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2011 North West Regional Championship — Postcard from Blackpool

A sense of relief hung over Blackpool on the weekend even if a sparkling new venue revealed the same old problems.

Fodens
New venue same result for Fodens
Picture: Steve Jack


There was a palpable sense of relief at the end of a very long, and at times contentious day of contesting at Blackpool.

Relief for the organisers that everything ran according to plan at a venue that has undergone some pretty drastic changes of late, and relief for the competitors too, who went home safe in the knowledge that the battles for London and Cheltenham were over for another year.

It was an exhausting, but rewarding experience for all concerned though.

Competing

The refurbished concourse in the Winter Gardens saw old friends meet up once again to renew even older rivalries and discuss the pro's and cons of the day. 

There were the usual moans and groans about adjudicator's decisions, but it was all done amid the sparkle of a venue that has been given a new lease of life.

Much of the talk though seemed to centre on the test pieces– especially how difficult they were even for a region that has produced a host of recent National winners.

Most seemed to agree that some of the choices seemed ‘ambitious’ to say the least.

Rip-roarer

'Paganini Variations' still remains one heck of a piece to master, and whilst at the top end of the Championship Section there was the usual quality on show, there were some pretty non descript offerings too.

Foden's, continued their Winter Garden hegemony: It’s now six wins a row.

How Allan Withington would love to be able to bottle their winning performance and pump it into the musical veins of Grimethorpe at Bradford this weekend.

If he can the roof could come off at St George’s Hall.

Challenging

Meanwhile, the musical ambitions of the majority of First, Second and Third Section bands were severely dented by the set works they had to perform.

Given the depth of quality of the competitors at those levels here, it showed just how misjudged the selections have been.

Opinions varied of course, but there were not many performances that will linger long in the memory banks – and this from perhaps the strongest lower sections region of all.

Bemused

The main post results bar room debate centred on the Second Section, where Kevin Wadsworth’s clearly defined post contest analysis left a number of conductor's and players disgruntled – although they could have no cause for complaint that he doesn’t take the opportunity to explain just why he picks the winners he does.

Debate

The North West Regional Committee runs this event in the way it chooses to do too – but the bands may want to know why they still insist on one man in the box.

Perhaps that one of the reasons why there is such an unique atmosphere here: Everything is under one roof – including the judges.

New paintwork


Whether or not it will continue that way in future remains to be seen, but as long as the new venue doesn’t try and up its hire rates too much to pay for all its new paintwork it seems the Area event is here to stay.

There are not many accessible buildings in the North West with three halls that can accommodate over 70 bands in one day that’s for sure.

Malcolm Wood



Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Friday 10 December • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London WC1 2 DJ


Black Dyke Band - Huddersfield Choral Society

Friday 10 December • Corporation Street, Huddersfield HD1 2TA


York Railway Institute Band - Prima Vocal Ensemble

Saturday 11 December • Selby Abbey. The Crescent. Selby. YO8 4PU YO8 4PU


Glossop Old Band - The Oldham Band (Lees)

Sunday 12 December • Glossop Band Club, Derby Street, Glossop. SK13 8LP


Mole Veterans Band - Christmas Concert

Tuesday 14 December • Fetcham Village Hall. The Street, Fetcham. Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 9QS


Harlow Brass Band

December 6 • HBB have a vacancy for a Musical Director. We are a friendly, non-contesting band who reach a good standard. We are asked to play at a variety of events throughout the year and have our own Spring & Christmas concerts. We rehearse on Thursdays, 8-10pm.


Easingwold Town Band

December 5 • Vacancies for Principal Cornet and a Tutti Solo Cornet in our 4th-section registered band, as we look to retain our North of England 4th-section winners title in March 2022. Rehearsals Monday 7.30 - 9.15 p.m.


Avonbank (Evesham) Brass Band

December 5 • Our lively Second Section Band requires an Eb and/or Bb bass player for the Regionals and a front or back row cornet player.. We rehearse Wednesdays at 7.30pm plus other rehearsals in the lead up to competition which takes place on Feb 26th 2022.


James Chamberlain

BMus (Hons) PGCE
Conductor, Teacher


               

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