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2020 Regionals: West & North of England
Durham & Torquay
14-15 March

Live comments by Malcolm Wood (North) and Iwan Fox (West)

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  • West of EnglandSunday 15, 19:27:59

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    2020 Champion: Camborne

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    Second Place: Flowers

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    Third Place: Filton Concert


    Championship Section:

    Sunday 15th March
    Test Piece: A Tale as Yet Untold (Philip Sparke)
    The Forum
    Adjudicators: Jacob Dijkstra & Chris King

    1. Camborne Town (Ian Porthouse)*
    2. Flowers (Paul Holland)*
    3. Filton Concert Brass (Erik Van De Kolk)
    4. Aldbourne (Dr David Thornton)
    5. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
    6. St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)
    7. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
    8. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Dr Howard Evans)
    9. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)
    10. SW Comms (Sam Hairsine)
    11. Michelmersh Silver (Melvin White)

    Withdrawn: Chalford (Steve Tubb)

    *Qualify for National Final

  • West of EnglandSunday 15, 18:44:29

    Championship Section round up and prediction...

    Well that's all the tale telling here and around the country then — and this one could be one of the most intriguing and closely contested results of the series.

    Flowers had the power and heavyweight presence literally and metaphorically — although it wasn't them at their very best with balance issues and healthy dynamics robbing the picture of a touch of elegant refinement. They were the most cohesive technically though.

    Camborne was the most musical and played towards the top of their game. Little errors and some fragility may cost them — but it is a toss of the coin with Flowers.

    The surprise could be Verwood Concert Brass, with a super show that came out of the blue. It really was very good — and could well sneak right into the qualification frame. It would be well deserved.

    After that we go for Aldbourne from Woodfalls and Filton Concert with a dark horse of St Dennis.

    4BR Prediction:

    1. Flowers
    2. Camborne
    3. Verwood Concert Brass
    4. Aldbourne
    5. Woodfalls
    6. Filton Concert Brass

  • West of EnglandSunday 15, 18:08:17

    Championship Section:

    11. Filton Concert Brass (Erik Van De Kolk)

    Well now — just when they thought it may have been all over, along comes Filton and puts a Dutch inspired spanner in the works to challenge for a top-six finish.

    Such an articulate reading of the score — lucid and breezy when needed, passionate and refined when required, rompish and fun when you thought you had heard it all.

    The opening movement was so neatly packaged — and balanced at the beginning in particular with the vibes adding a shimmer of colour. Some moments of edgy technique but the music bubbled like a Torquay pensioner spa bath. Full of Epsom Salts that.

    The central section was full of tenderness. The euph gave such a splendid lead cantabile cadenza, although the others could have perhaps taken a leaf out of his book to follow. They din't quite command the stage. The flugel playing was something else though — beautiful in the intervals. The chorale was so well shaped and the trom was sublime to close.

    The scrappy opening to the finale just took a coat of gloss off things, but it recovered so well to such a driven, power laden close — wickedly paced to the thumping denouement.

  • West of EnglandSunday 15, 17:48:12

    Championship Section:

    10. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)

    What a well planned and well executed performance this was — all the praise to the MD and all the plaudits to his players.

    It had small problems in terms of balance, dynamic contrast and precision, but the inherent structures were all in place in each movement. The response to the MDs direction was immediate and controlled.

    The opening movement had a bubbling intensity (despite the balance being a touch wayward at times) and the dynamic range was narrow, but it had such a focus and sense of purpose.

    The middle section was so well managed and delivered — first at the opening, then followed by some wonderfully confident cantabile solo cadenzas (euph a star), a tender chorale and the lovely trom led repose. Not many better than that today.

    The MDs eminently sensible approach to the romp of finale meant that it never sounded feral despite the exciting passion it created. Just got a little tired and scrappy, but it had plenty of verve and vividness all the way to a cracking close.

    That was an impressive show — and deserves to be in the mix around the podium today.

  • North of EnglandSunday 15, 17:23:02

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    2020 Champion: NASUWT Riverside

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    Second Place: City of Hull

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    Third Place: Reg Vardy

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    Best Euphonium: Melanie Ornsby — City of Hull

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    Best Tubas: NASUWT Riverside

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    Best Soprano: Phil Tait — NASUWT Riverside

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    Best Cornet: Reg Vardy

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    Best Percussion: NASUWT Riverside


    Championship Section:

    Test Piece: A Tale as Yet Untold (Philip Sparke)
    Adjudicators: Sheona Wade & David Hirst

    1. NASUWT Riverside (Prof. Nicholas J Childs)*
    2. City of Hull (Stig Maersk)*
    3. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
    4. Fishburn (Lee Skipsey)
    5. Easington Colliery (Daniel Brooks)
    6. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton)
    7. Westoe (Aidan Hodgson)

    Withdrawn: Harrogate (Leigh Baker)

    Best Soprano: Phil Tait (NASUWT Riverside)
    Best Principal Cornet: Reg Vardy
    Best Euphonium: Melanie Ornsby (City of Hull)
    Best Trombone: City of Hull
    Best Baritone Reg Vardy
    Best Tubas: NASUWT Riverside
    Best Percussion: NASUWT Riverside

    *Qualify for National Final

  • West of EnglandSunday 15, 17:13:52

    Championship Section:

    9. Michelmersh Silver (Melvin White)

    A band that gave everything and a bit more to meet the severe challenges of such a difficult work. At times it was a quite a struggle, but they got through thanks to a determined spirit, a never say die attitude and the nous and years of experience of their fine MD.

    The opening movement had all the integral parts in place, but lacked cohesion and precision, whilst the balances were a little wayward at times. The spirit though was undeniable bubbling with enthusiastic verve.

    The central section flowed with musicality with brave efforts from all the cadenzas soloists which led into a lovely, tender chorale but anxious close.

    An intelligently paced finale was the best playing by a margin — joyous and fizzy. There was just enough bubble in the bottle to draw out a passionate closing statement or two — led by fine sop, fruity bass trom and stentorian tubas.

  • North of EnglandSunday 15, 16:53:00

    Championship Section:

    Malcolm Wood's round up and prediction:

    A real reminder if any were needed of the demands of true Championship Section banding today. Philip Sparke's music was a 'Tale that not many told' and the piece certainly got the better of a number of bands. It may not be a popular view but true top section playing really did come under scrutiny at times today.

    At the top its between Riverside and Reg Vardy and depending on how the judges (Sheona Wade, David Hirst) feel it could go either way for the title. Both though for us have done enough for Kensington berths in the autumn.

    Behind them it's a scrap between City of Hull and Fishburn to make up the top four

    4BR Prediction:

    1. NASUWT Riverside
    2. Reg Vardy
    3. City of Hull
    4. Fishburn

    Dark Horse: Easington Coliery

  • West of EnglandSunday 15, 16:47:50

    Championship Section:

    8. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)

    A performance full of hard grafting purpose — that although never quite meeting all the technical challenges posed by such a difficult score, certainly enhanced the musical ones.

    The opening movement had that fizzy-pop bubble underpinning the long melodic lines, even if there were some things missing at times.

    MD shaped the middle movement with a caring hand — and was rewarded by some fine solo and ensemble playing in return. Not everything was perfect but the intentions from the middle were clear in their musical definition. The cadenzas were sung with bravura spirit, but it was the lead into, and through the chorale to the super climax that caught your breath. The trom savoured the ending.

    The pacy finale was the quickest of the day so far — getting a little febrile as it stormed along. It hung in there though with enough juice to push to a thumper of a close.

  • North of EnglandSunday 15, 16:43:21

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    Championship Section:

    7. Fishburn (Lee Skipsey)

    A passionate account full of musical intent by Lee Skipsey that bristled with as much bounce and energy as Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout.

    The intensity was evident from the first notes: It bubbled along with a persuasive pulse and whilst not always cultured on the ear, it drew you in.

    In the middle section, a real sense of purpose about the delivery and execution. The cadenzas engaged with a touch of finesse but caution at others. The chorale was impressive and well handled.

    To close, a finale that didn't hold back and was full of adrenaline and desire. The clarity came through, but there were moments of unease too. The excitement was there but whether it resonated in the box remains to be seen.

  • West of EnglandSunday 15, 16:21:35

    Championship Section:

    7. St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)

    A musically supple, dynamically lean performance that was drawn within well defined boundaries from start to finish. Not perfect by any means but such a well thought out, elegant approach by the MD and his players. Lots of enjoy.

    What the opening lacked in bubbling filigree anxiety and robust passion, it more than made up for in clarity and precision. Just the occasional moment when things didn't knit together, but it was playing of thoughtfulness and consideration.

    So too the central section — controlled and so well delineated in the ensemble. The cadenzas perhaps needed more presence on occasions, but they were all in place (esp the classy cornet). The flugel was as tender as a baby's sleeping breath and the chorale was touching. Just lingered a little but what a super close from the trom. It was lovely.

    The finale wasn't quite the paciest of fleeting romps but it got there by the end — although you wished the MD had loosened the leash slightly earlier. Not the heaviest of finishes but more than enough to make an impression on the minds of the judges you suspect.

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December 3 • Crewe Brass are looking for PERCUSSION players TUNED/KIT to join our highly motivated 3rd section band. We are a very welcoming and sociable band, with a positive outlook and a reasonably busy calendar of engagements. Other enquiries are welcome.

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