumental (Michael Robertson), 9, 182
9. Unison Kinneil (Russ Young), 6, 181
10. Bathgate (Eoin Tonner), 4, 180

Best Instrumentalist: Oliver Mason (flugel) — Bon Accord
Best Horn: Cheryl Saunders — City of Discovery

* Top two bands qualify for National Finals

Second Section:

Saturday 10th March

Test Piece: 'Cross Patonce' — Goff Richards
Adjudicators: Dr Roger Webster & Steve Pritchard Jones

1. Croy Silver (Kenneth Blackwood), 9, 187*
2. Coalburn Silver (Gareth Bowman), 6, 186*
3. Campbeltown Brass (James McVicar), 1, 185
4. Kilmarnock Concert (Raymond Tennant), 8, 184
5. Annan Town (David Shanks), 4, 183
6. Shotts St. Patrick's (Michael Marzella), 3, 182
7. Tullis Russell (Martyn Ramsay), 11, 181
8. Irvine & Dreghorn (John Boax), 2, 180
9. Dunaskin Doon (Chris Bradley), 5, 179
10. St. David's Brass (John Dickson), 10. 178
11. St. Ronan's Silver (David Robb), 12, 177
12. Brass Sounds Inverclyde (Gareth Bowman), 7, 176

Best Instrumentalist: George Good & Fraser Cosgrove (euphonium) — Campbeltown

* Top two bands qualify for National Finals

Third Section:

Saturday 10th March

Test Piece: 'Olympus' — Philip Harper
Adjudicators: David Thornton & John Doyle

1. Jedforest Instrumental, (Phil Rosier), 4, 185*
2. Perthshire Brass* (George D. Annan), 6, 183*
3. Selkirk Silver (Alan Fernie), 8, 181
4. Dumfries Town (Peter Heyes), 11, 180
5. MacTaggart Scott (Mark Bell), 3, 179
6. Langholm Town (Alan Fernie), 5, 178
7. Buckhaven & Methil Miners (David Neil), 1, 177
8. Peebles Burgh (Alex Knox), 7, 175
9. Renfrew Burgh (Mark Good), 9, 174
10. Barrhead Burgh (Brian Keachie), 10, 173
11. Tayport Instrumental (Frank Culross), 2, 172

Best Instrumentalist: Roslyn Neil (cornet) — Buckhaven & Methil

* Top two bands qualify for National Finals

Fourth Section:

Saturday 10th March

Test Piece: 'English Folk Song Suite' — Ralph Vaughan Williams
Adjudicators: John Doyle & Jonathan Corry

1. Kingdom Brass ‘B’ (Bede Williams), 4, 179*
2. Bon Accord Silver ‘B’ (Richard Kidd), 2, 178*
3. Tullis Russell Intermediate (Steven Craig), 9, 176
4. Dunfermline Town (Andrew Shaw), 5, 175
5. Hawick Saxhorn (Alan Fernie), 1, 174
6. Dysart Colliery (Bruce Fraser), 3, 173
7. Callander Brass (Ian Milligan), 10, 172
8. Penicuik Silver (Stuart Black), 7, 171
9. Dundee Instrumental (John M. Tonner), 8, 170
10. Queensferry Community Brass (James Anderson), 6, 169

Best Instrumentalist: Mark James (Solo cornet) — Bon Accord B
Youngest Bass Player: Danielle Stark — Kingdom Brass

* Top two bands qualify for National Finals



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