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2012 North of England Regional Championship — First Section retrospective

Malcolm Wood looks back at the First Section Area contest in Darlington.

2012 NE Area First Sec tion winners Shepherd Group
Flock to Cheltenham for the victorious Shepherd Group
Picture: Steve Jack


The North of England First Section was all about quality as opposed to quantity.

Just five bands had made it to the starting line to give their performances of 'Mountain Views', but the end result was a contest of an impressive standard.

Musical pictures

Adjudicator, Mike Kilroy was looking for the bands to paint descriptive musical pictures, and the well matched quintet certainly did that and more on the day.

Shepherd Group's winning interpretation was one of energy, drive and purpose under MD Richard Wilton.

It was also complimented by very fine individual contributions too – notably from the prize winning bass and percussion sections, which complimented a quite outstanding trombone trio.

It was mighty fine stuff – which consolidated together delivered a performance that was as good as any heard at the Regional Championships.

Richard Wilton’s direction was neat and precise, his interpretation broad and colourful. They will be a band to fear come Cheltenham on this form.

Merit

Westoe
claimed the second qualification place on offer with a performance of real merit. It bubbled with the type of energy that seemed to fizz through the veins of MD Jason Smith.

At one point he lifted himself off the floor as if hit by the type of punch George Foreman once elevated Joe Frazier with.

You couldn’t fault the desire and you couldn’t fault the approach. It was seat of the pants stuff at times, but it never for a moment did anything other than keep you fully engaged.

Commiserations


With two such fine qualifiers, it was a case of commiseration for Catterick Brass.

Brenden Wheeler's band can consider themselves a touch unfortunate not to be heading to the finals after a fine performance that was based on control and consideration of dynamics and tempo.

It perhaps just lacked the vibrancy of its rivals, but it was still a very fine effort.

Robust

Both Harrogate and GT Group Peterlee will have headed home proud of their efforts – even if they were a little way off the pace of the top three.

These were robust accounts, that at times just lacked that extra degree of finesses, although MDs Craig Ratcliffe and Jo Cook kept the music flowing.

Two emerging bands with two emerging conducting talents showed a great deal of potential.

Quality not quantity

It may have been a short contest, but it was certainly one where it was the quality and not the quantity that won though.

Two excellent qualifiers will head to Cheltenham with high hopes of claiming further glory – even if they may be up against quite few more rivals.

Malcolm Wood



Black Dyke Band - Brighouse & Rastrick, Huddersfield Town Hall

Saturday 27 March • Corporation St, Huddersfield HD1 2TA


Contest: 100thSpring Festival

Saturday 8 May • 97 Church St, Blackpool, FY1 1HL


Contest: Whit Friday March Contests

Friday 28 May • Saddleworth & Tameside OL3


Contest: 168th British Open

Saturday 11 September • Symphony Hall, Broad Street, Birmingham. B1 2EA


Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Saturday 18 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Race Course, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL40 4SH


Chadderton Band

January 17 • Chadderton Band is a very friendly non contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are looking for players of any age and ability on all sections of the band + EUPH Drums. Please come along to one of our rehearsals give us a try.


Foss Dyke Band

January 1 • Front Row Cornet vacancy still up for grabs. Come and join Foss and enjoy our newly refurbished band room with newly appointed MD David Dernley. Foss Dyke are a 1st Section Band with a moderate contest and concert schedule.


Ian Holmes

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


               

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