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2017 Spring Festival
Grand Shield - As it happened

All the action from the 2017 Spring Festival Grand Shield — As it happened

Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 19:00:18

Results:

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Symphony Hall bound for Wingates

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Just missing out for third place for Reg Vardy

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A delighted NASUWT Riverside ended fourth

The Grand Shield:

The Opera House
Test Piece Reflections on Swan Lake (Stephen Roberts)
Adjudicators: Allan Ramsay and Steve Sykes

1. Whitburn (Prof. Nicholas Childs)*
2. Wingates (Paul Andrews)*
3. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
4. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
5. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
6. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
7. Hepworth (Leigh Baker)
8. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
9. Aldbourne (David Johnson)
10. Ashton-under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
11. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)
12. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
13. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
14. Tongwynlais Temperance (Michael Fowles)
15. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
16. Kirkintilloch (Bryan Allen)
17. Llwydcoed (Chris Turner)**
18. Unite the Union (John Roberts)**
19. Northop Silver (Paul Hughes)**
20. Burry Port Town (Andrew Jones)**

Best Instrumentalist: Andy MacDonald (cornet) — Wingates

*Promoted to British Open
**Relegated to Senior Cup


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 17:54:55

Chris Thomas' round up and prediction

It's been an engaging, but also a somewhat infuriating day of contesting here — where the test piece more than proved its worth by separating the wheat from the chaff. Why so many bands tried to bludgeon it into submission was beyond us — some of the dynamics were bizarre.

The best though brought the character out of the music — none more so than Russell Gray with Reg Vardy. Not perfect by any means technically, but oh so full of dark drama and pathos. Whitburn were close behind — again not perfect, but sounding a classy band.

Hepworth may just spoil the celebrations for the Scots though — they were very good almost to the end — but the last minute may cost. Woodfalls were also coherent and precise and should feature alongside a well managed Tongwynlais, a more robust NASUWT Riverside and our dark horses of Hammonds and Wingates.

4BR Prediction:

1. Reg Vardy
2. Whitburn
3. Hepworth
4. Woodfalls
5. Tongwynlais Temperance
6. NASUWT Riverside

Dark Horses: Hammonds Saltaire and Wingates


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 17:29:45

Grand Shield

20. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

A nicely nuanced opening from Wingates and there are subtle colours on display as well as careful attention to balance allowing the luminous textures to be heard with clarity.

The pace quickens and this has both bite and edge without being overblown. The MD is doing a fine job at finding the character in the music although it tends to the idiosyncratic at times. There's no shortage of spirit about it though and the players respond with playing of commitment and concentration.

The Lento is delicately done and although once again there are idiosyncrasies there is also refined style in a good deal of the playing, with the band's soloists delivering impressive contributions.

The Tempo di Valse proceeds at a good tempo and lilt and the Mesto forms a delicate transition into the final dash toward the end. The ending itself pushes a little too hard on tired lips…a shame as there was much to enjoy here.

Overall: An interesting account from Wingates to end the day. Different in many ways but played with such verve and commitment. This could surprise a few.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 17:07:16

Grand Shield

19. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)

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Russell Gray with Reg Vardy

A lovely opening from Reg Vardy. So clear in its textures and we hear luminous sounds that are delicately laced with colour and nuance. This is promising indeed.

As the pace accelerates the playing is so incisive in its crisp yet darkly coloured sounds and at last we are hearing a performance that is telling the story inherent in the music and ballet. Euphonium does well with just the slightest of slips in the cadenza and the music that follows is so delicate and shaped with care and attention.

The Czardas and the Bolero are so brimming with character with perfectly chosen tempi and dynamics. They simply ooze style and although there are tiny slips the musical picture is never threatened.

The Lento is not without clips once again but its so lyrically compelling and flows with grace and ease. It's the style of the performance that is really setting this part.

The Tempo di Valse is perfectly lilting and again so stylistically informed in its musical presentation, whilst the final bars are delivered with an intense, simmering passion that underpins a close of tragic power.

Overall: Such a compelling account from Reg Vardy. This was a performance that really spoke to us is a very direct and powerful way, matched by playing of both emotional power and subtlety.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 16:44:30

Grand Shield

18. Unite the Union (City of Sheffield) (John Roberts)

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John Roberts with Unite the Union (City of Sheffield)

Opening is safe and proceeds without incident and as it progresses through the faster passages it does so with considerable energy and drive.

The ensemble is not always entirely precise and tuning causes problems, but overall the impression is of a solid if somewhat generic account of the music.

The Lento is possibly not the most refined but the soloists do well considering the challenges at hand and make the best of what they can.

Tuning goes astray at the end as tired embouchures force the sound through the closing bars.

Overall: A performance that struggled from Unite the Union. It didn't grab us as the best have today but it survived the challenges of the test piece relatively intact.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 16:23:24

Grand Shield:

17. Burry Port Town (Matthew Rowe)

Cornet solo opens well but the gremlins rapidly set in and nervy entries and mistakes disrupt the flow.

There are some nasty moments of tuning that grate but the nimble on his toes MD dances around in an attempt to inject some style and lightness of touch where required. In the Czardas and Bolero however it is the ensemble and straightforward precision that are the issues as the band struggles to project the detail with any real clarity.

The Lento struggles under the weight of soloists not coping with the demands the music makes and the Tempo di Valse lacks the ryhthmic lilt to lend the music its essential style and character leading to a tired ending that sums up what was a tough to task for the South Wales band.

Overall: A very scrappy affair from Burry Port that struggled to get to the heart of the detail or the style of the music.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 16:05:20

Have you signed up for Sykes?

Just a reminder that a host of volunteers is manning the DKMS stand outside of the Pavilion Theatre in support of Stephen Sykes today.

If you are between 18-55 you could be the one and if not Stephen, it could be life changing for someone else. Please go and register.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 15:57:23

Grand Shield:

16. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)

Opening is not entirely settled but the MD strives to create atmosphere.

It tends to the wild side at times as we progress through the Czardas and the Bolero with some screaming entries from soprano and the MD milks the score for every last ounce of speed and energy…this is Tchaikovsky on speed…but the essential problem is that it's not really Tchaikovsky at all.

Likewise the slower passages are slow in the extreme and in the Lento particularly, the music really needs to flow more even though the players do a good job in delivering their individual entries.

The speed of the final Allegro almost lends the music a cartoon like feel. This is really unlike anything else we've heard…and surely ever will hear…but it's certainly added something different to the day's performances.

Overall: A reading that went for the extremes from Pemberton. Tchaikovsky could well be turning in his grave…and Stephen Roberts checking what he wrote in his score.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 15:34:24

Grand Shield:

15. Aldbourne (David Johnson)

A well shaped and intoned opening with quality solo cornet and a subtly created atmosphere that sets the scene well.

The MD sensibly keeps the lid on the dynamics as the tempo increases and this is impressive in its control and attention to detail with nothing overblown or over stressed.

The approach to the Czardas and Bolero is again one of restraint but the accent is on the style and character and the performance is all the better for it.

The Lento is marked by quality soloists and although it's possibly not the most freely flowing of the day, it progresses with no major incidents along the way. The Tempo di Valse is again effective and the band finds colour and delicacy in the Mesto leading to an end that although to the biggest in sound, caps a sensibly thought out performance.

Overall: A restrained and controlled account from Aldbourne that although not the most exciting, was well constructed by the MD.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 15:17:23

Grand Shield:

14. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)

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Tina Mortimer and Phil Tait of NASUWT Riverside

Opens well and there's an intent about this that stamps itself on the music immediately.

As it progresses through the faster sections the sound has a tendency to get a touch strident at times but it's solid and well bolted together with everything in its rightful place. Soloists deliver with no major problems and both the Czardas and the Bolero are delivered with character and rhythmic drive and energy.

The Lento does expose a few issues as some of those treacherous entries don't quite sit or sound comfortable but this is again nuts and bolts playing.

As we approach the conclusion the sound is forced to the point that tuning becomes an issue: a shame as it it distorts the final bars.

Overall: A solid and workmanlike account from Riverside. It got a little out of hand on occasions but that red blooded Tchaikovskian spirit was certainly there.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 15:09:49

Informed Opinion

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Some well known figures of the banding world meet and greet — David Read, Derek Broadbent and Stephen Roberts.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 14:52:09

Grand Shield:

13. Hepworth (Leigh Baker)

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On Stage: Andy Holmes of Hepworth

Nicely shaped cornet solo to open and this has style about it from the off. Leigh Baker shapes the music well and finds colours in the score that add so much to the music.

And as we hit the Allegro the confidence and sound are so clear. It's a big, robust yet rounded band sound and well balanced and cultured at the same time, whilst the detail is always at the forefront. There is real inner energy evident as the Czardas gathers pace and its that pacing that is at the heart of the fast music for Hepworth as the MD controls it so well.

The Lento fuses well and those tricky entries and detailing solos and duets that have caused many problems today are beautifully done, with lovely solo touches from the corner players particularly soprano whose delicacy has been a hallmark of this performance.

The Tempo di Valse has both lilt and energy and again the style is carefully created and so characterful. What a lovely Mesto transition and now the approach to the ending is carefully ramped up as the band holds something in reserve for a powerfully triumphant final peroration and a humongous final chord that caps a superb account from the Yorkshire band.

Overall: Such a cultured and refined performance from Hepworth, brimming with colour, style and energy.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 14:27:14

Grand Shield

12. Kirkintilloch (Bryan Allen)

The opening is immediately unsettled by a number of uncomfortable and split entries and for a while it feels like the performance is teetering on the brink.

Maybe those early nerves being laid bare helps though as for a while it settles and there's a new found confidence about the playing that drives it on through the faster sections and the Czardas and Bolero.

Ensemble remains an issue though and the error count starts to accumulate alarmingly once again through the Lento as it fails to knit together convincingly with tuning also causing issues amongst the plethora of mistakes.

By the close it's a tired sounding band that struggles through the closing paragraphs.

Overall: A disappointing performance from Kirkintilloch that could see the band languishing dangerously close to the relegation zone.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 14:06:46

Grand Shield:

10. Ashton Under Lyne (Phil Chalk)

A mist shrouded opening from Ashton Under Lyne that sets an immediate atmosphere. As it progresses the ensemble rocks occasionally and some of the detail is also shrouded in mist but the approach is always musical and the tempi are well chosen.

As we progress through the Czardas and the Bolero there are a few wild entries heard and mistakes start to creep in as the score starts to take its toll. And like so many performances today it is the Lento that really does the damage as the dovetailing lines and tricky solo entries fail to knit together effectively damaging the flow of the music.

Some nasty moments for the bands soprano player and after a good start this is a performance that is really losing it's way now.

The ending runs out of steam and caps a performance that started well but unravlled as it progressed.

Overall: A good start from Ashton Under Lyne but the music took a serious toll on the band as the performance progressed.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 14:04:42

Chris Thomas' halfway opinion:

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No electronic support for Swan Lake or the Bands here!

What a varied and variable contest this has been. the test piece has really taken its toll on nearly all the bands with only a small handful playing it with any degree of overall comfort.

The best of those was a polished account from Whitburn for us — compact, coherent and with touch of extra depth of quality, whilst Woodfalls were not that far behind with such a stylish approach. Tongwynlais really made a fine fist of it despite the errors, and then it's was a misfiring Virtuosi GUS, Hammonds and Northop — all of who had their moments, great, average and messy.

The two Childs brothers lead the way to Symphony Hall at the moment though.

4BR Prediction:
1. Whitburn
2. Woodfalls
3. Tongwynlais Temperance
4. Virtuosi GUS
5. Hammonds Saltaire
6. Northop


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 13:32:14

Grand Shield:

10. Whitburn (Professor Nicholas Childs)

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On Stage: Professor Nicholas Childs with Whitburn

What a fine opening with delicacy and a lyrical opening cornet solo. A nasty clip from euphonium but it recovers and as we progress through the opening paragraphs there is an intensity about this that burns through. Impressive stuff indeed. Taut ensemble too and euphonium makes up for earlier clip with a fine cadenza.

The sounds are robust but never forced and the fiery detail is evident throughout with careful attention to balance aiding the transparency.

The Czardas is so characterful and the Bolero the same with such well worked tempi and pacing aiding the overall musical picture and style.The Lento is again laden with gravitas and solo entries are generally secure and confident.

The elements of the waltz that are woven into the music in the Tempo di Valse are so well captured and again it is the technical security of the playing that is allowing the music to shine through here.

The Mesto is beautifully done, as if seen through the mist shrouded lake itself and the ending blazes in a final apotheosis of triumph whilst retaining those darkly powerful Russian undertones. Thrilling stuff.

Overall: So convincing and the most consistent and engaging overall presentation of the score we have heard so far.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 13:06:48

Grand Shield:

9. Tongwynlais Temperance (Michael Fowles)

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On Stage: Michael Fowles with Tongwynlais Temperance

Lovely opening cornet solo has a languid style although the bars that follow are not without slips as a handful of split entries send ripples over the smooth surface of the lake.

Nice effects from percussion that are so well balanced and add colour to the overall picture and as the tempo increases the picture settles with taught ensemble and carefully layered dynamics and balance.

Michael Fowles goes for the dramatic effect but the Russian character of the music is accentuated as a result, a quality that hasn't been readily audible in many performances so far.

The Czardas trips along well and this is exciting, controlled and above all musical with some excellent individual work, particularly solo cornet and euphonium.

Lips do tire a little in the latter stages (who's wouldn't!) but there are some lovely touches in the Mesto…so delicate and transparent…and the triumphant ending is imbued with pathos and spadefuls of Russian gravitas.

Overall: What a colourful and characterful reading from Tongwynlais and Mike Fowles. So musical and with admirable attention to detail, balance and dynamics.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 12:52:21

The Grand Shield:

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The Opera House
Test Piece: Reflections on Swan Lake (Stephen Roberts)
Draws: 9.00am & 12.30pm
Commence: 10.00am
Adjudicators: Allan Ramsay & Steve Sykes

Draw:

1. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)
2. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
3. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
5. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
6. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
7. Llwydcoed (Chris Turner)
8. Northop Silver (Paul Hughes)
9. Tongwynlais Temperance (Michael Fowles)
10. Whitburn (Prof. Nicholas Childs)
11. Ashton-under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
12. Kirkintilloch (Bryan Allen)
13. Hepworth (Leigh Baker)
14. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
15. Aldbourne (David Johnson)
16. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
17. Burry Port Town (Andrew Jones)
18. Unite the Union (John Roberts)
19. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
20. Wingates (Paul Andrews)


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 12:42:45

Grand Shield:

8. Northop Silver (Paul Hughes)

The opening is effective and there are some lovely subtle touches and flecks of colour that are layered with transparency to atmospheric effect. This is an encouraging opening.

As the pace quickens the sounds are well balanced and the MD keeps the lid on the dynamics with nothing sounding overblown.

Tuning does cause a few issues along the way but there is plenty of style also. The Czardas is subtle and effective and as we hit the faster tempo it flies long….perhaps to the detriment of detail but its certainly exciting.

Again in the Bolero, the style is effective even when the execution isn't perfect and it's all so well controlled from the middle. The Lento causes real problems though and as with so many bands so far today, concentration levels seem to wane here as errors start to creep in and stamina drains towards the concluding bars.

Overall: An approach that was conceived with musicality to the forefront and although not always consistent in execution, offered much to enjoy.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 12:21:02

Grand Shield

7. Llywdcoed (Christopher Turner)

A hesitant opening sets an initially unsettled musical picture. Lovely euphonium sound although there are continued clips that disrupt the flow of the music despite its obvious musical intentions.

Darkly malicious bass trombone and this is a dynamically contained (or perhaps restrained) reading that possibly needs to let its hair down a little more. Ensemble is all too often scrappy and although the excitement builds through the Presto there are some very nasty moments in the Lento as euphonium struggles and the various strands fail to knit together convincingly.

The Tempo di Valse is better but we are finding ourselves willing the performance to come to life.

The stamina sapping qualities of the score are obvious in the closing bars as a tired sounding band labours to the end with tuning know also causing issues.

Overall: An untidy account from the Welsh competitors with individual slips and ragged ensemble conspiring to cause problems at key moments throughout.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 12:00:12

Grand Shield:

6. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)

Hammonds know this piece only too well having finished fifteenth on it at the Open two years ago and it's a quality cornet solo to open. There are one or two minor wobbles but the atmosphere is good. Solo euphonium not entirely comfortable and tuning questionable as we approach the Molto vivace.

There are some nasty moments along the way although the musical intent of this is clear and it settles into some lovely sounds in the Lento despite the odd tuning issue once again intervening. The florid lyricism called for in this section is so difficult to pull off though.

There are echoes of both Tchaikovsky and Ravel's La Valse event in the Tempo di Valse which the MD negotiates skilfully. Nice transition into the final Allegro and the tension builds so well approaching the final dramatic flourish although it's a drained sounding band in the final bars.

Overall: A well thought out performance from Hammonds that found the shape and style of the music well. Tuning was certainly problematic at times though.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 11:38:29

Grand Shield:

5. Woodfalls (Robert Childs)

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On Stage: Woodfalls (Robert Childs)

What a fine opening from Woodfalls. Robert Childs led Grimethorpe to victory on Reflections at the British Open in 2015 and he's imbuing the music with both atmosphere and Russian pathos. Undoubtedly the best opening so far today.

Crucially the innate Russian character of the music is shining through and although there are a few minor clips there is so much style evident and dynamics are used to telling effect.

The Czardas and Bolero are both so well done and individually entries and solo contributions are generally secure and confident despite one or two uncomfortable moments for soprano. The Lento proves more challenging but again the atmosphere is luminous and carefully created.

There's a nice lilt to the Tempo di valse and again there is a culture to the approach and the playing that has not been found in such a complete manner by any other band so far today.

The ending is powerful but not overblown and caps an intelligently constructed and general well executed performance.

Overall: Such a convincing musical presentation from Woodfalls. Not without moments that lost focus but so much atmosphere and Russian gravitas.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 11:17:19

Grand Shield:

4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

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On Stage: Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

Fine opening cornet solo and this immediately has atmosphere and style. Adam Cooke sets the atmosphere so well from the middle and the shifting moods of the music are found with style and subtlety.

It gets a touch edgy at times and as the MD conducts the euphonium cadenza there are occasional moments of lost focus and soprano needs to be careful to reign it in at times….it just has a tendency to edge over the top at times.

As it progresses there is a sense that it begins to lose its way and focus with the tricky entries of the Lento finding the players struggling to settle….the intent is there but it's not always matched in execution with odd entries sticking out through the textures at times.

The pacing as we approach the conclusion is impressive but again it gets edgy at times and there are some very uncomfortable moments with little refinement or culture in the playing at times and ensemble all too often astray.

Overall: A curious account from GUS that started so well but also seemed to struggle at times as it progressed. The pre-contest favourites certainly haven't closed the door on this.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 10:49:20

Grand Shield:

3. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)

What a stylish opening cornet solo. Confident and it sets the musical scene so well. A few gremlins as we progress through the Andante but the MD is finding the Russian style and character of the music to impressive effect.

Euphonium does well to hit top E and the Czardas is nicely done although it threatens to run away at the Molto vivace with the MD putting the musical brakes on.

The tricky entries and duets at the Lento don't always sit and dovetail perfectly but the MD is always trying to get to the heart of the music with the band responding in committed musical fashion.

Tuning goes astray at the end and although the band sounds tired, this has been such enthusiastic and dedicated playing.

Overall: A committed account from Rainford and an impressive Grand Shield debut on a challenging piece for a band that has come through the Spring Festival Festival tiers in successive years.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 10:30:02

Grand Shield:

2. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)

Nice vibrato laden opening cornet solo and the band begins to build the atmosphere well through the opening paragraphs.

Theres a sense of musical authority about this and the playing is laced with a liberal dose of Russian attitude that Putin would be proud of….gutsy solo work from soprano and euphonium too. It's not always pretty and there are moments where tuning is not always 100% but that attitude continues to figure as we reach the bolero which has a real feeling of character about it.

This is one of those performance where the band is throwing everything at it and there are moments where it doesn't always pay off but full marks for effort….the adrenalin is flowing. It all becomes a little exposed in the passages such as the lento though where clips and errors creep in but we find ourselves admiring the intent to drag everything possible out of the score.

And somehow the band manages to save something for the ending which really goes for the jugular.

Overall: A nothing to lose performance from Camborne. It wasn't always refined but boy did it have some teeth.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 10:20:01

Register to help Stephen Sykes

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The stand is outside the Pavilion Theatre

Throughout the day, trombonist Kevin Holdgate is leading a team of volunteers who will register you to see if you can be a match for Stephen Sykes — or anyone else for that matter.

The stand is outside the Pavilion Theatre, you won't miss it. Please go and help if you can.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 09:53:19

Grand Shield:

1. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)

A nervy opening cornet entry and the opening doesn't quite settle into the tranquillo marking of the score. Fine euphonium and as the tempo quickens confidence increases. This is suddenly acquiring much more credibility.

Bass trombone needs a touch more 'malice' at the lento but solo euphonium shines once again. The 'bolero' is untidy at times and the Andantino just needs a touch more style and polish. This is solid technical playing but the performance is stubbornly refusing to come to life and we find ourselves urging it on.

The quite passages are sometimes hesitant and cautious and the distant cornets as we approach the final Allegro don't sit comfortably adding to the hesitancy that has held the playing back.

The ending seems to lack sound and intensity.

Overall: Something of an early morning performance from Thoresby. Some fine euphonium playing but this performance just dodn't come to life for us.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 09:47:24

The Grand Shield:

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The Opera House
Test Piece: Reflections on Swan Lake (Stephen Roberts)

Draws: 9.00am & 12.30pm
Commence: 10.00am

Adjudicators: Allan Ramsay & Steve Sykes

Draw:

1. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)
2. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
3. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
5. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
6. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
7. Llwydcoed (Chris Turner)
8. Northop Silver (Paul Hughes)
9. Tongwynlais Temperance (Michael Fowles)
10. Whitburn (Prof. Nicholas Childs)

Other competing bands

Aldbourne (David Johnson)
Ashton-under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
Burry Port Town (Andrew Jones)
Hepworth (Leigh Baker)
Kirkintilloch (Bryan Allen)
NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
Unite the Union (John Roberts)
Wingates (Paul Andrews)


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 09:38:00

Your Judges today

The judges today in the respective sections are as follows:

Grand Shield: Allan Ramsay and Steve Sykes
Senior Cup: John Doyle and Paul Holland
Senior Trophy: Tom Hutchinson and Ian Porthouse

We wish all of them a happy days listening in their respective boxes and it doesn't matter what we think, they are the people that count today when it comes to making those decisions.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 09:31:35

Warming up...

The first action of the day starts in the Grand Shield where 20 bands have to tackle Stephen Roberts' 'Reflections on Swan Lake'. It's certainly one heck of a stern test of technique, style and stamina — all wrapped up in an eiderdown of waspish humour and polished arabesques.

We will put the draw up when the judges are in the box — in about 15 minutes time.

The draws for the other section will go up in the same manner.


Grand Shield

Saturday 13, 07:18:40

Early morning on the Golden Mile...

It's an early start this morning for the competitors at the 97th Spring Festival. A hearty breakfast and then the annual problem of how to fit 25 players and percussion into a hotel room for rehearsal that usually accommodates breakfast for pensioners and hung over stag party revellers.

Then it's off to the Winter Gardens — depending on the draw of course — which has been very sensibly sorted by the organisers to try and get ever closer to the British Open.

It's a great day of keen brass band competition unlike any other.

We will be there of course covering the action in all three sections — after we have enjoyed a couple of burnt sausages and a bit of streaky bacon...


Grand Shield

Friday 12, 19:12:34

Arriving in Blackpool

The bands and their supporters along with 4BR have started to arrive in Blackpool, where the glorious spring sun of the past ten days has disappeared in an overcast sky.

That won't dampen anyone's spirits though, as everyone looks forward to what is always one of the most competitive contest days of the year. The dream of the British Open will become a reality for two bands tomorrow night with others reflecting on their disappointment in the comfort of a few drinks.

Tonight it's a case of just putting those final touches in place (even for the bands who will travel tomorrow) and taking the opportunity to relax before the serious business starts tomorrow morning.

Also tomorrow, make sure you visit the DKMS stand and register to see if you are a match for the trombonist, Stephen Sykes. Stephen's father, who is judging tomorrow, highlighted the point in March, if you can't help his son, you could still be helping someone who needs you.

The first performance of 'Reflections on Swan Lake' will be at 10.00am tomorrow in the Grand Shield with the first segment of the draw taking place at 9.00am.


Grand Shield

Friday 12, 14:18:52

The Grand Shield: Competing bands

The Opera House
Test Piece: Reflections on Swan Lake (Stephen Roberts)

Draws: 9.00am & 12.30pm
Commence: 10.00am

Aldbourne (David Johnson)
Ashton-under-Lyne (Philip Chalk)
Burry Port Town (Andrew Jones)
Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
Hepworth (Leigh Baker)
Kirkintilloch (Bryan Allen)
Llwydcoed (Chris Turner)
NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
Northop Silver (Paul Hughes)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)
Tongwynlais Temperance (Michael Fowles)
Unite the Union (John Roberts)
Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
Whitburn (Prof. Nicholas Childs)
Wingates (Paul Andrews)
Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)



Black Dyke Band - Huddersfield Town Hall

Thursday 22 June • Corporation St, Huddersfield HD1 2TA


Regent Hall Concerts - The Olazti Trombone Quartet

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


Black Dyke Band - Hertford Choral Society

Saturday 24 June • All Saints Church, Churchfields, Hertford, Hertfordshire SG13 8AE


The Fairey Band - Stockport Schools Brass Bands

Saturday 24 June • The Plaza. Mersey Square. Stockport . SK1 1SP SK1 1SP


Garforth Brass - Learn to Play Day

Sunday 25 June • Garforth Methodist Church. Church Lane. Garforth. Leeds. LS25 1NW LS25 1NW


Foss Dyke Band

June 23 • Foss Dyke Band, under the direction of new MD Michael Howley are now recruiting! If you play Eb or Bb BASS then we'd love for you to join us and help us at the National Finals in Cheltenham and beyond.


Dunchurch Band

June 22 • Dunchurch Band has two empty seats that we need to fill, we are looking for a solo or 1st Horn player and Sop player to help complete the band.


Poulton-le-Fylde

June 22 • Poulton-le-Fylde Band (based near Blackpool), vacancies for Trombone (Tenor), Euphonium, Back-row Cornet & Kit player. Our friendly band offers a good mix of contest/concert work.


Derek Renshaw

ABBA Member
Conductor, Band Trainer and Adjudicator.