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Report & Results: 2017 London & Southern Counties Regional Championships: Second Section

Grimsdyke gains the battle honours on Dean Goffin's iconic work to head to Cheltenham joined by Amersham.

  Rhapsody joy for Grimsdyke

The sixteen bands who gave of their all in tackling perhaps the hardest of all the Area set-works this year deserved an enormous amount of credit for their efforts on Sunday morning.

As had been heard around the country over the past few weeks, Dean Goffin's iconic composition was pitched at the very top end of the current level of UK-wide Second Section contest competencies, providing bands with immense difficulties in both terms of style and technical execution that for the majority were slightly beyond their capabilities.

Sympathetic judges

It was also the case here — with the same type of fatigued sigh of relief from listeners and performers alike after performances that must have emanated from the lips of Monty's Desert Rats after the battles with Rommel's Afrika Korps in 1942.

Thankfully, two very experienced judges in Steve Sykes and Dr Roger Webster — who have endured plenty of testing contest day battles themselves over the years, were sympathetic to the competitor's plight.

And whilst they later admitted that as a result, the placing the bands in order of merit at the top and bottom end was not the most onerous of tasks, they did so with a great deal of care and attention when comparing and contrasting the pros and cons of performances that were so varied and variable.

Long memories

For the winners however, it was a day that they will remember for a very long time, after Grimsdyke Brass delivered a thoroughly convincing rendition under the controlled direction of MD Sharon Broughall that not only took the judges to their comfort break as the clear leader, but remained in their mind as a clear leader right to the end.

Behind them came a delighted runner-up in Amersham, who produced a final furlong burst of quality as the last band of the day under MD Paul Fisher to pip the early draw markers from Milton Keynes Brass and Soham Comrades, and book their first National Finals place since 2013.

The remaining top-six places went to hard working performances from Yiewsley & West Drayton and LGB Brass.

Realistic approach

For Grimsdyke, who despite the rather 'Northern' sounding name, are in fact from Harrow in Middlesex, a second Cheltenham appearance on four years came courtesy of a realistic approach to the demands of the test piece.

"We really enjoyed working on 'Rhapsody in Brass' despite its difficulties," Band spokesman Stuart Quinlan told 4BR. "It presented numerous challenges to overcome, but they were ones which our wonderful conductor Sharon Broughall took in her stride and gave us the confidence to master.

We were obviously thrilled that the adjudicators were so appreciative of our performance. Their positive remarks of 'bravo' and 'panache' mean spirits will be high for our upcoming summer season of concerts and for that trip to Cheltenham."

Stuart added: "That's also great news as it's only the second time we have qualified since being formed in 1979. Sharon does such a brilliant job that we can now also look forward to our promotion to the First Section. We've been there before, but now we won't be daunted by it."

Job almost done

For Amersham, it was a question of a job done almost perfection, as they deservedly claimed the second qualification spot with a brace of excellent outer movements (aided by their 'Best Trombones). Just a few too many nervous moments and minor problems in the final section cost them the title, according to Roger Webster.

It was good enough though to repel the substantive early markers from Soham Comrades (who took the 'Best Basses' award) and Milton Keynes Brass as the first two bands of the day.

They certainly produced performances of merit under Jayne Murill and Paul Fensom, whilst the mid-point break was book-ended by hard-working renditions from Yiewsley & West Drayton and 2013 Third Section Champion Band of Great Britain, LGB Brass.

Behind them the standard did fall away somewhat, although there were spirited performances from the likes of BAE Systems and Chinnor that caught the ear of listeners in the hall, whilst every band emerged from the severe test of their contesting abilities with credit.

It presented numerous challenges to overcome, but they were ones which our wonderful conductor Sharon Broughall took in her stride and gave us the confidence to master Band spokesman Stuart Quinlan


Second Section:

Test Piece: 'Rhapsody in Brass' (Dean Goffin)
Adjudicators: Steve Sykes and Dr Roger Webster

1. Grimsdyke (Sharon Broughall)*
2. Amersham (Paul Fisher)*
3. Milton Keynes Brass (Paul Fensom)
4. Soham Comrades (Jayne Murrill)
5. Yiewsley & West Drayton (Chris Cole)
6. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)
7. Wantage Silver 'B' (Danny Dullforce)
8. Waterbeach (Andrew Kershaw)
9. BAE Systems (Melvin White)
10. Tilbury (Ben Jones)
11. Chinnor Silver (David Pegram)
12. Hungerford Town (Tim Crouter)
13. St. Sebastian Wokingham (Nigel Howard)
14. Littleport Brass (Nicholas Garman)
15. Welwyn Garden City (Graham Chambers)
16. Epping Forest (Keith Schroeter)

Best Bass Section: Soham Comrades
Best Trombones: Amersham

*Top two bands qualify bands for National Final at Cheltenham

National trophies

2018 National Finalists confirmed

March 19 • The list of bands who will challenge for National honours in the autumn is now complete following the last round of 2018 Regional contests on the weekend.

Friary Guildford

Result: 2018 London & Southern Counties Regional Championship: Championship Section

March 18 • Frairy Guildford make it four wins in a row as they retain their top-flight title and are joined at the Albert Hall by Thundersley.


Result: 2018 London & Southern Counties Regional Championship: Fourth Section

March 18 • Bradwell Silver strikes gold to take Fourth Section title and head to Cheltenham alongside Regent Community Brass and Great Yarmouth Brass.


Result: 2018 North of England Regional Championship: Championship Section

March 18 • NASUWT Riverside makes it a North of England Area double as they head back to the Albert Hall as champions again with Reg Vardy in tow.

Black Dyke Band - The Hawth, Crawley

Sunday 18 March • The Hawth, Hawth Ave, Crawley RH10 6YZ

Contest: Welsh Regional Championships

Sunday 18 March • Brangwyn Hall, The Guildhall, Swansea SA1 4PE

Contest: London & SC REgional Championships

Sunday 18 March • Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage SG1 1LZ

Contest: North of England Regional Championships

Sunday 18 March • The Gala Theatre, 1 Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA

Black Dyke Band - Mirfield Parish Church

Thursday 22 March • Mirfield Parish Church, 38 Church Lane, Mirfield WF14 9HX

Knaresborough Silver Band

March 19 • Knaresborough Silver Band are looking for percussion players to join them following their recent success in the Areas 3rd section gaining our 3rd Cheltenham invitation in the last 4 years. We rehearse on Tuesday evenings @ 7.30pm.

East Yorkshire Motor Services Brass Band

March 19 • The EYMS Band has an immediate vacancy for a first class Solo Euphonium Or Solo Baritone. With The Grand Shield on the horizon and a sensible concert schedule we are looking for a talented individual to join this experienced section.

Chinnor Silver

March 19 • We are sadly loosing one of our award winning bass team soon(best basses award at areas) so we are looking for a Bb BASS . Good book of contests and concerts planned including butlins . We rehearse on Wednesday in our own bandroom

Neil Samuel