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2003 Midlands Regional Qualifying Championships - Retrospective

3rd Section
Sunday 2nd March 2003

The surprise was that it wasn’t the devil of a fugue at the start of the 3rd movement or the slower gentle 2nd ‘Seascapes’ which regularly tripped bands up on Sunday but the deceptively simple 1st movement ‘Industry’. When a Peter Graham score and most listenable music proves a real challenge one has reason that it was well selected.

Daventry Brass [14] with Paul Northey took the cup and banner. The flugel (player of the day) had a really good day for the band in a performance not without it’s blemishes in any movement really. With no disrespect intended this was a simply stated account that was serviceable rather than marvellously played. Light in style in the 1st movement, nice dynamics in the 2nd, a bit of detail lost in the horns but well shaped to close in the 3rd and quite controlled to round out the piece.

Tony Wilson and Carlton Brass [10] salvaged themselves with good controlled playing in the 3rd and 4th movement to finish runners-up but that could have been undone by 1st and 2nd movement weaknesses when untidy moments crept into their playing. Player of the day - Soprano.

Audley Brass with Kevin Birch [15] took the third qualifying spot in Dundee. The band rushed headlong and kept going quicker in the 1st movement. Did the percussion player have a pint waiting at the bar or just a motorcycle fan keen to see the machines revving up outside the hall? The 2nd ‘Seascapes’ worked well whilst ‘Earth Dance’ was not tidy but the band again redeemed themselves in the 4th movement. Players of the day - Horns

From a late draw Wem Jubilee with Roger Thorne [16] gave a persuasive and shaped account to take the fourth place on the podium. This was playing that started strongly and was overall a little cracker. One of our fancied performances. Player of the day - Soprano

Malvern Hills & District [17] helped their case for 5th with a decent 1st movement but could just have been a little tighter. The glock player played with great feeling in the 2nd movement. The basses just faltered at the end of the ‘Earth Dance’ and then got over an edgy start to play out well for conductor Mike West in the ‘Flight’. Player of the day - Glockenspiel

I know we get told appearance doesn’t count for anything but Robert Boulter’s Sunflower Shirt once again glowed wonderfully. Syston [8] started well and produced a very good 1st movement. The cornet player excelled in the 2nd movement but the ensemble unfortunately was a bit loose at times. A good 3rd movement and one of the better ‘Flights’ through the final movement. One of our fancied performances which was 6th in the adjudicators estimation. Player of the day – Solo Cornet

Stamford Brass [1] opened their piece with a 1st movement that felt a bit rushed but turned in a solid 2nd movement. The 3rd movement lacked a bit of cohesion and again they upped their playing to return a very rhythmic final section to take 7th place. Player of the day – Flugel

Shirland Welfare Training under the skilful direction of Marie Smith [12] must consider themselves very unlucky. The soprano cornet managed to fidget and drop his mouthpiece onto the floor before they started but this didn’t detract from a very good performance. It would have been critical in the extreme to ask for sharper detail. We had it, from beginning to the end, as the winner but then what do we know Roy Roe thought it only middling – 8th. Player of the day – Eb Bass

Ratby Co-op 'Mid' Band with Geoff Newman [2] had the odd tweak in the opening movement and this seemed to be the pattern of the performance all through as blemishes kept littering each section which kept undermining some decent playing – 9th. Player of the day – Euphonium

City of Birmingham under Simon Platford [6] got off with a good opening with nice dynamics and style and delivered in our opinion the best 4th movement of the day. The music could have been a little less staccato in the 3rd movement but overall not a bad performance and we thought 10th a bit harsh. Player of the day – Percussion (esp. 4th movement)

Croft Silver conducted by Colin Jones [9] can’t be disappointed with mid table finish –11th - as it was very much in that bracket on the day. The main problem seemed to come in that their rhythms weren’t steady in the 3rd and 4th movement. Their best playing came in the 2nd section. Players of the day – Basses

West Mercia Constabulary returned 12th place with Howard Gibbs in control [3] As we said at the outset they were another of the many bands with an unsettled 1st movement to compound it the ‘Earth Dance’ was unsteady in the opening and this probably undid for them.

Whitwell Brass [18] finishing 13th didn’t play too badly until they had a fight with the kit player in the 4th movement. We declared it a win for the band that admirably stuck with conductor Ken Vernon as the drummer just stayed with his own tempo and stuck to it admirably. Player of the day – Euphonium

Alcester Victoria with Nick Smith [11] also had problems with the 1st movement and then played quite steadily. The 4th movement could have finished a little tighter but they were overall they would probably disappointed with the result as it could easily have finished a bit higher. Player of the day – Bass Trombone

We felt that the position for Ilkeston Brass conducted by David Jones [5] was a bit harsh. The 4th movement was their weak spot being loose to open but nice ‘cantabile’ feel came through in the 2nd movement in their strongest section. Players of the day – Horns and Flugel

Leics Co-op Snibston Charnwood, [13] (Players of the day – Basses), Market Rasen RPC [7] and Shipston Town [4] were disappointing. They never performed to their potential and probably left a good performances back in the bandroom or at the morning rehearsals. They just never got out of second gear and as such filled the final three places.

Our top six:

Shirland Welfare Training, M. Smith
Wem Jubilee, R. Thorne
Syston, R. Boulter,
Carlton Brass, T. Wilson,
Ilkeston Brass, D. Jones,
City of Birmingham, S. Platford,

Our predictions - Half and half really but no Daventry (Shame on us!)

1. Carlton Brass – 2nd
2. West Mercia Constabulary – 12th
3. Shirland Miners Welfare – 8th
4. City of Birmingham – 10th
5. Audley Brass – 3rd
6. Leicester Co-operative – 16th
Dark Horse: WEM Jubilee – 4th


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