2003 All England Masters Championship
The Masters 2003 – Introduction and
Sunday 25th May
Starts at 12.00 noon
The youngest of the brass banding “majors”
has now reached that difficult mid teenage years – the time
in life when the childish things are put away and the responsible
adult comes to the fore. As any doting parent will know, that isn’t
the case unless you happen to have given birth to a saint, so just
like Harry Enfield’s grotesque pubescent character the Masters
displays an intoxicating mix of the good, the bad and the totally
but excitingly uncontrollable.
The good of course is the way in which the fathers, Messers Biggs
and Franklin have nurtured their young charge through the early
days with a sympathetic parental eye which ensured that the bands
themselves have had a say about such things as who would mark their
exam papers and what subject they would be tested on. The bad is
still possibly the parental home which is congested and cramped,
doesn’t have enough bedrooms for changing and can leave bands
outside in the wet, even if they haven’t misbehaved.
The totally uncontrollable though has been the tantrums of a few
bands over the possible inclusion in the school classroom of a Welsh
pupil, the continued reluctance of the European Education Board
not to allow the winning pupil a seat at the Euro Exam and the couple
of odd markings that have come to light from a couple of the enclosed
examiners. It makes for a great mix though doesn’t it?
The Masters is now a cracking contest day. A couple of the so called
“Big Boys” are missing out, but both Black Dyke and
Grimethorpe are not quite like other bands in any respect, and so
their absence does not diminish the contest in any way. It would
be nice if they were there though.
As for this years line up we have the current European Champions,
National Champions, the current Regional Champions from London,
the North East, the North West and Yorkshire, the Grand Shield winners
and the Senior Cup victors. Not a bad set of bands is it?
There have been very encouraging noises from the bandrooms about
the test piece as well. Martin Ellerby has written for this contest
before with his “Tristan Encounters” proving a stern
but musical test a few years back and it seems that his “Chivalry”
will be well received. It has enough technical challenges to test
the best soloists and ensembles whilst it is pretty pleasant on
the old lugholes. There are we have been informed a few intentional
or unintentional musical witty moments as well, so listen out for
a bit of “Black Magic Woman” and even “Lovely
Bunch of Coconuts”. After the dour landscape of post communist
“Prague” we need something to raise a smile or two.
As for our predictions. A fine field should make for a fine contest
and with a quality test piece to test the bands we think there won’t
be a surprise result – over the years there really hasn’t
been one has there? The best bands tend to do well here –
the acoustic suits full rounded sounds more than it does filigree
quiet detail. That’s why we think there could well be a top
six of the top blowing bands this time around.
YBS, Brighouse, Fodens, Fairey and Leyland could well be the top
five bands to beat once more, but there are a second tier in the
form of high flyers Carlton Main, Rothwell Temperance and the bands
who had a bad day at Blackpool such as Sellers, Ransome and Flowers
who will be determined to make amends here. Add to that the likes
of the inform Mount Charles, Yorkshire Imps, Travelsphere and Ever
Ready and you have half the field who are more than capable on their
day of comfortably making a mark in the top six.
We don’t think any of the bands will struggle and the likes
of Thoresby, Redbridge and Jaguar (both on a roll at the moment),
Aveley, Besses, Glossop and Woodfalls could all make a mark if they
play to the top of their form.
Still, someone has to make a prediction and we will stand or fall
on ours – (we usually fall we hear you say).
Here goes then……
1. Brighouse and Rastrick
2. Yorkshire Building Society
3. Fodens Richardson
4. The Fairey Band
5. Carlton Main
Dark Horses: Flowers
The contest starts at a more respectable time of 12.00 noon and
so the whole shooting match should be over and done with by 9.30pm,
just in time to see the highlights of Cardiff City’s winning
goal in the Play-Off Finals and a few pints in the Red Cow.
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