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JAG Mount Charles takes Yeovil by Storm!

25th Yeovil Entertainment Contest
2nd February 2002

4BR takes a retrospective look back at the Cornish bands win at the first big entertainment contest of the year.

On one of the most miserable, wet and windy Saturdays that you could imagine, JAG Mount Charles under the direction of that old master entertainer himself Richard Evans, mirrored the prevailing meteorological conditions of Somerset and took the 25th Yeovil Entertainment title by storm.

With a superbly crafted and delivered performance they secured their first (and on this form possibly not their last) title of 2002 to win by a point from a rejuvenated Bodmin under Steve Sykes in second and Flowers directed by Philip Harper in third place.

Adjudicator Derek Broadbent was without doubt that the Cornish band were the clear winners and felt they had delivered a 25-minute concert programme of real quality and style. From the first note of the march "Under the White Ensign" to the last note of the "Coronation Scene form Boris Gudunov" there was confirmation that this band could really be one of the form horses for the year as they displayed a full rounded and balanced sound, good technique and control of dynamics at both ends of the range. Furthermore, Shaun Thomas, the bands fine euphonium player took the soloist prize for a first rate rendition of Peter Graham's "Brillante". All in all it was a performance that fully justified the written comments made by the adjudicator that described the overall show as one "that had little to judge and much to commend".

The performance of Shaun Thomas had Derek Broadbent remark, "A top class performance by the soloist and ably accompanied by the band and conductor alike."

Mount Charles also gave notice of their qualities with a fine rendition of the Mozart "Ave Verum" and some understated wit and humour with "Hornpipe Humouresque". All in all it was a deserved winning performance and conductor Richard Evans was of course delighted when he spoke to us after the results.

"I've really enjoyed my time working with the band. I came down expecting to have to work hard to get things up to scratch, but they all put in 110% effort and it paid off. They are a band that has the ambition and talent to do very well this year and they have an intelligent and realistic set of aims and objectives. They really could be contenders this year."

Second place was secured by a muscular performance from Bodmin that featured a cracking opener in "The Waltonian" by Richards and moved with a fine sense of style and wit to end with "The Little Russian". It again showed that they are a band to look out for come the Regional Championships and under Steve Sykes they displayed a return to the qualities that saw them take the top prize here in 1999 and 2000. We at 4BR continue to underestimate them at our peril and they put a well-deserved two fingers up to our prediction once again. Lots of humble pie is being eaten by us.

Third spot was taken by another rejuvenated band in Flowers under Philip Harper who again showed that on their day they can really perform to a very high level. Just a few blips and blobs and a penchant for tiresome choreography perhaps denied them being closer to the top prize as the standard of most of their actual playing was as good as any on the day. It will also mean that the West of England Regional Championships will see these three bands up against each other to try and secure the two qualifying places on offer for the National Finals. All are more than capable of producing fine performances and so it should make for an interesting day on "Whitsun Wakes".

Fourth place went to Bournemouth Concert who gave a very workmanlike show under Major Chris Davis that should see them also approach the forthcoming Areas with renewed confidence and beat many more fancied bands into the minor placings.

BTM again performed well to come home in fifth and show that they have been making real solid progress in the past twelve months or so, whilst SWT Woodfalls took sixth place with a competent showing under Jonathan Camps that fully justified their result.

Below them however, were a few performances that lacked the quality that we have come to expect from bands with bigger reputations than those above them. Tredegar were immensely disappointing by their standards and sounded tired and loose in ensemble and could have few complains at coming home in 7th place, whilst BT (8th) and Aveley and Newham (9th) performed below expectations. Aveley had the short straw of the number 1 draw, but somehow never really played to form, whilst BT sounded a little under prepared and with too many slips that proved very costly.

Below them came performances that had their moments of quality but were out weighed by too many costly mistakes and so Redbridge who came 10th, First City (11th), Woolley Pritchard Sovereign (12th) and Aldbourne (13th) failed to impress although they all had their moments.

So JAG Mount Charles were worthy winners and have put down a significant marker for the forthcoming season, and the Area Championship should be a keen contest if the three top bands here continue to play to form. Wales had a disappointing weekend (and we are not just talking about the Dublin massacre) and the London bands will need to show better form of they too are to make a mark come the Masters. A fine day of contesting with the overall standard up on what has been on show for the full audience for the past couple of years. Derek Broadbent was full of praise for all the bands and made intelligent comments about the standard of the playing from all the competitors on the day, especially the soloists whom he felt all played superbly.

As for our predictions. We got the top spot right and third place for Flowers was just one out, whilst Tredegar and BT were out of the hunt. Bodmin once again showed that they should never be written off and BTM proved themselves a good bet as dark horses. Well done to Bournemouth and special thanks from us to Martin Berzins from Yeovil Town Band who provided us with plenty of information on the programmes of each of the bands, so that we tell you what they all played.

And What the Bands Played.

Aveley and Newham - Radio City; Paris Le Soir; Clock With The Dresden Figures; Pie Jesu; Finale from Belshazzar's Feast.

First City - The Liberator; Adagio (Rachmaninov); Hornpipe Humouresque; For the love of a Princess; Where No one Has Gone Before.

BTM - Blue Midnight; Xylophonia; And the Band Played On; Scarborough Fair; Shine As the Light.

Flowers - Mega Finale; Barcelona; Birdland; Beneath the Willows; The Circle of Life.

BT - Comedians Galop; Waltz from the Orient Express; Deep River Spiritual; A Lovely Day Tomorrow; Entrance of the Emperor from Turandot.

Redbridge - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy; Mambo from West Side Story; Windows of the World; Blue Bells of Scotland; Russlan and Ludmilla.

Bodmin - The Waltonian; Napoli (comedy version leading to) Light As Air; Carnival Cocktail; Softly, Softly; Little Russian.

Tredegar - Four French Renaissance Dances; Carnival of Venice; Malaguena; Pierre a Notre Dame; Little Russian.

Woolley Pritchard Sovereign - March to the Brass House; Overture from Masques and Bergamasques; Rule Britannia; Andante from Symphony by Bohme: American Carnival.

Aldbourne - Seville from Four Spanish Impressions; Postcard from Mexico; Brasilia; Don't Cry for me Argentina; The Royal Hunt form Evocations.

Mount Charles - Under the White Ensign; Brillant; Hornpipe Humouresque; Ave Verum; Coronation Scene from Boris Gudunov.

SWT Woodfalls - Kindly Leave the Stage; Tonight; Endearing Young Charms; Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy; Toccata from Suite Gothique.

Bournemouth - Star Trek; Brillante; On the Track; Londonderry Air; Shine As the Light.

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