2003 Welsh Regional Qualifying Championships
Fourth Section - Retrospective
Adjudicator: John Maines
Test Piece: Lydian Pictures - Simon Dobson
One of the real good things about having the Fourth
Section perform on the same day as the Championship Section is that
players from the higher section can take the opportunity of going
in and actually listening to some grass roots banding. Quite a few
did that on the weekend and they, like us, would have been very
pleasantly surprised at the way in which the bands here got to grips
with Simon Dobson’s fine test piece.
They would have also been very impressed with the winning band
as well, and in particular a young cornet player who shone like
a star in their performance.
Harelch were the winners – and clear winners they were too,
whilst the young solo cornet player was called James Stone. Throughout
the bands performance he led by example and produced a lovely pure
cornet sound allied to a real feel for the musical line. Each little
snippet he played was polished and shaped, and really enhanced a
fine band show. If the talent can be harnessed and disciplined then
this is a young man with a very big future ahead of him. It is not
often you get to hear raw material like this and so we hope a lot
of sense is taken over his musical development and that the sense
of pure musicality is not lost. That would be a real pity.
The band were excellent and superbly directed by H. Evans who let
the music flow without ever resorting to overblowing to make big
sounds. Clear and enjoyable winners.
Second place went to Ogmore Vale who upset the form book to come
runners up and book a place in Scotland under the wise and experienced
direction of Ivor Barnett. It was a performance that had vitality
and restraint in the right places and off the number 3 draw set
the standard for the rest to follow on the day. Only Harlech beat
it and they played exceptionally well, so you can see how good this
Just missing out were Porthaethwy Menai Bridge who were last band
on and gave an upbeat performance that just had one or two uncomfortable
moments when things didn’t quite meet he levels of the other
two top bands. C. Williams directed well and if they had just eradicated
those little errors they could have been booking rooms in Dundee.
It was close.
Below the top three the standard dropped away somewhat and echoed
the sentiments and remarks of adjudicator John Maines who felt a
number of the bands lack the consistency throughout the piece as
a whole to make a mark on the prizes. The standard overall was good
he said, but too many bands gave one good movement, one decent one
and one poor one – not always in the order that they were
written on the score. What they did well they did very well, but
sometime should have been spent in the bandroom ensuring that the
weaker moments were brought up to scratch. Still, he said he had
been to a couple of other areas and the bands here more than held
their own. The two qualifiers he felt would be in with a very good
chance come the finals.
Outside the podium places came a while batch of bands that just
lacked that consistency to make a stronger challenge – it
was just like John Maines said – one good section, followed
by a decent one and then a poor one (not always in that order).
There were a great number of young players here though – a
testament to the continued good support the Local Authorities give
brass tuition in Wales and so inexperience may have been a cause.
Overall though it was till pretty good.
Lower down the mistakes were more numerous and the quality of the
sounds of the bands became less balanced and the tuning went a bit
AWOL in places, but the raw material of good playing was still on
show from every band.
As for our pre match tips here. Menai bridge came 3rd, whilst Harlech
who we tipped to be runners up went one better and took the title.
Radyr came 7th, Oakdale 8th, Abertillery 4th, Crwbin 13th and Gwaun
Cae Gurwen came home 10th. A bit hit and miss maybe, but it was
still a pleasure to hear them all giving it as god as they could
on the day.
The top two though were deserved qualifiers and it was nice to
report that 4th Section Welsh banding impressed an adjudicator who
has been around the country assessing standards. It should bode
well for the future.