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2017 Wales and London & Southern Counties Regional Championships
Third Section previews

4BR takes a closer look at the bands hoping to catch the ears of the men in the box on Dan Price's clever musical portrait of urban history.

Boggart
A portrait of bucolic beauty or impishness? 'Darkwood's' Boggart Hole 

Dan Price’s ‘Darkwood’ has certainly been the surprise hit of the Area Championships: A concert work that has fitted perfectly to the  contest stage. 

That was shown again last weekend with a series of excellent qualification performances in Perth, Bedworth, Torquay and Durham that saw conductors balance basic technical requirements with plenty of clever touches of stylistic inspiration to gain reward from the box.

Cleverly crafted

The triptych historical portrait of the town of Blackley is a cleverly crafted piece of composition for this competitive level: The dark, mischievous opening contrasts with the more lyrical qualities of the central hymnal interlude, before we find optimism and a sense of adventure in the finale. 

It’s all laid out with nothing to hide and the best bands have produced cracking accounts of it to get to Cheltenham – with hopefully more to come.


Rhyl Silver
2016 Champion: Rhyl Silver

Wales:

It may seem a little odd, but Welsh banding hasn’t enjoyed much success at Third Section level at the National Finals during the same period in which it has swept the board elsewhere.

Ebbw Valley’s victory in 2014 was the first since Beaumaris in 1992, and in the last two years they haven’t really come close to a mention off the stage. That is a bit of a curious anomaly, but it may change this year given the strength of the ten band field that lines up on Saturday morning to impress Stan Lippeatt and John Maines in the box.

Of those who will surely fancy their chances, are the likes of 2016 Fourth Section National Champion Phoenix (Goodwick) and Welsh League winners Newport Borough, whilst last season’s Cheltenham qualifiers Briton Ferry Silver and 2015 National Fourth Section winner Usk are also rivals to watch out for alongside Abertillery & District, Crosskeys and our dark horse of Ynyshir.

4BR Prediction:

1. Phoenix (Goodwick) 
2. Newport Borough
3. Abertillery & District
4. Briton Ferry
5. Usk
6. Crosskeys Silver

Dark Horse: Ynyshir


Chinnor
2016 Champion Chinnor Silver went on to come fourth at the National Finals

London & Southern Counties:

In contrast, the qualifiers from Stevenage have enjoyed tremendous success at this level over the past few years - with a honours board of National Champions that includes Hitchin and LGB Brass, as well as a number of top-six finishers. Last year saw the excellent pairing of Tendring Brass and Chinnor Silver come third and fourth respectively.

Chinnor now finds themselves in the Second Section, although with 14 bands taken to the Gordon Craig Theatre stage, there should be plenty of colourful music making for Alan Duguid and David Hirst to compare and contrast as they decide on the three that will head to Cheltenham in September.

Only two bands (Brighton & Hove and East Coast Brass) decided to have an early season run-out in Butlins without making much of an impression, although there was an intriguing ‘Darkwood’ battle at the recent Oxfordshire ‘Winter ‘ contest where Olney Brass led the way from Jubilee Brass (Oxford), Tadley Concert Brass and Oxford Cherwell Brass. 

Could that be the contest form-book indicator here then?

We will have to wait and see about that, but we think Olney could be the band to beat, alongside the likes of Jubilee Brass (Oxford) and Tendring Brass.  

Chasing a qualification place could well become a battle between the likes of promoted Castleton, Tadley Concert Brass and our dark horse of Hangleton.

4BR Prediction:

1. Olney Brass
2. Jubilee Brass (Oxford)
3. Tendring Brass
4. Cold Ash Brass
5. Castleton
6. Tadley Concert Brass

Dark Horse: Hangleton



Tredegar Town Band - Mussorgsky meets Mozart

Wednesday 20 June • ROYAL BIRMINGHAM CONSERVATOIRE, Birmingham City University, 200 Jennens Rd, Birmingham. B4 7XR


Black Dyke Band - Halifax Choral Society

Saturday 23 June • Victoria Theatre, 2 Fountain St, Halifax HX1 1BP


The Marple Band - The Marple Band presents Music from Musicals

Saturday 23 June • Stockport Grammar School. Buxton Road. Stockport SK2 7AF


Elland Silver Band - Elland Silver Band

Saturday 23 June • Blackley Blackley Church Prospect View Elland HX5 0TD


York Railway Institute Band - Dan Thomas - Euphonium

Saturday 23 June • Central Methodist Church. St Saviourgate. York. YO1 8NQ YO1 8NQ


Skelmanthorpe Prospect Brass

June 20 • Eb or Bb BASS REQUIRED, Prospect Brass under MD Phil Garlick require a Eb or Bb Bass to join our team. We are a 1st Section band based between Huddersfield and Wakefield, rehearsing Mon/Fri 7-9 in our purpose built bandroom.


Skelmanthorpe Prospect Brass

June 20 • FRONT ROW CORNET REQUIRED, Prospect Brass under MD Phil Garlick require a front cornet to join our team. We are a 1st Section band based between Huddersfield and Wakefield, rehearsing Mon/Fri 7-9 in our purpose built bandroom.


Matlock Band

June 20 • Due to ill health, Matlock Band (Midlands 4th section 2019) require a MUSICAL DIRECTOR.. .


Christopher Houlding

MMus, GGSM, LRAM
Conductor, Performer, Educator