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Yorkshire Regional Championships

First Section - Post Match Analysis

1. Wakefield Metropolitan (B. Dyson). 190 9
2. Kippax (I. Colley): 188 5
3. Chapeltown Silver (A. Dennis): 187 4
4. Peter Hawke Garages Lindley (N. Jowett): 195 6
5. Knottingly Silver (K. Belcher): 184 7
6. Holme Silver (I. Scott): 183 1
7. Stannington Brass (J. Hopkinson): 182 8
8. Yorkshire Evening Post (Sharlston) (I. Radcliffe): 181 3
9. Barnsley Building Society (C. Hirst): 180 2

The ensembles that are competing in the brass band world's equivalent of the Nationwide league have a lot to play for. Promotion to the elite section is the main aim and so many are geared for success and have plenty to offer, even if at times they tend to try too hard to imitate the bands that inhabit the Premier League. That is what seemed to be happening in the First Section in Yorkshire on the weekend.

Top prize went to Wakefield Metropolitan conducted by Brian Dyson who gave a very faithful musical account of "Royal Parks" that didn't sound as if they were trying to make something out of it that wasn't there. It was a very competent and secure performance that had a "no frills" feel and that was as close to the intentions of the composer of any of the bands could manage on the day. Such an approach has much to commend, and even though it may have lacked the excitement of others it certainly was the one that made the most musical sense. Pragmatism certainly won the day.

Second place went to Kippax and Ian Colley and again it was the sensible approach of a conductor with a lot of top-level experience as a player that shone through. They made the most of the detail in the first and third movement and produced a lovely rounded ensemble sound in the second, which didn't get bogged down in sentimentalism as many did. It was a well-deserved qualifying place.

Third spot went to Chapletown Silver, who we thought would do well (we predicted 2nd place) and for the most part they played very much to form and could on another day pinched a qualifying place. Well directed by Andrew Dennis they produced the best first movement of the day for us and held on well until a bit of overblowing cost them at the end of the third movement. Very nearly a trip to Torquay.

Fourth place went to pre match favourites, Peter Hawke Lindley and Neil Jowett, and they certainly sounded like a top-flight outfit. They produced the best overall picture for us, but took the most liberties with the music and even though it was exciting (and for us the band to beat) sometimes it veered away too far from the simplistic pallet George Lloyd had painted. Some lovely moments in the second movement were the highlight of the day for us.

Fifth and sixth places went to Knottingly Silver and Holme Silver, who both played well without ever suggesting they had done enough to push for the top prizes. Both had their moments, but again, both tried for something in the music that wasn't really there and as such the last movement from both was overblown and very untidy. Good bands these though and next year could see them mature more and challenge for a place at the Finals.

The bands that came 7th, 8th and 9th however didn't quite get to grips with the way in which George Lloyd had written his work and although Stannington Brass, Yorkshire Evening Post and Barnsley Building Society gave solid shows, all seem to approach the work with too much muscle and the deftness and lightness of much of the first movement and the sense of reflection in the second was lost. Still they had their moments when things went well, but at this level it needs more music and less muscle to make the impression.

Well done to Wakefield though who gave the most complete and musically faithful performance in a section that for the most part never quite impressed us as we thought it would. Too many tried to blow their way to Torquay and paid the penalty, but Wakefield didn't and the intelligent direction of Brian Dyson and the quality of his approach and that of his band gave them a deserved first place, whilst Kippax will also be looking for accommodation on the Riveria.

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