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2012 North West Regional Championship — Postcard from Blackpool

Some things are changing in Blackpool — and some things are not...

Cupola
Let there be light...

Blackpool is changing; the Winter Gardens are changing: North West banding is changing too.

Quite a bit of money is being spent on the Las Vegas of the North. At first you may not notice it, but little things are a giveaway. Walk into the main foyer of the Winter Gardens and the place comes to life. Light beams down from the restored cupola.

It’s more than just lick of paint though: Something of the old grandeur has been restored.  

Carson

The honours board with the names of some of the great entertainers who have played on the stage of the Opera House has a much more 21st century look about it too – although poignantly one of the first names that jumps out to your eyes is that of comedian Frank Carson, who died a week or so ago.

The main thoroughfare bustles with activity, the traders have a proper (if cold) spot to do their business, and the punters can flit from one section to another to listen to favourite bands with ease.

Postcard
A cleaner, better Winter Gardens

Rococo

The Pavilion Theatre may not have the best acoustic in the world, but there can’t be many more impressive looking venues to host a Fourth Section contest, whilst the massive Empress Ballroom also has its challenges (the elevated adjudicators box, some 60 yards away from the stage being one), despite its fabulous mock rococo interior design.

In comparison the Opera House is a bit dark and dingy, but does offer a stage that soaks up any booming percussion without camouflaging the best efforts of crafty MDs who tried to hide technical deficiencies with a bit of overzealous timpani playing.  

Next year the venues may well stay the same, but the there will be two men in the box in each section.

Bates
Wonderful servant: Peter Bates with presentation vase

Contests?

As for the contests themselves?

After six years, Foden’s long run of supremacy came to an end, courtesy of a Swiss MD who will forever hold a special place in his heart for the Golden Mile.  

Elsewhere the region will send strong qualifiers to Cheltenham – with impressive new champions in particular.

Band Supplies
Keep smiling despite the cold... The lads from Band Supplies 

Debate

There was plenty to debate and argue over too – from Leyland’s fantastically elasticized winning performance, to the appropriateness of some of the test piece choices and even the result in the Third Section.  

The bars hummed with intrigue and arguments long into the night.   

There have also been changes in the organisational structure of the North West Regional Committee, with Keith Tysall taking over the reins from Peter Bates.

He must have been very pleased by the way in which the various contests ran.

New era promise

The new era promises much, with awards for the bands in the top six in each section, bespoke percussion expertly provided by Ray Payne, a new award in memory of the great Tom Cheadle (who always put a smile on your face), and the St John’s Ambulance Brigade on hand to administer appropriate medication for those in shock and awe after some of the results were announced.

Finally, it was good to see Peter Bates presented with a wonderful crystal glass vase in recognition of two decades and more of loyal service to the competition and North West banding – and good to note that his expertise will not be lost. 

He even promised that he will return to wearing his famous white trainers too.

Some things should never change at Blackpool.

Iwan Fox



Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Octagon Theatre Yeovil

Saturday 1 October • The Octagon Theatre. Hendford. Yeovil. Somerset BA20 1UX


Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Albany Theatre Coventry

Sunday 2 October • Albany Road, Coventry CV5 6JQ


Contest: Bolsover Festival of Brass

Sunday 2 October • Heritage High School, Clowne, Chesterfield S43 4QG


Boarshurst Silver Band - Phoenix Brass

Sunday 2 October • Boarshurst Band Club. Greenbridge Lane. Greenfield. Saddleworth OL3 7EW


Regent Hall Concerts - The Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra

Friday 7 October • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London WC1 2 DJ


East London Brass

September 28 • East London Brass is looking for a new principal cornet. We're a friendly and ambitious band and would love to welcome a great player who knows how to lead, inspire and enjoy themselves!


Cheltenham Silver Band

September 28 • Cheltenham Silver Band are looking for a kit player/percussionist. We are a 3rd section contesting band with an exciting programme of performances and contests. We are a friendly and supportive band with a strong academy and regular social events.


Stape Silver Band

September 28 • We are looking for a new Musical Director for our friendly, family oriented band based in Pickering, North Yorkshire. We are looking for an inspiring MD who will help grow, improve and develop the band.


Morgan Griffiths

Dip. Performance
Conductor, Peripatetic Music Teacher, Lower brass specialist


               

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