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2004 Yorkshire Regional Championships - Retrospective

Third Section
Sunday 7th March

Test Piece: Vizcaya – Gilbert Vinter
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 the best.

Vinter’s Vizcaya proved a tough test for many with a number of bands coming unstuck with tuning and their overall balance of sound.

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 of over-blowing.

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, the adjudicator.

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 for sure.

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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