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2003 North West Regional Qualifying Championships - Retrospective

Fourth Section
March 9th 2003
Empress Ballroom, Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Adjudicator - Stephen Tighe

Lydian Pictures by Simon Dobson is probably one of the finest test pieces written for the 4th section Regional Finals for a long time. Beautiful melodies and good rhythms and plenty of pitfalls to keep the conductors on their toes, this was going to be a real test for the 18 bands and it proved to be so. Speaking on stage before the results, Stephen Tighe said that one of the main problems for the bands was playing quietly and that forte markings were over played. He also commented on the use of musicality to grasp the imagined picture in each movement, but overall he felt the standard was good with in his opinion one clear winner. Sorting out the other five places proved more difficult which resulted in him awarding a tie for 4th place.

The first band to take the stage was Besses Boys. Conducted by M Stringer they set a good standard of play with some nice controlled playing throughout the piece. Solo cornet, euphonium, and soprano all shone and apart from a few intonation problems in the second movement, where the flugel horn was outstanding, they put down a strong marker for what was to follow. Joint 4th was well deserved.
Best Soloist: Flugel Horn.

Band No 2 was the Shaw Band - MD M E Tooley. This band was not at its best with too many slips and lack of conviction in their playing that led to an uncertain performance, although the bass section came through well in the last movement. This is a young band that can play better; it was just one of those days. 18th place we felt was about right.
Best Soloist: Trombone.

No 3 on stage was Standish MD - J Roberts. After a nice opening in which all the dynamics were observed they seemed to lose the plot somewhat with playing that lacked detail. The general sound of the band, especially the trombones was good though. A performance we felt slightly below par for this band and we didn’t disagree with 10th place.
Best Soloist: Euphonium.

Band No 4 was Douglas Town - MD Gordon Higginbottom. This was one of many performances that promised much but some of the entries were not together and although the playing in the romance had a nice flow with some good expressive euphonium playing, 9th place was the adjudicator’s decision.
Best Soloist: Flugel Horn

Band No 5 was Wardle & District Anderson Band - MD P Shaw. A good opening was followed by some exciting and lively playing with excellent attention to detail. The romance had a nice feel with lyrical solo cornet, euphonium, flugel horn and excellent soprano. The Folk Song was well played with controlled dynamics and pointed accents. This we felt was the performance to beat even at this early stage and 2nd place was a result we wouldn’t argue with.
Best Soloist: Soprano

Band No 6 Nelson Brass - MD J North. This band also gave a good performance with all the soloists playing well. They captured the mood of the music well especially in the last movement where the band's warm sounds came through and they sustained it to the end. Their reward was 3rd place although we had them 5th.
Best Soloist: Flugel Horn

Band No 7 was Brindle - MD D Shaw. Making, we believe, their debut at this contest the band put plenty of effort and commitment into their performance, but intonation and moments of uncertainty spoilt what would have been a commendable performance. The MD worked hard to get the music to flow and the solo cornet had a cultured sound, but the lack of balance proved costly. Placed 17th.
Best Soloist: Solo Cornet

Band No 8 Hesketh Bank - MD S Pullin. This band gave a performance which caught our ear with some expressive playing and a good band sound. The opening of the Romance let them down though with the Basses miss-pitching. It took a few bars to recover but once they did the band produced a performance with many fine moments. 8th place was the decision. We would have placed them 6th.
Best Soloist: Flugel Horn

Band No 9 Haydock Youth – B Wyatt. This young band was not lacking in confidence and gave the impression they were enjoying themselves, a lesson to us all. The accompaniments at times were a little too loud - especially in the Romance. The bass and trombone sections were impressive and the band can be proud of their efforts. Placed 7th on the day - we had them just one place down at 8.
Best Soloist: Flugel Horn

Band No 10 Pemberton Old Wigan B - MD P Ashley. This in our opinion was one of the most musical performance of the day. The band paid great attention to detail and made a lovely sound at times. 14th was unfortunate - we put them 9th.
Best Soloist: Solo Horn

Band No 11 St Helens Brass – MD N Samuel. Another band new to the contest and although we felt they struggled at times to get to grips with the music and some of the tuning and balance was poor, they stuck to the task well and we heard some nice flugel playing. 15th place was a fair result.
Best Soloist: Flugel Horn

Band No 12 Greenfield – MD D Chapman. Again a band that promised more than it delivered on the day. We felt the music needed to flow more and despite some good trombone sounds the performance lacked a little excitement and commitment to make its mark. 13th place was the adjudicator’s decision, just about right we thought.
Best Soloist: Trombone

Band No 13 Uppermill – MD J Hunter. The opening tempo was a little on the steady side for us but the playing in the main was well controlled. The solo cornet played with confidence but could have been a little more lyrical. Some poor entries from basses and lack of balance at times spoilt what could have been a promising performance. 12th place seemed anout right.
Best Soloist: Euphonium

Band No 14 Tottington Public – MD N Martin. The band got off to a poor start with some loose ensemble playing. Although the feel of the music was about right, there was a lack of sound from the middle of the band and it got ragged towards the end. We liked the flugel though. 16th place - and about right for us.
Best Soloist: Flugel Horn

Band No 15 Friezland – MD Lana Clough. A good confident opening with plenty of style showed this was a band capable of challenging for a top 6 finish. As it turned out they tied for 4th place. We felt it lacked clarity in the romance section but generally the band had a solid all round sound. The soloists were all on good form. We placed them 7th.
Best Soloist: Flugel Horn

Band No 16 Parr (Richardson Ltd) St Helens - MD J Ludden. The opening to us was one of the best of the day but some loose trombone entries lost the early momentum and the performance seemed to go flat. The Romance and Folk Song however saw the band recover well but the splits towards the end proved costly. Joint 10th was the result.
Best Soloist: Flugel Horn

Band 17 Trinity Girls – MD S Barton. This was without a doubt the winning performance. A performance full of good musical content with the MD bringing out detail no other band achieved. Stephen Tighe described it as the outstanding performance of the day and marked them 3 points clear of 2nd place. We agree totally with his decision. Congratulations Trinity Girls.
Best Soloist: Flugel Horn

Band 18 Rivington & Adlington – MD H Bentham. Rivington opened with a well controlled tempo and the band seemed at ease with the music. In our opinion their performance was worthy of 3rd place but Mr. Tighe placed them 6th. All the soloists played well with plenty of feeling. A good band performance.
Best Soloist: Euphonium

This on the whole was a well organised contest. Although the standard of playing was pleasing, we felt some conductors had not paid enough attention to the detail in the music.

As for our pre contest predictions, well we didn’t do too badly getting 4 out of the first 6

Pre Contest Predictions
Wardle & District (2nd)
Douglas (9th)
Pemberton (14th)
Hesketh Bank (8th)
Rivington & Adlington (6th)
Trinity Girls (1st)

Pre Result Predictions
Trinity Girls
Wardle & District
Rivington & Adlington
Besses Boys’
Nelson Brass
Hesketh Bank

Trinity Girls
Wardle & District
Nelson Brass
Besses Boys’ J
Friezland J
Rivington & Adlington

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