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2019 London & Southern Counties Regional Championships
As it happened

All the action from the 2019 London & Southern Counties Regional Championships — As it happened.

London and SC

Sunday 17, 22:27:10

Farewell to the 2019 Regional Series

Well, what a truly great month its been. Five test pieces that have really done their job and congratulations to the Kapitol Music Panel for those.

Congratulations to all of the winners and qualifiers for the National Finals in September and October.

Regardless of your placing though, remember why you went to the contest in the first place and be proud of what you did on stage. A big well done also to the adjudicators. It's no easy job and they have put in the preparation, just like anyone else.

Our thanks go to all of the regions for their help and hospitality.

We hope you've enjoyed our coverage over the past month whether you've agreed with our comments or not. It's only an opinion.

News reports from this weekend to follow in the days ahead.

Goodnight from Stevenage and the 2019 Regional series.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 22:12:29

embedded picture
2019 Champion: Friary Brass Band

Result:

Championship Section:

Test Piece: Seascapes (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Dr Robert Childs and Michael Fowles

1. Friary Brass Band (Chris King)*
2. Zone One Brass (Richard Ward)*
3. Redbridge (Dr David Thornton)
4. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
5. Wantage (Paul Holland)
6. Aveley & Newham (Alan Duguid)
7. Kidlington Concert Brass (Duncan Wilson)
8. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
9. Thundersley (Melvin White)
10. Jersey Premier Brass (Simon Jones)
11. Hitchin (Martin Heartfield)
12. Regent Brass (Paul Archibald)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

Cornet: Richard Straker (Friary Brass Band)
Euphonium: Friary Brass Band
Tenor Horn: Friary Brass Band
Trombone Section: Friary Brass Band


London and SC

Sunday 17, 21:14:29

Championship Section: overall thoughts and predictions

A contest where Seascapes really sorted the bands out good and proper today. Nobody sunk though, although a couple could have been forgiven for issuing distress signals and asking for assistance.

The quality rose to the top and here's the conundrum that Rachel Riley would even be challenged with: three bands in serious contention for two qualification spots. Two into three just won't go so someone will miss out.

Friary and Wantage really delivered, but so did David Thornton's lyrical reading (that was tight and clean) with Redbridge. The central section and approaches from those three could be the difference today. Fine, small margins.

Behind those three the other podium spot is really up for grabs (only the top four get announced on stage here) Haverhill, Thundersley and East London all putting a case forward.

Dr Robert Childs and Michael Fowles (the latter on the Music Panel that selected the piece and conducted Desford to victory in the Midlands) will know what they want and don't want today. Simple really

4BR Prediction:

1. Friary
2. Wantage Silver 'A'
3. Redbridge
4. Haverhill
5. Zone One
6. Thundersley

Dark Horse: East London Brass


London and SC

Sunday 17, 21:08:21

Championship Section:

12. Zone One Brass (Richard Ward)

A reading of lyrical warmth from Zone One to close the contest and one that could give the judges a bit of food for thought.

The quality playing was there, but it just needed more solidity as errors and glitches crept in, but the descriptive picture was painted.

Sarabande was tasteful, hints of exotic climes were there, but it had you yearning for more. Our steamer heads for home for the last time with drive and energy. Uncle Albert Trotter, the proud Londoner is awarded the honour of taking the wheel for the last moments of the journey. Good close and a safe docking.

Solid reading but possibly in need of more dynamic contrasts to really make its mark today.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 20:47:22

Championship Section:

11. Hitchin (Martin Heartfield)

Hitchin return to top section contesting after around 30 years and can be proud of their efforts today. That in part is down to Captain Heartfield who delivered an engaging reading based on good foundations and common sense.

The opening was solidly delivered without any unnecessary risks. This was sturdily bolted together. Nice close.

The central section was shaped so well. It was very easy on the ear and the ensemble sounded content.

As it heads for home, the steamer becomes a touch tired but its intent and endeavour gets it home. There are a few technical challenges but nothing sinister and it’s a cracking finish to dock.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 20:26:04

Championship Section:

10. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)

Having come third in the Set Test at Butlins in January, Haverhill took to the stage to deliver a reading that was never short of confidence or self belief.

Not everything came off though. There was boldness to the colours with rough edges to the textures.

Neat and tidy interplay in the opening section had you craving for a touch more. The middle section saw it taking time to find still waters, but you never feared the May Day call would come.

Steamer tested a bit in the closing section but the Captain and gasoline get it home.

Not a bad close, but it gets through some choppy seas.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 20:06:42

Championship Section:

9. Friary (Chris King)

What a delightful reading this was from Maestro King and Friary. So well thought out and laid out. The tempo’s are a touch under than over and that gives the first movement the chance to build in stature together with the excitement. Tasty stuff.

The Sarabande is luscious and a delight. There’s the odd blemish, but nothing alarming.

The steamer sets off at a fine pace in the closing section. They’ve heard the Shipping Forecast on Radio 4 and want to get home before the weather turns. So much conviction in what the MD wanted to do and his trust in the players unquestionable.

Right in the mix, but what will the judges think of it? They couldn’t have given any more in the hunt for five on the trot. The MD tailored a reading that could well tickle the judges taste buds..


London and SC

Sunday 17, 19:43:11

Championship Section:

8. Aveley & Newham (Alan Duguid)

An account from Aveley that was like a mash up of The Onedin Line, Howards Way and Triangle (tv references that those of a certain age will identify with).

The potential was there, but it couldn't make its mind up which way it was sailing or what is narrative was.

The reading from the MD was measured and thought out. Caution, nervous tension and errors just started to creep in during the first movement and it lost its way somewhat.

Good intent in the central section, but with the uncertainty of just where it's supposedly heading being evident.

The finale was spirited with the good playing coming through but again moments of unease are evident as it reaches it journeys end.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 19:20:35

Championship Section:

7. Wantage (Paul Holland)

Wantage demonstrate their Championship Section credentials with a cracking show under Paul Holland.

Excellent quality allied to detail. Nicely coloured, bold without being overly powerful with the balanced textures mixing nicely. Lovely close to first movement.

The Sarabande was lovely on the ear. This is moulded so well, and the MD knows what he wants to do and the ensemble respond. Nice and secure with just that teasing hint of exoticism. It could be milked far more than it is, but so nicely done.

It's not a tud thumper of a steamer as it starts the journey home. The 'less is more' effect from the MD works here. Great detail in solo and ensemble lines. What a sop. So well done and a cracking close.

The good ship Wantage under Paul Holland off the back at a podium spot at the Scottish Open last November, could be pointing in the direction of the River Thames and stopping of at Kensington Gore.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 18:40:47

Championship Section half way thoughts:

An intriguing contest that hasn't really flickered into life yet. Redbridge off number two and David Thornton delivered his Seascapes lyrical trademark account of the past couple of weeks. It's out in front. But is it beatable?

Behind them a toss up between Thundersley and East London, but its fine margins.

Game on for second half

4BR Prediction:

1. Redbridge
2. Thundersley
3. East London Brass


London and SC

Sunday 17, 18:40:10

6. Jersey Premier Brass (Simon Jones)

A hard grafted account from the Channel Islanders of Jersey and no real surprise with all their sailing experience, it was built on firm musical foundations.

The opening movement had a defined pace but it just needed greater clarity at times to really make an impact.

Sarabande is well shaped and thought out but it just needs that bit of spice to really come to life.

The finale was full of spirit, noble and full of passion. The drama was vivid but we just needed to hear more detail. The close made you smile, it was as if they finally relaxed and enjoyed the sail home.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 18:18:02

Championship Section:

5.Thundersley (Melvin White)

An intriguing one from Thundersley with Captain White—a man who has sailed various ships into numerous ports and countries bringing the music to the fore.

The opening was a touch cautious but soon settled on its nautical journey. Calm waters led to happier times and the excitement built but a real pity about the opening.

There was a graceful feel to the central section, that soon found itself in troubled waters through some unforced errors. Frustrating really, because the reading was good.

Razor sharp playing coupled with errors and challenges that just got in the way of the Thundersley ship under Captain White sailing home stress free.

A real mixed bag at times that was…


London and SC

Sunday 17, 17:59:12

Championship Section:

4. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)

A vibrant account that had lots to admire but also sailed through some troubled waters.

Not pushed beyond their limits, Jayne Murrill found a pace that was comfortable and gave the music a chance to come through. There was lots of rich colours to come through.

The direction they should be sailing wasn’t 100% in the central section, but once they found the right way, the good ship East London was a happy ship again.

Good solid virtues to close with hints of untidiness at times. The close is testing though, tiny hints of tiredness start to creep in. Some good contributions though including David Daws on euph.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 17:42:23

embedded picture
2019 Champion: Epsom & Ewell

Results:

Second Section:

Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and Mareika Gray

1. Epsom & Ewell Silver (Paul Graham)*
2. Tendring Brass (Antony Sanders)*
3. Bedford Town (Craig Patterson)*
4. Horsham Borough (Mark McLaughlin)
5. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)
6. BAE Systems (David Chapman)
7. Colchester (Victoria Steinitz)
8. Castleton Brass (Peter Ryan)
9. Wantage Concert Brass (Calum MacDonald)
10. Waterbeach (Andrew Kershaw)
11. Chinnor Silver (David Pegram)
12. Oxford Cherwell Brass (Terry Brotherhood)
13. St Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)
14. Yiewsley & West Drayton (Christopher Cole)
15. Cold Ash Brass (Jemma Johnstone)
16. Littleport Brass (Ian Knpaton)
17. Tilbury (David Stokes)
18. Fairlop Brass (Kevin Jordan)

*Top three Qualify for National Final at Cheltenham


London and SC

Sunday 17, 17:32:45

Championship Section:

3. Kidlington Concert Brass (Duncan Wilson)

A very relaxed Duncan Wilson in shirt sleeves and slacks leads Kidlington in a lyrical reading where challenges in the technical execution meant not all of his intentions came to fruition.

The opening was well paced, full of tension and excitement as it reached its climax.

The exotic textures nearly came off in the Sarabande although the flow was viscous. There was some impressive moments, it just needed more colour at times.

Not a bad close, mainly in part to the Mds thought process to ensure things didn’t go wrong. It was a steady sail home and they reach the end of their journey without too much stress.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 17:04:01

Championship Section:

2. Redbridge (Dr David Thornton)

Dr David Thornton continues his lyrical musical approach with Redbridge that has seen him win with Brighouse and qualify for RAH with Aldbourne.

Redbridge respond to his direction superbly. The opening paced so well with great attention to let the inner detail shine through. The close wasn't over done either even though confidence was high.

What a joyous Sarabande that oozed with musicality and warmth from the first note until the last. Quality playing and an MD who gets what he wants from his ensemble.

The end is noble and proud and the musical character really comes through. Great close. Not even Uncle Albert Trotter from Only Fools and Horses could get them into trouble as they sailed home.

Bravo Dr Thornton and band'..


London and SC

Sunday 17, 16:40:19

Championship Section:

1. Regent Brass (Paul Archibald)

Regent Brass with numbers down on stage (20 if our maths is right) are tested by Seascapes today. The reading from the MD wasn’t bad, it just suffered from too many errors.

The opening was cautious and just never settled with the colours and textures never really being prominent.

The middle section also began hesitantly and the band never really sounded at ease. This was choppy seas and an uncomfortable sail. All will be hoping for dry land soon enough.

The steamer continues to encounter problems as it heads for home. Will they make the distress call for help or survive?

They survive just, but by the skin of their teeth. A tough ask today that was for sure.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 16:21:15

Off we go in Championship Section:

So after the essential medical delay, we are about to start in the Championship Section. 12 bands on Seascapes. Dr Robert Childs and Michael Fowles judging.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 16:09:08

Thanks

Before the weekend passes us by, we must say a massive thank you to the London & SC team who've helped us here in Stevenage.

Chairman, Philip Doe, Regional Secretary Kevin Williams, Christine Wade, Alex and Paddy Sears amongst others have not only made us feel welcome as always, but have ensured that draws and results are got to us, to help 4BR keep you informed.

We have also been fed and watered which have kept the energy levels going.

Along with the North West, this is the biggest competitive region: 80 bands will have competed by the end tonight and its all been done with smiles on the faces.

Thanks again to all concerned and well done for a great weekend.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 16:06:29

Draw:

Championship Section:

Test Piece: 'Seascapes' — Ray Steadman-Allen

Adjudicators: Dr Robert Childs and Michael Fowles

1. Regent Brass (Paul Archibald)
2. Redbridge (Dr David Thornton)
3. Kidlington Concert Brass (Duncan Wilson)
4. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
5. Thundersley (Melvin White)
6. Jersey Premier Brass (Simon Jones)
7. Wantage (Paul Holland)
8. Aveley & Newham (Alan Duguid)
9. Friary (Chris King)
10. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
11. Hitchin (Martin Heartfield)
12. Zone One Brass (Richard Ward)


London and SC

Sunday 17, 16:02:20

Medical emergency delays Championship Section:

There has been a medical emergency which is delaying the start of the Championship Section. Patience required by organisers and we will start asap

We hope everything is ok with those involved.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 15:57:05

Results:

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: 'Stantonbury Festival' — Ray Steadman Allen
Adjudicators: Nick Garman and Paul Norley

1. Simon Langton Brass (K Twyman)*
2. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)*
3. Cottenham Brass (Peter Mackley)*
4. Hemel Hempstead (Paul Fothergill)
5. Pangbourne & District Silver (Stewart Lewins)
6. Letchworth Garden City (Tim Welch)
7. Witney Town (Steve Sizeland)
8. Woodbridge Excelsior (Chris Lewis-Garnham)
9. City of Oxford (Gareth Coulson)
10. Abbey Brass (Rob Tompkins)
11. Royston Town (Steve Earley)
12. Luton Youth Brass (Simon Router)
13. Amersham Community Brass (Malcolm Peach)
14. Hadstock Silver (Diane Pannell)
15. Snowdown Colliery (Andy Collins)
16. Watford (Ian Graves)
17. Bletchington Silver (Sheldon Barwick)
18. Patcham Silver (James Benka-Coker)
19. Norfolk Wherry Brass (Eddie Baker)
20. Wantage Academy (Nikki Jones)

*Top three Qualify for National Final at Cheltenham


London and SC

Sunday 17, 15:04:33

Fourth Section round up and predictions:

The last band Bletchington Silver thrived upon playing to a large audience especially with just two trombones and percussionists. Hats off to the Md for keeping it simple, as it tested them at times.

A fascinating contest has lasted over five and a half hours. The judges will have had their work cut out though with a number of the accounts being similar in both approach and execution. A number were tested but all of them showed resilience and determination.

It's been terrific to see so many youngsters on stage and the great David Read MBE on bumper up rolling back the years.

The quality rose to the top and with three finalists, you could pick a handful that could really stake their claim. We liked Great Yarmouth, Amersham, Oxford, Wantage, Watford, Norfolk Wherry

4BR Prediction:

1. Great Yarmouth
2. Amersham
3. Norfolk Wherry
4. City of Oxford
5. Watford
6. Wantage Academy

Dark Horses: Cottenham/Abbey Brass


London and SC

Sunday 17, 14:47:16

Fourth Section:

Cottenham with the legendary Mr David Read MBE on bumper up delivered a tasteful lyrical reading that was full of warmth and nicely styled throughout by the MD.

Abbey Brass took to the stage under Rob Tompkins to deliver a stylish reading that also had a few blemishes that took the sheen of things a little.

Snowdon Colliery was the final band mentioned in our updates in threes for the Regionals this year. Neat, compact and tidy, they brought out a great deal of warmth and character during the three movements and showcased a percussion team that was a great unit.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 13:57:22

Fourth Section:

The latest trio to tackle ‘Stantonbury Festival’ is Hadstock Silver, Watford and Wantage Academy.

Hadstock dug deep to pull the music out. There was confidence but it also lost focus at times but the MD held everything together superbly and kept encouraging everyone along.

Watford in their crisp Persil-white shirts (and percussionists in black) was as bold in attack as the town’s football team. Led by a cracking cornet there was lots of brio and warmth, some good solid playing and a well thought approach from the middle.

Wantage Academy were just fab and know doubt Paul Holland, MD of the senior band will be keeping tabs on their development. The principal euph and second trombone were just two players whose feet just touched the floor, but they gave it their all.

Ok, not everything went according to plan, but the bigger picture was a young band, superbly led by a principal cornet (and supported by some adults) thrived on every second. The style was good and the playing not half bad either.

Four to go....


London and SC

Sunday 17, 13:09:26

Fourth Section:

The contest recommenced with the trio of Simon Langton, City of Oxford and Royston Town with each of them opting for sensible tempi and dynamics.

Simon Langton we understand has had a late change of MD a few days before the contest due to ill health. Mr Twyman who stood in did a cracking job and hats off to all for the performance.

City of Oxford was confident with solidity and kept the listener fully engaged.

Royston, the last of the trio produced an account of musical vigour that wasn’t without its blemishes, but was a demonstration of their capabilities.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 12:29:13

Draw:

Second Section:

Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and Mareika Gray

1. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)
2. Bedford Town (Craig Patterson)
3. Horsham Borough (Mark McLaughlin)
4. Littleport Brass (Ian Knpaton)
5. Fairlop Brass (Kevin Jordan)
6. Oxford Cherwell Brass (Terry Brotherhood)
7. St Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)
8. Cold Ash Brass (Jemma Johnstone)
9. Castleton Brass (Peter Ryan)
10. Tilbury (David Stokes)
11. BAE Systems (David Chapman)
12. Waterbeach (Andrew Kershaw)
13. Yiewsley & West Drayton (Christopher Cole)
14. Epsom & Ewell Silver (Paul Graham)
15. Colchester (Victoria Steinitz)
16. Wantage Concert Brass (Calum MacDonald)
17. Tendring Brass (Antony Sanders)
18. Chinnor Silver (David Pegram)


London and SC

Sunday 17, 12:07:31

Fourth Section halfway thoughts:

Pangbourne in their grey shirts opted to play with the trombones in front of the euphoniums and baritones. And there performance was as intriguing as that set up.

‘Stantonbury Festival’ has once again shown itself to be an astute choice at this level in Stevenage.

The challenge of doing the basics, linking the three sections together, rhythms, balance of sound have all challenged the ensembles to varying degrees.

What has not been a challenge though is the endeavour and passion that all have approached their performances with.

LSC region has real strength in depth, epitomised by 20 bands doing battle today. Not many of them do not have a full compliment on stage either. It’s been terrific to see and hear.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 11:54:55

Fourth Section:

The latest trio to face the RSA test were Woodbridge Excelsior, Patchem Silver and Great Yarmouth.

Woodbridge bristled with energy and had a nice balanced sound. There were some challenges in the 6/8 part of the piece but they really did produce the goods in the final section.

Patchem certainly had the stylish approach within the three movements, it just needed a touch more solidity at times.

Great Yarmouth benefited from an MD who’d given plenty of thinking time as to how he wanted to portray the music. It paid off as well. Bright and colourful, the odd moment of unease but one that certainly had lots to admire. The tempos and dynamics were excellent.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 11:36:26

Apologies...

We are unable to give our usual coverage in the Second Section today, but we have a couple of friends who are going to keep us up to date as best we can.

Iwan Fox


London and SC

Sunday 17, 11:09:47

Draw:

Second Section:

Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and Mareika Gray

1. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)
2. Bedford Town (Craig Patterson)
3. Horsham Borough (Mark McLaughlin)
4. Littleport Brass (Ian Knpaton)
5. Fairlop Brass (Kevin Jordan)
6. Oxford Cherwell Brass (Terry Brotherhood)
7. St Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)
8. Cold Ash Brass (Jemma Johnstone)
9. Castleton Brass (Peter Ryan)

Split Draw

BAE Systems (David Chapman)
Chinnor Silver (David Pegram)
Colchester (Victoria Steinitz)
Epsom & Ewell Silver (Paul Graham)
Horsham Borough (Mark McLaughlin)
Tendring Brass (Antony Sanders)
Tilbury (David Stokes)
Wantage Concert Brass (Calum MacDonald)
Waterbeach (Andrew Kershaw)
Yiewsley & West Drayton (Christopher Cole)


London and SC

Sunday 17, 11:03:53

Fourth Section:

Luton Youth, Witney, Amersham Community were bands drawn 4-6.

Bookended by two crackers of youthful endeavour from Luton Youth and Amersham Community Brass. Both had mature adults in the ranks, but by heck, they didn’t half demonstrate that they were wide awake and taken on board the energy drinks.

Each of them was full of musical spirit, vitality and endeavour. Neither was flawless but they both really got not just into the spirit of the music, but let it come out to breath.

Sandwiched in between was Witney, which like others so far today, had potential but just couldn’t quite bring rehearsal form onto the contest stage.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 10:54:06

Draw

Fourth Section:

Test Piece:'Stantonbury Festival' — Ray Steadman Allen
Adjudicators: Nick Garman a Paul Norley

1. Letchworth Garden City (Tim Welch)
2. Norfolk Wherry Brass (Eddie Baker)
3. Hemel Hempstead (Paul Fothergill)
4. Luton Youth Brass (Simon Router)
5. Witney Town (Steve Sizeland)
6. Amersham Community Brass (Malcolm Peach)
7. Woodbridge Excelsior (Chris Lewis-Garnham)
8. Patcham Silver (James Benka-Coker)
9. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)
10. Pangbourne & District Silver (Stewart Lewins)
11. Simon Langton Brass (David Cutting)
12. City of Oxford (Gareth Coulson)
13. Royston Town (Steve Earley)
14. Hadstock Silver (Diane Pannell)
15. Watford (Ian Graves)
16. Wantage Academy (Nikki Jones)
17. Cottenham Brass (Peter Mackley)
18. Abbey Brass (Rob Tompkins)
19. Snowdown Colliery (Andy Collins)
20. Bletchington Silver (Sheldon Barwick)


London and SC

Sunday 17, 10:16:11

Fourth Section:

Well, it is Sunday morning, so rather appropriate to be listening to RSA’s ‘Stantonbury Festival’.

We have had the first three committed accounts of a variable standard that could be inauspicious when it comes to the results later.

Letchworth wasn’t bad at all throughout the three sections. If they’d got rid of the caution and the nerves, it could have made an impression. Norfolk Wherry offered potential early on, but suffered from rhythmic issues.

Hemel Hempstead was bold and free flowing with lots to enjoy, but wasn’t without unease.


London and SC

Sunday 17, 09:38:21

Fourth Section :

20 bands competing

Off we go then with 20 Stantonbury Festivals. Nicholas Garmon and Paul Norley in the box. Comfort break after 10 bands and a split draw.

Good luck all


London and SC

Sunday 17, 09:15:32

Draw:

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: Stantonbury Festival (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Nick Garman & Paul Norley

1. Letchworth Garden City (Tim Welch)
2. Norfolk Wherry Brass (Eddie Baker)
3. Hemel Hempstead (Paul Fothergill)
4. Luton Youth Brass (Simon Router)
5. Witney Town (Steve Sizeland)
6. Amersham Community Brass (Malcolm Peach)
7. Woodbridge Excelsior (Chris Lewis-Garnham)
8. Patcham Silver (James Benka-Coker)
9. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)
10. Pangbourne & District Silver (Stewart Lewins)

Split draw

Abbey Brass (Rob Tompkins)
Bletchington Silver (Sheldon Barwick)
City of Oxford (Gareth Coulson)
Cottenham Brass (Peter Mackley)
Hadstock Silver (Diane Pannell)
Royston Town (Steve Earley)
Simon Langton Brass (David Cutting)
Snowdown Colliery (Andy Collins)
Wantage Academy (Nikki Jones)
Watford (Ian Graves)


London and SC

Sunday 17, 08:15:44

Morning from Stevenage

Happy St Patrick's Day

Good morning from Stevenage and a happy St Patrick's Day to those from the Emerald Isle. We hope the Guiness went down well last night for those celebrating contest successes. For those whose results didn't go the way you wished, we hope you had a few pints of the black stuff anyway.

It's a bright and breezy Sunday morning where the only signs of life are hoards of banding folk heading towards the Arts & Leisure Centre.

The Fourth Section starts at 9.30 and with 20 bands. The draw is split.

Catch you in a bit....


London and SC

Saturday 16, 20:55:55

That's all for today, see you tomorrow

That's the end of a long day and we start early in Stevenage with the 4th Section tomorrow at 9.30am with Second Section at 11am and the Championship Section concluding things.

Durham and Wales only have two sections apiece to conclude their contests.

Time for a beer.

Night


London and SC

Saturday 16, 20:38:09

embedded picture
2019 Champion: Amersham

Results:

First Section:

Test Piece: 'Symphony of Marches' — Gilbert Vinter
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and Paul Norley

1. Amersham (Paul Fisher)*
2. Fulham (John Ward)*
3. Medway (Nigel Taken)
4. Egham (Gareth Green)
5. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
6. Grimesdyke Brass (Sharon Broughall)
7. Sandhurst Silver (David Johnson)
8. Cawston (Leigh Sharpe)
9. East of England Co-op (Nigel Cooper)
10. Staines Brass (Jonathan Pippen)
11. Ware Brass (Craig Patterson)
12. Alder Valley Brass (Lee Woodward)
13. Chiltern Hills Brass (Gordon Davies)
14. Soham Comrades (Mark Ager)
15. City of Cambridge (Philip Fisher)

*Top two Qualify for National Final at Cheltenham

Cornet: Sop (Fulham)
Basses Amersham


London and SC

Saturday 16, 20:01:10

First Section round up and predictions:

City of Cambridge bring the contest and day one to a close at Stevenage with an account that took a number of risks and needed more impetus to make an impression. Could challenge for bottom emd of top six.

The music has won today hands down. The Music Panel deserves huge credit for its selection which has proved a shrewd move nationally. Those at the top end brought the music to life whilst others took risky approaches by trying to reinvent the music. What will the judges say?

Between Fulham. Amersham and Sandhurst for the two spots though with not much between any of them with a bit of distance between them and the others.

4BR Prediction:

1. Fulham
2. Amersham
3. Sandhurst Silver
4. Staines Brass
5. Milton Keynes
6. Egham

Dark Horse: Medway/City of Cambridge

Malcolm Wood

4BR Guest Pundit:


Last up today in Stevenage is City of Cambridge, who provide a light opening with nothing overblown, music moves freely enough. Slightly overblown to close. A majestic second movement which again is a bit too strident at times, with the style being lost. Great horn to open final movement — amongst the best today. A a slightly tired close, but one that might catch the judges ears...

Overall, 'Symphony of Marches' has been a great choice of music for the bands here. Vinter's music remains as tough a test as it has always been, and overall, the music has beaten the bands by a margin. Only a very small number of bands have managed to produce the style and pinpoint accuracy demanded from the score. Every performance had moments to enjoy but familiar challenges have blighted a lot of performances — with the entry into the Grave in the third movement not being clean on a number of occasions.

For me it's small margins for the winners, with any of the top 3 potentially walking away with the title. With only 2 spots at Cheltenham available, one band will feel hard done by come results time.

1. Fulham
2. Sandhurst
3. Amersham
4. Medway
5. Ware
6. Staines

Dark Horse: City of Cambridge


London and SC

Saturday 16, 19:43:17

First Section:

Medway, East of England Co-op and Ware Brass are the latest trio to perform Vinter to varying degrees of success!

Medway had a suspect start but improved as they went along, but still had blemishes. East of England Co-op with 5 basses was just dynamically too heavy and turgid at times to resonate with us.

Ware Brass offered potential but it just never came to fruition. MD looked frustrated.

Malcolm Wood

4BR Guest Pundit:

Medway opt for a slower tempo to open but it is accurate and musical — though it does feel a little too slow at times and it seems to get slower as we progress. Second movement well judged however. Third movement takes a little while to settle but is great once it’s established. Exit from Grave is secure — one of a few bands to achieve this today. Tempo choices early on will have an impact.

East of England Coop don’t start well but things improve after 10 bars or so. Second movement has good style though there are once again some intonation issues in the cornets. Third movement has good poise, intent and drive and this is the band’s best work. Not necessarily convinced about playing five tubas here as sometimes the foundation feels too heavy. A solid close.

Ware’s performance is tidy but opening once again is under tempo and the tempo fluctuates — sometimes where it shouldn’t! Second movement has good atmosphere — this is a good reading from the MD, with impressive contributions from the sop. Third movement is untidy at times, especially the Grave. A purposeful close. Overall plenty to like, could make an impression come results time.

Steve Rongevaer-Boother


London and SC

Saturday 16, 19:33:29

The focus is on Stevenage....

So with Durham and Wrexham done for the day, the attention is solely on Stevenage and the First Section.

Not long to go though with band 14 on stage at the minute and 15 challengers.

Stay with us to find out who picks up the last qualification spots on the Vinter.


London and SC

Saturday 16, 18:47:31

First Section:

.Alder Valley Brass, Soham Comrades and Amersham are the first trio on stage post comfort break.

Alder Valley was an account of the mixed bag variety. Some good playing, some not so good and it just needed more solidity throughout to make an impression.

Mark Ager returns to conduct his second band of the day, this time Soham Comrades. This improved as it went along with a disappointing opening section that will have been better in rehearsal. MD a happy chap at the end though.

Amersham opts for a musical reading. Tasteful Vinter this that does not reinvent the musical wheel. The gravitas feeling in the central section was very impressive with a cracking final section that had the drama. In terms of musicality, in the terms, but had blemishes.

One for judges to think about. Either a hit or miss that one?

Malcolm Wood

4BR Guest Pundit:

Alder Valley’s performance starts reasonably well though slightly insecure in places. Second movement is impressive at times, with trombones especially good, with a well judged close. Neat opening to third movement though horn style could be more persuasive. Untidy into the Grave but it again improves, and Brioso impresses. Good close. The classic 4BR Curates egg performance.

Soham Comrades’ performance opening feels very uncomfortable with some significant intonation issues. Very overblown in places. Second movement is significantly better with good percussion colour. Solid enough into third movement though untidy at times — vertical correctness again! — but the run for home is well delivered. A shame about that opening — nerves I suspect.

A confident opening from Amersham. It’s lyrical stuff with good muted work from back row especially, but there are some notable blobs elsewhere. Second movement opening feels slightly stilted initially but is musically accurate and has excellent overall style. Good horn into final movement and a fine musical close. Overall a very musical reading and one that will find favour in the box.

Steve Rongevaer-Boother


London and SC

Saturday 16, 17:29:48

First Section half way thoughts:

Sandhurst Silver and Staines take everyone to the comfort break.

Sandhurst was one that really didn't take any prisoners and one that will create debate in the box. Really solid with tempos and dynamics although in the concluding section, thing went awry somewhat. That said it's in contention at the minute and is one of only a couple of bands that you can argue have delivered the goods.

Jonathan Pippen's less is more approach with Staines could pay off today. The edge was taken off the dynamics and the marches were paced at tempos the ensemble could get their teeth into. Not everything gelled together but if the approach finds favour in the box……

As with the rest of the competing bands around the country, Vinter's work has shown its teeth here so far today.

What the judges, Mark Wilkinson and Paul Norley will make of it, we'll have to wait till the end, but there have been a number of over ambitious approaches so far today. 'Symphony of Marches' is very transparent yet deceptive though and what a fine choice it's proved to be — well done Kapitol Music Panel.

Being honest this is wide open at the moment. Fulham, Sandhurst lead the charge and then its wide open.

1. Fulham
2. Sandhurst

Malcolm Wood

4BR Guest Pundit:

Taking us to the break, a duo of persuasive accounts from Sandhurst and Staines.

A well drilled Sandhurst have a couple of moments of unease in the opening few bars but these don't detract from a picture well painted by David Johnson's band. Second movement was very engaging, very tidy soloists and front line cornets. 3rd movement was very solid, nothing overdone and judicious control from the middle. This will push for top honours today though a few cornet slips in the run for home might hurt in the final result.

An enjoyable account from Staines, with some baritone lines written into a fourth horn, which works well, though some overblowing in trombones detracts. Not together though on opening to 2nd movement, but I like the declamatory style here. Musically solid and descends to close well. Third movement feels under control with great contributions from tubas in particular. Intonation grates though in cornets in run for home but it recovers well to close.

An interesting first half in Stevenage in the First Section. As we've seen throughout this regional series, 'Symphony of Marches' is proving to be a tough test, and none of the eight bands so far have come through unscathed. A few of the bands will know that they have underestimated the challenges of Vinter's timeless classic, which is proving to be an excellent choice by the Kapitol music panel.

For me it's a two horse race between Fulham and Sandhurst at half time, with Fulham perhaps ahead by a nose — but it really could go either way. There's a bit of a gap to the rest.

My half time prediction:

1. Fulham
2. Sandhurst
3. Staines
4. Egham

Dark Horse: Milton Keynes

Steve Rongevaer-Boother


London and SC

Saturday 16, 16:52:21

First Section:

Fulham, Egham and Milton Keynes were the next trio to tackle Vinter.

Fulham under John Ward was astute, purposeful and musical. A few bits at times in the three marches, but nothing overtly to throw them off course. Solid marker and a contender.

Egham with Gareth Green conducting without a score was bold and colourful. The marches were solid in terms of tempos and manageable, without being over elaborate.

Milton Keynes delivered a reading that was robust at times but paced well with engaging dynamics and tempos. They were one of the few so far today to bring gravitas to the central section.

Comfort break after band 8.

Malcolm Wood

4BR Guest Pundit:

Fulham's performance impresses — solid, subtle, dramatic and full of pathos. 2nd movement in particular has great contrast with special mention to the Soprano cornet who really shines. Great drive to closure with superb baritone sounds. A true marker — the first piece of Vintage Vinter heard today.

Gareth Green and Egham go in without a score for the conductor. This one improves as it moves along, but there are some moments of unease. Solid performance in second movement leads to a precise 3rd movement opening. Just a few occasional moments of unease. A good closure will stick in the minds of those in the box though.

Milton Keynes Brass open confidently though tempo is not always consistent. It's robust and confident stuff but the band isn't always together. 2nd movement is confidently played with a great close. Third movement opening is slightly tentative though it rapidly improves and drives to a solid conclusion.

Steve Rongevaer-Boother


London and SC

Saturday 16, 15:59:07

First Section:

Three interesting and varied takes on the Vinter to open the contest. Grimsdyke certainly got to grips with the music and brought out its heart and soul. The tempo's were interesting though.

Chiltern Hill with Regional Secretary Kevin Williams on horn rose to the challenge with a committed reading. There was lots to admire here, but the challenge of nailing three sections together not that easy.

Cawston gave a bright account that certainly matched their shirts. Full bloodied at times, but also edgy, but the piece wasn't beyond them.

Three down and Vinter a challenge for sure.

Malcolm Wood

4BR Guest Pundit

Grimsdyke draw Kelly's Eye and kick off First Section. It's a sturdy opening slightly blighted by some tonal insecurities and some issues of vertical correctness. Overall band sound is full-blooded and committed, though solo cornets overblow at times.

Second movement opening suggests drama — and plenty of it! — and tubas and lower trombones particularly impress. Soprano cornet — bravo! Intonation spoils the close.

Neat filigree opening to third movement and confident sounds throughout — this is better. Euphonium could have a touch more style for me — tubas impress. Bold closure but again solo cornets overblow.

Chiltern Hills opening is committed though not always together to open — some of the semiquavers are really thrown away. Band recovers well however with good contributions from soprano and euph. A bit raucous to close.

Almost macabre opening to second movement with great contrast — great trombones, though slightly nervous soprano, and untidiness in cornets detracts from overall picture towards the close.

A slightly scrappy approach to the third movement gives way to some neat work, especially from horns. Trombones add vital colour and precision. Good confidence from the euph. Great drive to confident closure.

Cawston and their striking turquoise shirts are third on. Solo cornets mis-pitch in the opening which features confident sounds at times but horns/baritones are not always in synch with the cornet line, which spoils. It's a bit scrappy and frenetic to close.

Second movement opening doesn't quite come off. However, great trombones and tubas and a sonorous euphonium as well as good cornet work help to improve things.

Final movement opens well with solid horn and back row cornet. It feels a bit under tempo but detail shows. Trombones give a solid foundation. Good close though the detail is not always heard, despite the slower tempo. Good close.

Steve Rongevaer-Boother


London and SC

Saturday 16, 15:05:33

What's involved in doing live comments for 4BR?

We are always asked by people wanting to offer their help for our live coverage. A week ago, Leigh Baker experienced what it was like to offer his thoughts.

Today in the First Section, in addition to Mr Wood, Regent Brass's Steve Rongevaer-Boother is going to offer his thoughts during the contest that has 15 bands tackling 'Symphony of Marches'. We wish him well.


London and SC

Saturday 16, 14:47:44

Draw:

First Section:

Test Piece: 'Symphony of Marches' — Gilbert Vinter
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and Paul Norley

1. Grimesdyke Brass (Sharon Broughall)
2. Chiltern Hills Brass (Gordon Davies)
3. Cawston (Leigh Sharpe)
4. Fulham (John Ward)
5. Egham (Gareth Green)
6. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
7. Sandhurst Silver (David Johnson)
8. Staines Brass (Jonathan Pippen)
9. Alder Valley Brass (Lee Woodward)
10. Soham Comrades (Mark Ager)
11. Amersham (Paul Fisher)
12. Medway (Nigel Taken)
13. East of England Co-op (Nigel Cooper)
14. Ware Brass (Craig Patterson)
15. City of Cambridge (Philip Fisher)


London and SC

Saturday 16, 14:45:56

embedded picture
2019 Champion: Chichester

Results:

Third Section:

Test Piece: First Suite in Eb (Gustav Holst arr. Sydney Herbert)
Adjudicators: Mareika Gray and Michael Fowles

1. Chichester City (Rom Stanko)*
2. Epping Forest (Keith Schroeter)*
3. Hungerford Town (Tim Crouter)
4. Olney Brass (Kevin Nicholls)
5. Brighton & Hove City (Matthew Hackett)
6. City of Norwich Brass (Mark Ager)
7. Welwyn Garden City (Duncan Wilson)
8. Crystal Palace (Michael Gray)
9. Regent Community Brass (Chris Bearman)
10. Bradwell Silver (Brian Keech)
11. East Coast Brass (Paul Speed)
12. Tadley Concert Brass (Paul Chapman)
13. Jubilee Brass (Oxford) (Clifford Sadler)
14. Godalming (James Haigh)
15. Hangleton (Richard Baker)

*Top two Qualify for National Final at Cheltenham


London and SC

Saturday 16, 14:23:54

Third Section round up and predictions…:

The final band of the contest was Crystal Palace. The style was good, but like others today, it just didn’t quite have the solidity across the three movements to perhaps make an impression.

The standard has varied here somewhat today though at times with plenty of substance to the 15 accounts. It’s been terrific to see bands without full compliments, going on stage and giving the Holst a go.

Those that have been more faithful to the score (than others) could well be mentioned in dispatches come results time, by an MC who brings a sense of light hearted humour to the proceedings.

Close at the top end though with the early account of City of Norwich remaining in contention whilst an early challenger in the second half of the draw in Epping Forest tickled our taste buds.

4BR Prediction:

1. Epping Forest
2. Olney
3. City of Norwich
4. Brighton & Hove
5. Welwyn GC
6. Tadley

Dark Horse Chichester


London and SC

Saturday 16, 13:58:27

Third Section:

Bradwell Silver Godalming and Regent Community Brass were drawn bands 12-14.

Bradwell took an approach that we’ve seen around the country on this piece in the past couple of weeks—the cornets arched inwards. How beneficial it will be is down to the judges…

Wasn’t a bad show in truth, but needed more consistency for ourselves to make an impression.

Godalming was an account that just didn’t come to life as much as they tried. The style wasn’t bad but the excution just never came off for them.

Regent Community Brass was bright, breezy and nicely styled. There was good pacing to the movements, but it just needed more solidity.


London and SC

Saturday 16, 13:16:43

Third Section:

The contest restarts with the trio of Olney, Chichester and Epping Forest.

Olney was bold, colourful and musical led by an MD who knew what he wanted to get from within the score (which was on the stand but unused) and was even marching in the concluding section.

His approach worked though as it lifted his ensemble to play with belief and confidence.

In contrast, Chichester was a little too cautious in its approach. The style wasn’t bad; it was the inner belief of bringing rehearsal practices on to the contesting stage.

Epping Forest was as colourful as their red polo shirts. A real quality show that was measured and so well styled. It could be one to really make a mark in the box. You never know…..


London and SC

Saturday 16, 13:03:56

Great to see AOBBA trainee judge enjoying the day

It's not just Michael Fowles and Mareika Gray who are doing some judging here this morning. Matthew Brown, Hammonds trombonist is due to start on the AOBBA training programme and has taken the opportunity to come and listen to the bands here.


London and SC

Saturday 16, 12:02:26

Third Section half way round up:

The local contender of Welwyn GC drew seven with Brighton taking everyone to the break.

Welwyn was bright and breezy ' a nice free flowing account that was just punctuated by a few too many blips.

Brighton was neat and compact as their shiny white shirts and black waist coats, and very much mirroring the MDs conducting style.

There was a nice light feel to the music whilst the percussion blended in with ease and elegance.

It's been like a Kellogg's cereal selection pack so far: plenty of variety with some performances hitting the taste buds more than others. Some tempi choices have been interesting! It's been terrific though to see ensembles come on stage with varying numbers and give it a go'..

Michael Fowles (who is part of the Music Panel that selected the piece) and Mareika Gray will know what they want in the box though.

4BR Prediction:

1. City of Norwich
2. Welwyn GC
3. Brighton & Hove City


London and SC

Saturday 16, 11:33:15

Third Section:

Hangleton, Jubilee Brass (Oxford) and Tadley Brass were bands 4-6.

Hangleton was one of those hit and miss accounts. Took a bit of time to settle in the ensemble and solo lines but had a lovely flow from beginning to end.

Jubilee Brass (Oxford) was one of the extreme tempo varieties. Some worked better than others it must be said. The opening wasn’t bad, but it was movement two that could be a talking point. Lots of nobility in the march to close though.

Tadley takes to the stage with no where near a full compliment of players. Loved the reading and the approach from both middle and players. Ok not everything worked, but it had a nice flow to it with all of them working their socks off in a hard working account.

There will be a judges comfort break after band 8.


London and SC

Saturday 16, 10:46:26

Third Section:

The opening three bands have all relished the opportunity to perform Holst, although to varying degrees of success.

Hungerford had that nothing to lose off number one feel about it that was nicely styled, but just didn't always settle.

City of Norwich (who won this Section off number 1 last year) drew second this time. A terrific band sound throughout, but they had moments that came across as rushed and edgy at times, but there was no doubting they could play it.

East Coast Brass was the last of the opening trio: neatly paced and went for the style, but not without a few bumps in the road along the way.


London and SC

Saturday 16, 09:50:48

embedded picture

Draw:

Third Section:

Test Piece: First Suite in Eb (Gustav Holst arr. Sydney Herbert)
Adjudicators: Mareika Gray & Michael Fowles

1. Hungerford Town (Tim Crouter)
2. City of Norwich Brass (Mark Ager)
3. East Coast Brass (Paul Speed)
4. Hangleton (Richard Baker)
5. Jubilee Brass (Oxford) (Clifford Sadler)
6. Tadley Concert Brass (Paul Chapman)
7. Welwyn Garden City (Duncan Wilson)
8. Brighton & Hove City (Matthew Hackett)
9. Olney Brass (Kevin Nicholls)
10. Chichester City (Rom Stanko)
11. Epping Forest (Keith Schroeter)
12. Bradwell Silver (Brian Keech)
13. Godalming (James Haigh)
14. Regent Community Brass (Chris Bearman)
15. Crystal Palace (Michael Gray)


London and SC

Saturday 16, 09:37:08

Morning from Stevenage

Good morning from Stevenage, where it is a little windy outside but unlike last year is a snow free zone.

We have two sections today. We start with the Third Section followed by the First this afternoon and unless there are any withdrawals, that is two sections of fifteen bands.

The Gordon Craig Theatre is a little gem for a band contest. Tight, compact, with a stage where you can hear your colleagues. The judges are based at the back of the hall and they will hear every last detail.

We start at 10.00am and will post the Third Section draw once judges are in the box.


London and SC

Saturday 16, 04:17:16

Previews & Predictions



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