2004 National Championships of Great Britain - The Competitors


The 2004 National Finals sees 20 bands once more try and win the coveted title of Champion Brass Band of Great Britain.

All 8 regions send two qualifiers and the four bands that occupied the top 4 places at last year's finals get automatic invitations. Therefore Fairey FP (Music), Tredegar, BAYV and Black Dyke didn't have to worry about the Regionals too much (although the Welsh still had the European qualification to fight over).

This practise is set to continue (although there are rumours in the air that this may soon be up for discussion and possible change), and the four pre qualified bands still have to play at their Regional contest the following year something that rankles with the bands, so don't be surprised if this may be the last year of the top four getting exemptions.

Because of the rule, this year Wales has four representatives at the finals Cwmaman and Beaumaris joining the exodus over the Severn and Yorkshire and the North West each providing the one extra representative in the form of Brighouse and Rastrick and Wingates.

The beauty and the anomaly of the Nationals is that each year some of the top bands in the country fail to get to London so no Fodens Richardson, Grimethorpe or Sellers International, Desford, Ransome, Aveley and Newham or Flowers all of whom would have been worthy contenders if they had managed to get through the perilous waters of the Regional Championships. With such an attrition rate there are just 12 bands who were here 12 months ago. Once again, the Nationals never fail to surprise us.

John ClarkAlliance Brass
Conductor: John Clark

4BR Ranking: 95th

Principal Cornet: Joe Sharp
Principal Euphonium: Becky Smith
Soprano Cornet: William Cooper
Solo Trombone: Robb Tooley
Solo horn: Ben Benson
Flugel horn: Ed Pascal

Appearances: 2nd time
Debut: 2003
Best Result: 19th (2003)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: 19th (John Clark) (1)

Overall Record:
Unplaced: 1 time - 2003

2004 Qualification:
2nd place at the London and Southern Counties Championship 192pts in a 12 band field. Conducted by John Clark.

The youngest band in the contest less than five years of age, but one that draws strength and experience from players of quality earning their livings, or learning their potential livings in the music business around the capital.

Last year they had a real baptism of fire with a number 1 draw on their debut, but they equipped themselves very well and the benefit was felt when they more than comfortably qualified for the Finals once more at Stevenage in March. Nothing of note since though (no Masters of Grand Shield appearance) to mark the form card with, but if they have managed to get plenty of rehearsal time under their belts they have quality players (Matt Baker in particular on rep and Joe Sharp from the Southbank Sinfonia on top man) and an experienced MD to produce a fine account of themselves once more.

Morten E HansenBeaumaris:
Conductor: Morten E Hansen

4BR Ranking: 34th

Principal Cornet: Paul Hughes
Principal Euphonium: Aled Williams
Soprano Cornet: Barri Gwilliam
Solo Trombone: Josh Harris
Solo horn: Nia Wyn
Flugel horn: Gwyn Evans

Appearances: 2nd time
Debut: 2002
Best Result: 17th (2002)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: DNQ
2002: 17th (Gwyn Evans) (12)

Overall Record:
Unplaced: 1 time - 2002

2004 Qualification:
4th place at Welsh Regional Championships 193pts in a 10 band field. Conducted by Morten E Hansen.

The second appearance for the North Wales band, and this time they could well produce a performance that could well make a serious mark in the prize list. They qualified for the Finals nominally as the fourth best band in the Principality, but they were a little unlucky not to have come third at least on the day after giving a powerful performance of "Tristan Encounters" under Morten Hansen. They have been in pretty good form all year with a solid enough 11 th place at the Grand Shield and time impaired third place at Wychavon just a few weeks ago.

Lots of talented players and plenty of Welsh passion should see them do well, and an improvement on their 17 th place of 2002 should be well within their capabilities.

Nicholas ChildsBlack Dyke
Conductor: Dr. Nicholas Childs

4BR Ranking: 5th

Principal Cornet: Roger Webster
Principal Euphonium: David Thornton
Soprano Cornet: Alexandra Kerwin
Solo Trombone: Brett Baker
Solo horn: Leslie Howie
Flugel horn: John Doyle

Appearances: 72nd time
Debut: 1900
Best Result: 19 Wins

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: 4 th (Nicholas Childs) (3)
2002: 3 rd (Nicholas Childs) (4)
2001: Winners (Nicholas Childs) (12)
2000: DNQ
1999: DNQ
1998: 5 th (James Watson) (11)
1997: DNQ
1996: 3 rd (James Watson) (6)
1995: Winners (James Watson) (17)
1994: Winners (James Watson) (19)
1993: DNQ

Overall Record:
Wins: 19 times - 1902, 1928, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1959, 1961, 1967, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1989, 1994, 1995, 2001
Second place: 16 times - 1900, 1923, 1924, 1930, 1932, 1936, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989
Third place: 11 times - 1903, 1913, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1952, 1960, 1973, 1974, 1996, 2002
Fourth place: 4 times - 1912, 1921, 1934, 2003
Fifth place: 3 times - 1908, 1955, 1998
Sixth place: 4 times - 1904, 1926, 1956, 1984
Unplaced: 14 times - 1909, 1920, 1922, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1945, 1953, 1958, 1962, 1965, 1990

2004 Qualification:
(Prequalified) 2 nd place at Yorkshire Regional Championships 194pts in a 15 band field. Conducted by Dr. Nicholas Childs.

Beware an injured giant. Dyke could justifiably feel hard done by at the Open where they could only make the long journey home with a sixth place for their efforts. That result possibly highlighted the type of luck they have been having of late at Majors, and they have been prone to a couple of early draws here in the past two years that may also have cost them a possible title win.

What a record though 19 wins and 16 second places, so don't be surprised if they feature highly again. A note of caution though; there has only been the one victory since 1996 on "Albion" in 2001, so it is not a given that just because they may feel they are due a major victory they will get one. They should there or thereabouts though.

James GourlayBrighouse and Rastrick
Conductor: James Gourlay

4BR Ranking: 7th

Principal Cornet: Allan Morrison
Principal Euphonium: Stephen Miles
Soprano Cornet: Alan Hobbins
Solo Trombone: James Stockdale
Solo horn: Melvyn Bathgate
Flugel horn: Stephen Rogers

Appearances: 56th time
Debut: 1913
Best Result: 7 Wins

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: 6 th (Ian McElligott) (17)
2002: 5 th (Ian McElligott) (1)
2001: 11 th (Allan Withington) (4)
2000: 4 th (Allan Withington) (18)
1999: 2 nd (Allan Withington) (13)
1998: Winners (Allan Withington) (14)
1997: Winners (Allan Withington) (6)
1996: 6 th (Allan Withington) (13)
1995: 4 th (Allan Withington) (15)
1994: DNQ
1993: DNQ

Overall Record:
Wins: 7 times - 1946, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1997, 1998
Second place: 4 times - 1963, 1967, 1981, 1999
Third place: 3 times - 1948, 1951, 1975
Fourth place: 6 times - 1945, 1949, 1954, 1956, 1995, 2000
Fifth place: 7 times - 1913, 1950, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1992, 2002
Sixth place: 3 times - 1962, 1996, 2003
Unplaced: 25 times - 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1966, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 2001

2004 Qualification:
3rd place at the Yorkshire Regional Championship 192pts in a 15 band field. Conducted by James Gourlay.

Brighouse will surely be hoping 4BR don't tip them to take their 8th title here, after we gave them the kiss of death at the Open with our prediction that they would win. That rather subdued performance resulted in 11th place way below their expectations, especially after the type of form they have been showing all year under the new partnership with James Gourlay.

The last couple of years here they have performed well at both ends of the contesting draw, but if they do hit top form they could well take the title back to purple heart of West Riddings for the first time since 1998.

Robert ChildsBuy As You View
Conductor: Dr. Robert Childs

4BR Ranking: 2nd

Principal Cornet: Ian Williams
Principal Euphonium: David Childs
Soprano Cornet: Steve Barnsley
Solo Trombone: Chris Thomas
Solo horn: Owen Farr
Flugel horn: Joanne Deane

Appearances: 43rd time
Debut: 1924
Best Result: 5 Wins

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)

2003: 3 rd (Robert Childs) (12)
2002: 2 nd (Robert Childs) (9)
2001: 5 th (Robert Childs) (13)
2000: Winners (Robert Childs) (12)
1999: DNQ
1998: 6 th (Jeremy Wise) (17)
1997: 6 th (Jeremy Wise) (11)
1996: DNQ
1995: DNQ
1994: 14 th (Michael Antrobus) (2)
1993: DNQ

Overall Record:
Wins: 5 times - 1974, 1982, 1983, 1984, 2000
Second place: 3 times - 1948, 1979, 2002
Third place: 2 times 1971, 2003:
Fifth place: 3 times - 1972, 1986, 2001
Sixth place: 6 times - 1949, 1952, 1967, 1976, 1997, 1998
Unplaced: 23 times - 1924, 1945, 1950, 1951, 1956, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1988, 1992, 1994

2004 Qualification:
(Prequalified) Winners of the Welsh Regional Championships 197pts in a 10 band field. Conducted by Dr. Robert Childs.

It would take a brave man indeed to bet against BAYV not being at the sharp end come results time. Only the dreaded number 2 draw at the Open possibly stopped them from taking that major back home to the Principality, and since 2000 when they were victors here on "Harrison's Dream" they have come mighty close to making it a sixth National win.

They were comfortable winners at the Welsh Championships, but suffered with poor judging at the European and bad luck maybe at the Open, so they may be due a change of fate. If they get it (although they may be a due an early draw here) then with the quality they have around the stand they should be there or thereabouts without doubt.

Frank RentonCamborne Town
Conductor: Frank Renton

4BR Ranking: 38th

Principal Cornet: Chris Leonard
Principal Euphonium: Robert Jose
Soprano Cornet: Jeremy Squibb
Solo Trombone: Nick Abbott
Solo horn: Graham Barker
Flugel horn: Andrew Mitchell

Appearances: 36th time
Debut: 1946
Best Result: 4th place (1977 and 1982)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: 11th (Paul Murrell) (18)
2002: 19th (Paul Murrell) (7)
2001: 19th (Brian Grant) (19)
2000: DNQ
1999: DNQ
1998: 9th (Leonard Adams) (1)
1997: DNQ
1996: DNQ
1995: DNQ
1994: 17th (Derek Greenwood) (8)
1993: 18th (Derek Greenwood) (2)

Overall Record:
Fourth place: 2 times - 1977, 1982
Fifth place: 1 times - 1973
Sixth place: 2 times - 1951, 1965
Unplaced: 30 times - 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1972, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003

2004 Qualification:
2nd place at the West of England Championships 197pts in a 11 band field. Conducted by Frank Renton.

A fourth consecutive appearance at the Royal Albert Hall for the rather reclusive contesting band from deepest Cornwall, but they are a fine outfit indeed on their day and will travel to Kensington confident of improving on the 11th place of a twelve month ago.

16th place at the Masters wasn't perhaps the best indication of their talents, but they did win at Bugle and they have Frank Renton back at the helm and when he is there they are a different proposition indeed. Lots of talent and determination, so a further leap up the results table could well be on the cards.

John HudsonCwmaman Institute (Tower Colliery)
Conductor: John Hudson

4BR Ranking: 18th

Principal Cornet: Tim Malpas
Principal Euphonium: Gareth Maidment
Soprano Cornet: Garry Davies
Solo Trombone: Steve Howells
Solo horn: Lucy Rodgers
Flugel horn: Rhian Hills

Appearances: Debut
Debut: 2004
Best Result: N/A

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
Making debut this year

2004 Qualification:
3rd place at the Welsh Regional Championships 194pts in a 10 band field. Conducted by John Hudson.

This time last year Cwmaman were possibly contemplating the thought of a difficult 2004 ahead of them, but 12 months on and this is a band that has proved the detractors wrong and produced some of their best form for a very long time. 3 rd place at Swansea was the start of it beating more fancied bands on the day to claim the first extra Welsh qualification place on offer this year, and they have continued to improve as the year has progressed.

The Open in particular saw them produce a very fine account of themselves (even though it wasn't enough to save them from the drop) and if they can repeat that here they should more than make their mark. All this, and they have the coolest celebrity supporters (The Stereophonics) to back them as well.

Gareth PritchardEast Yorkshire Motor Services
Conductor: Gareth Pritchard

4BR Ranking: 47th

Principal Cornet: Craig Gaskell
Principal Euphonium: Liz Grosvenor
Soprano Cornet: Graham Drury
Solo Trombone: Mark Unsworth
Solo horn: Alison Grantham
Flugel horn: Joanna Peacham

Appearances: 8th time
Debut: 1996
Best Result: 8th (1996)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: 14th (Gareth Pritchard) (13)
2002: 20th (Gareth Pritchard) (3)
2001: 14th (Gareth Pritchard) (10)
2000: DNQ
1999: 15th (John Roberts) (18)
1998: 10th (John Roberts) (5)
1997: 13th (Robert Childs) (5)
1996: 8th (Robert Childs) (14)
1995: DNQ
1994: DNQ
1993: DNQ

Overall Record:
Unplaced: 7 times - 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003

2004 Qualification: 2nd place at the North of England Championships 192pts in a 9 band field. Conducted by Gareth Pritchard.

The eighth appearance in the last nine years for EYMS, and they quite like making the trip south to Kensington it seems with a fine solid record here since they made their debut at the Albert Hall in 1996.

That coincided with their best return 8 th place, but they have shown during the past 12 months that if they hit top form a repeat of that result could well be achieved again.

12 th place at the Masters showed that they have the talent, but 18 th at the Grand Shield also showed that they can be infuriately inconsistent. Gareth Pritchard should bring an eloquent reading to the score, but will it be enough to improve on last year's 14 th place?

David EvansFairey FP (Music) Band
Conductor: David Evans

4BR Ranking: 4th

Principal Cornet: Nick Walkley
Principal Euphonium: Michael Howley
Soprano Cornet: Rebecca Crawshaw
Solo Trombone: Roz Davies
Solo horn: Chris Pannell
Flugel horn: Neil Hewson

Appearances: 42nd time
Debut: 1945
Best Result: 9 wins

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: Winners (Allan Withington) (19)
2002: Winners (Allan Withington) (14)
2001: 4th (Howard Snell) (2)
2000: 8th (James Gourlay) (9)
1999: 5th (James Gourlay) (14)
1998: 3rd (James Gourlay) (16)
1997: 2nd (James Gourlay) (13)
1996: 4th (James Gourlay) (7)
1995: 8th (Ray Farr) (3)
1994: 2nd (Major Peter Parkes) (5)
1993: Winners (Major Peter Parkes) (9)

Overall Record:
Wins: 9 times - 1945, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1965, 1986, 1993, 2002, 2003
Second place: 4 times - 1946, 1947, 1994, 1997
Third place: 5 times - 1966, 1978, 1980, 1992, 1998
Fourth place: 4 times - 1984, 1987, 1996, 2001
Fifth place: 4 times - 1962, 1975, 1988, 1999
Sixth place: 6 times - 1953, 1958, 1959, 1982, 1990, 1991
Unplaced: 9 times - 1948, 1955, 1957, 1963, 1972, 1979, 1983, 1995, 2000

2004 Qualification:
(Prequalified) 2nd place at the North West Regional Championship 196pts in a 11 band field. Conducted by Allan Withington.

History awaits. If Fairey's do it then they will have done it the hardest way possible: the loss of a near complete band of players and in just the last week, the inspirational MD as well. The odds may be long, but the determination, resolve and the talent is there in spades and it would be foolish indeed to write of their chances.

The Open produced a 12 th place, but plenty of evidence that there is still a very fine band here in the making it possibly just needs more time to really gell. With the cool head of David Evans taking over the helm though they should produce a quality show and if they get the luck they feel they deserve then they could well prove all the pre contest predictions wrong, and provide the band with a glorious hat trick win.

Garry CuttLeyland
Conductor: Garry Cutt

4BR Ranking: 14th

Principal Cornet: Andrew Lord
Principal Euphonium: Bill Miller
Soprano Cornet: Ian Twiss
Solo Trombone: Nick Hudson
Solo horn: Danny Powell
Flugel horn: Lucy Murphy

Appearances: 19 th time
Debut: 1981
Best Result: 3 rd (1984)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: 17th (Garry Cutt) (5)
2002: 15th (Garry Cutt) (6)
2001: 6th (Garry Cutt) (8)
2000: 14th (Howard Snell) (16)
1999: 10th (Richard Evans) (6)
1998: 8th (Richard Evans) (4)
1997: DNQ
1996: 7th (Richard Evans) (9)
1995: 5th (Richard Evans) (5)
1994: 7th (Richard Evans) (6)
1993: 5th (Richard Evans) (4)

Overall Record:
Third place: 1 time - 1984
Fourth place: 1 time - 1990
Fifth place: 2 times - 1993, 1995
Sixth place: 1 time 2001
Unplaced: 13 times 1981, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003

2004 Qualification:
Winners of the North West Regional Championships 197pts in a 11 band field. Conducted by Garry Cutt.

What a year it has been for Leyland. The win at Blackpool was a tremendous achievement and was a timely reminder that they are a very fine band indeed when the mood takes them. After that though they had to contend with the rain and the number 1 draw at the Grand Shield and the troubles that led to them having to drop out of the Masters. Ups and downs eh?

However, with a raft of new signings and with the exceptional talent of Garry Cutt at the helm they will be confident of doing well here and at least gaining another top six place. If they get the luck of the draw (just the one double figure draw slot since 1993) they could well show that the scintillating victory at the Winter Gardens wasn't a one off. Ones to watch out for perhaps?

Bryan HurdleyMount Charles
Conductor: Bryan Hurdley

4BR Ranking: 22nd

Principal Cornet: Ian Thomas
Principal Euphonium:
Soprano Cornet: Jon Small
Solo Trombone: Helen Thomas
Solo horn: Sarah Robins
Flugel horn: Tim Whitehead

Appearances: Debut
Debut: 2004
Best Result: N/A

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
Making debut this year

2004 Qualification:
Winners of the West of England Regional Championship 198pts in a 11 band field. Conducted by Dr. Nicholas Childs.

At last. Mount Charles are a band that should have been making regular appearances at the National Finals for the past five or six years at least but a combination of hard luck and poor contest performances when the pressure has been really on at the West of England Championships, has denied them.

That all changed this year when under the command of Nicholas Childs they finally made it and in some style too. Since then they have struggled at the Masters (18 th under Ian McElligott) and failed somewhat to meet expectations at the Grand Shield (7th under Bryan Hurdley) so it will be interesting to see what form they bring here. No longer sponsored by the JAG communication firm, the resolve may be stronger now to show that on their day they can make a substantive mark.

Melvin WhiteRedbridge Brass
Conductor: Melvin White
4BR Ranking: 51st

Principal Cornet: Ralph Brill
Principal Euphonium: Lisa James
Soprano Cornet: Graham Lewis
Solo Trombone: Su Cordiner
Solo horn: Ruth Miller
Flugel horn: Alan Roberts

Appearances: 10th time
Debut: 1988
Best Result: 11th (2002)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: 15th (Melvin White) (20)
2002: 11th (Melvin White) (15)
2001: DNQ
2000: DNQ
1999: DNQ
1998: 20 th (Melvin White) (12)
1997: 18 th (Graham Wilson) (16)
1996: 13 th (Graham Wilson) (10)
1995: DNQ
1994: DNQ
1993: DNQ

Overall Record:
Unplaced: 9 times 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003

2004 Qualification:
Winners of the London and Southern Counties Regional Championships 194pts in a 12 band field. Conducted by Melvin White.

The last time a "Southern" band won the National title, the Rhine Republic was proclaimed, Lenin was entering the last year of his life and Huddersfield Town beat Cardiff City to the First Division title on goal difference. 1923 was a very long time ago.

However, Redbridge are certainly determined to change all that and under Melvin White they have become a very well respected contesting outfit. The Regional win was a hat trick of victories for the band at Stevenage and they have since gone onto a fine 10 th place at the Masters but a disappointing 16th at the Grand Shield. They have shown good form here in the last two years though and if things go well a top 10 place (although perhaps not a repeat of the famous 1923 victory) at least could be realistically within their reach.

Ray FarrReg Vardy (Ever Ready)
Conductor: Ray Farr

4BR Ranking: 13th

Principal Cornet: Bryan Tait
Principal Euphonium: Paul Robinson
Soprano Cornet: Tom Glendinning
Solo Trombone: Chris Bentham
Solo horn: Andrew Hall
Flugel horn: Joanne Winspear

Appearances: 37th time
Debut: 1963 as Craghead Colliery, 1969 as Ever Ready
Best Result: 4 th (1976)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: 12th (Ray Farr) (15)
2002: 9th (Ray Farr) (8)
2001: DNQ
2000: 13th (Stephen Roberts) (3)
1999: 19th (Robert Childs) (8)
1998: DNQ
1997: 5th (Stephen Roberts) (10)
1996: DNQ
1995: 19th (Alan Exley) (12)
1994: 16th (Alan Exley) (4)
1993: 17th (Geoffrey Whitham) (16)

Overall Record:
Fourth place: 1 time - 1976
Fifth place: 2 times - 1982, 1997
Sixth: 3 times -1970, 1973, 1988
Unplaced: 30 times - 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003

2004 Qualification:
Winners of the North of England Regional Championships 193pts in a 9 band field. Conducted by Ray Farr.

The major contests can't come quick enough for the Reg Vardy (Ever Ready) band at present, and since the change of name and the appointment of Ray Farr as MD their fortunes have been on a inexorable rise; and it could well continue in Kensington too.

The Regional win was perhaps the least significant achievement of a fine 2004 so far, but 3 rd place at the Masters and 8 th at the Open suggest that they may be on the brink of breaking back into the top six here at least for the first time since 1997 and possibly beating that 1976 fourth place as well. Ones to certainly listen out for.

Ian McElligottScottish Co-op
Conductor: Ian McElligott

4BR Ranking: 6th

Principal Cornet: Jim Hayes
Principal Euphonium: Allison Bonner
Soprano Cornet: Gordon Jenkins
Solo Trombone: Paul Kiernan
Solo horn: Lyndsey Smith
Flugel horn: Caroline Tennant

Appearances: 37 th time
Debut: 1929
Best Result: 2 Wins

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: 9th (James Scott) (8)
2002: DNQ
2001: 10th (James Gourlay) (15)
2000: 6th (Nicholas Childs) (1)
1999: DNQ
1998: 7th (Howard Snell) (18)
1997: 11th (Howard Snell) (14)
1996: Winners (Howard Snell) (18)
1995: DNQ
1994: 6th (Howard Snell) (16)
1993: 6th (Allan Withington) (1)

Overall Record:
Wins: 2 times - 1990, 1996
Second place: 4 times - 1929, 1933, 1934, 1958
Fourth place: 1 time - 1992
Fifth place: 1 time - 1960
Sixth place: 5 times - 1930, 1937, 1993, 1994, 2000
Unplaced: 23 times - 1931, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1945, 1948, 1954, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1971, 1979, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003

2004 Qualification:
Winners of the Scottish Regional Championships 194pts in a 10 band field. Conducted by Dr. Nicholas Childs.

Another form band for sure and ones who make the long trip south from Scotland with genuine hopes of repeating their famous victories here in 1990 and 1996. 2004 has been a top notch year so far for them.

Dr. Nicholas Childs inspired them in Motherwell and Glasgow when they came 3 rd at the European, but it was Ian McElligott who drew out of them a tremendous 3 rd place winning performance at the Open. If that can be repeated here again in London (and confidence must be sky high at present) then Scottish Co-op will surely feature high up in the prize list.

Steve BastableStaffordshire
Conductor: Steve Bastable

4BR Ranking: 44th

Principal Cornet: Paul White
Principal Euphonium: Mark Glover
Soprano Cornet: Andy Jennings
Solo Trombone: Richard Walker
Solo horn: Tracey White
Flugel horn: Jo Todd

Appearances: 3rd time
Debut: 1991
Best Result: 14 th (1998)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: DNQ
2002: DNQ
2001: DNQ
2000: DNQ
1999: DNQ
1998: 14 th (Andy Culshaw) (2)
1997: DNQ
1996: DNQ
1995: DNQ
1994: DNQ
1993: DNQ

Overall Record:
Unplaced: 2 times 1991, 1998

2004 Qualification:
2nd place at the Midlands Regional Championships 196pts in a 13 band field. Conducted by Steve Bastable.

Staffordshire are certainly a band making a move in the right direction ever since in fact they won the National First Section title at Torquay at close on 1.00am in the morning in 2002! This will be their third appearance at London the first was as the now defunct CI Group in 1991 when they came 23rd and last on "Energy", whilst they returned in 1998 under Andy Culshaw when they were 14th on "Between the Moon and Mexico".

They have improved since then, but 2004, according to the band itself, has been a bit of a difficult period. Not so at Burton on Trent in March, when under the direction of Steve Bastable they secured the second qualification place for London behind Travelsphere Holidays and beat some pretty good bands as well into the bargain and not so when they took the Senior Trophy back home with them at Blackpool under John Hinckley. Plenty of talent around the stands and one of the rising stars of the conducting firmament in front of them. If that equates to a "difficult" period then look out in London.

David StowellTravelsphere Holidays
Conductor: David Stowell

4BR Ranking: 21st

Principal Cornet: Mark Gibson
Principal Euphonium: Robert Woods
Soprano Cornet: Gary Fountain
Solo Trombone: Simon Kingsley
Solo horn: Simon Smith
Flugel horn: Clair Tomlin

Appearances: 45th time
Debut: 1935
Best Result: 6 wins

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: DNQ
2002: 16th (Brian Grant) (18)
2001: 16th (Frank Renton) (3)
2000: 12th (Melvin White) (10)
1999: DNQ
1998: DNQ
1997: DNQ
1996: 14th (John Berryman) (12)
1995: 6th (John Berryman) (19)
1994: 10th (John Berryman) (14)
1993: 9th (John Berryman) (10)

Overall Record:
Wins: 6 times -1935, 1955, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1966
Second place: 2 times - 1938, 1972
Third place: 6 times - 1946, 1956, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1983
Fourth place: 6 times - 1947, 1949, 1959, 1961, 1974, 1986
Fifth place: 1 time - 1969
Sixth place: 1 time - 1995
Unplaced: 22 times - 1936, 1937, 1958, 1962, 1967, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003

2004 Qualification:
Winners of the Midlands Regional Championships 197pts in a 13 band field. Conducted by David Stowell.

Travelsphere Holidays are also a band that could well be ready to make another mark of significance at the National Finals, after a year of very solid achievement. It started with a confident win at the Midlands Championships in Burton on Trent and continued with a fine performance at the Grand Shield where they were 5 th and at Cambridge where they came 9th.

Nothing quite spectacular, but under David Stowell they are approaching the type of form that has seem them by strong contenders over the years here. Maybe not quite ready to add to the famous list of six wins under the likes of Halliwell, Mortimer and Boddington, but more than capable of adding to the top six list of achievements for sure.

Russell GrayTredegar
Conductor: Russell Gray

4BR Ranking: 9th

Principal Cornet: Darren Thomas
Principal Euphonium: Darren Morris
Soprano Cornet: Iwan Fox
Solo Trombone: Jonathan Pippen
Solo horn: Natalie Gibson
Flugel horn: Andrea Lewis

Appearances: 20th time
Debut: 1964
Best Result: 2nd (1993 and 2003)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)

2003: 2nd (Steve Bastable) (11)
2002: DNQ
2001: 7th (Steve Bastable) (14)
2000: 5th (Steve Bastable) (13)
1999: 3rd (Thomas Wyss) (11)
1998: DNQ
1997: DNQ
1996: 11th (Nicholas Childs) (4)
1995: 9th (Nicholas Childs) (7)
1994: 5th (Nicholas Childs) (11)
1993: 2nd (John Hudson) (8)

Overall Record:
Second place: 2 times 1993, 2003
Third place: 1 time - 1999
Fifth place: 2 times - 1994, 2000
Sixth place: 2 times - 1977, 1979
Unplaced: 12 times - 1964, 1967, 1974, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 2001

2004 Qualification:
(Prequalified) 2nd place at the Welsh Regional Championships 195pts in a 10 band field. Conducted by Russell Gray.

If ever a band would want to put behind them their last outing, then Tredegar are certainly one of them. That last place at the Open was their worst ever result at a major championship since they entered the top tier of banding over 30 years ago.

The resolve and will power were tested to the full after Birmingham, but they will surely approach London with confidence, especially as they have a very good record of achievement here over the past ten years. Runners up last year, and only once out of the top 10 in their last eight appearances. If they can recover some of the form of a twelve month ago then another top 10 or even top 6 should be within their capabilities although they must also have thought that at Birmingham too.

Andrew DuncanWhitburn:
Conductor: Andrew Duncan

4BR Ranking: 10th

Principal Cornet: Eleanor Ferguson
Principal Euphonium: Evelyn Bradley
Soprano Cornet: Kay Mackenzie
Solo Trombone: Mark Boyd
Solo horn: Iain Fleming
Flugel horn: Jim Chamberlain

Appearances: 24th time
Debut: 1968
Best Result: 3rd (1981 and 1989)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: DNQ
2002: 10th (Phillip McCann) (19)
2001: 8th (Phillip McCann) (6)
2000: DNQ
1999: 9th (Phillip McCann) (9)
1998: 13th (Major Peter Parkes) (10)
1997: 11th (Richard Adams) (3)
1996: 17th (Chris Houlding) (5)
1995: DNQ
1994: DNQ
1993: 8th (Phillip McCann) (15)

Overall Record:
Third place: 2 times - 1981, 1989
Fifth place: 2 times -1990, 1991
Unplaced: 19 times - 1968, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002

2004 Qualification:
2nd place at the Scottish Regional Championships 191pts in a 10 band field. Conducted by Andy Duncan.

Whither Whitburn? On their day they can be as good as any band that they are up against, but they also have days when they just don't seem to hit it off as well.

Andy Duncan has the talent to make a real impression with a work such as this years set piece, and the players have the talent to match as well, but the band hasn't travelled too briliantly to London in the past decade or so. In the late 1980's and early 1990's they were certainly up there in the prize list, but since then it has only been a couple of 8th places to warm the hearts of the proud players. 13th at the Open wasn't the result they were looking for, but a moral boosting win at the Land O' Burns contest will have hiked up the confidence ahead of the long trek south. If it does come off for them then look out though.

Roy CurranWingates
Conductor: Roy Curran

4BR Ranking: 31st

Principal Cornet: Andrew MacDonald
Principal Euphonium: Matthew Hill
Soprano Cornet: Eilidh Snell
Solo Trombone: Russell Marsh
Solo horn: Robbie Cargill
Flugel horn: Sian Carradus

Appearances: 47 th time
Debut: 1900
Best Result: 4 wins

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: DNQ
2002: DNQ
2001: DNQ
2000: DNQ
1999: DNQ
1998: DNQ
1997: DNQ
1996: DNQ
1995: 10th (John Hudson) (10)
1994: DNQ
1993: DNQ

Overall Record:
Wins: 4 times -1906, 1907, 1931, 1971
Second place: 2 times - 1904, 1905
Third place: 7 times - 1900, 1908, 1911, 1921, 1926, 1932, 1976
Fourth place: 1 time 1903
Fifth place: 3 times - 1912, 1929, 1934
Unplaced: 29 times - 1901, 1902, 1909, 1910, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1933, 1935, 1936, 1037, 1945, 1948, 1959, 1963, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1989, 1995

2004 Qualification:
3rd place at the North West Regional Championships 194pts in a 11 band field. Conducted by Roy Curran.

A most welcome return to the Royal Albert Hall for one of the most famous names in the banding world ten years in fact when they were last playing at this level when they came 10th under John Hudson on "Songs for BL".

The past couple of years has seen the band recover much of the lost ground that befell them during the late 1990's and the culmination was certainly the tremendous result at Blackpool. After that they came a slightly disappointing 8 th at the Senior Cup, but have shown excellent form of late winning at Wychavon. That should have given them a great boost ahead of their first trip to the capital for a decade and with a very experienced MD at the helm and plenty of talented players dotted around the band they will be confident of putting on a fine show and possibly bettering that 1995 result.

David KingYorkshire Building Society:
Conductor: Professor David King

4BR Ranking: 3rd

Principal Cornet: Stuart Lingard
Principal Euphonium: Morgan Griffiths
Soprano Cornet: Peter Roberts
Solo Trombone: Andrew King
Solo horn: Sheona White
Flugel horn: Iwan Williams

Appearances: 17th time
Debut: 1957 (as Hammonds Sauce)
Best Result: 2nd (1995, 1998)

Last 11 Years: (Position, MD, Draw)
2003: DNQ
2002: 6th (David King) (17)
2001: 3rd (David King) (18)
2000: 17th (David King) (17)
1999: 8th (David King) (1)
1998: 2nd (David King) (7)
1997: DNQ
1996: 5th (David King) (1)
1995: 2nd (David King) (11)
1994: 3rd (David King) (8)
1993: DNQ

Overall Record:
Second place: 2 times -1995, 1998
Third place: 2 times -1994, 2001
Fourth place: 1 time - 1972
Fifth place: 1 time - 1996
Sixth place: 1 time - 2002
Unplaced: 9 times - 1957, 1968, 1969, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1999, 2000,

2004 Qualification:
Winners of the Yorkshire Regional Championships 197pts in a 15 band field. Conducted by Professor David King.

Have the wheels fallen off the YBS bandwagon then? Don't be silly. 14th place at the Open was a mystery for just about everyone concerned players, supporters, rivals and the audience (when they finally knew), so trying to make that result some sort of guide to their form as they approach London would be idiotic to say the least.

That said though, the Royal Albert Hall and YBS hasn't really been a match made in Heaven over the years, and although they have two runners up places to show for their efforts, they also have a 17th and a 6th on two of their last three appearances here as well. If they get it right on the day they will be nigh on unbeatable but if luck (they haven't always had the best of it draw wise here) and an adjudication panel who may not appreciate their approach, then they could leave Kensington empty handed again. You wouldn't really want to bet on that happening though would you?


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