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The Lower Section National Finals 2002

Post match analysis: Section section

Who would have thought things were going to end so late when the Second Section started on time – 10.00am on Sunday?

Kenneth Hesketh’s wonderful music was a great test piece for the bands and just about everyone had something to offer the judges in each of the four sections of it. Some nearly did it all, whilst many had one, two or even three good movements that were scupperred by one bad one. It meant that it was a closer contest than many thought – with the winners the band that really made it all come together from start to finish.

Our pre match predictions were Langbaurgh, Hade Edge, Horbury Victoria, Lancashire Life Morecambe, Penclawdd, Kirkintilloch and Shirley. In the event we managed four out of the top six – not a bad return with the bands coming home 5th, 1st, 14th, 6th, 10th, 8th and 3rd.

On the day though Hade Edge and their superb MD, Simon Wood (not Ward as we stated in our preview – sorry Simon) came out as deserved winners, giving a performance that we noted for its tightness in the ensemble and boldness in attack. He took no prisoners and with a good sprinkling of older players adding to the exuberance of the talented younger players, it made for a fine all round performance of real class. This is an upwardly mobile band and won’t be out of place in the First Section next year for sure. All this and Mr Wood conducted in a band jacket and with a baton the size of a Star Wars light sabre. The force was with him though and his talent shone through. We tipped them before hand and they didn’t disappoint – wonderful stuff.

Second place went to Brackley and District conducted by Jason Glynn. This was a performance that we felt had musical character a plenty but fell a little short with a few too many technical mistakes. However, the musical content was of the highest class throughout and each section had colour, texture and atmosphere. It was tight and effective and benefited from some super individual playing from the horn, flugel and a monster bass trombone. Well done.

Third place went to our dark horses, Shirley under the direction of Dave Lea, who gave a cracking show from the number one spot that very nearly held the top spot to the bitter end. It was exciting and detailed, but just a touch of “shine” that both the bands that came above them had. Still, a very fine performance - especially so early in the day.

Mostyn and Beswick took fourth place under Rob Taylor with a performance that also had its moments of fine playing. It was perhaps a touch “blander” than the other above them, but it also had less noticeable mistakes and so they could count themselves a touch unlucky. We even said that it didn’t have a dodgy moment either, so nothing much wrong with it all – but sometimes a bit of risk taking can be beneficial.

Our pre match favourites Langbaurgh also performed well to come home fifth under the direction of Tim Oldroyd. This was a performance that was different from just about everyone else on the day – the dynamics and tempo were stretched somewhat – sometimes working, sometimes not, but overall it certainly made an impression. Fifth place seemed a touch strange given how different it was – sometimes a performance like that can either win by five points or come home last.

The last top six place went to Lancashire Life Morecombe, very well directed by Andrew Wariner, which was well balanced, bright and exciting, but didn’t catch the ears of the judges as we thought it may have. They can count themselves a touch unlucky perhaps.

Behind them came many performances that had their moments – but moments they were and none of them possibly could hold the standard throughout all four movements to make an impression on the judges to come higher. Langley, Kirkintilloch and Bendix were the best of the rest and could have put forward a case for higher places, whilst Penclawdd, Northfleet and Cockerton all had their moments – interspersed with too many individual errors. What it did show was that the test piece was a real test piece – technical and musical tests that found out the weaker bands but rewarded the better ones.

Below this came a bottom five who never quite came to grips with the intricacies of the music and made errors that were too costly. Becontree were undermined by bad tuning, whilst Horbury we thought gave a worthy show, that never quite had the sparkle that others had – it sounded a bit staid. Torbay, Croy and Rhyl made up the numbers with shows that did a bit here and there, but never quite suggested they were in complete control of matters.

So the top prize went to Hade Edge – and what a delightful bunch they are – full of enthusiasm and good humour and with a MD who we will surely hear more of in the future. We did say to him that we hoped he could conduct without the aid of the band jacket – but given that on the two occasions that we have seen him wear it hew has won, why should he change?

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