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2003 Welsh Regional Qualifying Championships

Second Section
Saturday 15th March
Starts after results of Section 3

Adjudicator: John Maines

Test Piece: Celestial Prospect - Wilfred Heaton

Wales has a fine record of achievement in this section over the years and can boast National Champions as far back as 1949. Seven bands have claimed that National banner including Rhyl, Lewis Merthyr, Pontardulais, Rogerstone, Tredegar, Penclawdd and Ammanford in 2001 so this year there will a number of bands hoping to extend that record further in Dundee.

In recent years though the record hasn’t been as good and apart from Ammanford’s win the best has been two 5th places.

Plenty of good quality players and MD’s with the experience to make the most of a difficult set work, this will surely be an enjoyable hard fought contest for John Maines to judge. The good news is that there has been an increase in numbers taking part after there were only 5 competitors in 2002 and with two bands coming up from the 3rd and two coming down from the 1st it should make for a close run event.

Blaenavon Town
B. Davies

Last Year: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
Last Seven Years:
2002: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
2001: 4th 3rd Section
2000: 6th 3rd Section
1999: 2nd 4th Section
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

Blaenavon won the 3rd Section last year, their first victory at the Championships since 1975 when they won the same section. They went onto Torquay where they were very unlucky to come 19th and last (we had them in the top 6) so they will be keen to make an impression here at the higher level. A very well run band and with plenty of good quality players dotted around the stand and a very experienced MD in Bryn Davies, they could well feature come results time.

Briton Ferry
M. Faro

Last Year: 2nd 3rd Section (prom)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 2nd 3rd Section (prom)
2001: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
2000: 7th 4th Section
1999: 7th 4th Section
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: N/K 4th Section
1996: N/K 4th Section

Mike Faro was Welsh Conductor of the year in 2002 when the band just about carried all before them in the 3rd Section. The were crowned Welsh Champions but just missed out on the Regional title when they came runners up. That led the to Torquay where they played very well and came 4th, whilst in 2001 they went to Preston and came 4th in the 4th Section Finals. Another band keen to do well they could be up there in the prizes and yet another trip to the Finals.

J. Burns

Last Year: 5th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 5th
2001: 2nd 3rd Section (prom)
2000: 5th 3rd Section
1999: 5th 3rd Section
1998: 8th 3rd Section
1997: 4th 3rd Section
1996: N/K

Cwmbran came runners up in the 3rd Section in 2001 and they went on to come 8th at the National Finals. Last year they came 5th here (out of the five bands) but did well for the rest of the year in the other Welsh contests. Well directed by John Burns they produce many talented young players and should hold their own this time around. The band were winners of this section way back in 1979.

R. Wyatt

Last Year: 9th 1st Section (rel)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 9th 1st Section (rel)
2001: 9th 1st Section
2000: 4th 1st Section
1999: 4th (prom)
1998: 2nd
1997: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
1996: Winners 3rd Section

Deiniolen were relegated back to this section after coming 9th under the baton of J. Cant at last years contest and so they will very keen to show that they can perform well at this level. They won the old North Wales 3rd Section in 1991, 1992 and 1994 and then when they joined the rest of the Principality they did the hat trick in 1995,96,97. They found life a bit more difficult in the 1st Section and after coming 9th in the past two years they find themselves back here.

Lewis Merthyr
L. Harries

Last Year: 4th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 4th
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: 8th Championship (rel)
1997: 7th Championship
1996: 4th 1st Section (prom)

Lewis Merthyr represented Wales at the European Brass Band Championships in 1985 after they had become Welsh Champions and won the Regional title in 1984 under the baton of Denzil Stephens. Prior to that they won consecutive National Championships in the 3rd and 2nd Sections in 1950 and 1951. Since the mid 1980’s though things have been a bit tougher and they have moved between the Championship and First Sections before losing their status after being unable to compete for three years. They made a very welcome return though in 2002 and came 4th under Lawrence Harries direction and they once more make a strong challenge once more. It is great to see them back.

G. Saynor

Last Year: 3rd
Last Seven Years:
2002: 3rd
2001: 3rd 3rd Section (prom)
2000: 2nd 3rd Section
1999: 7th 3rd Section
1998: Winners 4th Section (prom)
1997: 11th 3rd Section (rel)
1996: N/K

The fine YBS bass player Gavin Saynor directs Llanrug who came 3rd last year at the contest. The band had won the 4th Section here in 1998 and went on to come14th at the National Finals. Since then they had three years in the 3rd Section and reached the Finals again in 2000 where they came 16th.

H. Gibb

Last Year: DNC
Last Seven Years:
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: 4th 3rd Section (prom)
1999: 6th 3rd Section
1998: 2nd 3rd Section
1997: 10th (rel)
1996: 9th

Newtown from Mid Wales make a welcome return to the contest after two years away and will be keen to hold their own in this section. The last time they competed they were in the 3rd Section so how they will cope will be interesting. A new MD has been working hard we hear and the band will be confident of doing well. In 1998 they came runners up in the 3rd Section and went on to come 10th at the Finals whilst they can boast victories here in the 4th Section as far back as 1984 and two victories in the 3rd Section in 1985 and 1990.

D. Small

Last Year: Winners
Last Seven Years:
2002: Winners
2001: 8th 1st Section (rel)
2000: 6th 1st Section
1999: 6th 1st Section
1998: 7th 1st Section
1997: 8th Championship (rel)
1996: 8th Championship

Another band that has won the big prize here in the past when they were crowned Regional Champions in 1986 and qualified for the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall on “Diversions for Brass Band”. They followed that up again in 1987 where they came 12th and since then they have flitted between the top three sections finally being relegated to the Second in 2002 after a few years of struggle in the First. Tony Small produces an amazing amount of talent and they certainly showed that when they won by three clear points here a twelve month ago. They then went on to come 10th at the Nationals in Torquay. They were National Champions in the Second Section in 1983 under the same conductor and so twenty years later he will be hoping for an anniversary win.

RAF St. Athan Vol
A. Bourne

Last Year: 11th 1st Section (rel)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 11th 1st Section (rel)
2001: 5th (prom)
2000: 4th
1999: Winners
1998: 8th
1997: 9th
1996: 5th

The band from the airforce base have been well directed by Alan Bourne for a good number of years and in 1999 they won this section before going on to come 12th at the Finals. Since then they have tasted promotion to the 1st Section but found life a bit more difficult and came 11th last year and fell through the trap door back here. The band also won the 3rd Section title here in 1994 and so they will be keen to show that they can more than hold their own.

Past Winners:

2002: Penclawdd
2001: Royal Oakeley
2000: Rogerstone
1999: RAF St. Athans
1998: Pontardulais
1997: Rhos
1996: Burry Port
1995: Burry Port
1994: Pontypool Brass
1993: Rogerstone
1992: British Steel Port Talbot
1991: Cwmaman Institute
1990: Aberystwyth
1989: Tylorstown and Maerdy
1988: Abergavenny Borough
1987: Pontardulais Town
1986: Mid Rhondda
1985: Abergavenny
1984: BTM
1983: Penclawdd Brass
1982: Blaina
1981: Cross Keys Silver
1980: No Contest
1979: Cwmbran
1978: Melingriffith
1977: Hymac – Rhymney
1976: Blaina
1975: Ystalyfera

Winning Conductors:

2002: N. Seaman
2001: J. G. Jones
2000: A. MacDonald
1999: A. Bourne
1998: B. Buckley
1997: I. Brownbill
1996: M. Thorne
1995: M. Thorne
1994: J. Evans
1993: N. Watson
1992: E. Clark
1991: C. Jones
1990: A. Phillips

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: R. Childs
2001: A. Hope
2000: R. Roe
1999: G. Richards
1998: M. Brownbill
1997: B. Buckley
1996: N/K
1995: D. Read

Past Qualifiers:

2002: Penclawdd, Rhyl
2001: Royal Oakeley, Ammanford Town
2000: Rogerstone, Rhyl
1999: RAF St. Athans, Pontardulais Town
1998: Pontardulais, Deiniolen
1997: Rhos, Treherbert and District
1996: Burry Port, Rhos
1995: Burry Port, Rhos

Welsh bands at the Finals:

2002: 10th, 17th
2001: 1st, 16th
2000: 13th, 14th
1999: 5th, 12th
1998: 5th, 10th

Last Years Result:

1. Penclawdd – D. Small 192pts
2. Rhyl – L. Lawrie 189pts
3. Llanrug – P. Hughes 186pts
4. Lewis Merthyr – L. Harries 185pts
5. Cwmbran – J. Burns 184pts

4BR Prediction:

It looks like a close run contest on paper and we think it will prove that way come the contest itself. Penclawdd will be looking to repeat their victory here last year and we think they could well come under threat from the two bands who made the drop and the two bands that came up from the 3rd Section. Lanrug and Lewis Merthyr should also mount a strong challenge.

1. Penclawdd
2. Deiniolen
3. Briton Ferry
4. RAF St. Athans
5. Lanrug
6. Blaenavon Town

Dark Horses: Lewis Merthyr


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