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2003 Scottish Regional Qualifying Championships

Third Section - Retrospective

Adjudicators: John Berryman, Roger Webster

Test Piece: Northern Landscapes - Peter Graham

When we came to our pre match preview of this section we had a little outside help and went for a top six of Lochgely, St. David’s, St. Ronan’s, Jedforrest, Buckhaven, Dunfermline and with North Ayrshire as our dark horse. At the end of the day we weren’t too far out and we had the top four but not in the right order and North Ayrshire cam in 6th. Who said we didn’t know anything about lower section banding!

Lochgelly were deserved winners of the 3rd Section with a performance that had real merit and impressed the judges John Berryman and Roger Webster as well as the majority of the audience – all this off the number one draw! Each of the four movements had real control and a lovely warm and vibrant sound whilst the soloists were classy. Well directed by Gavin Lindsay they won by a point from St. Ronan’s and on the day these two bands were clearly ahead of the rest of the field. Lochgelly will travel to Dundee as one of the favourites on this form.

St. Ronan’s were also good value, steadier than Lochgelly in terms of tempo but just as clear and clean in the ensemble and with a warm balanced sound. David Macleod directed things with common sense and good clear style and second place was what they deserved for us. Not quite as exciting as Lochgelly and perhaps at the end of the day this was the difference. Both were classy shows though.

Behind them came St. Davids who played off the number 9 draw and gave a fine account of themselves and the music. It just lacked the quality of warmth of sound of the other two and the horns were a little indistinct in the final movement but overall it was a good show and third place was bang on the money for us.

Just out of the top three came Jedforest directed by Alan Fernie who gave a brave account from the number 2 spot that was the marker for the other bands to beat. That only three did was testament to a sensible approach and some nice sounds in the louder passages. A few nervy entries in the solo lines though cost them a possible podium place. Fifth place was taken by MacTaggart Scott Loanhead who played number 8 and were bright and breezy to start but became loose towards the end when the troms had a few hairy moments whilst sixth place went to our dark horse tip North Ayrshire who played number 10 and were lively to open and seemed to be heading for a top three place. However there were some nervy moments in the second movement and the third became a bit wild. By the time they gave a good fourth movement their chances of coming higher were spoiled, but it was a brave effort.

Campbletown were last band on and sounded light compared to many of the bands that went before but they had a neatness of style that suited the music. Perhaps because they sounded a young band they didn’t quite impress the judges as we thought it deserved and they should take heart from a stylish performance. A bit more beef next time may help more. Dunfermline were 8th and they too had their moments, but the lack of clarity in the ensemble and a rather tentative opening cost them. It recovered but an over enthusiastic kit player may have drowned things out too much in the last to make the band sound better. 8th was about right.

Perthshire came 9th and had a decent start before things started to go wrong. The solo lines sounded a touch uneasy throughout and the tuning in the last movement was too far out to ignore. Not their greatest performance and 9th place was par for the course. 10th came Buckhaven who played off the number 4 spot. The opening was their downfall for us as it was too tentative and a little nervy and didn’t quite come off as it should have. Things got better as they went along but they sounded tired towards the end. 10th was a touch harsh.

Finally Dundee Instrumental came 11th off the number 6 draw and we thought they coped well with the piece. They had a neat opening but lacked the depth of sound that others had and the intonation was a bit awry in places too often. The percussion got a bit out at the start of the 4th movement and that may have cost them points and they sounded touch tired at the end. It wasn’t bad though and they should take heart from the performance if not the result.

So the 3rd Section will send two very capable bands to the National Finals in Dundee later this year and they will be strong contenders for the prizes.


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