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Pontins Championships 2002:

Fourth Section:

We give the 4BR Retrospective of the performances, plus the official adjudicators remarks for the winners.

Pennine Moor proved a challenge for the 4th section but credit must be given to all the bands that gave it their best efforts and certainly made for a most interesting morning's banding.

The start of the contest was delayed by a technical hitch - that of being shy of one adjudicator! Richard Evans, 'the culprit' gave his apologies at the end of the section and in truth it didn't matter - it wasn't a disaster. Speaking so eloquently, after a wonderful reception from the audience, he made light of his delay blaming time being spent with a certain Ms Ulrika Jonsson (in your dreams Mr.Evans!) before giving us his thoughts on the contest namely those of melody, tempo, togetherness and style.

A good audience gathered all through the morning and each and every band got an encouraging response at the end of their performance. In the final analysis there could be no complaints about the results which really did to sort themselves out.

In the first of two great performances Lockwood Brass, who took the stage with an air of confidence in their bright red jackets played like a band out to make a statement. Which they most certainly did. They opened very confidently and this continued through the first movement where the odd blemish couldn't disguise the quality. A bright second movement was cleanly played but as with many performances the third movement proved a sterling test that they overcame without too many slips. Notable in this section of music was the back row cornet accompaniment and the baritone playing. A brisk 4th movement, in which the euph excelled, demonstrated that they are a strong band with obviously good players around the stands and they sport the happiest, chattiest and most fidgety (yet most likeable) baritone player on a contest stage I can remember. Congratulations to the band on a tremendous performance and on winning the contest.

St. Dennis, complete with their obviously lucky uniformed mascot, gave Lockwood a real challenge for the top spot and just missed out. This performance was another cracker in the fantastic resurgence of this famous band. Following a very solid opening movement with lovely horns, they continued with a second movement that gave opportunity for the trombones to shine. 'Minnie the Minx' on flugel played her solos excellently and the sympathetic glockenspiel playing was quite noteworthy. The fourth movement was played with panache and they were clearly leading the field before Lockwood nipped in to grab the spoils.

Hesketh Bank took 3rd place and are improving all the time; they will be a band to reckon with next season. A steady opening with good ensemble work was noted for its good cornet section and solid basses. The second movement had nice rhythmic feel and the odd blemish in the solo lines must have cost. The third movement didn't sit quite as comfortably but the fourth was bright where again the basses came through very well.

Uppermill opened the first movement very well but just became a little untidy towards the end before playing cleanly throughout the second. Their flugel solo was lovely and the third movement had some nice touches. It all felt a bit rushed into the final movement, which was then well shaped but overall this was a good show and was a good marker in taking 4th prize.

Without question conductor Gareth Ritter got Abertillery and District fifth spot with the best bit of conducting of the day across both sections held in the Lunars Bar that day. The band was not the cleanest but his direction brought to the performance a shape from which the band benefited up and down. The flugel player stood to take her solos very well and the middle of the band also contributed well but who was that nutmeg in the audience who said 'bum bum' at the end of their performance. Congratulations to GR on a tremendous bit of stick work.

Rivington and Adlington played very confidently and produced a well-balanced performance to take 6th place. The experience in the band supporting the back row will make likely make them a strong presence in the N.W. region 4th section this year. With some decent solo playing form the euphonium, flugel and in particular the trombone section had a very good day.

Pemberton Old 'B' under Peter Ashley played very steadily to come 7th. Lots of nice tone came through in their performance across all their sections. The Fourth movement was unquestionably their best but blemishes and problems with linking passages, which were a little untidy, may have proved costly in the adjudicator’s eyes.

Chalgrove, 8th, played very steadily and produced some nicely balanced ensemble work. A solid bass section featured and both the euphonium and flugel had their moments in support of a decent performance. The snare playing was particularly good in the 4th movement.

Standish were generally quite solid but tuning in the third movement and some untidy moments in the outer movements undid an overall enjoyable performance that had some good dynamic contrast in finishing 9th.

Newall came in 10th playing last band in the section. The first movement saw their best playing when the horns played well and the syncopation was nicely judged. The 4th movement was taken very fast and got even quicker. Their placing was about right really.

We had some good playing in the Leics Co-op Snibston and Charnwood performance noted for the upper third in the results but it got rewarded with 11th place. Good solo trombone work and some nice rhythmic playing failed to make an impression. They have a busy contest schedule that started at Torquay and they have yet 3 more contests and test pieces to prepare for before the 2002 is out.

Shrewton Silver played in a quite measured style but lacked that bit of sparkle. Having said that the soprano, baritones and percussion had a good day and played very well in a performance coming in 12th.

Llanelli and District Brass (13th) was let down by tuning problems however the performance had some confident playing notably form the soprano, trombones and euphonium who produced a nice tone.

Nantile Vale Royal Silver gave an encouraging performance. They played very steadily but had some problems with cohesion and just a few too many errors in finishing 14th. The basses and percussion played well when the 4th movement saw them at their best.

We better just put the record straight and have a look at our dodgy predictions.

St.Dennis - 4BR Prediction 1 - Actual 2
Hesketh Bank - 4BR Prediction 2 - Actual 3
Leics Co-op Snibston and Charnwood - 4BR Prediction 3 - Actual 11
Rivington and Adlington - 4BR Prediction 4 - Actual 6
Uppermill - 4BR Prediction 5 - Actual 4
Newall - 4BR Prediction 6 - Actual 10
Pemberton Old 'B' - 4BR Prediction Dark Horse - Actual 7

So our predicted bands were not bad with 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th. So we missed out on the winner with Lockwood but we didn't have an inside wire and didn't know what to expect. Leics Co-op Snibston and Charnwood finished 11th so apologies to them and the dark horse Pemberton Old 'B' will be there or thereabouts again we're sure at sometime this season.

Adjudicators Remarks:

1. Lockwood Brass

1. Good style and balance to open – also good attention to dynamics. Fine playing at C. All parts clear at D. A good movement (careful timp please)
2. A very neat opening – the music flows. A good sound. Insecure from E but you recover. Good close.
3. A reasonable start, but 2 would prefer more expression. There is a nice flow to the music. Not secure from B Good build into C. Lovely euph sound and style at D. Good balance on final note.
4. Good opening the playing has drive. Good balance at C. Very neat hi- hat. DS As before – the music has life.

A very good performance, well directed, fine perc. Just number 3 lacked a little warmth of expression.

Alan Lawton.

1. Fine opening, all in place. Balance good too. I like the use of dynamics. This is good. Don’t forget to dampen timp!!!
2. I’m enjoying just listening. E – DS slight untidyness and it affects you all slightly. Repeat is excellent.
3. This works at this tempo – but it would be better with more espressivo – allowing it to tell us something. A – better, but that’s because more people are playing. B – cornet is good, but like the flugel, needs to perform the music more. D – Euph has style and to end its good.
4. 4. Bright and spoirited. Percussion very neat and helpful. Crisp, clean and interesting playing.

A very fine performance. The third movement was, im my opinion your weakest one, but still good.

Richard Evans.

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