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The Yeovil Entertainment Contest

The Octagon Theatre Yeovil.
2nd February 2002

Results as follows:

1. Mount Charles 197
2. Bodmin 196
3. Flowers 194
4. Bournemouth Concert 193
5. BTM 192
6. Woodfalls 191
7. Tredegar 190
8. BT 189
9. Averly 188
10. Redbridge 187
11. FC 186
12. Wooley Pritchart 185
13. Aldborne 184

Soloist Prize: Shaun Thomas Mount Charles Euphonium

Draw: Pre-draw

1. Averly & Newham
2. First City Brass
3. BTM
4. Flowers
5. BT
6. Redbridge
7. Bodmin
8. Tredegar
9. Woolley Pritchard Sovereign Brass
10. Aldbourne
11. JAG Mount Charles
12. Woodfalls
13. Bournmouth Concert Brass

And so the 2002 brass band contest season drags itself into life with the traditional season opener at Yeovil. The Silver Jubilee Contest (25 years and still going strong) will see 14 pretty good bands determined to make a mark for themselves and show their rivals that they will be a possible force to be reckoned with in the coming season, especially as the Area Championships are just around the corner.

Unlike Tyson versus Lewis there will be no biting, scrapping or mauling, although with Scotland playing England at the rugby there should be plenty of good quality well natured abuse flying around the local pubs. Wales don't play until Sunday, so there shouldn't be too many despondent Welsh faces feeling sorry for themselves (that will occur ten minutes into the game in Ireland) but there are strong challengers from both sides of Offas Dyke to ensure a close run contest.

Last years winners and reigning champions are Aveley and Newham from London and they make the long trip west hoping to join the impressive lists of bands that have retained their title here in the past 25 years. The first winners were Cory in 1979 who retained their title in 1980 and won last in 1997, whilst other multiple champions have included St.Austell in 1981 and 1983, Fodens 1985, 1986,1987 and 1989, Tredegar in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1998 and Bodmin in 1999 and 2000.

Who will take the 2002 crown then and put down their marker for the new season? Our very dodgy prediction is at the end of the article.

The contest starts early at 9.00am and there has been a pre draw for the bands. Top prize is a nice £1200 and the man in the box is the very experienced Derek Broadbent.

Conductor: David Williams
Record: No top 3 place
Record since 1998: (98 - DNE, 99 - DNE, 00 - 13th, 01 - DNE)
4BR Ranking: Outside top 60

Aldbourne return to the contest after a year away in 2001, although that was their first appearance at the contest for some considerable time. Another band that had a quiet year after coming 7th at the Areas under David Williams, but they continue to be a band that is capable of producing good quality solid performances. May not be one of the real contenders this year but they certainly won't disgrace themselves and they should hope to improve on their 13th place in 2000.

Aveley and Newham
Conductor: Nigel Taken
Best Result: Winners 2001
Record since 1998: (98 - DNE, 99 - 6th, 00 - 4th, 01 - 1st)
4BR Ranking: 20th

The reigning champions come to Yeovil determined to show that they are not just a band that starts a season on a winning note and ends it in disappointment. 2000 saw the band win with style here and follow this with a winning performance at the London Areas, but what followed was a year of under achievement after so much promise. It could and should have been so much better. Should however be amongst the prizes here if they play to their potential, and they have plenty of quality around the stands to do it.

Conductor: David Stowell
Best Result: 2nd place in 1991
Record since 1998: (98 - DNE, 99 - 4th, 00 - 8th, 01 - 6th)
4BR Ranking: 26th

The Welsh band has been making steady and solid progress over the past couple of years and this culminated by winning the last Welsh Championship Contest at Treorchy in November with a clever and well thought out entertainment programme. Always interesting to listen to and with some excellent soloists in their ranks they could well improve on last years 6th place. One of the most visually entertaining bands around.

Conductor: Steve Sykes
Best Result: Winners 1999 and 2000
Record since 1998: (98 - 5th, 99 - 1st, 00 - 1st, 01 - 3rd)
4BR Ranking: 31st

The double champions of 1999/2000 came close to making it a hat trick last year under the baton of Steve Sykes, but they have lost a few influential players since they did so well at both the All England Masters and the Grand Shield. Always a band to make interesting choices of programme they may have a few of Steve Sykes' clever arrangements under their belt on the day to improve their chances and they still have plenty of quality in the right places to do well.

Bournemouth Concert
Conductor: Major Chris Davies
Best Result: No top 3 place
Record since 1998: (98 - 14th, 99 - 5th, 00 - 9th, 01 - 7th)
4BR Ranking: Outside top 60

Another band that has regularly performed well here without ever really forcing their way into the prizes, Bournemouth had a quiet 2001 contesting wise after coming 10th at the Area Championships. Didn't appear at the Grand Shield or Senior Cup and there were rumours about the bands future a few months ago, which seem to have been brushed off. They employ Major Chris Davies to spearhead their attempt this year and they could well improve on last years 7th place.

Conductor: Michael Fowles
Best Result: 4th place 1998
Record since 1998: (98 - 4th, 99 - DNE, 00 - DNE, 01 - DNE)
4BR Ranking: 28th

British Telecom make a welcome return to the contest, for the first time since 1998 when they came 4th. Mike Fowles continues to do sterling work with the band and 3rd place at Pontins in October was a good quality performance. The disappointment of coming 12th at the Grand Shield seems to have been put behind them and they could well feature close to the top of the pile if they can summon the qualities of late 2001.

First City Brass
Conductor: Jeremy Wise
Best Result: 4th place 2001
Record since 1998: (98 - DNE, 99 - DNE, 00 - DNE, 01 - 4th)
4BR Ranking: 44th

The London band had a bit of a mare in 2001 after showing good form at this contest when they came in 4th. The Areas were a disaster and this was followed by 13th place at the Grand Shield. However, they performed much more to form in coming 14th in the strong field of the Masters. On their day they could really be up there and with a new Principal cornet on the books things could be looking up.

Conductor: Philip Harper
Best Result: 2nd place 1992 and 1998
Record since 1998: (98 - 2nd, 99 - 11th, 00 - DNE, 01 - 2nd)
4BR Ranking: 16th

Could 2002 be the year when Flowers hit a level of consistency that shows them to be the top class band they really are? At times they can be brilliant (Masters 2001) whilst at other times they can be awful. Philip Harper continues to bring fresh and innovative arrangements to the contest stage and the band has enough players of real quality to make a mark against any competitors. The signs are there that this could be a good start to the year.

JAG Mount Charles
Conductor: Richard Evans
Best Result: 2nd place 2000
Record since 1998: (98 - 14th, 99 - 8th, 00 - 2nd, 01 - 5th)
4BR Ranking: 34th

The form band of the moment, and an outfit that has real prospects of making the leap into the top stream of Championship contenders in 2002. The Pontins Champions have enough quality around the stand (including recent signings) to shine here and at the Areas in a month or so. 2001 was a good year, but they did have a few blips at the Masters when they came 17th and the Grand Shield when they came 14th, but they are always well worth taking the time to listen to. Perhaps the favourites to start 2002 with a win and they do have Tricky Dicky doing his stuff as well.

Kidlington Concert
Conductor: Catherine Underwood
Best Result: No top 3 place
Record since 1998: (98 - DNE, 99 - DNE, 00 - 11th, 01 - 10th)
4BR Ranking: Outside top 60

Kidlington had a remarkable year in 2001 and performed with admirable merit at the National Finals in London. Catherine Underwood continues to make solid progress with the band and they remain contenders to repeat their 2nd place at the Areas if they play as well as they did there last year. We don't have much to go on with entertainment contests for them but they would hope to improve on the last two years where they have come home in 11th and 10th places.

Redbridge Brass
Conductor: Melvin White
Best Result: 2nd place 1993
Record since 1998: (98 - DNE, 99 - DNE, 00 - 5th, 01 - DNE)
4BR Ranking: 54th

2001 seemed to be something of a quiet year for the London based band, which has intermittently performed well here over the years. Failure to qualify for the London Finals when they came 4th and with the band not competing at either the Grand Shield, Senior Cup or the Masters meant that they did not appear as regularly on the contest stage as they have done in the past. Melvin White is an experienced MD though and this could prove invaluable. Don't know what to expect, but should be interesting none the less.

SWT Woodfalls
Conductor: Jonathan Camps
Best Result: No top 3 place
Record since 1998: (98 - 12th, 99 - DNE, 00 - DNE, 01 - DNE)
4BR Ranking: 51st

Another band making a return to the contest after a period away. Last played here in 1998 when they limped home in 12th place, but during the last year they have been working hard with the likes of Major Peter Parkes and they performed well at Pontins when they very nearly had the contest in the bag but had to be content with 5th place. 20th place at the Masters was not as bad as it looks and if they play to the form that saw them just miss out on a qualifying place at last years Area championships they could well feature.

Conductor: David Hirst
Best Result: Winners 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998
Record since 1998: (98 - 1st, 99 - 9th, 00 - DNE, 01 - DNE)
4BR Ranking: 8th

The Welsh band have again been raided for their players of late and are in a period of re building ahead of their defence of their Welsh Area title and performance at the 2002 Europeans in Brussels. They remain contenders at all the contests they take part in and performed well at the Nationals when they were unlucky to come 7th after a fine performance. Defeat at the last Welsh Championship contest by BTM could be the spur to se them repeat their four straight wins here, but it may be a bit early in the reconstruction stakes at the moment.

Woolley Pritchard Sovereign
Conductor: Stephen Roberts
Best Result: 2nd 1999
Record since 1998: (98 - 12th, 99 - 2nd, 00 - 6th, 01 - DNE)
4BR Ranking: Outside top 60

Woolley Pritchard returns under the baton Stephen Roberts and will be looking to at least repeat their 2nd place here in 1999. 2001 wasn't the greatest year for the band but they did perform above expectations on occasions without any luck. Pontins last October in particular saw them play really well without reward when they came home 20th and they also gave a goos showing at the Senior Cup when they were unlucky to get 10th. Stephen Roberts is a class act with the stick and knows a thing or two about entertainment contests. Could 2002 be the start of a better year?

Last Years Result:

1. Aveley and Newham 193pts
2. Flowers 192pts
3. Bodmin 191pts
4. First City Brass 190pts
5. Mount Charles 188pts
6. BTM 187pts
7. Bournemouth Concert 186pts
8. Besses O' th' Barn 185pts
9. Kibworth 184pts
10. Kidlington 183pts
11. Swindon Pegasus 182pts

4BR Prediction:

1. JAG Mount Charles
2. Flowers
3. Tredegar
4. Aveley And Newham
5. BT
6. First City Brass

Dark horse: BTM

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