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2003 Midlands Regional Qualifying Championships

First Section
Saturday 1st March
Starts: 11.00am

Steve Sykes

Test Piece: Passacaglia on a Theme of Brahms - Arthur Butterworth

Where as a band from the Midlands hasn’t won the Championship National title for twelve years, the First Section has done the Area proud and can boast two winners in the First Section in the past three years.

Staffordshire memorably won the title past the witching hour in Torquay last year, whilst Thoresby also tasted success in 2000. The bonus last year was that all three qualifying bands did themselves proud with all three coming in the top six, so that sends out a real message that there is strength in depth here.

Staffordshire and City of Coventry have been promoted but with two strong looking bands in the shape of Nottingham City Transport and Thorntons being relegated, the overall strength of the section has not been diluted. Added to this is the addition of the two promoted bands in the shape of Wigston and Brackley, who could well make a mark here. 17 bands is a big section for Steve Sykes to judge, but with a very testing set work class should tell.

At least 6 of the bands though have dispensed with last years MD and replaced them with somebody else – so we hope none of the conductors gets the dreaded vote of confidence from the Chairman after the results. It should be a good contest and could well be the closest of the weekend.

Bedworth Brass
D. Williams

Last Year: 6th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 6th
2001: 16th
2000: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
1999: 15th 2nd Section
1998: Winners 2nd Section
1997: -

6th last year was a major improvement for Bedworth who came 16th in 2001. A new MD in the form of David Williams should ensure a solid outing and they will be hoping for more of the same again as they have held their own since being promoted from the 2nd Section in 2000.

Brackley & District
Conductor: J. Glynn

Last Year: 3rd 2nd Section (prom)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 3rd 2nd Section (prom)
2001: 6th 2nd Section
2000: 4th 2nd Section
1999: 12th 2nd Section
1998: 4th 2nd Section
1997: 14th 2nd Section

Brackley finally gained promotion to the 1st Section after fighting their way out of the 2nd Section after years of hard graft at this contest. 3rd place last year was enough to see them promoted and they will be looking to ensure they make something of a mark on their debut and take a few scalps into the bargain.

Derwent Brass
Conductor: K. Leonard

Last Year: 3rd
Last Seven Years:
2002: 3rd
2001: 12th
2000: 7th
1999: 5th
1998: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
1997: 3rd 2nd Section

3rd place last year was a return to form for Derwent and they went on to come 4th at the National Finals themselves. They gained promotion in 1998 and since then have more than found themselves a niche as contenders. More of the same would do very nicely indeed.

Conductor: S. Cooper

Last Year: 7th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 7th
2001: 7th
2000: 11th
1999: 10th
1998: 9th Championship (rel)
1997: 11th Championship

One of the bands with a change of MD from last year, Enderby came 7th for the second successive year in 2002, so they will be hoping to make the next step up and at least claim a top six place. A few years ago they were battling it out in the top section, so they have the experience. Time for a real challenge for the prizes then.

Foss Dyke
Conductor: W. Ritchie

Last Year: DNC
Last Seven Years:
2002: DNC
2001: 12th Championship (rel)
2000: 8th (prom)
1999: 6th
1998: 5th
1997: 16th

Didn’t compete last year as far as we can tell, so we don’t really know how they will perform here this time around. The band were relegated from the Championship Section in 2001 and may have taken a 12 month off to re group and mount a serious challenge this time around. They have shown they can be contenders at this level over the past few years so maybe they will mount an assault in 2003.

Gresley Old Hall
Conductor: D. Hutchinson

Last Year: 17th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 17th
2001: 8th
2000: 16th
1999: 17th
1998: 9th 2nd Section (prom)
1997: 2nd 2nd Section

A terrible result for the band last year as they came last in the field. They will therefore be hoping for better things and with a new MD hopes should be higher than of late. Sine being promoted they have struggled somewhat, but 8th place in 2001 showed they can do it on the day. May need a bit of luck though to save themselves from the drop.

Conductor: R. Evans

Last Year: 13th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 13th
2001: 9th
2000: 9th
1999: 7th
1998: 12th Championship (rel)
1997: 9th Championship

A band that was plodding along nicely in the midfield here since being relegated from the Championship Section in 1998, things went a little wrong last year when they fell to a lowly 13th place. That was below expectations and so with a new MD from last year they travel with hopes of doing better. Should on form be able to more than hold their own, but they can’t be too complacent.

Ibstock Brick Brass
Conductor: P. Northey

Last Year: 11th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 11th
2001: 10th
2000: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
1999: 3rd 2nd Section
1998: 10th 2nd Section
1997: 15th 2nd Section

Ibstock have yet to mount a challenge in this section since being promoted as 2nd Section champions in 2000. 10th and 11th hasn’t really set the world on fire, but it is a solid enough return in a difficult section. A look at their record though shows that they have improved just about every year they have been here, so they will be hoping that the trend continues this time around.

Conductor: J. Berryman

Last Year: 8th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 8th
2001: Winners
2000: 12th Championship (rel)
1999: Winners
1998: 9th
1997: 4th

We tipped Kibworth for honours last year, and we seemed to put the kiss of death on them and they could only manage 8th place. They have shown though that they are more than classy enough to do well at this level, with two wins here since 1999. They struggled in the top section, but we think last year may just have been a blip and with the very experienced John Berryman at the helm, they could be in amongst the prizes.

Nottingham City Transport
Conductor: S. Phillips

Last Year: 11th Championship (rel)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 11th Championship (rel)
2001: 6th 1st Section (prom)
2000: 6th
1999: 3rd
1998: 13th
1997: 7th

Nottingham are one of the two bands relegated from the top section, but they were a little unlucky last year. They have shown that they can more than hold their own in this section though and could well be strong contenders this time as well. The experience of the Championship level can sometimes be a good thing even when a band is relegated, so don’t be surprised if they feature here at results time.

Shirland Miners Welfare
Conductor: D. Beckley

Last Year: 14th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 14th
2001: 14th
2000: 12th
1999: 5th 2nd Section (prom)
1998: 3rd 2nd Section
1997: 4th 3rd Section (prom)

The results over the past three years suggest a band that has struggled somewhat here – 12th place in 200 being their best return in three years, but they have taken on a new MD in the form of Duncan Beckley, and he has the happy knack of getting the best out of his charges, especially in the lower sections. This could be the catalyst they need and they could well move up the table this year.

Conductor: TBA

Last Year: 9th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 9th
2001: 9th Championship (rel)
2000: 10th Championship
1999: 2nd 1st Section (prom)
1998: 6th
1997: 10th

At this moment in time we don’t yet know who will be directing Riddings, but it may well be J. Davis once more. Two years in the Championship Section led to relegation in 2001 and last year they consolidated their position here with 9th place. They have shown in the past though that they can push for the top prizes and they came 2nd here in 1999. That may just be beyond them this around, but an improved result may not be beyond them.

Conductor: G. Sleath

Last Year: 5th 2nd Section (prom)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 5th 2nd Section (prom)
2001: 4th 2nd Section
2000: 9th 2nd Section
1999: 16th 2nd Section
1998: 14th 2nd Section
1997: 13th 2nd Section

Wigston have been promoted to the 1st Section after a number of years when they have made steady rather than spectacular progress in the 2nd Section. Perhaps they could have done with another year at the lower level as the step up can be a big one, but they will be hoping that a good solid performance will se them maintain their status with comfort. We think that could well be their realistic ambition this year.

Thorntons Brass
Conductor: TBA

Last Year: 8th Championship (rel)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 8th Championship (rel)
2001: 8th Championship
2000: 7th Championship
1999: 6th Championship
1998: Winners 1st Section (prom)
1997: 3rd 1st Section

A little unfortunate to be relegated if truth be told, as Thornton’s were stuck nicely in the midfield of the top section bands. 8th place last year was enough combined with other results from other bands to send them down though so they will be working hard to ensure a rapid return. They have won here before in 1998 and as the past results in the top section have shown they should have enough about them to really push hard for at least a qualification spot for Dundee.

Conductor: D. Shutter

Last Year: 10th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 10th
2001: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
2000: 7th 2nd Section
1999: 10th 2nd Section
1998: 18th 1st Section (rel)
1997: DNC

Tintwistle made a solid impression here last year when they came 10th and that was a good return for a band that had spent the past three years in the 2nd Section. They will looking to possibly improve on that this year, and they should do it with a touch of luck. Maybe not quite ready for a tilt at the top six, but another midfield place looks to be on the cards.

Towcester Studio
Conductor: TBA

Last Year: 4th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 4th
2001: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
2000: 8th 2nd Section
1999: 7th 1st Section (rel)
1998: 16th 1st Section
1997: 18th 1st Section

We don’t know as yet who is due to take Towcester, but whoever does will be directing a good quality band who returned back to this section after two years in the 2nd Section. 4th last year though was an indication that they could be serious contenders, so they may well do it again this time.

Unity Brass
Conductor: TBA

Last Year: 12th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 12th
2001: 4th
2000: 9th Championship (rel)
1999: 12th Championship
1998: 2nd 1st Section (prom)
1997: 5th 1st Section

Unity were playing in the Championship Section in 2000, but following relegation they rallied somewhat and came 4th in 2001. That should have been the springboard for a possible top three place last year, but the wheels fell off somewhat and they could only come 12th. Don Blakeson directed them last year, but we don’t know who will be fronting the band this time around.

Past Winners:

2002: Staffordshire
2001: Kibworth
2000: Ratby Co-operative
1999: Kibworth
1998: Thorntons Brass
1997: Ratby Co-operative
1996: Glossop Old
1995: Rolls Royce (Coventry)
1994: Ancient Order of Foresters

Winning Conductors:

2002: D. Maplestone
2001: J. Berryman
2000: K.J. Steward
1999: I. Scott
1998: S. Shimwell
1997: K.J. Steward
1996: J. Cant
1995: D. Lea
1994: B. Hurdley

Test Pieces:

2002: Royal Parks – G. Lloyd
2001: The Undaunted – E. Ball
2000: Music for the Common Man – K. Downie
1999: Kenilworth – A. Bliss
1998: Purcell Variations – K. Downie
1997: Ballet for Band – J. Horovitz
1996: Spectrum – G. Vinter
1995: Land of the Long White Cloud – P. Sparke
1994: Maoriana – A. Butterworth
1993: The Forest of Dean – D. Bourgeois
1992: Celebration – E. Gregson


2002: G. Richards
2001: W. Relton
2000: W. Relton
1999: N. Childs
1998: J. Scott
1997: B. Thompson
1996: G. Whitham
1995: D. Hirst
1994: N/K

Past Qualifiers:

2002: Staffordshire, City of Coventry, Derwent Brass
2001: Kibworth, Ratby Co-operative
2000: Ratby Co-operative, Thoresby Colliery
1999: Kibworth, Riddings
1998: Thorntons Brass, Unity Brass
1997: Ratby Co-operative, Glossop Old, Thorntons Brass
1996: Glossop Old, Hathern, Enderby
1995: Rolls Royce (Coventry), Kibworth
1994: Ancient Order of Foresters, Rolls Royce (Coventry)

Midlands Bands at the Finals:

2002: 1st, 4th, 6th
2001: 5th, 10th
2000: 1st, 5th
1999: 8th, 9th
1998: 12th, 13th

Last Years Result:

1. Staffordshire – D. Maplestone 189pts
2. City of Coventry – P. Bailey 188pts
3. Derwent Brass – K. Leonard 187pts
4. Towcester Studio – A. Sellers 186pts
5. Jackfield Elcock Reisen – C. Lewis 185pts
6. Bedworth Brass – C. Randle 184pts
7. Enderby – J. Broadhurst 183pts
8. Kibworth – J. Berryman 182pts
9. Riddings – J. Davis 181pts
10. Tintwistle – D. Shutter 180pts
11. Ibstock Brick Brass – P. Northey 179pts
12. Unity Brass – D. Blakeson 178pts
13. Hathern – D. Newman 177pts
14. Shirland Miners Welfare – G. Hawley 176pts
15. Ireland Colliery – R. Walters 174pts
16. Darley Dales – S. Shimwell 173pts
17. Gresley Old – A. Tyler 172pts

4BR Prediction:

A 17 band field will always spring up a few surprises, but with a very testing set work in the shape of the Butterworth Brahms, we think the bands with the experience, big sounds and quality end players will be the ones that feature at the top of the prizes.

Experience of playing in the top section will be a bonus, but we think the band to beat will still be Kibworth and John Berryman. Thorntons should also be up there as well as Nottingham City Transport, whilst Derwent shold be contenders for a podium place at least. Foss Dyke and Towcester should make up the top six, whilst we have plumbed for Shirland as our dark horse.

1. Kibworth
2. Thorntons Brass
3. Nottingham City Transport
4. Derwent Brass
5. Foss Dyke
6. Towcester

Dark Horse: Shirland Miners Welfare

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