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

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

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

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

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

Cleverly crafted

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

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


Rhyl Silver
2016 Champion: Rhyl Silver

Wales:

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

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

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

4BR Prediction:

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

Dark Horse: Ynyshir


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

London & Southern Counties:

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

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

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

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

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

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

4BR Prediction:

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

Dark Horse: Hangleton



Regent Hall Concerts - International Staff Band of the Salvation Army

Saturday 25 March • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. opp. BHS. London. W1C 2DJR W1C 2DJ


Vernon Building Society Poynton - Chapel en le Frith Male Voice Choir

Saturday 25 March • St. Thomas' Church. Holt Street. Stockport . SK1 3PY SK1 3PY


Enderby Band - LOROS and McMillan Cancer Support

Saturday 25 March • St James the Greater Church. St James Terrace. Leicester. LE2 1NA


Concert - Grimethorpe Colliery: Palace Theatre

Saturday 25 March • Leeming St, Mansfield NG18 1NG


Kettering Citadel S A Band -

Tuesday 28 March • The Salvation Army Citadel. 66, Rockingham Road,. Kettering,. Northamptonshire NN16 8JU


Harrogate Band

March 24 • Cornet & 2nd Baritone - Want to join a great bunch of sociable and friendly people who are passionate about great brass music? We currently have vacancies for Cornets & 2nd Baritone however players from all sections are welcome to join!


The Cobham Band

March 24 • Due to moves and retirements the Cobham Band has vacancies for euphonium, baritone horn, flugel and back-row cornet. The band rehearses in Cobham on Monday evenings and has a full programme of bandstand and concert engagements.


Haydock Band

March 23 • Haydock Band. North West Second Section are looking to recruit a B flat Bass due to work commitments. We have a very sensible diary of concerts and some exciting projects through the rest of the year. This is the only empty seat we have left


Gordon Eddison

B Ed(Hons)
Conductor and Teacher.