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2019 British Open Spring Festival
As it happened

All the action from the 2019 British Open Spring Festival — as it happened.

Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 19:41:33

Result:

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2019 Champions: NASUWT Riverside

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MD Prof Nicholas Childs and Tony Thompson celebrate the win

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Winning smiles from sop player Phil Tait

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Symphony Hall return for the cooperation Band

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Third place: Rothwell Temperance

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Fourth place: The GUS Band

The Grand Shield:

Test Piece: Fraternity (Thierry Deleruyelle)
Adjudicators: Garry Cutt & Steve Sykes

1. NASUWT Riverside (Prof Nicholas Childs) *
2. the cooperation Band (Michael Fowles)*
3. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
4. The GUS Band (Chris Jeans)
5. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
6. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
7. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
8. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
9. Friary Brass Band (Chris King)
10. Milnrow (Dennis Hadfield)
11. Hepworth (Dr David Thornton)
12. City of Hull (Stig Maersk)
13. St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)
14. Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)
15. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
16. Redbridge (Jeremy Wise)
17. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)**
18. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)**
19. Jaguar Land Rover (Nigel Seaman)**
20. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)**

Best Instrumentalist: Jim Hayes (solo cornet) — the cooperation band

*Promoted to the British Open
**Relegated to the Senior Cup


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 19:35:46

Result:

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2019 Champion: Northop Silver

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Runner-up: Wantage

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Third place: Llwydcoed

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Fourth place: Ratby Cooperative

The Senior Cup:

Test Piece: Symphonic Music for Brass Band (Paul Huber)
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson & Thomas Wyss

1. Northop Silver (John Doyle)*
2. Wantage Silver (Paul Holland)*
3. Llwydcoed (David Hirst)*
4. Ratby Co-operative (David Purkiss)*
5. Roche Brass (David Johnson)
6. Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan)
7. Kingdom Brass (Ian Porthouse)
8. Derwent Brass (Jack Capstaff)
9. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Christopher Bond)
10. Ashton-under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
11. TCTC Group (Jef Sparkes)
12. Dalmellington (Nigel Boddice MBE)
13. Blackburn & Darwen (Daniel Thomas)
14. Kirkintilloch (Leigh Baker)
15. Goodwick Brass (Matthew Jenkins)
16. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks)
17. Aveley & Newham (Alan Duguid)**
18. Hatfield & Askern Colliery (Stan Lippeatt)**
19. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Garry Hallas)**
20. Jackfield (David Maplestone)**
21. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)**

Best Instrumentalist: Chris Turner (soprano) — Llwydcoed

*Promoted to the Grand Shield
** Relegated to the Senior Trophy


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 19:30:27

Result:

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2019 Champion: VBS Poynton

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Runner-up: City of Bradford

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Third place: Verwood Concert Brass

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Fourth place: Shepherd Group

The Senior Trophy:

Test Piece: Triumphant Rhapsody (Gilbert Vinter)
Adjudicators: Ryan Breen & Dave Lea

1. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Ryan Watkins)*
2. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)*
3. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)*
4. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton)*
5. Tylorstown (Gary Davies)
6. Thundersley Brass (Melvin White)
7. Easington Colliery (Jonathon Fenwick)
8. Marsden Silver (Andrew Lofthouse)
9. Unison Kinneil (Raymond Tennant)
10. Unite the Union (John Davis)
11. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
12. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
13. Burry Port Town (Ceri John)
14. Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
15. Laganvale (Metal Technology) (Keith Anderson)**
16. SPAL Sovereign Brass (Trevor Jones)**
17. Ebbw Valley Brass (Gareth Ritter)**
18. Strata Brass (Jonathon Bates)**
19. Staffordshire (Craig Williams)**
20. Drighlington (Neil Robinson) **

Best Instrumentalist: Kevin Jones (cornet) — Tylorstown

*Promoted to the Senior Cup
**Must re-qualify


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 19:10:01

Chris Thomas’s final thoughts and predictions...

What a fine piece Fraternity is but what a stern test of the twenty bands in the Grand Shield it has been today.

Consistency has been the main issue with no band emerging totally unscathed. Some found emotion and musicality without consistency of execution, whilst some delivered solid technical accounts that were not always involving in what is a deeply moving piece of music.

The bands that occupy the podium places will have come closest to uniting those two disparate elements, although for me there is one clear winner that has risen above what could be a very close battle indeed for runner up and third place.

4BR Prediction:

Chris Thomas goes for a top six of:

1. the Cooperation Band
2. The GUS Band
3. Rothwell Temperance
4. Woodfalls
5. NASUWT Riverside
6. Hepworth

Dark Horses: Friary and City of Hull


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 18:53:56

20. Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)

Black Land opens effectively with secure solo euphonium. The Towering Colliery sounds a tad restrained in comparison to some today and there are tuning issues exposed in the trombones.

Fine solo horn into From Light to Dark although solo cornet is not quite comfortable in the opening bars and flugel and solo baritone don’t gel in the bars that follow.

As the coal is extracted the playing is generally solid and secure but needs a touch more drive, purpose and energy. Firedamp tends to be percussion dominant masking the detail in the band and the ensemble needs a greater degree of rhythmic cohesion.

Trombones not quite in tune in the chorale and the Fraternity Prayer is laid out with in measured fashion leading to an effective close.

Overall: An inconsistent account from Oldham (Lees) to wind up the contest and one of numerous that has succeeded in parts without being able to maintain the same standard throughout.

Chris Thomas


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 18:28:05

19. St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)

Basses whisper the initial bars and solo euphonium is secure and pliable in the opening solo.

The Towering Colliery is solid and effective although there are intonation issues on a couple of occasions. Solo cornet finds the going tough at the opening of From Light to Dark and suddenly this feels a good deal more fragile.

Extracting the Coal lacks a touch of drive and purpose with ensemble not always tight at key moments. It feels a touch pedestrian as a result.

Firedamp progresses at pace but doesn’t always sit tightly rhythmically and this needs greater cohesion and rigidity of ensemble.

The trombone chorale is certainly very quiet but entries are not always completely together whilst the Fraternity Prayer is given plenty of emotion but also exposes moments of intonation and tiredness.

Overall: Fragilities were often evident from St Dennis in a reading that was highly musical in its approach, but ultimately wasn’t able to retain the consistency of its opening.

Chris Thomas


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 18:04:31

18. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)

The opening of Black Land is solid but still portent with atmosphere and ominous darkness. Fine solo euphonium and the grim image of The Towering Colliery is painted in bold, big sounds that are powerful yet so well balanced.

Solo cornet isn’t quite secure in From Light to Dark and soprano takes over the final bars. As the coal is extracted its exciting stuff but also gets a touch ragged in ensemble at times.

Firedamp flies along at pace and again its exciting in its visceral effect, although it doesn’t always sit absolutely rigidly.

Sonorous trombone chorale as the bodies are brought to the surface and the Fraternity Prayer opens with fine solo cornet. There are frustrating slips here and there as it progresses however and the final bars in particular exposes the soprano cruelly.

Overall: A reading of quality from Reg Vardy but not without moments that detracted and that will surely cost in what could be a very close battle of a ticket to Birmingham today.

Chris Thomas


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 17:50:30

Malcolm Wood's final thoughts and prediction...

What a great piece 'Symphonic Music' is, but boy what a challenge for the bands it's been today.

Why its not been used more over the last forty years is a mystery, or perhaps the answer is crystal clear? It's very deceptive with a lot more to it than at first glance — and takes a great deal of intuition from MDs and players alike to pull it all together.

It also makes you think of the European set-test timeline over the past 41 years and music.

This could be really wide open and down to what tickled the judge's fancy the most. This could down to the real fine margins for a promotion place let alone victory.

4BR Prediction:

1. Kirkintilloch
2. Lydbrook
3. Wantage Silver
4. Ashton-under-Lyne
5. Elland
6. Kingdom Brass

Dark Horses: Llwydcoed


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 17:42:20

Craig Ratcliffe's final thoughts and prediction...

'Triumphant Rhapsody' challenged bands really well today and gave every band the opportunity to put their own mark on the music.

Vinter makes it really clear in his score preface that the major and minor seconds 'should not be unduly emphasised' and some bands accomplished this well, while others interpreted their level of 'emphasise' in a different way.

Lots of today was, as always with our older pieces not about overblowing, but seeking the hidden details in the music and considering the acoustic. Two performances stood out today in their musicality, but beyond that, there were a great many solid performances that showed off bands and their soloists to the full.

Everyone deserves credit for their efforts in tackling what is one of our most important pieces for band that challenges the core things we aim to improve as brass musicians.

4BR Prediction:

1. City of Bradford
2. Vernon Building Society Poynton
3. Eccles Borough
4. East London Brass
5. Shepherd Group
6. Thundersley Brass


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 17:40:16

Maybe not a contender to close

21. Aveley & Newham (Alan Duguid)

Aveley closes the contest with an account that suffered from too many tuning and intonation issues to make a real impact today.

The style was good, as was musical thought process from middle, but it was an account that just didn't grab and engage this listener throughout. It just had too many blemishes to make a real impression today.

The lighter lyrical elements saw the band at ease the most whilst the more taxing sections caused more than a few challenges.

Malcolm Wood


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 17:33:36

20. Unison Kinneil (Raymond Tennant)

Unison Kinneil bring us to the end of an exciting days contesting here in the Spanish Hall with a really big and bright band sound that works well on the whole but does occasionally suffer from intonation problems. The soloists around the band do a great job but as we head to the close, there are some moments of untidiness and lack of ensemble.

It’s a really powerful finish to Triumphant Rhapsody for Unison Kinneil that features more of that great band sound and a climatic finish to a solid performance.

Overall: A well balanced and charismatic performance from Unison Kinneil today but occasional moments of un-togetherness just held it back.

Craig Ratcliffe

19. Marsden Silver Prize (Andrew Lofthouse)

A big, brassy and bass led start for Marsden with some super swells in the dynamics and a no nonsense approach to the Vinter. Every now and again moments of hesitation creep in to the performance but there’s lots of colours being found and the technical difficulties are all managed really well.

The Con Brio starts well, but again, small clips here and there just put the musical journey back a step or two. The final Presto goes off like a rocket and unfortunately doesn’t come off at all—what a shame after some great work throughout.

Overall: A big sound from Marsden that was let down by their ending and some momentary discrepancies throughout.

Craig Ratcliffe


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 17:28:00

17. the cooperation Band (Michael Fowles)

The opening sets a darkly ominous scene and solo euphonium is a desolate voice that prefaces The Towering colliery in all its grimness. Fine sounds here and this has so much presence coloured in big, rounded sombre tones. Impressive stuff.

Fine solo cornet to open From Light to Dark and this is growing in stature all the time. Great percussion as the coal is extracted, both detailed and well balanced within the textures although solo trombone is a touch behind.

Excellent percussion once again in Firedamp and there’s a real sense of mounting panic here as the flames take hold and race through the mine shaft. Great dynamics too and the detail is heard with clarity.

The trombone chorale has darkly intoned pathos as the bodies are brought to the surface and the opening of the Fraternity Prayer comes as a relief. Such high quality solo cornet playing once again from Jim Hayes and this is so beautifully measured and shaped. The ending is a peroration of life affirming radiance.

Overall: A reading of musical authority, technical security and deeply seated emotion that really touched the heartstrings.

Chris Thomas


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 17:13:22

Have some of that then...

20. Wantage Silver (Paul Holland)

Wantage followed Ashton on stage and along with the Lancastrians they'll have given Mark Wilkinson and Thomas Wyss plenty to ponder.

With his usual forensic approach, Paul Holland left no stone unturned and nothing to chance as he coerced a finely persuasive musical account from his troops.

The tempos and dynamics were measured (taking into account the acoustic of the hall) whilst the music was styled with real understanding. Any challenges that came along just didn't interfere with the overall performance.

The end result? An account that could well find itself in the frame or completely miss out on the judge's taste buds.

Malcolm Wood

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19. Ashton under Lyne (Philip Chalk)

Well now, Ashton could well have given the judges something to really ponder after this invigorating account.

Energetic from the outset, the tempos and dynamics were some of the best of the day, whilst the transitions didn't create the problems that other bands have found.

The drama and tension was so vivid it sent shivers down the spine, whilst the lyrical elements were tender and musical.

Above anything else though, Philip Chalk let the music speak. It could make a big impression.

Malcolm Wood


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 17:01:45

16. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)

Black Land opens well and solo euphonium is effective with warmly rounded sounds to follow in The Towering Colliery that allow the running euphoniums to be heard with clarity.

Solo cornet is effective in From Light to Dark and this is solid playing that impresses in its security if not alway in its finesse.

Extracting the Coal could be more wide ranging in its dynamics but again, this is secure playing that possibly verges to the safe. There’ve been no disasters but also few moments that have really made us sit up and listen.

Firedamp progresses in similar fashion and again its safe playing that achieves its goals through solidity rather than sheer excitement and emotion.

The Fraternity Prayer is so much more emotional and caps a reading that largely retained its consistency through technical execution rather than other means.

Overall: A solid and safe account from Pemberton Old that should find itself in the middle of the table.

Chris Thomas


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 17:00:08

18. Tylorstown (Garry Davies)

The Welsh band make a bold impact on the audience with their Rhapsody and find the fff marking like no other band today. Some lovely contrasting dynamics feature throughout and although Tempo I is a bit scrappy to start, things settle well and Gary Davies finds lots of interesting detail throughout the Alla Marcia.

The Affetuoso lacks complete control over intonation but there is some great solo playing dotted around the stand, particularly in the cornet cadenza which is very well played indeed. The ending isn’t completely together from Tylorstown today but on the whole, this was a good musical picture painted by the band.

Overall: Just some moments of hesitation but a great band sound and a really clear musical objective set by Gary Davies.

Craig Ratcliffe

17. Laganvale (Metal Technology) (Keith Anderson)

A majestic and broad start for Laganvale as we head toward the end of the contest with everything placed securely. Some fine flugel playing at the Poco meno and a low error count sees things progress very nicely.

Things start to get a little overblown here and there but Keith Anderson is keeping everything compact, musical and together. Cornet cadenza excellent and sees us heading towards a stirring close. In terms of ensemble and detail today, this was a really solid performance—what a shame there weren’t more here to hear it!

Overall: A really good team effort from Laganvale with some solid playing from start to finish.

Craig Ratcliffe


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 16:55:59

That'll do me...


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 16:48:24

A familiar face in the ranks...

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Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 16:48:18

The return of a legend

18. Kirkintilloch (Leigh Baker)

Fresh from their triumph at the Scottish Championships, Kirkie returned to Blackpool to deliver a no nonsense reading of the Symphonic study.

And joining them on stage was none other than Philip McCann on bumper up. And boy did the maestro make his presence felt. The confidence within the ranks just with him sitting there was palpable and the band were in fine form under Leigh Baker.

Intuitively thought out, the quality really shone through with the transitional links done very tastefully and with consideration. There was a real sense of warmth in the lyrical sections whilst the anxiety and drama of the others really made for engaging listening.

Malcolm Wood

17. TCTC Group (Jeff Sparkes)

The North West contender delivered a considered account of the Huber work, but at times today like a good number of bands elsewhere, they found challenges within the score.

The approach was good, but it was the inconsistent execution that caught them out on more than one occasion and created its own challenges.

Some of the transitional elements were better than others and there was an unease at times when things just didn't click into place and it took a while to refocus.

Malcolm Wood


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 16:40:35

15 NASUWT Riverside (Prof Nicholas Childs)

The opening has atmosphere and this sets an evocative scene as The Towering Colliery comes into view in darkly hued grandeur. The sounds are big and rounded and solo cornet does well as we head from light to dark. Just loses its focus between flugel and baritone but the opening to Extracting the Coal gets things back on track.

Firedamp rages and drives with an increasing and enveloping power that takes no prisoners. This is full on and relentless and also delivered with impressive detail.

The trombone chorale opens sonorously but with a different timbre as second trombone plays muted.

Delicate, limpid sounds open the Fraternity Prayer and this is tenderly done and imbued with emotion throughout. The build to the final bar is so well done and radiates affirmation.

Overall: Fine playing from NASUWT Riverside. As with so many today there were blemishes but this was an account of powerful musical integrity and emotion.

Chris Thomas


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 16:24:02

16. Drighlington (Neil Robinson)

A good solid start from Drighlington and Neil Robinson with some great band sounds that are only occasionally marred with some iffy intonation. Everything ticks over nicely but some minor lapses in note production just hold things back a little.

Molto Cantabile and Affetuoso shows off the band well and the percussion section must be credited for how much they are enjoying the performance! Cornet cadenza is a real star moment, but the following Con Brio doesn’t get off to the best start in terms of ensemble. Things start to drag a little as we head towards the finish line with a rousing close signing off a performance of mixed fortunes for Drighlington.

Overall: Some good moments from Drighlington, but tiredness crept in towards the end.

Craig Ratcliffe

15. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)

City of Bradford start their account with real intent and focus. The poco sostenuto e comodo has so much music embedded within it and Lee Skipsey works the tempo with complete flexibility.

Tempo I for City of Bradford is a little steadier than other bands but it really does work and allows the accented detail to come through.

Molto Cantabile sits at around crotchet = 60 but the music has so much breadth and life to it. Occasional intonation problems in the full band sound when fortissimo but this is all exciting stuff. Real classy moments feature as we head to the close and no lack of discipline from the band with an MD who barely breaks into a sweat. Brilliant last chord rings around a plenty here in the Spanish Hall.

Overall: A superb performance that really set the hall alight today.

Craig Ratcliffe


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 16:18:40

One of the very best....

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Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 16:16:28

Anyone want the Cup?

16. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Garry Hallas)

Yorkshire Imperial takes to the stage under Garry Hallas to deliver an account that is full of grit and musical determination.

The band dug in right from the off and the drama and tension were vivid — but it just needed a bit more lightness of touch at times to engage the listener fully.

The challenges in the transitional sections were evident though and as a result, like others today, they found just a few too many little problems that tarnished the overall picture.

Malcolm Wood

15. Roche Brass (David Johnson)

A reading from the West of England outfit that was like so many others today: despite being well thought out it was slightly uneven in its execution. The desire to deliver in the right style was there as were the lyrical segments played with a touch of refinement.

The drama and tension was brought to life with that sense of unease in the background. It was just a touch frustrating that they couldn't make the whole performance gel into a coherent whole as they would have liked and may have taken towards the top end of the results table.

Malcolm Wood


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 16:06:25

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14. Redbridge (Jeremy Wise)

Distant basses set the scene and solo euphonium is a lonely voice in the darkness as the opening impresses. This has both atmosphere and mystery about it.

Solo cornet not entirely secure as we move from light to dark but the transition into Extracting the Coal is well handled and what follows is impressive in its detail, opening with neat basses and percussion.

Firedamp opens well although the ensemble is not always totally precise as it moves along at pace.

The trombone chorale is sonorously enunciated as the bodies are brought to the surface and the Fraternity Prayer opens tenderly but with the occasional moment of intonation also evident.

The closing bars are nicely done and cap a somewhat mixed account from the Londoners.

Overall: A fine approach and opening from Redbridge with moments of real quality that were not always matched by consistency of execution.

Chris Thomas


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 15:59:01

Porthouse leads the Kingdom charge

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14. Kingdom Brass (Ian Porthouse)

Kingdom left the stage having delivered an engaging and musical account of the symphonic study styled work.

And it was moulded in typical fashion of the MD: forensically detailed and leaving nothing to chance. Ian Porthouse brought the music to the fore.

The links between the various sections worked so well and as such the transitional elements were some of the best we have heard so far today.

Full of lyrical warmth, tension and drama, together with good dynamics and tempos, everything that was required was heard on the stage.

Malcolm Wood

13. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Christopher Bond)

The Welsh contender delivers a thoughtful account that just never quite came to life.

Intuitively structured with real purpose, the belief was there, and there was some well controlled elements, but it just needed more impact.

If that had come to fruition, it could have been a completely different story. It was certainly well thought out from the middle though.

Malcolm Wood


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 15:46:51

14. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Ryan Watkins)

A real sense of purpose and drive to this performance and Ryan Watkins beats every single note of interest with determination! Appassionata has a real breadth to it and the playing across the band is of a great standard. Some fine temple block playing too — the first time it's really cut across the band at forte!

The Alla Marcia possesses a mystifying quality that makes you really listen in — good stuff. The MD continues to drag every ounce of music from the band whilst keeping control. Principal cornet player stands and plays cadenza from memory facing out — now that's confidence!

Ending maybe gets a little out of balance, but a fantastic rendition of Triumphant Rhapsody that brings the audience into rapturous applause.

Overall: A performance that got better as it went on — just how high can it feature?

Craig Ratcliffe

13. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)

A bright and punchy start begins the Rhapsody for Verwood Concert Brass with a dosing of excellent soloists to be found around the stand. The error count is really low in this performance and the control from all the band is obvious in a very determined Alla Marcia.

Not a completely controlled cornet cadenza but you can hear the determination in the band to finish this really well. Maybe a hint of tiredness as we approach the end with another big gap between the last chords to allow a grandioso finish.

Overall: A really solid performance from Verwood Concert Brass with a low error count throughout.

Craig Ratcliffe


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 15:42:32

13. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)

The opening is unsettled and nervy solo euphonium sets off a chain of untidy entries that mar the first minutes of the performance.

Solo cornet not secure in From Light to Dark and tuning also becomes problematic, notably in the cornet section.

As the coal is extracted the basses are indistinct as is the detail in Firedamp, which always feels right on the edge as the MD battles to hold everything together.

The final prayer is well shaped as it unfolds and these are the best moments of the performance although tuning issues persist until the end.

Overall: Fraternity has challenged all the bands here today and Skelmanthorpe struggled to make an impact from the opening bars.

Chris Thomas


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 15:30:45

Some exotic Perc being used today....

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Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 15:21:00

The second half commences...

12. Llwydcoed (David Hirst)

Usual MD Chris Turner on soprano really showed his class in this account by Llwydcoed. Guest MD, David Hirst knew what he wanted right from the off — and that was to deliver an indepth musical reading of the Symphonic score.

He got it as well. Detailed, so well styled and thought out, this was a trip down memory lane that Mr Hirst will have thrived upon. The piece brought out so much detail and was so well structured. The tense, angst sections were full of drama, whilst the lightness of touch was in evidence in the lyrical elements.

There was the odd uncertain moment, but this was an account to give the judges something to really ponder.

Malcolm Wood

11. Ratby Co-operative (Dave Purkiss)

Ratby recommences the contest with a reading that kept the listener engaged from start to finish, but didn't have that totally convincing feel about it. It left this listener yearning for more belief from the performers.

Yes, the piece tested them, but it wasn't beyond them and they just needed that inner belief that they could deliver.

The style wasn't bad, nor were the drama and tense elements whilst the lyrical segments sat nicely on the ear. It just needed more musical impetus to make a telling impression.

Malcolm Wood


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 15:20:19

12. Jaguar Land Rover (Nigel Seaman)

Finely shaped opening from the basses and this sets an evocative opening picture. Solo euphonium impresses and asThe Towering Colliery comes into focus we hear the running euphonium detail with clarity.

From Dark to Light opens well with full toned and solo cornet. Just little clips and flugel and solo baritone not entirely secure.

Percussion are behind as the coal is extracted and this feels a touch loose. It settles down though and there’s fine work from the trombone section and this feels a good deal more cohesive.

Firedamp opens well but gets a touch untidy as it progresses with the ensemble not always entirely taut. The transition into the trombone chorale is effective and the chorale itself sonorous and well balanced.

The Fraternity Prayer builds majestically but not without one or two uncomfortable entries that unsettle the emotional atmosphere.

Overall: Moments of real quality from Jaguar Land Rover but it also lost its focus at times, most notably in the faster central sections of the score.

Chris Thomas


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 15:11:05

12. Easington Colliery (Jonathan Fenwick)

Another great show heads up performance 12 this time from Easington Colliery with some fine direction and shapes found in the music by Jonathan Fenwick. Some minor slips occasionally creep into the Molto Cantabile and weaker intonation is ever so slightly is heard for the first time.

The Con Brio goes off at a fair lick but on the whole, the detail remains ever present and the liveliness comes through. A huge gap separates the last two notes, but this performance had character and a different vision to what we have heard today.

Overall: Lots of details and some different musical decisions made by the MD. Will they like it?

Craig Ratcliffe

11. Thundersley Brass (Melvin White)

The experienced Melvin White keeps things compact and lets all the detail shine through in our return back to the Senior Trophy after the break. This is a committed and controlled performance and one of the warmest band sounds we've heard all day.

Keeping control of the final quaver in the bar isn't always accomplished in the Allegro, but on the whole, this is solid playing from Thundersley. Some great solo contributions feature throughout the slower middle part of the Rhapsody and the sense of ensemble always remains top priority.

Overall: Nothing overdone and as a whole, a Rhapsody of fantastic proportions.

Craig Ratcliffe


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 14:58:46

Craig Ratcliffe's halfway opinions and predictions...

'Triumphant Rhapsody' may not be the hardest of challenges for our bands in the Senior Trophy but there are certainly moments that have caught bands out. It requires a 1960's composure to music making and an awareness of the acoustic and surroundings of the Spanish Hall.

Lots of really loud, but more importantly, overblown performances have suffered so far.

4BR Prediction

1. Eccles Borough
2. East London Brass
3. Shepherd Group
4. Unite the Union


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 14:55:21

11. Friary Brass (Chris King)

Black Land sets the scene in evocative fashion, with pliable, atmospheric euphonium paving the way for broad and well balanced sounds as The Towering Colliery comes into view. This is darkly powerful in its grim, sombre tones.

Solo cornet opens From Light to Dark with security and as the coal is extracted the tempo is sensibly set to allow the detail to be heard with clarity. Fine solo trombone and this is garnering more authority and confidence as it progresses.

Firedamp flies by the seat of its pants at times and the finer detail is not always heard with clarity. It's certainly visceral stuff though and the trombone chorale is intoned with pathos as the bodies are brought to the surface.

Plaintive sounds to open Fraternity Prayer and this is touchingly tender in its delicate, fragile delivery. The final paragraphs are not without signs of tiredness but this has been a well thought out account.

Overall: A thoughtful account from Friary. It just lost its focus at times but so much to enjoy.

Chris Thomas


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 14:43:39

Malcolm Wood's half way opinions and predictions...

We have had to pinch ourselves at times so far today that this piece was used 40 years ago. An era when Michael Jackson released his breakthrough album, Welshman Terry Griffiths won the World Snooker Championships and Alan Sunderland took Arsenal to victory in the FA Cup final — when the Cup Final was one of the rare televised games.

Great days and an era for bands when the symphonic work was in vogue for test pieces.

'Symphonic Music' wouldn't be out of place on the concert stage today, and it still remains a test on the contest stage.

Bands have been challenged by it to varying degrees and we've only heard a handful of convincing accounts. If because of its age, any ensemble underestimated the difficulties of the piece, they've found out it isn't the hard way.

4BR Prediction:

1. Lydbrook
2. Elland
3. Dalmellington
4. Hatfield


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 14:38:47

Chris Thomas' halfway opinions and prediction...

As we thought, 'Fraternity' is proving to be a hugely demanding test of musical style and substance — and although no band has really nailed their qualification credentials firmly to the doors of Symphony Hall, there have been admirable attempts.

Its still a contest to be won, but a few quality performances have stood out — notably The GUS Band with a classy rendition, a bold, emotive Rothwell and a precisely marked Woodfalls with Hepworth's refined account perhaps just a snippet behind.

Lots to play for though...

1. The GUS Band
2. Rothwell Temperance
3. Woodfalls
4. Hepworth


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 14:32:30

Two intriguing ones to take us to the break

10. Northop Silver (John Doyle)

Fresh from qualifying for London Northop took to the stage full of expectations. The Welsh band started off so well and this was an account that promised plenty.

The potential to really put themselves in to contention was there, but for whatever reason, the performance just didn't continue in the same vein. You could sense the frustration within the ranks and they'll have left the stage knowing it will have faired better in rehearsal.

The style and approach was great, the drama and tension on show, but in the end, a curious account and a frustrating one.

Malcolm Wood

9. Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan)

A reading from the Scots that despite being well thought out was slightly uneven in its execution. The belief to play the work in the right style was there as were the enchanting lyrical sections.

The drama and tension elements were not bad either, it was just in the transitional sections and the overall balancing of the ensemble sound where the challenges were faced. They were there for them to perform, but the lapses between the transitions really did take the edge off.

Malcolm Wood


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 14:27:00

10. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)

Basses waver momentarily in the opening bars and euphonium is effective if not quite as secure as the best so far today.

The Towering Colliery is portrayed with breadth but possibly not the most majestic imagery but as the coal is extracted the tempo is spot on. This drives on impressively although not always with that last ounce of precision that is crucial.

Firedamp is certainly hair raising in its rapid-fire power but once again this lacks some vital precision and clarity of detail.

Trombones lead well into the final prayer and this is well handled dynamically but also occasionally fragile in its execution.

Overall: A mixed account from Camborne. Emotionally powerful but also with noticeable insecurities at times.

Chris Thomas


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 14:12:02

10. Burry Port Town (Ceri John)

A solid and focussed opening for Burry Port Town, but occasional lapses of ensemble do creep into the quavers. Things settle down well and the band get into their stride as they move through the different parts of their Rhapsody.

Some scrappy playing around the stand just mars what is a well constructed performance and sees Ceri John working hard to get the best out of the band. A good cornet cadenza sees us into the closing stages of the piece, but continued slips of intonation and ensemble let things down.

Overall: A well constructed performance that was let down by just too many individual errors today.

Craig Ratcliffe

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9. Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

Roberts Bakery have a bit of a wait on their hands before they start but this gives the band a great opportunity to relax and get ready. Another really solid opening follows and nothing is overdone. You get the impression Paul Lovatt-Cooper is working to the bands strengths and all the tempos allow for lots of detail and a composed performance.

Everything ticks along nicely until a little untidiness creeps in through the Affetuoso with only a minor clip on the last note of the cornet cadenza. The con brio section to close is again sensible, but maybe gets a bit heavy in the quavers to be considered light on its toes. The MD opts for no cut between the last two notes (as written) and Roberts sign off with a broad finish.

Overall: Everything there in this performance and a band that worked really hard to keep everything under control.

Craig Ratcliffe


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 14:10:05

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Draw:

The Senior Trophy:

Spanish Hall
Test Piece: Triumphant Rhapsody (Gilbert Vinter)
Commence: 11.15am
Draws: 10.15am & 1.10pm
Adjudicators: Dave Lea & Ryan Breen

1. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
2. SPAL Sovereign Brass (John Durrant)
3. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
4. Ebbw Valley Brass (Gareth Ritter)
5. Strata Brass (Jonathon Bates)
6. Staffordshire (Craig Williams)
7. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton)
8. Unite the Union (John Davis)
9. Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
10. Burry Port Town (Ceri John)
11. Thundersley Brass (Melvin White)
12. Easington Colliery (Jonathon Fenwick)
13. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
14. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Ryan Watkins)
15. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)
16. Drighlington (Neil Robinson)
17. Laganvale (Metal Technology) (Keith Anderson)
18. Tylorstown (Gary Davies)
19. Marsden Silver (Andrew Lofthouse)
20. Unison Kinneil (Raymond Tennant)


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 14:06:37

Draw:

The Senior Cup:

Empress Ballroom
Test Piece: Symphonic Music for Brass Band (Paul Huber)
Commence: 11.45am
Draws: 10.45am & 1.30pm
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson & Thomas Wyss

1. Dalmellington (Nigel Boddice MBE)
2. Jackfield (David Maplestone)
3. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks)
4. Derwent Brass (Jack Capstaff)
5. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)
6. Blackburn & Darwen (Daniel Thomas)
7. Hatfield & Askern Colliery (Stan Lippeatt)
8. Goodwick Brass (Matthew Jenkins)
9. Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan)
10. Northop Silver (John Doyle)
11. Ratby Co-operative (Dave Purkiss)
12. Llwydcoed (David Hirst)
13. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Christopher Bond)
14. Kingdom Brass (Ian Porthouse)
15. Roche Brass (David Johnson)
16. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Garry Hallas)
17. TCTC Group (Jeff Sparkes)
18. Kirkintilloch (Leigh Baker)
19. Ashton under Lyne (Philip Chalk)
20. Wantage Silver (Paul Holland)
21. Aveley & Newham (Alan Duguid)


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 13:58:25

The joyful music is a test

8. Goodwick Brass (Matthew Jenkins)

A symphonic Music from the Welsh band that really pulled at the heart strings at times. This was heart on the sleeve stuff at times from the MD and he got the ensemble to bring the music out to the fore.

The tense and dramatic sections never really grabbed us as a listener as much as the lyrical ones. They just needed more subtlety at times to make the right impression.

Tiredness was noticeable towards the end of what was an account that was uneven at times.

Malcolm Wood

7. Hatfield & Askern Colliery (Stan Lippeatt)

Buoyed by their success at Huddersfield in March where Hatfield won the First Section, the Yorkshire band took to the stage with confidence today.

The considered approach from the MD bode them well. Nicely styled in the various sections, that brought out the angst and tension, they also faired well in the lyrical elements.

Huber's work also brought challenges too and there were times were you sensed the players knew not everything had gelled into place as it could have done.

Malcolm Wood


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 13:55:27

9. GUS (Chris Jeans)

Basses paint a dark picture of Black Land to open and solo euphonium is both evocative and pliable before The Towering Colliery comes fully into view in broad and sonorously rich sound.

From Light to Dark is finely done on solo cornet by James Fountain. This has such presence about it despite one slip at the top of the passage and Extracting the Coal opens with detail and carefully balanced percussion.

The flames of Firedamp take hold with alarming speed as the tempo takes no prisoners. This really does fly but the level of detail and precision of ensemble is notable.

As the bodies are brought to the surface, the trombones are finely balanced and pave the way for a sublime opening cornet solo as the Fraternity Prayer unfolds. There are tiny slips but the MD gives the music space and the warmth of the closing paragraphs is capped by a broad approach to the final chord.

Overall: Not blemish free from GUS but a reading of imposing musical authority that unfolded with carefully wrought emotion and impressive detail. One to savour without a doubt.

Chris Thomas


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 13:43:15

Looking forward to the challenge...


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 13:39:29

8. Unite The Union (John Davis)

A scintillating start from Unite the Union with loads of attention to detail and a slightly steadier tempo in the opening allegro that allows these details to come out even more. It’s a big sound that really grabs hold and is mostly controlled with only a couple of nervy moments in the quieter sections.

Everything flows well as we head to sostenuto and there are really valuable contributions from all soloists around the stand who play with both conviction and clarity. Things do start to rock a little in the final con brio and as we head towards the end a bit of the ensemble qualities are lost, but some fine work throughout.

Overall: One of those performances of two halves. Just let down by an untidy close as tiredness crept in.

Craig Ratcliffe

7. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton)

A slower opening for Shepherd Group today but the end result is a broad and fulfilling band sound that possesses lots of quality and intent. Nothing is overdone and the Scherzoso is delightfully playful. Very minor clips creep in before our return to tempo I but this continues to tick along nicely.

A sonorous Molto Cantabile showcases the middle of the band really well with only minor issues in intonation here and there. A thunderous crescendo takes us back into the Con Brio and a really solid close for Shepherds.

Overall: A really great performance from Shepherd Group today. Everything in place and some well-crafted finer details throughout.

Craig Ratcliffe


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 13:27:12

A touch of Denzil Stephens Cory magic?

6. Blackburn & Darwen (Daniel Thomas)

Blackburn opened with firm belief and confidence and they were certainly heading in the right direction. A few gremlins created bits of unease at times, but the band recovered its composure and they brought out the tension, drama and lyricism between the various sections in a well thought out manner.

The challenges were there though in the transitions which could have been smoother at times.

Lots to admire though here from a committed account — just a shame about the glitches.

Malcolm Wood

5. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)

Well now, the joy Mr Williams has in his veins from winning the European with Cory two weekends ago was very much in evidence in the energy he brought out from Lydbrook today.

This was a reading full of style, careful considerations to the tempo and dynamics and music that he fully believed his players could deliver. The dramatic elements and tension sections were vivid, whilst the lyrical sections were tender and light.

Nothing was overdone but not under-cooked either. Cory competed when the piece was first used in 1978 and the Cory connection could well make impact today.

Malcolm Wood


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 13:26:29

8 Hepworth (Dr David Thornton)

An excellent opening from Hepworth that immediately paints Black Land in unsettling, ominously foreboding tones. Excellent solo euphonium from Mike Kilroy and solo cornet is no less impressive in From Light to Dark.

Extracting the Coal sets off at bang on the tempo and nothing here is forced or poking out through the textures. Rhythmically its tight and cohesive and as a result, the majority of detail is heard with clarity. It just loses its focus momentarily in Firedamp as the fame’s take hold but the drive and unstoppable energy remains.

Trombones just need a touch more weight of tone as the bodies are brought to the surface but as the final prayer unfolds, that weight of emotion resonates with aching pathos as the final chord is projected with life affirming majesty.

Overall: The contest hots up as Hepworth delivers another fine account of Fraternity to follow on from Rothwell. This had so much atmosphere and detail.

Chris Thomas


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 13:18:49

Not quite the anvil chorus.... but it works

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Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 13:12:21

Draw:

The Grand Shield:

The Opera House
Test Piece: Fraternity (Thierry Deleruyelle)

Commence: 10.00am
Draws: 9.00am & 12.50pm
Adjudicators: Garry Cutt & Steve Sykes

1. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
2. Milnrow (Dennis Hadfield)
3. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)
4. City of Hull (Stig Maersk)
5. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
6. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
7. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
8. Hepworth (Dr David Thornton)
9. The GUS Band (Chris Jeans)
10. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
11. Friary Brass Band (Chris King)
12. Jaguar Land Rover (Nigel Seaman)
13. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)
14. Redbridge (Jeremy Wise)
15. NASUWT Riverside (Prof Nicholas Childs)
16. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
17. the cooperation Band (Michael Fowles)
18. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
19. St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)
20. Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 13:05:28

7. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)

Fine opening and this immediately paints a picture. Just the slightest of hesitations on solo euphonium but what a fine sound as The Towering Colliery comes into view. This has such a darkly hued grandeur about it and running euphoniums are heard with clarity.

Fine quiet dynamics to open Extracting the Coal and percussion sits so well within the musical picture. Clarity in the basses is good and the tempo is bang on the money, allowing both the detail and drama to emerge.

Fine percussion to open Firedamp and this has such drive about it. Great work from the trombone section and the sense of panic and driving power is relentless.

The trombone chorale is beautifully balanced and rich in pathos and emotional depth. There's a stillness and rapt quietude about this that really gets to the heart of the music and the opening of the final prayer is heart-rendingly touching.

There are tiny blemishes in the cornets as the final pean is intoned but there is such feeling about the final paragraphs that any slips pass us by.

Overall: Playing of musical authority, clarity of detail and emotional gravitas from Rothwell.

Chris Thomas


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 13:02:58

6. Staffordshire (Craig Williams)

Trombones sit directly to the right of the MD with Euphs and Baris occupying a more distant position for Staffordshire in this one. A slightly rocky start to this Rhapsody does settle, but then some quavers start to miss their appropriate placings again.

Players around the stand work really hard to get things back on track but some nervous moments continue to creep in.

Things get back on track as we move into the Affetuoso but there is an element of harshness to the sound on the bigger stuff. The con brio allows the band to show off its technical capabilities and as a band, they start to put things behind them.

Overall: Some solid technical work but the error count around the stand was probably just too high to feature today.

Craig Ratcliffe

5. Strata Brass (Jonathan Bates)

Strata Brass get us underway with a chord that's definitely built upwards from the band's foundations. Slightly wayward quaver sounds between band and percussion in the first Allegro but Jonathan Bates is working lots of music out of this performance, particularly when dealing with dynamics.

There's no slowing into the lyrical section following the Alla Marcia with a cornet cadenza to admire. Big rall into the final presto and the only band so far today to place the snare drum graces before the last chord.

Overall: Lots of musicality in this rendition from Strata Brass who met the technical and lyrical demands well.

Craig Ratcliffe


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 12:52:45

A real trip back to the 70s

4. Derwent Brass (Jack Capstaff)

Derwent's Huber account bristled with energy from the start, but the tempos and dynamics took a bit of clarity and sheen off things at times. The drama and tension just got a bit fraught at times, but there was a lot to appreciate in the lyrical sections.

Hats off to the MD though for the approach from the middle, but perhaps one that just needed a little bit more at times today.

Malcolm Wood

3. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks)

Elland relishes its Senior Cup challenge today with a rendition full of heartfelt belief from the MD and players. Right from the off the drama and tension was in evidence as was the sense of lyricism that was required.

The lyricism was as sweet as watching Joe Root deliver flawless cover drives with energy and precision an,d there was the blood and guts of Geoffrey Boycott in not surrendering his wicket that came through with the determination.

The tempos, dynamics and energy were vivid, and it was a reading that really made an impression on us, but its Messrs Wilkinson & Wyss that count.

Malcolm Wood


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 12:44:09

And relax....

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Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 12:38:52

Wish you were here?


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 12:35:50

6. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)

Opens well with dark, unsettling atmosphere and solo euphonium excels. The lid is kept on the dynamics as The Towering colliery comes into view and although there is breadth, it’s a little more restrained than some performances so far.

Fine solo cornet in From Light to Dark, this really impresses and flugel and baritone gel well with no signs of angst.

Good quieter dynamics in Extracting the Coal and this is cohesive in terms of its ensemble if perhaps not the most dynamic, visceral playing we have heard in this section of the piece so far.

Bringing up the Bodies has a fragility about it in the best sense of the word as trombones intone the chorale with an emotionally delicate sense of quietude.

Slight clip on solo cornet at the opening of the final prayer, but this builds with emotional intensity and musical purpose. Tiredness creeps in in the final bars but there has been much to enjoy here.

Overall: A performance rich in atmosphere from Rainford although with hints of tiredness at the close and fleeting lapses.

Chris Thomas


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 12:31:09

4. Ebbw Valley Brass (Gareth Ritter)

Gareth Ritter and Ebbw Valley find some details that haven’t been heard yet today and a fine trombone section give an orchestral tone to the bigger sections. Cornets opt for cup mutes in the alla Marcia and it gives a lovely misterioso to the music.

Plenty to admire in this performance with lots of dynamic contrast and only the occasional intonational lapse. Beautifully controlled cornet cadenza which had poise from the first note to the last. Just some lapses in the accented ensemble notes as we move back into the Con Brio.

Overall: Fine band sound and lots to admire throughout.

Craig Ratcliffe

3. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)

A driving start from Eccles Borough and an excellent flugel solo leads the way for the other great soloists around the stand that feature throughout. Another warm Affetuso with lots of detail coming through and carefully placed accents.

Cornet cadenza taken at a real lick and the following Con Brio is full of spice and colour.

So much great work in this performance that seems to have got better as we head to the close. Cracker of a last chord and the audience are applauding before the cut-off.

Overall: Excellent direction in this one and a real team effort across the band.

Craig Ratcliffe


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 12:22:50

Two bold ones to open

Dalmellington and Jackfield have been the first two bands to tackle Symphonic Music.

2. Jackfield Brass (David Maplestone)

This wasn't short on confidence but it was one of those accounts where blemishes and glitches crept in and it just took the sheen off things and created moments of unease around the stand.

The style of the work was well thought out from the middle but it did tire towards the end.

Malcolm Wood

1. Dalmellington (Nigel Boddice MBE)

This was bold and purposeful right from the first note. The energy and drama was maintained with some excellent changes in tempi and dynamics. The percussion brought tasteful colours to the work and closed well.

Malcolm Wood


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 12:16:40

Smiles all round...

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Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 12:09:30

5. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)

Opens well with fine solo euphonium and this has a carefully wrought sense of presence and ominous foreboding. The Towering Colliery emerges with a dark majesty, portrayed in broad, balanced sounds that are impressively balanced.

Just the slightest of hesitation in From Light to Dark but otherwise this continues on an impressive level as Extracting the Coal progresses with dark energy, drama and generally accurate ensemble.

Good percussion in Firedamp and although the detail isn't always totally clear, the tempo allows the visceral elects of the music to take hold and we can clearly hear both the flames and panic spreading.

Eerie transition into the trombone chorale which is not always as well balanced as it could be.

Fraternity Prayer builds majestically, although there are one or two moments of fragility that detract in the closing bars.

Overall: A performance painted in bold and often darkly majestic tones by Filton Concert. Not without blemishes but portrayed with abundant emotion.

Chris Thomas


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 11:56:41

2. SPAL Sovereign Brass (John Durrant)

A big start from SPAL Sovereign Brass which takes a moment or two to settle down in terms of intonation, but once we're underway and into the quick stuff it's a whole lot better. Molto Cantabile is a great section for the band and the sonority of the basses leads a powerful and broad interpretation.

A few clips here and there do detract from some really hard work across the band as we move towards the close. Tempos all great but a slightly rocky finish ends this performance.

Overall: Big sound with purpose and lots of attack. Maybe a few too many slips in the ensemble to feature today.

Craig Ratcliffe

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1. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)

Great solid start to this morning's proceedings from East London Brass with a fine band sound and a no nonsense approach to Vinter's writing. The Appassionata really sings with a fine euphonium leading the way. It's a real statement of intent throughout this performance and there's maybe no risk taking in the dynamics but the technical demands are met with aplomb.

The Affetuoso again shows to the band's strengths with only a tiny blip in the cornet cadenza to close. A riveting finish with a real sense of flow too (taken in a trendy two by Jayne Murrill).

Overall: A great marker for this contest and a triumphant close from East London Brass. Good stuff.

Craig Ratcliffe


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 11:52:36

All that waiting around...


Senior Cup

Saturday 18, 11:44:15

Draw:

The Senior Cup:

Empress Ballroom
Test Piece: Symphonic Music for Brass Band (Paul Huber)
Commence: 11.45am
Draws: 10.45am & 1.30pm
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson & Thomas Wyss

1. Dalmellington (Nigel Boddice MBE)
2. Jackfield (David Maplestone)
3. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks)
4. Derwent Brass (Jack Capstaff)
5. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)
6. Blackburn & Darwen (Daniel Thomas)
7. Hatfield & Askern Colliery (Stan Lippeatt)
8. Goodwick Brass (Matthew Jenkins)
9. Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan)
10. Northop Silver (John Doyle)


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 11:41:47

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4 City of Hull (Stig Maersk)

Opens darkly and with an ominous portent that prefaces a Towering Colliery of breadth and powerful but rounded sounds. Nice transition from the trombones into From Light to Dark and solo cornet does well with just the tiniest slips.

Bases are clear as the coal is extracted and dynamics are well controlled. Rhythmically this is impressively secure, even if the tempo is a touch steadier than many we will hear today. it's a sensible approach though and again, we hear the detail with clarity.

Firedamp ups the tempo and again this is neat and tidy playing that allows both detail and drama to be drawn from the score.

A hushed opening to Fraternity Prayer and delicate work from soprano. This is moving and rich in emotional warmth as the gravitas builds to a life affirming close.

Overall: A rendition rich in both detail and emotional from City of Hull with fine soloists and ensemble to match. This has been a performance to relish amongst the early bands.


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 11:18:50

3. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)

Black Land opens atmospherically with just a couple of tiny slips but we hear big, rounded sounds in The Towering Colliery. Cornets are not always 100% secure but the dynamics are carefully controlled to allow euphoniums to be heard with clarity.

Solo cornet not entirely comfortable in From Light to Dark and there are some nasty moments between baritone and flugel in the bars that follow. This is all feeling a tad nervy and edgy. Extracting the Coal has impressive drive and we can sense the flames flying. This is visceral stuff and really captures the drama and panic of the music despite the odd lapses in ensemble.

Fine trombones and the chorale is suitably solemn in Bringing Out the Dead Miners if not always perfectly together.

Fraternity Prayer is projected with gravitas and emotional warmth and it's a well measured approach to the final affirmative bars.

Overall: An emotive performance from Thoresby that found both drama and dark undercurrents in Extracting the Coal and Firedamp. Not always entirely consistent but this went to the heart of the music.

Chris Thomas


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 11:07:19

Uneven from Milnrow...


Senior Trophy

Saturday 18, 10:56:13

Draw:

The Senior Trophy:

Spanish Hall
Test Piece: Triumphant Rhapsody (Gilbert Vinter)
Commence: 11.15am
Draws: 10.15am & 1.10pm
Adjudicators: Dave Lea & Ryan Breen

1. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
2. SPAL Sovereign Brass (John Durrant)
3. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
4. Ebbw Valley Brass (Gareth Ritter)
5. Strata Brass (Jonathon Bates)
6. Staffordshire (Craig Williams)
7. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton)
8. Unite the Union (John Davis)
9. Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
10. Burry Port Town (Ceri John)
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.

City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)
Drighlington (Neil Robinson)
Easington Colliery (Jonathon Fenwick)
Laganvale (Metal Technology) (Keith Anderson)
Marsden Silver (Andrew Lofthouse)
Tylorstown (Gary Davies)
Thundersley Brass (Melvin White)
Unison Kinneil (Raymond Tennant)
Vernon Building Society Poynton (Ryan Watkins)
Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 10:50:37

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2. Milnrow (Dennis Hadfield)

Good opening and solo euphonium does well. One or two uncomfortable moments and balance could be more rounded in The Towering Colliery. Solo cornet struggles in From Light to Dark as bumper up takes over on the final lofty bars.

Extracting the Coal isn't always rhythmically cohesive and although Firedamp flies along at quite a lick, the detail is again sometimes lost in the textures.

The Fraternity Prayer opens with warmly intoned rep playing the solo cornet line and there is pathos about this as the MD allows the emotion to build, albeit with some uncomfortable fissures in the cornet section as the closing statement is approached.

Overall: An uneven account from Milnrow. Moments of quality were often undone by uncomfortable moments, particularly in the cornet section.


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 10:26:41

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1. Woodfalls (Robert Childs)

An eerily atmospheric opening to Black Land and euphonium is so pliable and secure. This is an impressive start. The dynamic is well controlled in The Towering Colliery and and solo cornet excels.

Fine playing indeed although flugel and baritone don't quite gel to follow.

Bass detail not always clear in Extracting the Coal but there are fine dynamic contrasts at play here in what is a dead, challenging acoustic.

Firedamp is a touch untidy at times but the flames flash and burn at quite a rate until the trombones intone the chorale with pathos as the bodies are brought to the surface. The final hymn is beautifully controlled and builds to a radiant conclusion.

Overall: Fine playing from Woodfalls to open the contest with soloists performing particularly well and a moving final prayer.

Chris Thomas


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 10:07:15

Good luck all...


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 10:03:24

Ready for the off...

The first contest of the day is about to start in the Opera House with a good sized audience in for one of the fancied runners in Woodfalls under Dr Robert Childs.

The pre-contest housekeeping rules are being read out by Dave Hayward — and we really enjoyed his pronunciation of the 'Fraternity' composer as 'Terry dela royal'. Luvvley Jubbly...😉 The authentic French speakers told me later that it was spot on though...


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 09:47:18

Draw:

The Grand Shield:

The Opera House
Test Piece: Fraternity (Thierry Deleruyelle)

Commence: 10.00am
Draws: 9.00am & 12.50pm
Adjudicators: Garry Cutt & Steve Sykes

1. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
2. Milnrow (Dennis Hadfield)
3. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)
4. City of Hull (Stig Maersk)
5. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
6. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
7. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
8. Hepworth (Dr David Thornton)
9. The GUS Band (Chris Jeans)
10. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.

Friary Brass Band (Chris King)
Jaguar Land Rover (Brad Turnbull)
NASUWT Riverside (Prof Nicholas Childs)
Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
Redbridge (Jeremy Wise)
Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)
St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)
the cooperation Band (Michael Fowles)


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 08:59:32

Be kind...

The activity on Twitter is hotting up... and this post from Tabby Kerwin reminding the press to be kind...


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 08:36:08

Today's judges

We have three cracking test pieces today in the Grand Shield, Senior Cup and The Senior Trophy. The judging panel was announced previously, but not which judges are making the all important decisions.

Grand Shield

Garry Cutt and Steve Sykes

Senior Cup

Mark Wilkinson and Thomas Wyss

Senior Trophy

Ryan Breen and Dave Lea.

We wish them a very enjoyable days listening in their boxes.


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 08:32:38

Welcome to Blackpool

Good morning from a cloudy and over cast Blackpool. The warm sunshine of recent days has temporarily disappeared it seems.

Lots of warm friendly smiles though inside the Winter Gardens from the in house staff along with Martin Mortimer, Frank Hodges and an army of volunteers who ensure that everything is in place for the three contests.


Grand Shield

Saturday 18, 07:51:39

Previews & Predictions

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So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

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Foden's Band - Snape Maltings

Saturday 17 August • Snape Maltings, Suffolk IP17 1SP


Black Dyke Band - Macmillan Theatre, Bridgwater

Sunday 18 August • The McMillan Theatre, Bath Road, Bridgwater,Somerset TA6 4PZ


Regent Hall Concerts - Ensemble Sauterelle (french horns and male voices)

Friday 23 August • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Sandhurst Silver Band - Music in the Memorial Park

Sunday 25 August • Sandhurst Memorial Park, Yorktown Road, Sandhurst GU47 9DP


Foden's Band - Sandbach

Monday 26 August • The Wheatsheaf, Sandbach, 1 Hightown, Sandbach CW11 1AG


Corby Silver Band

August 17 • We have vacancies for solo cornet, back row cornet and 1st horn. . We are a 3rd section band based in Northamptonshire in the East Midlands. . Rehearsals 8pm - 10pm Monday & Wednesday held in our own band club. We do not charge any subs.


Strata Brass

August 17 • FRONT ROW CORNET/TROMBONE/PERCUSSION in this Yorkshire Championship Band.. MD Jonathan Bates (Solo Horn - Fodens). Rehearsals currently MON/WED - bandroom 5 mins from J35/36 M1, lifts available from Manchester/Leeds/Sheffield/Huddersfield..


Stannington Brass Band

August 17 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA player to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests


Nigel Seaman

ARMCM ARNCM
Conductor, band trainer, teacher and adjudicator


               

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