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Wilkinson Northern Open Brass Band Championships 2001:

This report was given by John James who provided 4BarsRest with all contest details.

This contest has always had a reputation of being an organised, well run event and this year was no exception. Under the auspices of Rainford Silver Band and North West Counties Brass Band Association (NWCBBA) Contest Control, at 08.45am the Championship got underway. A number of late withdraws reduced the field but nonetheless an interesting contest and some fine playing compensated for the reduced field.

Section D - Draw

1. Burneside Brass
2. Pemberton Old Wigan “B”
3. St.Helens Brass
4. Trinity Girls

A short section of four bands contested the prizes playing the Philip Wilby piece “The Seasons”. This guaranteed an interesting test as it’s one of the most listenable pieces and one which managed to rank the bands well. It a proved to be good day for Trinity Girls, who under the baton of Stuart Barton, were good winners with a bright, exciting performance. Their cornet player, Anna Spedding, caught the ear of the adjudicator John Hinckley, taking the certificate awarded to the best soloist in the section.

Pemberton Old Wigan “B” under the direction of Peter Ashley maintained a good recent record finishing as runners up.


1. Trinity Girls 175pts
2. Pemberton Old Wigan “B” 173pts
3. Burneside Brass 169pts

Trophy & Signed Score
Winning Conductor: Stuart Barton

Best Soloist Certificate
Anna Spedding: Cornet - Trinity Girls

Adjudicator - John Hinckley

Section C - Draw

1. Diggle
2. Eatons Farnworth
3. Eccles Borough
4. Friendly Band (Sowerby Bridge)
5. Haydock Youth
6. Hebden Bridge (Walkley Clogs)
7. Parr Band (Richardson Ltd) St.Helens
8. Slaithwaite

This was a really good, close contest featuring eight bands. Malcolm Brownbill’s choice of test pieces for the contest was to the fore in “Shine As the Light” composed by Peter Graham. This section was very difficult to call with many bands playing really well through one section to let themselves slip in another. It was testing but I felt an honest challenge for the bands - however in his summation John Hinckley alluded to the fact that he thought the piece a little too testing for Section C. That is not to say that there were poor performances, quite the contrary. It was the diversity in phrasing, pitch, balance and the like which made the result from the adjudicator so interesting.

In the end Eatons Farnworth players took both the soloist prizes and helped the band secure a 3rd place in a performance which did benefit from their secure solo playing. Conductor Peter Ashley enjoyed a good day bringing out another prize winning performance, having early taken Pemberton Old Wigan “B”.

Haydock Youth played with good style and linked the music well together. Loud valve noise in the bass section did carry into the auditorium but fortunately this did not overly distract from the music as they played their way into 2nd place. A winning performance by Diggle had much to enjoy and they were worthy winners on the day. A clean start, nice tempo and particularly a well played central section from both brass and percussion players led to a finale which was broad and solid.


1. Diggle 173pts
2. Haydock Youth 172pts
3. Eatons Farnworth 171pts

Trophy - Winning Conductor: Diggle
Trophy - Best Cornet: Michelle Wild - Eatons Farnworth
Trophy - Secretary Winning Band - Diggle
Best Soloist Certificate:
Nick Hunt:Euphonium - Eatons Farnworth

Adjudicator - John Hinckley

Section B - Draw

1. Blackpool Brass
2. BMP Europe Goodshaw
3. Delph
4. Flookburgh
5. Greenhalls
6. Moston and Beswick Manchester
7. Wigston

“A Salford Sinfonnietta” - Darrol Barry’s test piece, with its lovely slow section proved a good test of the bands in this section. The soloists were uniformly very good but all too often it was the accompanying parts which wobbled.

Flookburgh conducted by John Iveson played exceptionally well and their performance was full of captivating moments. A steady clean sound at the opening led its way through a classy bass trombone link into a well shaped slow movement. Their confident rendition closed out with good playing from all the players and was a deserving winner. Adjudicator Barry Thompson remarked that there were no doubts over the best soloist and on the day Flookburgh produced a stand out performance.

Moston & Beswick Manchester, were deliberate in style and produced a very warm sound. It was a nice performance which warranted a prize with the music passing smoothly through the different sections of the band.

In 3rd place came Blackpool Brass, who playing last of the seven competitors gave a good dynamically conscious performance, which just suffered from exposed tentative moments.


1. Flookburgh 186pts
2. Moston & Beswick Manchester 185pts
3. Blackpool Brass 184pts

Trophy - Winning Conductor: John Iveson
Trophy - Best Basses: Flookburgh
Best Soloist Certificate: Cornet - Flookburgh

Adjudicator - Barry Thompson

Section A - Draw

1. Blackburn and Darwin, Eric Landon
2. BT, M.Fowles
3. Eagley, Craig Roberts
4. Freckleton, Paul Dalton
5. Haydock Ogden Travel, Ian Brownbill
6. Hepworth, Mark Bentham
7. Holme Silver, Duncan Beckley
8. Vernon Building Soc Poynton, Martin Overmuller

This section was opened by Hepworth who played “Variations On A Ninth” by Gilbert Vinter to an astounding standard. Their musical performance was shaped, lyrical and dramatic. The cadenzas, in particular the style of the baritone player, were all note perfect and all contributed to earn them a clean sweep of prizes. It was a performance out of the top drawer.

Second place band BT and Blackburn and Darwen who took third prize, both played with style producing a sound often rich in colour with excellent dynamics. The lyrical playing and style in the fugue, where all the parts were clearly heard, marked both these performances.

This section rounded out an excellent day with the sound of the Hepworth winning performance a lasting memory.


1. Hepwoth 190pts
2. BT 189pts
3. Blackburn & Darwen 188pts

Trophy - Winning Conductor: Mark Bentham
Trophy - Best Soprano: Hepworth
Trophy - Best Euphonium: Hepworth
Best Soloist Certificate: Baritone - Hepworth

Adjudicator - Barry Thompson

This report was given by John James who provided 4BarsRest with all contest details.

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