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4BarsRest – Bands of the Year


We’ve been to most contests under the sun in the UK this year and have not only heard some cracking performances from the bands but also lots of brilliant playing from individuals and sections. This of course leads us to the familiar pub quiz question – Who would you pick to represent your country at a “World Cup” Championship? The fantasy contest would be made up of “National” bands from all over the world and the winners would be one heck of an outfit.

With this in mind then, we asked around and finally came up with a list of players to represent the three main home countries. Apologies to the Irish, but our contacts could quite get together a complete banding list, although if anyone out there can piece together a band from the Emerald Isle we’ll print it here.

These are the lists of players for the bands, and we think they would do their countries proud. They may not be the best players in everyone’s eyes or ears, but we think they have been the best performers on contest stages during 2002. We have also picked a MD to direct operations as well on the same basis. If you think any different then let us know.

The “All Star” Band will be announced on Xmas Day and will be made up of players from these three Home Countries plus any others from all over the world who we think were the best during the past year.

The criteria were quite simple this time. We only selected players we had actually listened to. The players are selected on the basis of whom we thought performed the best at the contests we heard them at throughout 2002.

We employed rugby unions criteria on nationality, so the player could qualify to play for “their” country on grounds of residence as well as the usual place of birth. Any other criteria was up to us!

So these are the 4BR selections for a cap.

Musical Director: Allan Ramsey (Kirkintilloch/Unison Kinneil)

Soprano Cornet: Alexander Kerwin (CWS (Glasgow)
Principal Cornet: Eleanor Ferguson Dalmellington
Solo Cornet: Dave Prentice Kirkintilloch
Solo Cornet: Chris Bradley Whitburn
Solo Cornet: Hugh Foster Unison Kinneil
Repiano: Caroline Munroe Unison Kinneil
2nd Cornet: Lee Bathgate Kingdom Brass
2nd Cornet: Angus Edmond Newtongrange
3rd Cornet: Les Wood Kirkintilloch
3rd Cornet: Gordon Kyle Kirkintilloch
Flugel Horn: Jim Chamberlain Whitburn
Solo Horn: Iain Fleming Whitburn
1st Horn: Alan Wardrope Kirkintilloch
2nd Horn: Mike Doran Broxburn
Solo Euphonium: Evelyn Bradley Whitburn
2nd Euphonium: Neil Philip Newtongrange
Solo Baritone: Anne Crookston Whitburn
2nd Baritone: Katrina Marzella Broxburn
Solo Trombone: Mark Boyd Whitburn
2nd Trombone: Paul Kiernan CWS (Glasgow)
Bass Trombone: Gordon Mac Dougall Livingstone Brass
Eb Bass: Gareth Ross Kingdom Brass
Eb Bass: Willie Young CWS (Glasgow)
Bb Bass: Allan Gourlay Whitburn
Bb Bass: Gary Kelly Unison Kinneil
Percussion: Derek Love CWS (Glasgow)
Percussion: Jackie Aitchison CWS (Glasgow)
Percussion: David Lyons Unison Kinneil

Not a bad line up to represent the Scots then is it? Nine bands get representatives with Whitburn topping the list with seven, but a fair mix from the others as well. Allan Ramsey will be entrusted with leading the band – a reward for a fine year of baton work both at home and south of Hadrian’s Wall.

The principal players all shone throughout the year and it is very nice to report that some fine women players find their way into the team on merit. All the players here could just about walk into any band in the country and many have proved time and time again that they are as good as anyone anywhere, regardless of the band they play for. The top end is full of classy performers and the back row is as solid as Aberdeen granite. The middle of the band will produce a huge sound and the bass end from the euphs down can play the technical stuff with ease and produce a noise you could hear in Newquay let alone Newtongrange. Look closely at who’s in the bumper up positions and that will tell you how good this lot are.

A hard band to beat then, but do you agree with our choices.

Musical Director: Robert Childs (BAYV Cory)

Soprano Cornet: Iwan Fox (Tredegar)
Principal Cornet: Ian Williams (BAYV Cory)
Solo Cornet: Richard Davies (Cwmaman Silver)
Solo Cornet: Roger Boyle (Burry Port)
Solo Cornet: Jeff Hutcherson (BTM)
Repiano: Nigel Guy (BAYV Cory)
2nd Cornet: Kevin Powell (Abergavenny)
2nd Cornet: Phil Harris (BAYV Cory)
3rd Cornet: Darren Williams (Briton Ferry)
3rd Cornet: David Carey (Tredegar)
Flugel Horn: Andrea Lewis (Tredegar)
Solo Horn: David Cornelius (BAYV Cory)
1st Horn: Natalie Gibson (Tredegar)
2nd Horn: Tim Malpas (Cwmaman Silver)
Solo Euphonium: David Childs (BAYV Cory)
2nd Euphonium: Ceri John (Burry Port)
Solo Baritone: Sue Thomas (BAYV Cory)
2nd Baritone: Geraint Chamberlain (Tredegar)
Solo Trombone: Chris Thomas (BAYV Cory)
2nd Trombone: Kevin Gibbs (Mid Rhondda)
Bass Trombone: Julian Kerrel (Tredegar)
Eb Bass: John Prosser (BAYV Cory)
Eb Bass: Gavin Saynor (Beaumaris)
Bb Bass: Frazer Bish (BAYV Cory)
Bb Bass: Mark Richards (Cwmaman Silver)
Percussion: Alan Hathaway (BTM)
Percussion: David Mitchell (BAYV Cory)
Percussion: Bev Rowson (Tredegar)

A very, very strong line up from the Celts west of Offa’s Dyke. With Welsh banding in the top section in particular having a good year, it is no surprise to see 10 players from the British Open Champions taking their place, whilst Tredegar provide the next biggest contingent with 7. The fine achievements of Cwmaman have seen 3 of their players make it into the line up, whilst BTM and Burry Port chip in their fair share as well. Don’t raise an eyebrow with the selection of a couple of caps from the lower sections as the players from Abergavenny, Mid Rhondda and Briton Ferry have performed as well as any on the contest stage during the past twelve months. The back row also has two of the best shovellers in the business in the ageless duo of Harris and Carey – both experts in the dark reaches below the stave.

The premier players are as good as you could get anywhere and the bass end can whack it out with the best. There will be plenty of class in the middle and the percussion section in particular would be able to play anything from kettle drums to the kitchen sink.

The MD just had to be Robert Childs, and with his record over the past few years, this band would be a match for anyone. The Welsh dragon will be roaring for success, but do you agree about it’s composition?

Musical Director: Russell Gray (Fodens Richardson)

Soprano Cornet: Alan Wycherley (Fodens Richardson)
Principal Cornet: Ian Porthouse (Williams Fairey)
Solo Cornet: Mark Wilkinson (Fodens Richardson)
Solo Cornet: Roger Webster (Black Dyke)
Solo Cornet: Richard Marshall (Grimethorpe Colliery)
Repiano: Kirsty Abbotts (Carlton Main)
2nd Cornet: Lee Rigg (Williams Fairey)
2nd Cornet: Darren Stott (Sellers International)
3rd Cornet: Jimmy Leggett (Williams Fairey)
3rd Cornet: Keith Britcliffe (Keith Britcliffe)
Flugel Horn: Helen Fox (Fodens Rchardson)
Solo Horn: Owen Farr (Williams Fairey)
1st Horn: Martin Armstrong (Fodens Richardson)
2nd Horn: Leslie Howey (Black Dyke)
Solo Euphonium: Morgan Griffiths (Williams Fairey)
2nd Euphonium: Glyn Williams (Fodens Richardson)
Solo Baritone: Helen Tyler (Fodens Richardson)
2nd Baritone: Robert Richardson (Black Dyke)
Solo Trombone: Nick Hudson (Williams Fairey)
2nd Trombone: Brett Baker (Black Dyke)
Bass Trombone: Tobias Bannan (Grimethorpe Colliery)
Eb Bass: Phil Green (Fodens Richardson)
Eb Bass: Les Neish (Williams Fairey)
Bb Bass: Dean Morley (Grimethorpe Colliery)
Bb Bass: Simon Gresswell (YBS)
Percussion: Mark Landon (Fodens Richardson)
Percussion: Mark Arnold (Grimethorpe Colliery)
Percussion: Gavin Pritchard (YBS)

What a bleeding line up eh? We have included two “exiles” that we know of in the form of Glyn Williams and Owen Farr – both proud Welshmen but residents long enough to gain a place (even if they would be a bit miffed at wearing the red rose instead of the three feathers) whilst Fodens provide the main bulk of the playing strength with 8 representatives. Williams Fairey pitch in with 7, including three of the four “end chairs”. Black Dyke get a few, as do Grimethorpe and YBS, whilst both Sellers and Carlton Main provide two cornet players who in their own way have played as well as anyone during the year, even if their bands have not done too well on the contest stage themselves.

This lineup proved to be the most difficult to decide upon and there were many a player who more than deserved to be included, but we stuck to our criteria and went for the form players during 2002. The top end is one to die for – solo work could be shared out no problem eh? The middle of the band is as strong as anything, whilst the bass end can wake the dead.

With all this power we needed a man in the middle who could control things yet also have that happy knack of winning prizes, so it had to go to Russell Gary on the basis of recent form with the stick. We thought the English band would be the strongest on paper, but do you agree if we have picked the best players to represent the Albion.

© 4BarsRest

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