The joyful celebrations of the winners at this year's Brass at the Guild contest were overshadowed by the news that a player from a competing band had been seriously injured in a car accident on the way to the contest.
The Fourth Section, which was due to start at 10.00am was delayed for around 45 minutes with an announcement made to explain the situation as it evolved.
Following the event a spokesperson for Lancashire Contests told 4BR: "Our thoughts and wishes are with the player involved and their family, and fully respect their wish for privacy at this time."
The contest day was certainly a competitive success, with a friendly sense of rivalry permeating each event as bands tested their early season form, and with the excellent support of sponsors R. Banks & Sons enabling the hard working Lancashire Contest organisers to offer generous prize funds.
In the Championship Section, Michael Fowles was given a straight comparison job with all nine contenders opting to perform 'Pageantry' ahead of the various Area Championships.
The Foden's MD was very clear in his analytical pre-results remarks; using a 'Bake Off' analogy (there is the hint of Paul Hollywood about him someone later said) about hearing performances in varying states of 'Area oven-ready' preparation.
It was a neat way to describe his findings (and he did the same in the First Section) — enabling him to take into account that conductors still had between one or two months before their concoctions had to be presented to the Mary Berry's of the Area adjudication world.
Lippeatt is star baker
'Star Baker' at present though was Stan Lippeatt and Hatfield, who gave a very deliberately set out account to take the £400 first prize and the invitation to compete at the Senior Trophy in Blackpool in May. In addition, their euphonium player Simon Willis took the 'Best Euphonium' prize with the tuba section adding the 'Best Basses' accolade.
Second place went to a neatly portrayed account from Milnrow, aided by the 'Best Soloist' contribution of Iain Culross on solo cornet, whilst the final podium place was taken with a bold rendition from a confident Wingates.
"The winning performance had its little idiosyncrasies," Mike Fowles later told 4BR. "But the foundation work was solid and there was plenty of evidence that they were in one with the MDs direction. Others were not as complimentary to each other with some aggressive approaches robbing the music of flow and purpose — but all I felt were heading in the right direction."
Meanwhile, Stan Lippeatt told 4BR: "I'm delighted — especially as we now have a settled team that is working well together. I've played 'Pageantry' under some great conductors over the years and have directed it myself, but it's still a work that needs attention to detail and an understanding of its style. This is a great way to start the year and gives us plenty to build on for the Area and the Senior Trophy."
Mike Fowles was also given a single point of musical reference in the First Section — with all six competitors taking on the challenge of Philip Sparke's 'The Land of the Long White Cloud'.
Once again he gave a detailed pre-result analysis of the problems he felt had to be addressed as well as overcome — especially tempo relationships and musical flow. Some choices he described as 'bizarre' as he noted the specific tempo instructions on the score, although he also stated that he had considered the extent of early season preparation undertaken by bands with an eye on the forthcoming Area contests.
In the end it was Marsden Sliver who enjoyed a huge boost of confidence ahead of the Yorkshire Area Championships in Huddersfield as they claimed victory under MD Alan Widdop. Meanwhile, Oldham (Lees) continued their good start to 2016 by coming runner-up ahead of third placed Freckleton.
One band that bucked the 'Area-prep' approach was Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B', who carried on the excellent form they showed at the Butlins Championship by claiming the Second Section title with a reprise of their Skegness work, 'Inclusion' — beating 10 rivals testing their mettle on 'Rhapsody in Brass' in the process.
With the addition of the 'Best Soloist' and 'Best Basses' awards they added £400 to their January coffers, beating solid accounts from podium finishers Blackpool Brass and Bakewell Silver.
Eccleston Brass took the honours in the Third Section — and off the number 1 draw, with a well-worked performance of 'Darkwood' by Dan Price.
In closely matched contest, they set the marker to hold off the challenge of Yorkshire challengers BD1 and North West Area contender Pilling Jubilee — each delivering performances of 'Darkwood' that should set them up nicely for the Area events in a few weeks time.
Fourth Section and Youth:
Despite the delay to the start of the contest, each of the nine bands delivered performances of merit, with Thornton Cleveleys eventually taking the £400 first prize ahead of rivals Tingley Brass and BMP Europe Ltd Goodshaw.
And in what proved to be an excellent British Open Youth at the Guild contest, Youth Brass 200 made it a 'double hat-trick' under inspirational MD Chris Jeans — with a reprise of their 'Beyond the Tamar' set that adjudicator Lynda Nicholson said, '...had been a complete privilege to see and hear'.
Second place went to the emerging talents of Poynton Youth with Oldham Music Centre in third.
Our thoughts and wishes are with the player involved and their family, and fully respect their wish for privacy at this timeLancashire Contests
The Guild Hall
Test Pieces: Pageantry (Howells) or Butlins own-choice
Adjudicator: Michael Fowles
1. Hatfield (Stan Lippeatt)
2. Milnrow (Matthew Brown)
3. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
4. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
5. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)
6. Hepworth (Leigh Baker)
7. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)
8. Blidworth Welfare (Martin Heartfield)
9. Easington Colliery (Ian Robinson)
Best Soloist: Iain Culross (cornet) — Milnrow
Best Euphonium: Simon Willis (Hatfield)
Best Basses: Hatfield
Winning Conductor: Stan Lippeatt
British Open Senior Trophy invitation: Hatfield
The Guild Hall
Test Pieces: The Land of the Long White Cloud (Sparke) or Fantasy for Brass Band (Arnold)
Adjudicator: Michael Fowles
1. Marsden Silver Prize (Alan Widdop)
2. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
3. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)
4. Harrogate (Dean Jones)
5. Ripon City (Martin Hall)
6. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Matthew Ryan)
Best Soloist: Oldham (Lees) — flugel
Best Soprano: Marsden Silver Prize
Best Basses: Oldham (Lees)
Winning Conductor: Alan Widdop
The Guild Hall
Test Pieces: Rhapsody in Brass (Goffin) or Inclusion (Sharman)
Adjudicator: David Hirst
1. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Mike Golding)
2. Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)
3. Bakewell Silver (Jim Henson)
4. Delph (Jonathan Davies)
5. Horbury Victoria (Duncan Beckley)
6. Horwich RMI (Matt Ryan)
7. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
8. Crewe Brass (Jamie Meredith)
9. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Christopher Binns)
10. Royal Buckley Town (Brett Baker)
Withdrawn: Besses o' th' Barn (Kenny Pain); Flixton (Jason M Smith)
Best Soloist: Heen Don-Duncan (euphonium) — Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B'
Best Basses: Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B'
Winning Conductor Trophy: Mike Golding
Test Pieces: Darkwood (Price) or The Lion and the Rose (Wilby)
Adjudicator: Ian Brownbill
1. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
2. BD1 (Lee Skipsey)
3. Pilling Jubilee (Len Charnock)
4. Skelmersdale (James Hall)
5. Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw)
6. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
7. Oughtibridge Brass (Gavin Somerset)
Withdrawn: Rivington & Adlington (Malcolm Wilson)
Best Soloist: Eccleston Brass (euphonium)
Best Percussion: BD1
Best Horn: BD1
Best Trombone: Eccleston Brass
Best Basses: Eccleston Brass
Winning Conductor: John Wood
Test Pieces: St Andrews Variations (Fernie) or Butlins own-choice
Adjudicator: Ian Brownbill
1. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)
2. Tingley Brass (John Belton)
3. BMP Europe Ltd Goodshaw (Joshua Hughes)
4. Brindle (Keith Richmond)
5. Allerton Brass (Adam Taylor)
6. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
7. Tarleton Brass (Gillian Bould)
8. Lostock Hall Memorial (Phil Edwards)
9. Blackley (John Atkinson)
Best Soloist: Tingley Brass
Best Euphonium: Thornton Cleveleys
Best Basses: Thornton Cleveleys
Winning Conductor: Stephen Craig
The British Open Youth at the Guild Festival 2017:
The Charter Theatre
20-minute own-choice programme of entertaining music.
Adjudicator: Lynda Nicholson
1. Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans)
2. Poynton Youth (Michael Eccles)
3. Oldham Music Centre (Jonathan Leedale)
4. Brassed Off (Louise Renshaw)
5= Stockport Schools (Alice Bell)
5= Wigan Youth Zone (John Don-Duncan)
Best Soloist: Poynton Youth (EEb tuba)
Youngest Player: Ruebin Mocano (Poynton Youth)
Best Tenor Horn: Wigan Youth Zone
Winning Conductor: Chris Jeans