2006 Yeovil Entertainment Contest - Introduction and predictions


Aveley and Newham return to deepest Somerset to see if they can retain their Yeovil crown this weekend, and put one over their Welsh and English rivals ahead of the forthcoming Regional Championships.

The Yeovil Entertainment Contest, has traditionally marked the start of the new contesting season although the Mineworkers Championships have now taken that mantle, but it remains an important contest for the Championship Section bands as they return to action from their Winter hibernation. Lips should have been blown back into some semblance of shape and dormant enthusiasm for contesting should be rekindled.

Whilst it is fair to say that the contest no longer attracts the very top bands as it did some years ago, there is still an impressive list of contenders making the trip into deepest Somerset to pick up the title and a nice early season "earner" of 2000.

This year there is the added distraction for the bands of the contest taking place on the same day as the England versus Wales rugby international, so there will be added spice to the usual cross border rivalries. Could the Dragons be slain once more by St. George (the last Welsh win year was in 1998) or will it be a case of the English having to endure sticking their chariots where the sun don't sun.  Wait and see on that.
The contest is now in it's 29th year and since its inception there has been an impressive list of winners. The contest also offers something of an early season guide to contesting form as many bands have used Yeovil as a springboard for a year of achievement. Sometimes it doesn't quite work out like that though.

The reigning champions Aveley and Newham are here to defend their title, but previous winners are certainly going to try and take home with them the top prize and win favour from adjudicator Duncan Beckley.

PolySteel (Flowers) will be looking to continue the form of the Mineworkers Championships and claim their third title in four years, whilst previous winners Bodmin, Tredegar and Camborne will be looking to put their name once more on the Chris Palmer Shield. The rest of the field has a good strong look about it too, even if the contest, which starts at 9.30am sharp isn't likely to finish before 7.00pm!
The format of the contest has not changed over the years, with the bands having to give an own choice entertainment programme of 25 minutes in duration (including applause) to a full house audience and an adjudicator who is ensconced in the box.  It therefore makes for an interesting mix of programmes from the bands, as some go for a more visual approach to gain applause (although there are no entertainment points like Brass in Concert) whilst others just concentrate on the playing.  

We have been critical of many of the performances at the contest over the last couple of years (2003 in particular) as too many programmes have been musically unimaginative, but last year, there was a further gradual upturn, although it wasn't a sparkling event by any means.

It will therefore be interesting to see what the bands here do this year, as what was shown in Brass in Concert in particular was that the entertainment contest is in need of an injection of imagination and of quality in performance.  Lets hope many have gone for the Grimey approach rather than the red nose one then.
Standards could vary here, as the bands are ranked from 14 to over 200 in the 4BR/World of Brass Rankings, but the vast majority are ranked closely together and that is a pretty fair indication that there isn't a great deal to choose between them in ability.  There is also a fair sprinkling of talented performers in each of the bands, so the Soloist Prize could be hard fought over, whilst the MDs range from the young and exciting to the little bit older and more experienced.
The contest starts early at 9.30am with the top prize a very nice 2000 with 1000 for the runners up and 700 for third. The top soloist will pick up 50.00.

Who will win then?

To be truthful it is hard to look further than the small group of bands here who have made their mark at the top level with consistently good entertainment performances in the past, so PoylSteel and Philip Harper fresh from Skegness should be the band to beat.

After that it gets a great deal more difficult, but we have tended to under estimate SWT Woodfalls at our peril and last years runners up could just well have the ability to do it again this time around, especially on the back of a fine showing at Glasgow in November. Reigning champions Aveley and Newham have been quiet of late but should be a band to really listen out for her, whilst Woolley Pritchard Sovereign are another band who could well do very well this time around.

BTM should prove to be the strongest of the Welsh challengers with Tongwynlais also a decent each way bet if they can rid themselves of some of the mistakes that blighted their performance at Skegness.  Our dark horses are gong to be Camborne who come here under their usual cloud of mystery, but with Frank Renton at the helm so it could be great or terrible, but always interesting.

1. PolySteel
2. SWT Woodfalls
3. Aveley and Newham
4. BTM
5. Tongwynlais
6. Woolley Pritchard Sovereign

Dark Horse: Camborne

2004 Result:

1.  Aveley & Newham, Nigel Taken - 195
2 . SWT Woodfalls, David Barringer - 194
3.  Cwmaman Institute, Jonathon Corry - 193
4.  Flowers, Philip Harper - 192
5.  Bournemouth Concert, David Hayward - 191
6.  Camborne, Chris Davies - 190
7.  Staffordshire, David Morgan - 189
8.  Kidlington, Catherine Underwood - 188
9.  Harrogate, David Lancaster - 187
10.  Tongwynlais Temperance, Bryn James - 186
11.  Bodmin, Major Ian McElligott - 185
12.  St. Austell, David Loukes - 184
13. City of Bristol, Andrew Jones - 183
Best Soloist: Steve Howells, Trombone, Cwmaman


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