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Yeovil Entertainment Contest 2003
1st February 2003
The Octagon Theatre, Yeovil

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The Yeovil Entertainment Contest traditionally marks the start of the new contesting season – the banding version of the Charity Shield, and whilst it is fair to say that it no longer attracts the very top bands as it did some years ago, there is still an impressive list of contenders making the trip into Somerset to pick up the title and a nice early season “earner” of £1500.

The contest is now in it’s 26th year and since its inception there has been an impressive list of winners. The contest also offers something of an early season guide to contesting form as many bands have used Yeovil as a springboard for a year of achievement. The reigning champions are JAG Mount Charles, who won here in fine style last February and repeated their successful entertainment formula at Spennymoor in November where they came a third behind Grimethorpe Colliery and Fodens.

The bands have to give an own choice entertainment programme of 25 minutes in duration (including applause)

Nine bands will be battling it out this year (Aveley and Newham having dropped out) and so the line up reads as follows:

BTM; Bodmin; Bournemouth Concert; Flowers; JAG Mount Charles; Kidlington; Parc and Dare; Redbridge; SWT Woodfalls.

David Read is the man in the box.

The first champions of the contest were Cory in 1979 under Denzil Stephens, who retained their title the following year and picked up a third crown in 1997, whilst the other bands to successfully defend their title here have been Fodens (1985 – 1987), Tredegar (1994 – 1996) and Bodmin (1999 and 2000). Fodens and Tredegar head the all time list with four wins apiece, whilst Cory have three titles and Bodmin and St. Austell a brace each. JAG Mount Charles will be looking to join that very select club this time around.

Some famous names have directed bands to success here as well and the winning conductors include Nicholas Childs, Howard Snell, Garry Cutt and Richard Evans, so the contest always attracts the talented MD’s.

The contest starts early at 9.30am and there has been a pre draw for the bands. We don’t know the entire draw so we’ll be fair and leave it alone. Top prize is a nice £1500 with £900 for the runners up and £600 for third. The top soloist will pick up £50.00.

The competing bands:


Conductor: David Stowell
Best Result: 2nd place in 1991
Record since 1998: (98 – DNE, 99 – 4th, 00 – 8th, 01 – 6th, 02 – 5th)
Last Year: 5th
4BR Ranking: 28

The improving Welsh band will be looking for a good result to kick start their season here and in the past three years at Yeovil they have improved on each outing. 8th in 2000 has come down to 5th last year and they certainly have the talent to make a mark again this year. They were runners up back in 1991, and even though that may just be beyond them this time, they will be looking to gain another rung up the prize ladder at least. They also have a number of quality players in the ranks and keep your ears peeled for a couple of classy arrangements from the pen of Mark Hutcherson. They used one of his numbers to open last year called “Blue Midnight” and featured their excellent xylophonist as soloist before rounding things off with “Shine As the Light”

Over the years they have been regular visitors to the Octagon Theatre and can also boast in addition to their second place in 1991, 4th place in 1992 and 1995, 8th in 1996 and 6th in 1998.

The partnership with David Stowell has been fruitful and the band has a real flair for the entertainment contests so they could well be there or thereabouts come results time.


Conductor: Steve Sykes
Best Result: Winners 1999 and 2000
Record since 1998: (98 – 5th, 99 – 1st, 00 – 1st, 01 – 3rd, 02 – 2nd)
Last Year: 2nd
4BR Ranking: 41

A great record here over the past few years, including a double win, a third and runners up a twelve month ago. Steve Sykes directed that performance and he has been employed again to see if they can go one better and take their third title.

Over the years they have been very regular contenders here and were 5th in 1992 and 8th in 1993.

2002 wasn’t the greatest of years for the band (they went on to come 7th at the Regionals), but we understand they have been rebuilding somewhat and have been working hard in preparation for this one. They used a lot of humour last year after a cracking start with the march “The Waltonian” as well as a fine bit of euph playing in “Carnival Cocktail” and a big finisher with “The Little Russian”. Don’t write off their chances of making it a threesome, although coming in the frame yet again shouldn’t be beyond them.

Bournemouth Concert

Conductor: Lt Col. Chris Davies
Best Result: 4th in 2002
Record since 1998: (98 – 14th, 99 – 5th, 00 – 9th, 01 – 7th, 02 - 4th)
Last Year: 4th
4BR Ranking: 100

Another band that has performed consistently here over the past five years, with a year on year improvement up to 4th last year since 2000. Lt. Col Chris Davis (he was only a Major last year) directed the band into that 4th spot last year with a programme that included two cracking solo spots from the euph (another who put in a fine rendition of “Brillante”) and xylophonist who whipped through “On the Track”, so look out to see if they are featured again. They started with “Star Trek” and ended with “Shine As the Light” so they can play in just about any style.

They came 16th here in 1993 and 7th in 1996. 2002 wasn’t the greatest of contesting years following that result (they went on to get 5th at the Regionals), so they will be keen to improve once more and the MD has been added to his CV with a spell with Leyland band.


Conductor: Philip Harper
Best Result: 2nd place 1992, 1998, 2001
Record since 1998: (98 – 2nd, 99 – 11th, 00 – DNE, 01 – 2nd, 02 – 3rd)
Last Year: 3rd
4BR Ranking: 18

A pedigree entertainment contesting band, but one who have yet to taste victory here in Yeovil with their best efforts being rewarded with 2nd places in 1992, 1998 and 2001. Third place last year was another fine effort, and their programme was chock full of great visuals to go with the playing. They came 2nd in 1992 behind Besses O’ th’ Barn by a point and 7th in 1993.

Philip Harper brings his talents to the fore with a number of clever arrangements and last year they opened with his “Mega Fanfare” as well as his arrangement of “Barcelona” and the finishing item “The Circle of Life”. Don’t be surprised then if a few more are features, as well as their fine flugel player who performed “Beneath the Willows” last year. Should feature strongly again (they won two other entertainment contests last year) but they will be hoping that their good form will transfer to the Regionals after they failed to qualify for London in 2002.

JAG Mount Charles

Conductor: Richard Evans
Best Result: Winners in 2002
Record since 1998: (98 – 14th, 99 – 8th, 00 – 2nd, 01 – 5th, 02 – 1st)
Last Year: Winners
4BR Ranking: 24

Last years winner will come to the contest as hot favourites to retain the title and possibly give a repeat showing of their outstanding performance at Spennymoor Brass in Concert in November. They have been regular contenders here over the years and came 6th way back in 1992.

There Bryan Hurdley directed them, and their programme was sparkling from start to finish. They also had the added benefit of Shaun Thomas on euphonium winning the soloist prize (as he did here with the same piece, “Brillante”) so don’t be surprised if he is featured again. Look out for may be lots from that programme with Jan Magne Forde’s “Kongolela” a cracking starter. They finished things off both there and here last year with “Coronation Scene” from Boris Gudenov as well as the Mozart’s “Ave Verum”. Should be the band to beat, although they will be hoping that victory here will not lead to disappointment at the Regionals where they could only manage 4th place.

Kidlington Concert

Conductor: Catherine Underwood
Best Result: 10th in 2001 and 2002
Record since 1998: (98 – DNE, 99 – DNE, 00 – 11th, 01 – 10th)
Last Year: DNC
4BR Ranking: 92

A third appearance for Kidlington here under the baton of Catherine Underwood, and they will surely be hoping to keep improving their form. 11th in 2000 and 10th in 2001 may seem not to be the greatest of results, but the band performed solidly on each occasion and would have gained valuable experience.

Last year they didn’t make the trip to Somerset, and they didn’t quite have the kind of contesting year they would have hoped for after their fine qualification for the National Finals in 2001. That came after they played here, so their return may well signal a concerted attempt to get some early season practice under their belts before they tackle “Prague” at Stevenage. There’s a change in repertoire isn’t it? May not feature in the prizes this time around but should perform solidly enough.

Parc and Dare

Conductor: Craig Roberts
Best Result: 3rd in 1983
Record since 1998: (98 – DNE, 99 – DNE, 00 – DNE, 01 – DNE, 02 – DNE)
Last Year:
4BR Ranking: 60

A return to Yeovil for the first time since 1995 for the famous band from the Rhondda. Then they came 5th, but the years since have been hard on the band and it seems an age ago when they came 3rd here in 1983 behind St. Austell and Ancient Order of Foresters. The years haven’t been too kind to all three of those bands, but the appointment of Craig Roberts has seen the band adopt a long term approach to contesting results and it has been a sensible move. There seems to be a much more solid foundation at the band and results have improved steadily over the past two years. Nothing spectacular but steps in the right direction none the less.

Not quite ready perhaps to challenge for prizes this time round, but they will be looking to gain further experience for their young players in preparation for the forthcoming test on “Prague” in Swansea.

Redbridge Brass

Conductor: Melvin White
Best Result: 2nd place 1993
Record since 1998: (98 – DNE, 99 – DNE, 00 – 5th, 01 – DNE, 02 – 10th)
Last Year: 10th
4BR Ranking: 37

A good year for the band in 2002 was capped by their 11th place at the National Finals on London. That followed them winning their Regional title after performing here last year when they came 10th. Melvin White has been with the band for a few years now and has the experience to make the most of his resources. The band have been regulars here over the years and came 12th here back in 1995.

They opened with a bit of “Boogie Woogie” last year before taking in a bit of “West Side Story”, “Windows of the World” and finishing off with a run through “Russlan and Ludmilla”. They featured a fine trombone player in”Bluebells of Scotland” so we may hear a bit more this time around as well. If they have maintained that form from late 2002 then they could well feature strongly. In 1993 under John Clark they came runners up to Camborne, so they will be keen to try and at least emulate that feat.

SWT Woodfalls

Conductor: Jonathan Camps
Best Result: 6th in 2002
Record since 1998: (98 – 12th, 99 – DNE, 00 – DNE, 01 – DNE, 02 – 6th)
Last Year: 6th
4BR Ranking: 47

SWT Woodfalls came 6th here last year, but used that result to go on and claim the West of England Regional title a few months later. They will of course be hoping for a repeat of that success (although it came under the baton of Garry Cutt and not Jonathan Camps). They came 18th at London on a very difficult set work, so they know what is expected of them to succeed at the top level. Regulars here over the years they came 7th back in 1992, 12th in 1993, 7th in 1995, 5th in 1996.

Last year they started with the oddly named “Kindly Leave the Stage” before they performed “Tonight” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” with a fine euph rendition of “Endearing Young Charms”. Their finisher possibly let them down (Toccata form Suite Gothique) as they were more than capable of ending with something a bit more difficult and rousing. A good band though and one with plenty of talent to make a mark here this time around.

2002 Result:
1. JAG Mount Charles 197pts
2. Bodmin 196pts
3. Flowers 194pts
4. Bournemouth Concert Brass 193pts
5. BTM 192pts
6. SWT Woodfalls 191pts
7. Tredegar 190pts
8. British Telecom 189pts
9. Aveley and Newham 188pts
10. Redbridge Brass 187pts
11. First City 186pts
12. Woolley Pritchard Sovereign 185pts
13. Aldbourne 184pts

Adjudicator: Derek Broadbent
Best Soloist: Shaun Thomas JAG Mount Charles

4BR Prediction:
JAG Mount Charles
SWT Woodfalls

Dark horse: Bournemouth Concert

The Winners:
1979: Cory
1980: Cory
1981: St. Austell
1982: Leyland Vehicles
1983: St. Austell
1984: Sun Life
1985: Fodens OTS
1986: Britannia Building Society
1987: Britannia Building Society
1988: Desford Colliery
1989: Britannia Building Society
1990: Kennedy’s Swinton
1991: William Davis
1992: Besses O’ th’ Barn
1993: SWEB Camborne
1994: Tredegar Town
1995: Tredegar Town
1996: Tredegar Town
1997: Cory
1998: Tredegar Town
1999: Bodmin
2000: Bodmin
2001: Aveley and Newham
2002: JAG Mount Charles

Winning Conductors:
1979: Denzil Stephens
1980: Denzil Stephens
1982: Richard Evans
1984: Barry Pope
1985: Howard Snell
1986: Howard Snell
1987: Howard Snell
1989: Howard Snell
1991: Keith Wilkinson
1992: Paul Hindmarsh
1993: Derek Greenwood
1994: Nicholas Childs
1995: Nicholas Childs
1996: Nicholas Childs
1997: Jeremy Wise
1998: Garry Cutt
1999: Nicholas Childs
2000: Gareth Pritchard
2001: Nigel Taken
2002: Richard Evans

Winning Conductors:
If you can help us identify the winning conductors for the missing yers we would be very grateful. 1981 and 1983 with St Austell, 1988 with Desford and 1990 with Kennedy Swinton.

Best Soloist:
2000: I. Williams - BAYV Cory
2001: J. Hitchin - Bodmin
2002: S. Thomas – JAG Mount Charles

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