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4BR Review of the year

Fourth Section

John James casts his eye back over the year that was in the Fourth Section.

There is plenty to choose from this year in this section and it appears that there is a most promising 2003 to come. With many bands playing with real conviction, who would dare say the standard of brass bands in this section is on the decline? The overall standard of playing was, for us, very good indeed and two bands from this section figured in our short list for band of the year.

Lochgelly won through to the Nationals finals in Torquay after giving a cracker of a performance at Motherwell to win the Regional crown by three clear points. In Torquay they really impressed us – although not the judges who put them 8th, but we really liked the way MD Gavin Lindsay directed his charges. They gained their reward though at the Mineworkers Championships in Blackpool where they once again showed their class to win the Fourth Section by a clear two-point margin. They ended the year with a fine second place at the Borders contest – so 2002 ended on an upbeat note.

St. Dennis, the famous old band confirmed that they are now back on the road to better and bigger things after a fine 2002 that saw them win the Fourth Section at Torquay as well as come runners up at Pontins.
Having a famous past can be a hindrance at times, but the band can look forward to a very bright future. Winners at home in Cornwall, Bristol at the Regionals and Torquay at the Nationals added up to a very fine 2002.

All in all we thought many MD’s brought the highest levels of playing from their bands, with lots of performers on top form, add to this some intelligent choices of music and its no wonder that the talent shone through. The contest music this year, particularly, Michael Ball’s ‘Cambrian Suite’ and ‘Pennine Moor’ for Pontins were most well chosen and allowed MD’s and bands to really express themselves. This brings us nicely round to mention Simon Dobson who in 2002 has had his talent deservedly recognised. We wait with anticipation for the Regionals in 2003 when the test piece will be his fine composition ‘Lydian Pictures’

In our introduction we acknowledged that there is for many a continual struggle to make ends meet and in this regard we take our hats off to Bletchington Silver Band and their inspired Oxford Monopoly Challenge - one of the cleverest and inspired fundraising projects of the year.

The Cornish bands have certainly embraced the youth ethic and this county had more than one band to boast about in the fourth section - one mustn’t overlook Hayle Town. Their year got off to a winning start at the Cornwall Brass Band Contest and this continued in May in Weston Super Mare. Although the entries for Bugle were down they were there and produced a decent performance. Derek Johnson and the band capped a very good year with 3rd place in the National Finals in Torquay. Pendennis Brass (Falmouth) ensured that it was a threesome from Cornwall in Torquay taking third place in the Regionals.

Before we move too far away from the National Finals in Torquay we must give acknowledgement to the South West Area Brass Band Association. This group of people were the backbone of the Torquay event and they worked tirelessly over that weekend without complaint or reward despite late finishes and early mornings. May we at 4BarsRest take this opportunity to offer some much-deserved applause for the association.

Lockwood Band won their section at the Malton Brass Band contest and in the process took the best march award and the best soloist prize (euph). This came on the back of a convincing win at Pontins and on this form they must be a band to watch for in 2003.

First and runners-up prizes at the SCABA contests this year went to Sandhurst Silver and these trophies went to sit beside the winners’ trophy from London and Southern Counties Regionals. Hungerford Town, Jubilee Brass (Oxford) and Ware Brass joined them at the National Finals. A good year for these bands and they will all be pitching their skills in the third section for 2003.

The Welsh bands didn’t quite make their mark on the fourth section in 2002, as in some previous years, but Conwy Town and Porthaethwy Menai Bridge, both finished with top ten places in the National Finals. Without question the best bit of conducting we saw in the 4th Section this year came from Gareth Ritter with the Abertillery Band performance at Pontins before they went on to secure a prize in Treorchy. Nantile Vale came to the contesting arena and whilst not taking any prizes their efforts were to be commended.

In the Midlands probably the three bands that made it to Torquay had the most successful time in 2002. Wem Jubilee took the Regional top spot whilst Long Eaton Silver and Leicestershire Co-op Snibston Charnwood certainly carried the flag well for the Region. These bands captured good results at NorthEast Midlands and Weston-Super-Mare contests.

Linthwaite were probably Yorkshire’s Pride in 2002 taking runners-up spot at the Holme Firth contest, winning at Millbrook on Whit Friday and becoming Yorkshire Regional Champions. Emley Brass joined them in Torquay whilst in Scotland Jedforest Instrumental battled it out with Lochgelly to take the top honours. They won the Carnegie contest, were the best 4th Section Band in March and Hymn Tune Brass in the Park event and made the trip to Torquay becoming runners-up in the Scottish Regionals

Hetton Silver made the trip to Torquay as the North of England Champions and they endorsed their form with the runners-up prize in the CISWO contest. Kirby Lonsdale who also travelled to Torquay from the Northern region joined them.

Timperley, Douglas Town and Wardle & District Anderson Brass represented the North West in the National Finals however the 4th Section in the North West overall was probably the strongest division in 2002. Besses Boys, Nelson, Parr, Rivington and Adlington, Trinity Girls, and Uppermill all deserve recognition for some good results.

Timperley Band not only gained 4th place in Torquay but also made their mark at the Brass at the Preston GuildHall Contest. They took four 1st prizes on Whit Friday (Broadoak, Carrbrook, The Station Ashton-Under-Lyne & Roundthorn) and rounded out the season with 3rd place at Pontins in the Third Section. All in all a really good year for Graham Hetherington and the band.

Wardle & District Anderson Brass were the runners-up at the National Finals and they also scored a win on Whit Friday at the Hurst contest whilst Douglas Town had Gordon Higginbottom at the helm in their quest for glory in Torquay which unfortunately eluded them. Besses Boys featured in the prizes all through 2002 taking pots at the Tameside Open, Buxton Festival, Wigglesworth Contest and North West Open Championships. Nelson Brass won their first contest back in February at the Preston GuildHall and rounded out the year with a win at the Wilkinson Northern Open. Parr Band (Richardson Ltd.) St. Helens took the Buxton Festival Contest and set themselves up again for a good Whit Friday with winning performances at Delph & Scouthead and Austerlands. Rivington and Adlington started out the year with a prize at the Preston GuildHall and followed this with 2nd place at Buxton.

They really made a statement about their progress winning the NWCBBA Fleetwood Contest and endorsed this with the runners-up spot at the North West Open Championships. A good year for the band was cemented when Ian Bateson and the band got in the frame at Pontins. Trinity Girls won the Tameside Open and the Wilkinson Northern Open and were placed in the Wychavon Entertainment Contest while Uppermill featured at Tameside, were 4th at Pontins and were placed 1st at Greenacres & Greenfield on Whit Friday. They had a challenge in the North West Open Championships negotiating a route to the contest with the roads closed for the Manchester Marathon. They came 4th even though they had to go on stage with two players from the previous band filling in. Their own players, who had been forced to abandon their car, arrived on foot just as the band came off stage.


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