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Post Match Analysis:
Welsh Regional Championships 2002

First Section:
Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
Saturday 16th March
Adjudicator: Steve Sykes
Commences: After results of 2nd Section


1. Abergavenny Borough (D. Childs): 1 191
2. Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda (A. Gibbs): 6 190
3. Tongwynlais Temperance (N. Seaman): 8 189
4. Rogerstone (C. Thomas): 9 188
5. Treherbert and District (G. Sheppard): 2 187
6. Pontardulais Town (C. Buckley): 10 186
7. Ammanford Town (C. Hogg): 11 185
8. Tylorstown Valley Lines (L. Phillips): 7 184
9. Deiniolen (J. Cant): 3 183
10. Markham and District (N. Seaman): 5 182
11. RAF St. Athans Vol (A. Bourne): 4 181

Top two qualify

Steve Sykes was an impressed man come the results of the First Section, although for most people in the hall, they didn’t quite agree with his decision.

His remarks to 4BR suggested that he had very clear ideas of what he wanted to hear from the bands on George Lloyd’s “Royal Parks” and he made it clear that the winning band were certainly the most musically and technically consistent on a piece that has many hidden qualities. Too many bands he said gave a fine first or fine third movement, or a good second and great third, but for him, only one band really made their mark on all three sections, and that for him was Abergavenny Borough.

Drawn first, and with debutante conductor David Childs at the helm, they certainly were the most consistent performer on the day and there was some lovely playing in the quieter sections, but for most people it lacked the vigour and brio of both the bands that came second and third. The technical passages were overcome confidently and it was noted that David Childs gave his band much more time and space so that the more up tempo sections had a clarity rather than just plain speed. It was controlled and pragmatic and certainly caught the ear of the man in the box.

Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda were second and gave a very confident showing of the test piece that relied more on the technique rather than the music to make its mark. It was noticeable quicker than Abergavenny and as such lacked the clarity that was the hallmark of their performance. It was certainly exciting and they produced a big robust sound (at times a little too robust) but there was much to merit it and it was obvious the band and its players could confidently handle the piece. Second place was deserved.

Third placed Tongwynlais Temperance contributed to the main talking point of the day though, as they gave a secure and detailed performance that seemed to have won the contest for most people off the number 8 draw. It was certainly exciting, and the tempos were comfortably handled by both the band and the conductor whilst there was some super playing from the solo cornet and euphonium. They sounded the biggest band on the day, but it was overall a rounded quality sound. Perhaps it was the way in which they approached the quieter moments in the music that led the adjudicator to mark them down, as some of the playing was safe rather than really quiet, whilst the music didn’t quite have the flow of Abergavenny in places.

Still, it was mighty impressive and the audience (and many rival players) thought it was the winner, but it wasn’t to be and they had to be content with third spot. Contesting can be a cruel mistress at times

Below the top three came some solid performances, notably from Rogerstone who came 4th and Treherbert who came 5th, whilst Pontardulais benefited from a very musical approach to the music by Brian Buckley that could have got them higher if they could have eradicated the slips. All these bands fitted the bill in terms of what Steve Sykes spoke of, as all of them gave a two thirds performance of quality.

The bottom four were Tylorstown Valley Lines, Deiniolen, Markham and District and RAF St. Athans, who all gave solid and competent accounts of themselves and the music, but all suffered solo problems and each had one movement that was significantly weaker than the rest. The odd thing was that it wasn’t the same movement that caused the problems.

So a great debut for another member of the Childs family to start his conducting career, and even if there were many out there who did think perhaps there was a touch of 'beginners luck', the record books will forever have him down as the conductor of the winning band – that’s banding.

© 4BarsRest

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