2004 Yorkshire Regional Championships
Sunday 7th March
Test Piece: Vizcaya –
Adjudicator: Ian Craddock
Sunday morning and the arrival of what became an eleven-hour banding
bonanza. Out of all the five sections over the weekend, this was
the most disappointing for us, as the standard of playing was not
Vinter’s Vizcaya proved a tough test for many with
a number of bands coming unstuck with tuning and their overall balance
At the end of the competition, Ian Craddock informed the audience
that four or five bands had played well, and those that finished
in the top three were quite close. Mr Craddock was hoping for plenty
of well-balanced sounds, but on the day, too many bands were guilty
The first two bands to compete were Emley Brass and Barnsley Metropolitan
respectively. Having heard these two performances, it was clear
immediately that any band that would do well would have to play
in tune. The trombone sections suffered badly with intonation, and
the bands that did OK coped with the opening trombone parts.
Both Emley and Barnsley suffered from tuning and you sensed that
lack of confidence. If the early parts had gelled together, then
the remainder of the piece could have grown, but it never happened
for both of them, and they will want a better day next time around.
Maltby Miners Welfare and Dinnington were drawn back-to-back, and
were the first bands to make an impression on us, and most importantly,
Maltby started confidently and whilst the tuning wasn’t perfect,
it was better than that before it, and the band grew in confidence.
The conductor kept things under control, and the tempos were consistent,
particularly at the end, when the rhythm is important. Many bands
struggled with the tempos as the tendency was for the piece to run
away from them a little bit. Maltby was the marker and they would
have been a touch disappointed not to finish higher than fourth.
Dinnington had YBS trombone player, Toby Bannan at the helm,
and he made sure that the trombones were together and in tune.
The performance had a few slips after a great start, but the band
couldn't maintain it, and in the end, it was the consistency that
cost them a trip to Harrogate. Having come up from the Fourth Section
though, this was a great result for them, and yes, they will be
annoyed to have missed out on qualifying, but at the same time,
they have built themselves a platform to build on.
With a knowledgeable MD in front of them, this band will be looking
to make its mark during the rest of the year, and they are one to
look out for.
Slaithwaite took the stage with two notable performances already
in the frame, and this band really did open up a can of worms. In
fairness, it wasn’t the best of starts, but the band recovered
to put in a great performance. The band’s sound was well balanced
and some nice playing was to be heard. We liked it, but would the
beginning prove too costly for them? In the end it didn’t
because they finished runners up, and to be fair, good old 4BR preferred
Dinnington - but we are not grumbling with the judge. At the end
of the day, it was nip-and-tuck between Dinnington and Slaithwaite
although two points separated them. The West Yorkshire band will
relish Harrogate and having been pretty consistent in recent years
in this section will hope to make their mark in the finals.
Huddersfield Brass came down a section this year, and put in a
good workman-like performance, that they should be pleased with.
Awarded sixth place from a good draw, the band can build from here
and will aim next year to make a bigger impact in the prizes. The
band’s Principal Cornet player took away the best soloist
award from the section for some nice playing, which was well deserved.
Clifton was a band expected to do well, but Viscaya just didn’t
happen for them. The ensemble suffered from intonation and quite
a bit of over-blowing. This was another band that fell foul to the
acoustic of the hall. When plenty are in, it’s ok, but on
Sunday morning, it wasn’t full to the rafters by any means,
and consequently, the sound was louder than was intended. The band
will be disappointed with its showing, but they have made great
strides recently, and shouldn’t be too disheartened.
Slaithwaite and Dinnington were still very much in the frame, and
the opportunity was still there for a band to give Ian Craddock
something to think about. Stanley Newmarket was our favourites,
and they didn’t let themselves down at all, as they put a
performance in that gave them the title. The sound was good and
no over-blowing was in evidence. In addition, the tuning was pretty
solid, and the notes were there as well. It was not perfect (nobody
was) but, the sound of the band was firm, and the MD was always
in control, and you sensed the players felt comfortable with the
music. If the band hadn’t have qualified, then they could
have considered themselves very unlucky, but it was a performance
of real merit, and one that deserved the title.
Gawthorpe Brass ‘85’ drew the contest to a close, and
it was another good all-round show from this band. It had its moments
of quality, but it wasn’t enough to trouble Ian Craddock in
his thought process of the top four. The band was placed fifth and
equalled last years placing, and will look to qualify next year
So that was that, Vinter’s music proved a real test and away
from the top four bands, the standard wasn’t the best. The
title went to Stanley Newmarket, who were deserved winners with
Slaithwaite taking runners up. Dinnington and Maltby can consider
themselves a touch unfortunate not to have got a higher placing,
but that is one of the perils of contesting.
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