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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



Black Dyke Band - Huddersfield Town Hall

Sunday 17 December • Corporation Street, Huddersfield HD1 2TA


The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - Ilkley Kings Hall

Sunday 17 December • Kings Hall Ilkley. 4 Station Road. Ilkley LS29 4HB


Foss Dyke Band - Foss Dykes Annual Chirstmas Concert

Sunday 17 December • The Hammond Hall & Sports Centre, Lincoln Road, Bassingham, LN5 9HQ


Glossop Old Band - Bandroom Christmas Concert

Sunday 17 December • Glossop Old Band, The Bandroom, Derby Street, Glossop, Derbyshire, SK13 8LP SK13 8LP


Concert - Grimethorpe Colliery: Sage Gateshead

Sunday 17 December • St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR


Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

December 16 • Just need a couple of Cornet’s to complete the line up for the 1st section area in Huddersfield. A friendly band with a sensible programme of events awaits the successful applucants


Mid-Rhondda

December 14 • To start the new year we have a vacancy for a Solo Euphonium. Excellent attendance at rehearsals on Thursdays at 7.30pm at the Band Hall, Dunraven Street, Tonypandy.. A very friendly band awaits you.


Harrogate Band

December 14 • Join our team in 2018! We are looking for committed front and back row cornet players who are looking for a new challenge to join our thriving, dynamic, fun and exciting 1st Section band. Our cornet section are a friendly bunch!


Ian Holmes

BA (hons), PGDip (RCM), ARCM, ALCM
Conductor, piano accompanist and educator