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2012 London & Southern Counties Regional Championship — Stevenage preview

The bands of the Southern Confederacy are starting to make more of a mark north as well as west of the Watford Gap...

StevenageAs always the Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre will be packed to the rafters as a huge field of 81 bands makes its way to the most utilitarian contest venue in the country.

Intense


Dave Hobbs and his team do an amazing job organising this event, and whilst the building may lack the architectural splendour of the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea or the faded glory of the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, the monument to 1970s centralised town planning still hosts a very lively set of contests that are every bit as intense in their rivalry as anywhere in the banding world.

Whizz kids

And whilst a few disgruntled players may feel that performing in the Gordon Craig Theatre doesn’t quite get the adrenaline flowing through the veins quite like St George’s Hall in Bradford, getting a venue that can host such numbers over one weekend for a price that doesn’t bankrupt the hard working Area Committee is a financial balancing act not even the red braced city whizz kids in Canary Wharf could manage better: It does its job and does it rather well.

The bands that come here are doing their jobs rather well too.

Jeremy Wise
Jeremy Wise and Redbridge are flying the Confederate Flag of the South

Numbers up

Numbers are up, with at least five debutants we know of in the Fourth Section, and a couple of returnees to offset the losses of the likes of Cobham, EPB Brass and Chinnor.

After claiming a National title in 2010 through Friary Guildford’s success at Harrogate, the qualifying bands for London and Cheltenham drew a blank – but an encouraging blank at that.

No surprise really that there were midfield finishes at the Royal Albert Hall, but there were solid returns at Cheltenham where four contenders returned with top ten placings.

Confederate


With Redbridge continuing to proudly fly the Confederate Flag of the South at the elite level, there is a desperate need for a high class rival to emerge this weekend to give the Championship Section a less predictable feel, although the First Section certainly has an emerging batch of quality contenders at National level, as does the Second.

And whilst the quantity can sometimes camouflage the quality in the Third and Fourth Sections, there are grounds for optimism there too.

The surroundings therefore may be a bit bland, but the banding itself in these parts, certainly isn’t.  It should make for a cracking weekend of contesting.

Iwan Fox.



Glossop Old Band - Skelmersdale Prize Band

Monday 1 November • Glossop Band Club. Derby Street, Glossop SK13 8LP


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Air Force Salon Orchestra

Friday 5 November • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London. WC1 2 DJ WC1 2 DJ


Glossop Old Band - St John's Mossley Band

Sunday 7 November • Glossop Band Club, Derby Street, Glossop SK13 8LP


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Sunday 7 November • St Alfege Church. Greenwich Church St. London SE10 9BJ


Abertillery Town Band - 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert

Saturday 13 November • Metropole Cultural and Conference Centre, Mitre St, Abertillery NP13 1AL


DIGGLE BAND

October 27 • Diggle band 2nd section North West are looking to appoint with immediate effect an experienced conductor to take the band forward. We offer a sensible mixture of concerts and contests. Rehearsals Tuesday's 7.45-9.45 pm. at Diggle Band Club. Saddleworth.


City of Bristol Brass Band

October 27 • A TENOR HORN player is required by City of Bristol Brass Band (competing in the First Section) with immediate effect. The successful applicant will join a successful, friendly band with some exciting concerts and contests already in the diary.


Cheltenham Silver Band

October 27 • Musical Director for 3rd section band.. Enthusiastic MD to work closely with the band to give an enjoyable, supportive and creative atmosphere in rehearsals, concerts and contests.. We would like to appoint someone to take us to the Areas in 2022..


Ian Holmes

BA (hons), PGDip (RCM), ARCM, ALCM
Conductor, piano accompanist and educator


               

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