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4BR Review of the Year

Third Section

Our man John James casts a retrospective eye back over the year that was in the Third Section.

The first news story of 2002 to break that had direct impact on the Lower Sections was an announcement in January from Besses o’th Barn publicizing the appointment of Lynda Nicholson as their MD. With this she relinquished her position with the Rainford Silver Band and her positive impact on the premiership outfit in 2002 can already be seen.

The third section, without question, came up trumps for class in 2002 and bands had to produce playing of the highest standard to figure in the prizes at all contests. It would be impossible in a review of this nature to mention every prize-winning band but each and every band that figured in the prizes would have played at their very best to score in this Section.

‘St. Austell Suite’ by Kenneth Downie was the new music for the section and it proved a good test at the Regionals.

Yorkshire was represented at the National Finals by Oughtibridge and Hebden Bridge (Walkleys) who also finished in the prizes at Tameside, won at Friezeland and took best 3rd Section prize at Heyrod on Whit Friday. Whilst they didn’t get into the frame at Torquay not a bad set of results for Ian Craddock’s band.

The Midlands were very well represented at the National Finals. Raunds Temperance under John Fletcher played really well to win the Midlands Regionals and then drew the short straw in drawing last at Torquay. Despite the lateness of the hour they came a creditable 5th. Carlton Brass can boast a really good 2002. They celebrated their Centenary with finishing in the top ten at Torquay and scored a string of successes throughout the year including the North East Midlands Contest in February, the Brass and Trams Entertainment event, Leicester, Leamington Spa, Regionals and also played well at Belvoir Castle.

Not a bad track record - so plenty of Brasso needed to clean their trophy shelf then! Arrow Valley celebrated their silver anniversary by figuring in the top half in the Nationals and before we travel too far away we can’t move on without paying tribute to David Stanley who stood down as Chairman of The British Federation of Brass Bands at the end of September. Rushden Windmill took the Milton Keynes contest but then had the cruellest of luck. They suffered disappointment at the Regionals being let down by a key missing player on the day. Fortunately they were able to put that behind them with a good result at the WMBBA Contest in Leamington Spa.

Shotts St. Patrick won both Carnegie and took the Regional title in Motherwell and together with Arbroath Instrumental they played their part in representing Scotland well at the National Finals.
Shotts St. Patrick also appeared on video this year with the release of a film ‘Brass in the Park’ which featured 17 bands playing at the Newtongrange Park, Midlothian, an innovative promotion from North of the Border. The band movement can look forward to a really warm welcome in Dundee with the announcement that the National Finals for 2003 will be held at the Caird Hall.

The impact of a new band formed in 2002 and conducted by Paul Andrews, Wire Brass from Warrington, was immediately felt when they won the second section at Brass at the Preston GuildHall contest. This set the scene for a phenomenal 2002 at National level and as a result were included as candidates in the 4BarsRest awards. They won the North West Regionals, were runners-up in the National Finals and took the Pontins Championship title and captured an absolute string of awards on Whit Friday. Silk Brass (AstraZeneca) were crowned National Champions in fine style and that was not the only award they claimed taking the North East Midlands Contest in February. To cap this they then gained top prizes at Carrbrook, Greenfield and Roundthorn on Whit Friday. Middleton Band, after a good result at Blackpool and featuring at Scouthead and Austerlands on Whit Friday, made it a North West 1,2,3 in Torquay. They did raise a few eyebrows in October when they parted company with Shane Foster who had taken them to this success.

With the dominance of the bands from the North West at the Torquay experience it confirmed that, as with the Fourth Section, the NW led the way in this division in 2002.

Boarshurst (Greenfield) Band under the direction of Jonathan Webster were a busy band capturing a string of good results (Mar 2002 Regionals - 7th, May 2002 Holme Valley Contest - 3rd (SecA), May 2002 Holme Valley Contest - 2nd (SecB), May 2002 Buxton Contest - 4th, Oct 2002 North West Open Championships - 1st,) and they impressed our Gaelic neighbours when in July they took the French Open (Division 2) title. Their impact on 2003 is already in place as the work they commissioned, which was written and transcribed from its orchestral background, by Peter Graham ‘Northern Landscapes’ has been chosen for the Third Section Regionals in 2003. Greenhalls didn’t let the disappointment of their regrading for 2002 get to them. They bounced right back and scored well taking the runner-up prize at Pontins. Hesketh Bank closed out 2002 very well and may have set themselves up for good a 2003 in taking the NWCCBA title and figuring in the Wilkinson contest.

We will leave the North West as we began this review with Rainford Silver Band. They kept the pressure up in this Section with good results at Preston, the Regionals and Pontins and then ventured into the mainstream World of Art as they performed in avant-garde video work "Visions of the Future" by American artist Kristin Lucas to be exhibited Internationally in 2003.

Houghton Brass won the Regionals and together with Ellington Colliery, who started out the year on a winning note at the Durham County BBA in February represented the Northern Region at the National Finals. Lanchester travelled down form the N.E. where they have been in the frame in each of their contests to take 6th place at Pontins. February 2002 saw a result at the Durham County BBA - 3rd and they also came in the frame in March 2002 at the Regionals - 3rd. Frickley and South Elmsall might strictly be a Yorkshire band but their first good result came at the Humber NE contest before they joined in the newly launched Silkstone Marching Contest with some success. They rounded out the year with a win when they took the Mineworkers Championships title.

In the South Yiewsley and West Drayton celebrated a good year, a National Final appearance and Regional success confirmed their continuing progress that was endorsed by the win at the SCABBA contest in May. Castleton Brass finished in the top ten at Torquay having won in the Regionals but in the South East the results were very diversely spread without any one band really stamping their authority on the scene.

Briton Ferry Silver came 4th at the Nationals in Torquay, but back home in the Welsh Championship they remained unbeaten all year winning all three regional contests as well as the National Eisteddfod crown and came runners up at the Welsh Regionals. Very well directed by Mike Faro, who won the award for “Best Conductor of the Year” in Wales for his efforts, they were very much on the up and were also included as a 4Barsrest nominee for ‘Band of the Year’. Blaenavon Town won the Regionals and really in similar fashion to the South East the rest of the prizes around the region were awarded to lots of different bands.

In the West of England Michelmersh Silver, RBL Crownhil (Plymouth) and Helston Town all made their way to the Riviera Centre and with Denzil Stephens in control RBL Crownhil (Plymouth) came a creditable 6th place. They figured in the results at Bugle and in the prizes in the SWABBA contest so Torquay proved a happy hunting ground for the band in 2002. Helston Town made room in the trophy cabinet as they took home some silverware from the Cornish Festival.

To round out the year we would like to offer some congratulations. Firstly to Eccleston Band who scored their first ever contest win in 2002 when they took home the spoils at Preston in February and secondly to the whole contingent of players that played at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony: As Rob Fletcher from City of Chester Band said...."it was one of those once in a lifetime moments." - Oh yes, and they're still drying out.


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