2006 Yorkshire Regional Championships - Postcard from Bradford


Bradford leaves you with many impressions - some good, some strange and some slightly surreal.

The one thing you always leave with from Bradford is a sense of importance about the banding movement. St. George's Hall may not be as packed to the rafters as it would have been in years gone by, but it is a fair bet to say that it is the best attended Regional Championship in the country, and the one that has the most serious edge to it.

The Championship Section proved a couple of things. The first is that Grimethorpe are possibly the best band in the world at the moment and if they can keep the type of form they showed here in place for Birmingham and London, they could well end the year as British Open and National Champions too. They were awesome. The other thing is that good Yorkshire players don't seem to be abale to pronounce Latin in any recognisable form - some efforts sounded more like Swedish! Doesn't anyone under 40 get taught Latin any more?

Can you hear me mother? A Yorkshire hoarse whisperer gets to grips with his Latin

Black Dyke were not far behind though, and with the new players bedding down nicely they will head to Belfast in confident mood to retain their European title. It took a very special performance to beat them here, and we don't know if anyone at Belfast may be able to do that to deny them there.   

Of the others, YBS will take a great deal of satisfaction from their performance and they could be a real dark horse band to take big honours this year. When you see David King smiling even though he knew his band weren't going to win on the day, then others beware. The rebuilding process seems to be heading in the right direction.

Rothwell will also be delighted and quite rightly so with their performance, whilst Brighouse, Hepworth, Sellers and the rest will have to try and find a little something else out of their lockers if they are to compete strongly at major contests later in the year. All were far too error strewn.

Secondly the Championship Section has at least four bands too many in its section at present and there must be an urgent appraisal here of how to reduce the numbers. The brilliance of the very best bands (helped by a favourable draw for them) still didn't camouflage the fact that there were also a number of very average shows from bands that are not championship quality. The contest ended at around 10.30pm, which meant not a lot left to do in Bradford on a Sunday night other than drive back home.

The other main talking point was of course the adjudication of the First Section which saw Drighlington and Marsden find favour in the box, but just about nowhere else in the hall. It says a great deal when players from rival bands come up to 4BR to ask not what happened to their band, but how come a rival (in this case Pennine) missed out so badly.

I can't work it out either Mavis. Two ladies ponder the First Section decision

Both the organisers and ABBA may well like to review this contest and find out if there was anything that they think went wrong. Lots of people in the hall who listened all day certainly thought so. 

There was plenty that went wrong in the Second Section, but none of it was either the adjudicators or the bands fault. The test piece was simply too difficult for the bands here and destroyed what promised to be an entertaining contest into one that was a competition to find the band which sounded the least worst. Representation must be made to the Music Panel to stop this happening again (it was the second year in a row) as the bands here (and they are solid bands as well at this level) simply couldn't get near the piece.

The Third Section was the one real disappointment. The test piece was a very difficult test for certain, but the bands were not helped by some pretty nondescript MD work from a number of conductors. Getting the basics right first should always be the criteria at this level, but so many of them felt as if they had to repeat the performance they had heard on the Regional CD. The result was painfully predictable.

Last of the Mohicans - A young perc player makes his points

Finally the Fourth Section where the contest proved itself to be a real delight (and that inlcuded some great hairstyles). A great test piece and a whole bunch of MDs who went all out to try and make music from what was a test piece they could all play. The result? A delightful morning at St. George's Hall and a real reminder that when the choice of music is correct then everything else can fall into place. If only that could have been the case in the Second Section.

Yorkshire is a great place to go and listen to the bands perform. The level at the very top end is at times stunning, whilst this year the standard of playing at the very bottom of the Yorkshire ladder was as good as we have heard it for many a day. In terms of organisation Peggy Tomlinson and her hard working crew are an example to the rest of the movement. She oversees everything, whilst her team go about their business in a friendly and very professional manner. The hospitality is superb and the provision for the press is quite something. We were fed, watered and given the results without us having to lift a finger!

Finally a special mention to the taxi driver who took us to a fabulous Indian restaurant on Saturday night, where the food was amazing and cheap and he even cane back late into the night to pick us up. Top man.


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