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2023 Spring Festival
Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Saturday 13th May

Coordinator: Malcolm Wood
Comments: Iwan Fox, Chris Thomas and Dave Lea
Images: Chappers Media

  • Grand ShieldSaturday 13, 20:35:34

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    2023 Grand Shield Champion: Whitburn

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    All smiles

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    2023 Winner: Whitburn

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    Runner-up: Hepworth

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    Third place: Reg Vardy

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    Fourth place: Oldham Band (Lees)

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    Best Soloist: Andrew McMillan of Whitburn


    Grand Shield:

    Test-piece: The World Rejoicing — Symphonic Variations on a Lutheran Chorale (Edward Gregson)
    Adjudicators: Dr Robert Childs, David Hirst

    1. Whitburn (Prof Nicholas Childs)*
    2. Hepworth (Ryan Watkins)*
    3. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
    4. Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)
    5. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Allan Withington)
    6. The GUS Band (Dr David Thornton)
    7. City of Bradford (Gareth Brindle)
    8. Friary Brass (Nigel Taken)
    9. NASUWT Riverside (Michael Fowles)
    10. Wingates (Andrea Price)
    11. Ratby Co-operative (Mareika Gray)
    12. Milnrow (Lee Skipsey)
    13. City of Hull (Dean Jones)
    14. Camborne Town (Ian Porthouse)
    15. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)
    16. Rainford (Sarah Groarke-Booth)
    17. Dalmellington (Erik Janssen)**
    18. Wantage (Jonathan Pippen)**
    19. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)**
    20. Ashton under Lyne (Martyn Evans)**

    Best Instrumentalist: Andrew Mcmillan (horn) — Whitburn

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

  • Senior CupSaturday 13, 19:46:49

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    2023 Senior Cup Champion: Llywdcoed

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    Runner-up: Fishburn

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    Third place: St Dennis

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    Fourth place: Redbridge

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    Best Soloist: Lewis Barton of Elland Silver


    Senior Cup:

    Test-piece: A London Overture (Philip Sparke)
    Adjudicators: John Doyle, Andrew Porter

    1. Llwydcoed (Joshua Ruck)*
    2. Fishburn (Duncan Beckley)*
    3. St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)*
    4. Redbridge (Chris Bearman)*
    5. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) M1 (Christopher Bond)
    6. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks)
    7. Kirkintilloch (Hedley Benson)
    8. Unite the Union (Jonathan Beatty)
    9. Brass Band of Central England (Howard J. Evans)
    10. Kingdom Brass (Thomas Wyss)
    11. Derwent Brass (Jack Capstaff)
    12. Acceler8 Band (Jef Sparkes)
    13. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
    14. Roche Brass (Keith Maxwell)
    15. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton)
    16. Boarshurst Silver (Jamie Prophet)
    17. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)**
    18. Woodfalls (Stephen Sykes)**
    19. Newtongrange Silver (Anne Crookston)**
    20. Aveley & Newham (Will Wilkins)**

    Best Instrumentalist: Lewis Barton (cornet) — Elland Silver

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

  • Senior TrophySaturday 13, 19:43:42

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    2023 Senior Trophy Champion: Thundersley

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    Winners: Thundersley

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    Runner-up: Amersham

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    Third place: Stannington

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    Fourth place: Tylorstown

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    Best Soloist: Keith Schroeter of Thundersley


    Senior Trophy:

    Test-piece: The Accursed Huntsman (Cesar Franck arr. Edrich Siebert)
    Adjudicators: Dr Brett Baker, Mark Wilkinson

    1. Thundersley Brass (Melvin White)*
    2. Amersham (Paul Fisher)*
    3. Stannington Brass (Sam Fisher)*
    4. Tylorstown (Robert Westacott)*
    5. Tongwynlais Temperance (Owen Farr)
    6. Blackburn & Darwen (Daniel Thomas)
    7. Unison Kinneil (Raymond Tennant)
    8. Eccles Borough (Jon Davis)
    9. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
    10. Yorkshire Imperial (Garry Hallas)
    11. Easington Colliery (Stephen Malcolm)
    12. Ebbw Valley Brass (Gareth Ritter)
    13. Pontardulais (Paul Jenkins)
    14. Enderby (Stephen Phillips)
    15. Parc & Dare (Dewi Griffiths)
    16. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
    17. Filton Concert Brass (Nathan Jenkins)
    18. Vernon Building Society (Adam Delbridge-Smith)
    19. Thoresby Colliery (Simon Oates)
    20. Bo'ness & Carriden (Charlie Farren)
    21. Hatfield & Askern Colliery (Stan Lippeatt)

    Best Instrumentalist: Keith Schroeter (horn) — Thundersley

    *Promoted to the Senior Cup

  • Senior CupSaturday 13, 18:30:03

    Senior Cup:

    Dave Lea's prediction:

    1. St Dennis
    2. Roche Brass
    3. Kingdom Brass
    4. Fishburn
    5. Brass Band of Central England
    6. Elland Silver

  • Grand ShieldSaturday 13, 18:28:41

    Grand Shield:

    Final Round Up — and prediction

    What started somewhat inconspicuously, ultimately developed into a fascinating contest in the Grand Shield. No band disgraced itself. But equally, no band emerged unscathed, making for what could be a fascinating set of results.

    The World Rejoicing provided a stern test indeed, but the key to its unlocking is in the brilliance of Edward Gregson's writing which always places the musical element ahead of the competitive. Yet in the process, the demands he places on both players and conductors are such that both technique and musicianship carry equal prominence in pulling off a complete performance.

    Robert Childs and David Hirst will have had plenty to think about in the box when assimilating what have been a diverse range of approaches amongst the twenty performances'.some inevitably more musically informed than others.

    Chris Thomas goes for a top six of:

    1 Whitburn
    2 Carlton Main Frickley
    3 GUS
    4 Ratby Co-operative
    5 NASUWT Riverside
    6 Friary

    Dark Horses: Reg Vardy, Oldham (Lees) and Hepworth

  • Grand ShieldSaturday 13, 18:27:25

    Grand Shield

    19. Oldham Band (Lees) & 20. Ratby Co-Operative

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    An effective Prelude from Oldham and the Capriccio was rhythmically incisive, bold in its approach and underpinned by a driving momentum. La Danza 1 followed in a similar vein although the Processional could perhaps have been a little more stately and sonorous in its approach.

    Arias and Duets displayed some lovely touches in its solo work, with cornet and euphonium excelling and this flowed with both fluidity and musicality.

    The Fuga didn't quite reach the same levels of rhythmic momentum and consistency of ensemble heard in the opening faster variations but a majestic ending capped a performance from Oldham (Lees) with a good deal to commend.

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    And so Ratby Co-operative brings the Grand Shield to a close with a performance that displayed its customary degree of commitment and attention to technical and musical detail.

    So much about this was detailed in its preparation and execution. The Capriccio and Danza variations might not have been as exciting and driven as some, but what it did posses was security and admirable musical focus.

    There were some lovely touches in Arias and Duets with highly musical and deft contributions from horn, cornet, soprano and euphonium and the Fuga motored along with admirable propulsion, building to a majestic final peroration.

    Chris Thomas

  • Senior TrophySaturday 13, 18:07:04

    Senior Trophy:

    What an enjoyable contest — made more so by a host of MDs who sought the excitement and anxiety of the chase from the music without ever going completely tonto.

    The best really captured the character — and the sense of the anxiety and fevered date with Satan's hounds of hell with a musical maturity.

    As for a winner — a real close one for us between a top three of Amersham, Thundersley and Longridge followed by Stannington, Ebbw Valley and Blackburn & Darwen with a dark horse of Tongwynlais.

    4BR Editor's prediction:

    1. Amersham
    2. Thundersley
    3. Longridge
    4. Stannington
    5. Ebbw Valley
    6. Blackburn & Darwen

    Dark Horse: Tongwynlais

  • Senior CupSaturday 13, 17:59:48

    Senior Cup:

    19. Roche Brass: 20. Boarshurst Silver

    What a strong performance from Roche Brass — right from a carefully balanced opening and a fine set of cadenzas. There was care taken with the tempos and dynamics too — nothing overdone and needless.

    Some intonation problems arose in places, but these soon passed and there was a lovely lyrical feel to flow. The final section captured the mood and pace to a tee to end so well.

    The contest is rounded off with a solid performance from Boarshurst. Care was certainly taken over the opening and that was also shown throughout — just a touch below tempo and dynamic to emphasise the detail and clarity.

    It worked too — aided by super lead lines and subtle perc. The warmth of the band tone was good to hear too — the edge coming just at the right time. Lots in reserve as well for a great finish. Bravo — what a good way to round off a hugely enjoyable contest.

    Dave Lea

  • Senior TrophySaturday 13, 17:55:27

    Senior Trophy:

    19. Ebbw Valley: 20. Thoresby Colliery: 21. Unison Kinneil

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    The contest comes to a close with contrasting renditions from Ebbw Valley, Thoresby Colliery and Unison Kinneil — all seeking redemption from Satan's grasp and a qualification place and promotion to the Senior Cup.

    Ebbw Valley certainly gave a hugely confident shot — right from the horn call to church to open and all the way via a race against Beelzebub and his little demons to the front door of the Huntsman's house.

    Lots of detail and balance in dynamics and pacing — just edging upwards and forwards as the score required. Impressive stuff that — medium rare in the blood and guts stakes over the fences, exciting and colourful and in with a big shout for a promotion spot.

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    Also a considered approach from Thoresby Colliery — with the MD another who realized that the excitement had to be generated in increments rather than splashed all over like Brut 33.

    Just the odd moment when things didn't quite gel, but the aim was achieved with a touch of refinement in the excitement — a rarity today.

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    The last band of the day also gave the judges plenty to think about — as Unison Kinneil take a swig or two of the water of life before heading into the wilds.

    Super reading of the score by the MD and delivered upon too by his players — bold, confident, dark and menacing in the right places. The drive to the end was a real banger — really straining at the leash but still under control. One to think about that for the judges.

    iwan Fox

  • Grand ShieldSaturday 13, 17:40:26

    Grand Shield:

    17. Wingates & 18. Reg Vardy

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    Wingates' opening Prelude was effective with just the slightest of clips before a Capriccio and La Danza 1 that although broadly solid and competent, just needed a little more finesse and lightness of touch to add a final musical patina.

    Much of Arias and Duets flowed smoothly and musically although as with every band there were also those frustrating individual slips that threatened to unsettle the musical picture at a handful of key moments.

    The Fuga became increasingly untidy as it progressed and needed a touch more dynamic contrast to allow the detail to come through and the excitement levels to increase.

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    Reg Vardy's Prelude under Russell Gray was not without a couple of early slips with the cornet's tuning not perfect and further clips and slips in the ensuing Capriccio. It's frustrating as stylistically, the shape of the Capriccio and La Danza 1 is so well formed.

    The Processional leads into a La Danza 2 that has now settled down and this was wide in its dynamic contrasts, light of touch where it needed to be and with a driving sense of rhythm and momentum.

    Errors were once again exposed in Arias and Duets however with solo horn not sounding relaxed to open and a degree of 'tightness' evident in the flow of the music. Excellent solo euphonium but heavy handed soprano and overall, this was a performance that didn't quite settle, despite the obvious musical intent.

    Chris Thomas

Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Salon Orchestra

Friday 9 June • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London. . W1C2DJ

Leicestershire Co-op Band - The Great British Music Hall concert

Saturday 10 June • The Palace Community Centre. Ibstock . Leicestershire LE67 6LG

Besses Boys' Band - Besses Boys' Band Summer Concert

Saturday 10 June • St Mary's Church, Prestwich, Greater Manchester M25 1AN

Newtown March Contest - Newtown (Mid Wales) March and Open Air Contest

Sunday 11 June • Newtown Town Hall Grounds. Back Lane. Newtown. Powys SY16 2NZ

Regent Hall Concerts - Sun Bones Trombone Trio

Tuesday 13 June • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London

Mereside Brass

June 5 • MERESIDE BRASS (Northwich, Cheshire) are looking for a front row CORNET, possibly PRINCIPAL for the right player and a PERCUSSIONIST. We are a friendly 4th Section band, currently not contesting but with a sensible calendar of jobs and band social events

Besses Boys' Band

June 5 • Besses Boys' Band (2nd Section NW) are looking for a TUTTI SOLO CORNET to join the band. Rehearsals take place Monday and Friday, 19:30-21:30 in Simister, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 2SB

Grange Moor Brass Band

June 4 • Eb/BBb bass, percussion (tuned or kit) & baritone are Grange Moor Brass Band's current vacancies. All of these sections are populated at the moment, but due to various reasons, we are looking to bolster each of these positions.

Lt Col David Barringer MBE

BMus (Hons)
Conductor and adjudicator


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