2016 Spring Festival
Senior Cup: As it happened

All the action from the 2016 Spring Festival Senior Cup — as it happened.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 18:35:45

Result: The Senior Cup:
Test Piece: Music for Battle Creek (Philip Sparke)

Adjudicators: Dr Robert Childs & John Doyle

1. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)*
2. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)*
3. Llwydcoed (Chris Turner)*
4. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)*
5. Ratby Co-operative (Michael Fowles)
6. Derwent Brass (Keith Leonard)
7. Staffordshire (Jonathan Pippen)
8. St Dennis (Darren Hawken)
9. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Dewi Griffiths)
10. Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas)
11. Kingdom Brass (Paul Drury)
12. Vernon Building Society (Poynton) (Neil Samuel)
13. Skelmanthorpe (Jim Davies)
14. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Steven Walsh)
15. Newtongrange Silver (Dr Keith Wilkinson)
16. Fishburn (Joseph Cook)
17. Aveley & Newham (Martin Heartfield)*
18. BTM (Jeff Hutcherson) *

Best Instrumentalist: Morvern Sinclair (cornet) Rainford)

*Promoted to British Open
**Relegated to Senior Trophy

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 17:03:32

Final round up and prediction:

As we said at the halfway point today, 'Battle Creek' was one heck of an ask of these bands, but they all gave it their best shot. Whether it has done all of them good is a bit debatable, but it has certainly shown them what level they have to play at to get closer the Symphony Hall.

Bravo to all the soloists - there was some cracking efforts - and to the MDs who all tried to bring an American swagger and brio to their reading of the score. Some were odd takes, some engaging, and some very entertaining in the process.

There was a touch of class about Rainford that made them stand out for us, closely followed by a very engaging account from Thoresby and two vibrant efforts from Derwent and Ratby to claim the other qualification places.

Close behind may be Newtongrange's fine early effort and the robust Blackburn & Darwen with a couple of dark horses in Llwydcoed and Kingdom Brass.

4BR Prediction:

1. Rainford
2. Thoresby Colliery
3. Derwent Brass
4. Ratby Co-operative
5. Newtongrange
6. Blackburn & Darwen

Dark Horses: Llwydcoed, Kingdom Brass

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 16:55:09

18. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Neil Samuel)

The long wait to play may have just drained the band of the vital eager adrenaline to really have made this one come to life. It was a bit of an American post coitus Fred Dibnah. A nice musical picture never had dynamic colour - it sounded monochrome and some of the errors came from tired minds.

It recovered to close, but a usually solid band here had a bit of an off day here.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 16:36:01

17. Staffordshire (Jonathan Pippen)

The swaggering Yanks are now coming in musical droves - as Staffs produce something out of the Waltons meet Rawhide book of colourful, exciting and episodic accounts.

Great verve by the MD and his players tried their darnest to emulate him. It didn't quite work out for them, but they gave it the full Eisenhower (can't say Monty) - and it kept you engaged and entertained right to the close. Interesting one that even if it may fail to register in the box.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 16:22:02

16. Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas)

Well Battle Creek does celebrate the 'can do' attitude of our American friends - and this was played with the type of swagger they usually dish out when invading small Caribbean countries (Cuba not included)

This was robust, bravura, uber-confident (esp soloists) as well as a little ragged, lacking in polish and style (in the ensemble)

They went for it though - and it was very persuasive at times. Just got a little fruity to close, but you can't fault the approach (certainly if you are a Donald Trump fan). You never know - like him, this one may upset the odds a bit today.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 15:50:11

15. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Dewi Griffith)

Undoubtably a performance that grew in substance and stature the longer it went on - with an emphasis on detail and style.

Not all the solo lines came off as they would have hoped, but the musical shaping of the music had a touch of elegance that few achieved today and the perc added colour subtly as well as in thumping effect. A nearly one.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 15:28:03

14. Aveley & Newham (Martin Heartfield)

A performance that battled against the odds this - right from a very uncomfortable start.

Had its moments in solo lines with solid cornet, euph and trom, but the ensemble fragilities were so pronounced at times. Battle honours for the percussion section and the players who gave it their all, but this was right on the limit of capabilities.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 15:10:04

13. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)

An impressive performance of Battle Creek that really showed the subtle differences in dynamics and style from start to finish.

Not everything felt totally comfortable at times, but there was a touch of class about the solo playing (esp cornet and euph) and the support lines also delivered in spades. The Elegy flowed and the Rondo had great ensemble balance despite the odd percussive thump. Our new leader.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 14:51:02

12. Fishburn (Joseph Cook)

What a puzzling one from the north east contenders - one of rich promise that never quite settled enough to fulfill the MDs intentions.

The outer sections were all too non-descript - crying out for more energy and verve, despite it being neatly delivered. The Elegy was sumptuous at times - so well crafted and shaped. If only it took a few more high wire risks this could have come off big style.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 14:23:46

Halfway opinion

Although it has been much as we expected in terms of technical playing on Battle Creek, the sheer bravura effort, sense of vitality and ballsy 'up and at 'em' attitude has been admirable. The piece is still too hard for the bands though but they haven't half given it go.

Thoresby showed that extra touch of quality in terms of solo and ensemble to put them in the lead for us with Derwent and Ratby close behind. Then it gets a bit of a lottery - with Newtongrange and Llwydcoed perhaps best placed to gain the fourth spot so far.

More to come....

Halfway point prediction:

1. Thoresby Colliery
2. Derwent Brass
3. Ratby Co-operative
4. Newtongrange

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 13:57:57

11. Llywdcoed (Chris Turner)

The Welsh outfit deliver with passion, pride and lots of vitality, but it's also scruffy and inconsistent in places too. The musical shape and style is captured neatly in each of the movements by the MD, and the balances on the dynamics and textures are amongst the best today.

Just those unforced errors and the lack of stamina in the demanding Rondo may cost them, but there was much to enjoy there.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 13:38:04

10. Derwent Brass (Keith Leonard)

Derwent pick up the gauntlet and throw it back at their Midlands rivals of Thoresby with some aplomb.

Great solo lines throughout were a feature - played with that essential Yankee brio and cockiness. It went a bit wayward in terms of tempo and balance in places in each of the movements, but that fizz, vitality and Obama 'can we do it - yes we can' attitude made it persuasive. Got a little uncultured towards the end - but Americans are like that aren't they now?

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 13:15:09

9. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)

There was more than a touch of authentic top flight quality about this from start to finish - led with splendid musical nuance by the MD.

Certainly had its moments when it treaded precariously around the obvious traps, but it was very stylishly delivered and was underpinned by technical confidence in all departments. The Rondo built from its chaotic miasma to a triumphant end. That raised the bar.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 13:03:58

8. Skelmanthorpe (Jim Davies)

What a frustrating one from the Yorkshire band - and surely they will know that as they trooped off stage.

There was so much to enjoy with the approach and the sense of style, but some of the errors came in multiple choice form - with some of the pretty basic variety. The opening had a sense of triumphalism, the Elegy was mournful (with super trom followed by clumsy ensemble) and the Rondo full of brio - but those hair pulling mistakes and errors just mounted.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 12:49:32

The Senior Cup:
Pavilion Theatre
Test Piece: Music for Battle Creek (Philip Sparke)

Comments: Iwan Fox

Draws: 9.00am & 12.40pm
Commence: 10.00am

Adjudicators: Dr Robert Childs & John Doyle

1. Newtongrange Silver (Dr Keith Wilkinson)
2. Kingdom Brass (Paul Drury)
3. Ratby Co-operative (Michael Fowles)
4. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Steven Walsh)
5. BTM (Jeff Hutcherson)
6. St Dennis (Darren Hawken)
7. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
8. Skelmanthorpe (Jim Davies)
9. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligot)
10. Derwent Brass (Keith Leonard)
11. Llwydcoed (Chris Turner)
12. Fishburn (Joseph Cook)
13. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
14. Aveley & Newham (Martin Heartfield)
15. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Dewi Griffiths)
16. Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas)
17. Staffordshire (Jonathan Pippen)
18. Vernon Building Society (Poynton) (Neil Samuel)

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 12:37:42

7. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)

One that nearly came off this - but there were some very noticeable fragilities throughout that took the gloss off a carefully measured account by the MD. A pity that as there was a boldness as well as a lyrical passion in equal measure when asked for in the score.

The Elegy was perhaps the best so far today - tapered and phrased so nicely, but the rather chaotic nature of the Rondo took time to settle and find its free spirit and brio.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 12:22:09

As we suspected today, Battle Creek is proving itself to be one heck of a test of technical and musical character for the bands.

You have to take your hats off to the MDs and players though for the sheer gutsy, 'can do' attitude that is on display - just as the composer wanted. It's been hit and miss in execution, and nobody has really come close to mastering it yet (especially the Rondo), but the vivacity and ballsy verve has been admirable - and some of the solo playing has been cracking.

It may be a hard one to call for Bob Childs and John Doyle in the box at this rate.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 12:10:00

6. St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)

A real mixed bag from the Cornish band - at times vibrantly confident and full of gusto, and at others fragile and inconsistent. Some of the tempo choices were a bit odd - but you could see what the MD was trying to achieve with a young band.

Battle Creek bit hard on occasions here, but the spirit and the brio was admirable.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 11:50:48

5. BTM (Jeff Hutcherson)

You have to admire the spirit on show here - literally with the tuba team taking to the stage looking like a Blues Brothers tribute act - complete with tifters.

The performance was a bit like them too - great action, verve and spirit, but all a little chaotic and meandering from the plot line. When it was good it really shone - thanks to super euph, trom and pinging sop, but it was also a bit of a bag full of scrapping cool cats too.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 11:34:31

4. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Steven Walsh)

An uneven one this from Imps - played with great lyrical intent but pockmarked with so many individual fragilities and tempos that wandered and meandered.

When it did gel it came to life splendidly - but when it didn't it battled against itself. Euph was classy as was flugel, but it wasn't enough. A slightly chaotic Rondo finally clicked into place, but it was all a little too late.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 11:02:24

3. Ratby Co-operative (Michael Fowles)

Michael Fowles as Rooster Cogburn here - true grit from start to finish in a rendition that had colour, excitement and bravado by the bucketful.

It was bold and more than a little chaotic in places, but Stetson's off for the approach - especially the main solo lines. There were a few eye patch blind spot moments (a muted solo cornet line in the Elegy?) and a few misfires, but that frontier spirit (great trom in Rondo) and the essential 'can do' verve was there in spades.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 10:40:07

2. Kingdom Brass (Paul Drury)

The second line of Scottish attack comes with another craftily directed account - one that was played a notch or two below tempo in places, but was aided by some bravura solo lines in each of the movements - especially euph.

Again - the pitfalls and bear traps were negotiated with care - although some did catch a trailing leg or two. The Rondo was a bit chaotic at times, but it built to a spirited close with boldness and Yankee brio.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 10:18:45

1. Newtongrange (Dr Keith Wilkinson)

The Scots lay down the marker for the rest of the 17 bands to beat.

It's a well thought out approach by the MD in terms of tempo and balance, and there are plenty of spirited efforts from all the main soloists. The obvious pitfalls and cracks are negotiated - at times perilously - but they get through. The final movement is taken a good notch below the tempo - but it benefits from it.

There was bravado and that essential 'can do' attitude on display from start to finish here on what was a very testing challenge.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 09:59:52

We are just about ready for the off here in the Pavilion where there is a very decent crowd in to hear the action.

Dr Robert Childs and John Doyle are ensconced in the tent with a chandelier dangling like a sword of Damocles above their head.

First up though it's the usual homage to Her Majesty - who is almost as old as the Spring Festival itself. Gawd bless you ma'am.

Senior Cup • Saturday 14, 09:53:59

The Senior Cup:
Pavilion Theatre
Test Piece: Music for Battle Creek (Philip Sparke)

Comments: Iwan Fox

Draws: 9.00am & 12.40pm
Commence: 10.00am

Adjudicators: Dr Robert Childs & John Doyle

1. Newtongrange Silver (Dr Keith Wilkinson)
2. Kingdom Brass (Paul Drury)
3. Ratby Co-operative (Michael Fowles)
4. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Steven Walsh)
5. BTM (Jeff Hutcherson)
6. St Dennis (Darren Hawken)
7. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
8. Skelmanthorpe (Jim Davies)
9. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligot)
10. Derwent Brass (Keith Leonard)
11. Llwydcoed (Chris Turner)

2nd half of the draw:

Aveley & Newham (Martin Heartfield)
Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas)
City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Dewi Griffiths)
Fishburn (Joseph Cook)
Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
Staffordshire (Jonathan Pippen)
Vernon Building Society (Poynton) (Neil Samuel)

Senior Cup • Friday 13, 21:27:11

The Senior Cup:
Pavilion Theatre
Test Piece: Music for Battle Creek (Philip Sparke)

First Prize: £600 and Belle Vue 100 Guinea Challenge Cup
Second Prize: £400
Third Prize: £300
Fourth Prize: £200

Draws: 9.00am & 12.40pm
Commence: 10.00am

F: First half draw
S: Second half draw

Aveley & Newham (Martin Heartfield) (S)
BTM (Jeff Hutcherson) (F)
Blackburn & Darwen (Huw Thomas) (S)
City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Dewi Griffiths) (S)
Derwent Brass (Keith Leonard) (F)
Fishburn (Joseph Cook) (S)
Kingdom Brass (Paul Drury) (F)
Llwydcoed (Chris Turner) (F)
NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts) (F)
Newtongrange Silver (Dr Keith Wilkinson) (F)
Rainford (Gareth Brindle) (S)
Ratby Co-operative (Michael Fowles) (F)
Skelmanthorpe (Jim Davies) (F)
St Dennis (Darren Hawken) (F)
Staffordshire (Jonathan Pippen) (S)
Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott) (S)
Vernon Building Society (Poynton) (Neil Samuel) (F)
Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Steven Walsh) (F)

Contest: Whit Friday March Contests

Friday 24 May • Saddleworth & Tameside OL3

Boarshurst Silver Band - Canning City Brass and Boarshurst Silver Band

Sunday 26 May • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane, OL3 7EW OL3 7EW


Friday 7 June • St. Michaels Church. Duke street. Wigan WN1 2BJ

Bellshill Salvation Army Band - Guest Soloist Tom Hutchinson (The Cory Band)

Saturday 8 June • Uddington Old Parish Church, Old Glasgow Road Uddington. G71 7HF

Wotton-under-Edge Silver Band - Foden's Band

Sunday 23 June • Renishaw Innovation Centre,. New Mills, Kingswood, Wotton-under-Edge,. Gloucestershire GL12 8JR

Mereside Brass

May 22 • MERESIDE BRASS (Rudheath,Northwich) are looking for a FRONT ROW CORNET & a 2nd EUPH to complete our line up. We are a friendly 4th Section band with a sensible calendar of jobs and band social events and enjoy occasional contests. Come and give us a try!

Audley Brass

May 20 • Audley Brass are seeking a Principal Cornet player to lead the band into the First Section in 2025. The band have several fantastic events in the diary including the National Finals and no less than 6 of our epic beer festival sing-along nights.

Linthwaite Band

May 20 • We currently have a vacancy for either a 2nd Euphonium or 2nd Baritone, we have a busy varied list of engagements lined up for the summer, and are a friendly 4th section contesting band based just outside of Huddersfield, and welcome any new players.

Sam Fisher

BA (Hons), PGCE, Dip.ABRSM
Conductor, Adjudicator (AoBBA), Composer/Arranger, Cornet & Flugelhorn Soloist


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