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2003 Welsh Regional Qualifying Championships

Third Section - Retrospective

Adjudicator: David Read

Test Piece: Northern Landscapes - Peter Graham

David Read told 4BR that he had enjoyed the bands performances in the 3rd section and was particularly complimentary about the standard of performance of the winners, Newbridge Celynen and Conway Town who came second. In fact he was very complimentary about the standard of the section as a whole.

Newbridge were our dark horse choice before the contest, and they certainly upset the form book with a performance that was a good length or more ahead of the rest. Directed by ex Black Dyke and Tredegar horn player Paul Holland, they benefited from well chosen tempos, very secure soloists especially on solo cornet and a balanced rounded sound – just the right ingredients in fact for success at any level. The MD gave the music the time to flow and the control was excellent. The two point winning margin was well deserved and they can look forward to the finals with confidence.

Conway pushed them close, and actually followed Newbridge on stage as band number 9. They too were very well directed by K. Jones and once more the MD kept things under control with sensible tempos. The band sound was rounded and blanced, and although they had a few slips here and there it was a very polished rendition and fully deserved the second qualification spot.

Third place went to Ynyshir who were directed by Alan Gibbs and they set the early marker for others to follow with a compact performance off the number 3 draw that very nearly got them a place at Dundee. It didn’t quite have the control of the top two and sometimes the balance went awry but it was a good solid show.

Outside the podium places the errors started to cost the bands more and more, but all of the bands brought something to the music and all didn’t sacrifice their chances on just trying to blow their way through at the expense of a balanced sound. It was also nice to report that the tuning was pretty good all day – especially flugel horns (something that wasn’t the case elsewhere we have been).

Trefor put in a decent showing off the number 1 spot to gain 4th place, whilst Royal Buckley came in 5th and Beaumaris B sixth. All three bands were sporting youngsters galore and they will surely return back next year stronger. They all had their moments as well, bu the overall band sound wasn’t as full and rounded as the bands above them and the error rate was slightly higher. They could have come in any order really for us, but we suspect next year they will be higher up the table. 7th place went to Cross Keys who performed well under Keri Bowden but also fell foul of the same mistakes that bedeviled the three bands above them, but there were signs that this is a band for the future.

Ebbw Vale came in 8th with a performance that was a touch ragged in places and overblown – it spoilt some nice work, whilst Pontypool came home 9th with a performance that was riddled by too many individual and ensemble errors. Both of these though had plenty of raw material to work with for the rest of the year, so all is not lost for sure.

Finally two bands that found it hard going, but nevertheless gave brave accounts of themselves and the music. Llanelli with Rob Owen never quite met the technical challenges for us and tended to overblow – something which David Read we knew would penalise. If they had taken 20% off in places they would surely have done better, whilst Vale of Glamorgan under David Short found the work just a bit too tough for them. They will come back next year though stronger.

So Newbridge and Conway make the trip North and with a lot of compliments from the movements most experienced judge to boost them, confidence will be high. Well done both.

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