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2003 Midlands Regional Qualifying Championships

Second Section
Saturday 8th March
Starts 11.00am

Adjudicator: Barry Thompson

Test Piece: Celestial Prospect - Wilfred Heaton

The 2nd Section here should provide a very decent contest for audience and adjudicator alike, and with a tester of a set work only the best bands will surely feature come results time.

Unlike the success of bands in the 1st Section at a National level, the 2nd Section hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Midlands bands in recent years. No wins since Glossop Old won the title in 1995, but there have been plenty of near misses, with last years three representatives coming 2nd, 3rd and 7th. In fact since 1998 at least one band from here has gone on to get a podium place, so those who qualify this time for Dundee will travel in hope.

20 bands will take the stage and will try their hardest to impress the experienced judge Barry Thompson. No real outstanding candidates but plenty of good solid bands with the ability to perform the test piece with class and clarity.

This year the line up is swelled by three promoted bands rom the 3rd Section in Arrow Valley, Foresters Brass 2000 and Raunds Temperance, whilst Darley Dale drop from the 1st Section trap door to join the fight.

Nice to report that just four bands field a new MD so the majority are keeping faith with their tried and tested front men. More bands should do the same.

Arrow Valley Brass
Conductor: A. Culshaw

Last Year: 3rd 3rd Section (prom)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 3rd 3rd Section (prom)
2001: 5th 3rd Section
2000: 18th (rel)
1999: 13th
1998: 16th
1997: 4th

The experienced Andy Culshaw directed the band last year and they responded by gaining 3rd place and promotion back to the 2nd Section. They were 4th here in 1997, but then fell away and were relegated in 2000. They have regrouped and returned, hopefully stronger than before and ready to make a mark.

Avonbank Evesham
Conductor: N. Hall

Last Year: DNC
Last Seven Years:
2002: DNC
2001: 7th
2000: 5th
1999: 14th
1998: 15th
1997: 6th

Didn’t compete last year, but before that Avonbank seemed to be doing well here with 5th place in 2000 and 7th in 2001. We don’t know why they didn’t appear, but if they have retained some of the form from two years ago they could well push for another top six place.

Bilton Silver (Rugby)
Conductor: B.E. Clarke

Last Year: 4th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 4th
2001: 14th
2000: 20th 1st Section (rel)
1999: 12th 1st Section
1998: 12th 1st Section
1997: 11th 1st Section

From 1997 to 2000, Bilton ebbed away somewhat at the contest in the 1st Section and fell from 11th place here in 1997 to 20th in 2000 and relegation. However, two years here has restored fortunes somewhat and they have made rapid progress back towards possible promotion. 14th and then 4th marks them out as a band to watch.

City of Stoke on Trent
Conductor: M. Caveney

Last Year: 19th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 19th
2001: 15th
2000: 6th
1999: 2nd
1998: 11th
1997: 17th

In 1999 City of Stoke were runners up here, but the intervening years has seen the band lose form and they have progressively had worse results – culminating in last years 19th place. They have stuck with the MD though and hopefully that loyalty will be rewarded with a good result. They will need one or they could well be for the drop.

Darley Dale
Conductor: S. Groarke

Last Year: 16th 1st Section (rel)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 16th 1st Section (rel)
2001: 11th 1st Section
2000: 14th 1st Section
1999: 10th 1st Section
1998: 15th 1st Section
1997: 8th 1st Section

Darley Dale won here in 1994 but following their promotion to the higher section they found life much tougher and they finally succumbed to the drop after coming 16th last year. That could be the shock to the system that could prove beneficial to the band though and they will be keen to show that they can more than handle themselves at this level.

Fairfield (Buxton)
Conductor: C. Kitchen

Last Year: 11th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 11th
2001: 19th
2000: 15th
1999: 4th
1998: 4th 3rd Section (prom)
1997: 8th 3rd Section

Fairfield were promoted to this section in 1999 and came a fine 4th on their debut. Since then they struggled for two years before a real big improvement last year and a solid 11th place. They will be looking for another big step up again then.

Foresters Brass 2000
Conductor: L. Baker

Last Year: 7th 3rd Section (prom)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 7th
2001: Winners 3rd Section
2000: 3rd 4th Section
1999: 11th 4th Section
1998: DNC
1997: DNC

Foresters get the change to perform at this level after coming 7th last year in the 3rd Section and gaining promotion. Perhaps if they had been promoted after they won the title in 2001 they would be ready for the challenge, but coming 7th may lead to feel a touch apprehensive. They will be looking for a solid performance and result.

Conductor: C. Groom

Last Year: 8th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 8th
2001: 3rd
2000: 14th
1999: 9th
1998: 11th
1997: 8th

A strange looking set of results hee over the past few years for Chris Groom and his band. Since 1997, a good year has been followed by a worse result, so they will be especially keen to stop the trend this time, as they came 8th. What odds then that they come in the top six?

Harworth Brass
Conductor: J. Davis

Last Year: 6th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 6th
2001: 10th
2000: 11th
1999: 19th
1998: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
1997: 4th 3rd Section

A band moving in the right direction if the past results are anything to go by, and so 2003 could well see a challenge for a podium position or possible qualification spot. The band won the 3rd Section here in 1998 and since then it has been upward and onward. Ones to watch out for?

High Peak Brass
Conductor: I. Tinsley

(band formed from merger of Chapel en le Frith and Whaley Bridge)

Last Year: DNC

High Peak were formed with a merger between two very succesful bands, both of which have had success here over the past few years. Whaley Bridge won the 3rd Section three times in 1995, 1996 and 1999, whilst Chapel en le Frith twice qulaified for the finals in 1997 and 1999 in the same section. Ian Tinsley directs and he has proven his worth before,taking Denton Original from the 4th to the 1st Section.

Hopkins Solicitors Blidworth
Conductor: G. Hawley

Last Year: 10th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 10th
2001: 5th
2000: 12th
1999: 8th
1998: 18th 1st Section (rel)
1997: 17th 1st Section

The band with the legal backing have had a bit of an up and down time here since being relegated from the 1st Section in 1999. A decent result has been followed by a none so clever one, but the omens suggest that this year should see an upturn. Geoff Hawley takes over the baton for this years attempt and that could well be the spur the band need to gain a second top six place.

Conductor: M. Vause

Last Year: Winners 2nd Section
Last Seven Years:
2002: Winners 2nd Section
2001: 15th 1st Section (rel)
2000: 17th 1st Section
1999: 19th 1st Section
1998: 4th 1st Section
1997: 13th 1st Section

The reigning champions come to the contest hoping to make it two in a row. They went on to perform well at the National Finals in Torquay after last years victory and they will be keen to repeat that feat. Struggled in the higher division for three years before the drop back down, but showed that they were possibly still a head and shoulder above the rest. Should do well again.

Moulton 77 Brass
Conductor: I. Rainer

Last Year: 12th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 12th
2001: 12th
2000: 10th
1999: Winners
1998: 9th
1997: 10th

Winners here in 1999, Moulton have been a tad disappointing over the past three years and have come in the midfield for the last three outings. They will therefore be keen to reverse the recent trend and start pushing for a qualification spot. Maybe beyond them this year, but you never know do you?

Conductor: D. Thomas

Last Year: 9th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 9th
2001: 8th
2000: 2nd 3rd Section (prom)
1999: 4th 4th Section (prom)
1998: 2nd 4th Section
1997: Winners 4th Section

The band with the Welsh sounding name have been making a mark at the Midlands Area for a few years now and can boast winning the 4th Section in 1997 and then moving up through the 3rd before settling nicely here for the past two years. 8th and 9th may not set the world on fire, but two solid years could well mean they are ripe to challenge for further honours. A good MD helps and this could be the year they make a mark again.

Raunds Temperance
Conductor: J. Fletcher

Last Year: Winners 3rd Section
Last Seven Years:
2002: Winners 3rd Section
2001: 2nd 3rd Section
2000: Winners 4th Section
1999: 3rd 4th Section
1998: 10th 4th Section
1997: DNC

Raunds are another band that has made its mark here since 1998, when they came 10t in the 4th Section. Since then they have moved up through the Sections with a haste born of quality playing. Winners of both the 4th Section title in 2000 and then the 3rd Section 2002, this could be a year in which they consolidate even further. The record suggests one year having a look at the contenders before winning the next. A possible dark horse for us.

Shirebrook MW Unison
Conductor: M. Wilcockson

Last Year: 16th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 16th
2001: 17th 1st Section (rel)
2000: 18th 1st Section
1999: 6th (prom)
1998: 5th
1997: 7th

After being promoted from this section in 1999, the band has struggled somewhat and found life in the 1st Section a bit tough. Relegation followed and last yearthey could only manage 16th place. A change of MD may help them, but they will surely be looking to beat enough bands to avoid the drop first. Anything above half way will be a bonus.

Shirley Band
Conductor: D. Lea

Last Year: 2nd
Last Seven Years:
2002: 2nd
2001: 9th
2000: 19th 1st Section (rel)
1999: 13th 1st Section
1998: 14th 1st Section
1997: 12th Championship (rel)

Last years runners up will surely be one of the band to beat this time. After dropping from the Championship Section through the 1st and to the 2ndd from 1997 to 2001, the band has taken stock and set about making a return back. 9th in 2001 was followed up by last year’s fine show and classy effort at Torquay. Should be there or thereabouts come results time.

Snibston & Desford
Conductor: K.J. Steward

Last Year: 7th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 7th
2001: 16th
2000: 13th 1st Section (rel)
1999: DNC
1998: 11th 1st Section
1997: DNC

Snibston have had a bit of an on off relationship with this contest over the past few years with two no shows and a relegation. However they have taken their time in the past two years to set down some sturdy foundations and they followed their 16th place of 2001 with 7th place last year. Could they go better again and start making a return back to the top?

Stourport on Severn
Conductor: D. Maplestone

Last Year: 13th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 13th
2001: 6th 3rd Section (prom)
2000: 8th 3rd Section
1999: 3rd 3rd Section
1998: 12th 3rd Section
1997: 11th 3rd Section

A band that has battled hard to get here did well last year to come 13th. That may not seem much, but Stourport had been something or a nearly band in the 3rd Section before they finally gained promotion. Making the big step and surviving was something of an achievement then, so they will be hoping to at least repeat it again this year.

University of Warwick
Conductor: S. Hogg

Last Year: 15th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 15th
2001: DNC
2000: 13th
1999: 4th 3rd Section (prom)
1998: Winners 4th Section (prom)
1997: DNC

Two consecutive promotions saw the band from the University reach this level very quickly and since 2000 they have consolidated somewhat. Didn’t play in 2001 but returned last year to come a solid 15th. May need to do better than that if they are not to be relegated, but they should have enough about them to at least give a repeat performance.

Past Winners:

2002: Langley
2001: Towcester Studio
2000: Ibstock Building Products
1999: Moulton ’77 Brass
1998: Bedworth Brass
1997: Newstead Welfare
1996: Riddings
1995: Glossop Old
1994: Darley Dale

Winning Conductors:

2002: M. Vause
2001: A. Sellers
2000: P. Northey
1999: G. Riseley
1998: M. West
1997: D. Beckley
1996: J. Davis
1995: J. Cant
1994: S. Groarke

Test Pieces:

2002: Symphony for Brass – V. Ewald
2001: The Moor of Venice – W. Alwyn
2000: The Sword, Jewel and Mirror – P. Harper
1999: Symphonic Suite – L. Lucas
1998: Culloden Moor – G. Wood
1997: New Buckingham Suite – A. Jackman
1996: Hollywood – G. Richards
1995: Rococo Variations – A. Street
1994: A Salford Sinfonietta – D. Barry
1993: Oceans – G. Richards
1992: Dimensions -


2002: S. Sykes
2001: B. Thompson
2000: D. Horsfield
1999: G. Richards
1998: A. Hope
1997: M. Brownbill
1996: A. Lawton
1995: D. Wilby
1994: I. Craddock

Past Qualifiers:

2002: Langley, Shirley, Brackley
2001: Towcester, Tintwistle, Harborough
2000: Ibstock Building, Bedworth
1999: Moulton Brass ’77, City of Stoke on Trent
1998: Bedworth, Derwent, Shirland Miners
1997: Newstead Welfare, Greasley Old Hall, Derwent Brass
1996: Riddings, Premier Brass (Stamford), Ibstock Building Products
1995: Glossop Old, Unity Brass, Harborough
1994: Darley Dale, Unity Brass, City of Stoke

Midlands Bands at the Finals:

2002: 2nd, 3rd, 7th
2001: 3rd, 6th, 9th
2000: 3rd, 6th
1999: 7th, 11th
1998: 2nd, 6th

Last Years Result:

1. Langley Band – M. Vause 187pts
2. Shirley Band – D. Lea 186pts
3. Brackley and District – J. Glynn 184pts
4. Bilton Silver – B. Clarke 183pts
5. Wigston Band – G. Sleath 182pts
6. Harworth Brass – J. Davis 181pts
7. Snibston/Desford – K.J.Steward 180pts
8. Harborough – C. Groom 179pts
9. Porthywaen – d. Thomas 178pts
10. Hopkins Solicitor Blidworth – M. Wardle 176pts
11. Fairfield (Buxton) – C. Kitchen 175pts
12. Moulton ’77 Brass – I. Rainer 174pts
13. Stourport on Severn – D. Maplestone 173pts
14. Stamford Brass – R. Prew 172pts
15. University of Warwick – S. Hogg 171pts
16. Shirebrook MW Unison – M. Battersby 170pts
17. Croft Silver – S. Burton 169pts
18. Whaley Bridge – R. Wyatt 168pts
19. City of Stoke on Trent – M. Caveney 167pts
20. Shipston Town – G. Coleman 166pts

4BR Prediction:

A difficult one this, but we think certain bands who have done well in the past few years will come through again and take the top places.

We think that it may well be a repeat of last year and so we go for a dog fight between Langley and Shirley for the top prize, whilst Darley Dale, Bilton and Porthywaen may be there or thereabouts. Snibston may make up the top six, but we have a sneaky suspicion Raunds may well be the dark horse to upset the apple cart. We’ll see……

1. Langley
2. Shirley
3. Darley Dale
4. Bilton
5. Porthywaen
6. Snibston and Desford

Dark Horse: Raunds Temperance

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