2003 Welsh Regional Qualifying Championships
Second Section - Retrospective
Adjudicator: John Maines
Test Piece: Celestial Prospect - Wilfred Heaton
Llanrug under the excellent direction of YBS tuba player Gavin
Saynor were the winners of the Second Section and gave a performance
that adjudicator John Maines felt was a clear and worthy winner.
The two point margin said it all and was set off the number two
draw – a marker that the rest of a decent field couldn’t
Lewis Merthyr performed off the number one spot and gave a fair
performance of Wilfred Heaton’s “Celestial Prospect”
that gained them 178 points and 7th place, but that performance
was placed into context by the quality of Llanrug who followed them
on. This was a very well balanced piece of playing, with the bass
section giving a solid foundation and the middle band sound ensuring
that there was no stridency in the top cornets and soprano. This
is what quality banding is all about at any level and Mr Saynor
has certainly been keeping his ears open and has been learning lessons
on his long trips to the YBS bandroom and David King. It was very
good indeed and even though there were minor errors and mistakes
the overall picture was very well constructed. Bands in higher sections
should have taken note.
Penclawdd under the very experienced Tony Small were worthy runners
up and will travel to Dundee for their second successive finals
appearance as strong contenders as well. Theirs didn’t quite
have the balance of Llanrug but they certainly sounded like a higher
section band and had some wonderfully talented soloists especially
on cornet and euphonium. The return to the top section has begun
and Tony Small should be congratulated for once more producing a
crop of youngsters that will do him proud.
Briton Ferry showed that the step up in class was not beyond them
and under Mike Faro they once more showed the quality that had served
them so well last year. They sounded a lighter band to the two above
them but they have a sweet and balanced sound that will surely give
them much success in the coming twelve months. Mike Faro also let
the music flow and although they will be a touch disappointed at
not securing one of the two qualification places up for grabs, coming
third was a fine achievement.
Below the top three the standard did drop away, but the music of
Heaton meant that all the bands could find something to enjoy and
produced moments that had real quality about them. The standard
of cornet playing was high, as was the euphoniums, but once more
the flugel players sounded as flat as a welsh cake. Is this a problem
nationally- it sounds like it.
Blaenavon had their moments but fell away after a promising start
to come 4th, whilst Deiniolen came fifth after a solid enough show
from last band on. Both had just too many uncomfortable moments
that spoilt things and detracted from their overall performances.
RAF St. Athan were much of the same, but did have a fine solo cornet
player and could count themselves a tad unlucky, whilst Newtown
did very well after a period of rebuilding to come home 8th. Finally
Cwmbran struggled to make a real impression but gave a brave account
of themselves to come 9th. The last few bands didn’t have
the quality of sound to come higher and the tuning was not accurate
enough – something the MD’s had to sort out prior to
the contest stage.
Still, it was a good standard contest and John Maines for one was
impressed. Llanrug were worthy winners and Penclawdd clear runners
up. Both will make the trip to Scotland in with a chance of returning
with some silverware.