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2011 Welsh Regional Championship — Swansea preview

You may have to rub you eyes in disbelief in Swansea — as there may be something of an illusion going on...

BrangIf you ever want to find out exactly t why the Welsh cling to romantic notions about their position in the greater scheme of things, then you need to read a book called ‘The Welsh Illusion’ by a long dead political commentator, Patrick Hannan.

Myth

His sharp eye shed a caustic gaze at what he believed made those who inhabit the Principality persist in believing the myth of their own making – from the political struggles over devolution to the almost comic surrealism of the running of the old British Steel Corporation – or ‘Monty Finniston’s Flying Circus’ as it was known in the valleys.

Before he died, he should have taken the time to write about the state of Welsh banding: because that’s an illusion if ever there was one.

Shrunk

It is one that has produced 14 top six finishers in a row at the Royal Albert Hall, six national champions at First and Second Section level in the past four years, two podium finishers in the last three in the Third, and five in the last six in the Fourth.

All that from a region that despite the success has shrunk from being able to field 58 bands in 1999, to 40 this year.

That’s some illusion in anyone’s book.

Combination of factors

Through a combination of factors, Welsh banding has succeeded in producing champions at all levels, despite its playing base shrinking at an alarming rate.

Quality not quantity the supporters will chirp in the bars of the Brangwyn Hall: Accident rather than design the same drinking naysayers will say in reply.

Illusion or not, Wales will send three bands to Kensington in October once more, and last year came back from Harrogate with a fourth successive Second Section champion, podium finishes in the First and Third, and a top six finisher in the Fourth.

All that and Cwmaman, Point of Ayr, Ebbw Vale, Royal Oakeley, Pontypool, Rhyl and Upper Rhondda are missing from 12 months ago, whilst former National champions of 21st century vintage in  Newbridge and Ammanford are longer term absentees.

Good news


The good news is that there is a warm welcome back for Severn Tunnel, Treherbert, Cwmbran and Ystradgynlais, but the Fourth Section still only has 5 bands and even the top section, which will see a battle royal on Sunday, has only seven contenders.

Dichotomies


Welsh banding is an illusion of dichotomies: Plenty of well run events such as the Welsh area itself, and bands winning titles right, left and centre.

The trouble is that there are less and less of them each year doing it.

Iwan Fox



Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Salon Orchestra

Friday 9 June • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London. . W1C2DJ


Leicestershire Co-op Band - The Great British Music Hall concert

Saturday 10 June • The Palace Community Centre. Ibstock . Leicestershire LE67 6LG


Besses Boys' Band - Besses Boys' Band Summer Concert

Saturday 10 June • St Mary's Church, Prestwich, Greater Manchester M25 1AN


Newtown March Contest - Newtown (Mid Wales) March and Open Air Contest

Sunday 11 June • Newtown Town Hall Grounds. Back Lane. Newtown. Powys SY16 2NZ


Boarshurst Silver Band - Silk Brass Band

Sunday 11 June • Boarshurst Band Club. Greenbridge Lane. Greenfield. Saddleworth OL3 7 EW


The Hepworth Band

June 6 • We would like to invite applications for an EEb bass player and percussionist to join the band.. We enjoy well attended rehearsals, an attractive programme of concerts and are looking forward to competing at the British Open Championships in September


Mereside Brass

June 5 • MERESIDE BRASS (Northwich, Cheshire) are looking for a front row CORNET, possibly PRINCIPAL for the right player and a PERCUSSIONIST. We are a friendly 4th Section band, currently not contesting but with a sensible calendar of jobs and band social events


Besses Boys' Band

June 5 • Besses Boys' Band (2nd Section NW) are looking for a TUTTI SOLO CORNET to join the band. Rehearsals take place Monday and Friday, 19:30-21:30 in Simister, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 2SB


Andreas Kratz

Mus.B (hons)
Conductor, Adjudicator, Teacher


               

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