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2004 Midlands Regional Championships - Retrospective

Second Section:
Suturday: 13th March

Test Piece: Kaleidoscope – Philip Sparke
Adjudicator: Roy Roe

What a cracking contest this turned out to be. Adjudicator Roy Roe was certainly impressed and was very complimentary about the standard of the bands he heard on the day. It’s not often we are in near complete agreement with the man in the box, but on this occasion it was such a close run thing that we couldn’t disagree with his result.

In many ways it was a contest split into thirds – the first 6 of the 17 bands on show didn’t quite hit the mark on test piece by Philip Sparke (only one got into the top six places), whilst the second third contained the best performances of the day (4 of these bands got into the frame). The final third produced some interesting interpretations, but only one of the bands made it to the prize list.

Hathern were declared winners, and there was very little we could disagree about their performance as a whole. Each of the variations was taken with care and a sense of musical purpose and overall they sounded like a band on the up. It was also interesting to note that they seemed to instinctively respond to a very fine performance from Raunds Temperance who played immediately before them. They too gave a well-constructed show – full of fine solo playing and neat ensemble work.

Raunds had in turn responded to quality showing from Snibston and Desford who off the number 10 draw set a fine mark (we had them third overall). Again there was an intelligent approach by the MD and the music was given plenty of time and space to develop. A few nasty moments in intonation and a little speedy for us to end, but it was a good one.

Prior to these, Stourport on Severn, drawn seven, and led by David Maplestone had produced a vigorous account of the set work that found favour with many in the audience. The MD as always gave of his all, and it was perhaps the choice of tempos that may have robbed them of the title; it was just a bit too frantic at times.

The final top six places were taken by Harborough conducted by Chris Groom who started in a lovely manner but who faded away in the last two movements, whilst Hopkins Solicitors Blidworth were the one band in the opening third of the contest who got to grips with the test piece and felt comfortable from the word go. If it had been a little later they may have made more of a mark, but to be truthful they were a beacon of controlled playing amid some poor shows.

Outside the top six the standard fell away somewhat for us. The likes of Bilton, Shirebrook, Darley Dale and Pothywaen all had moments of fine playing, but they couldn’t sustain it throughout all the five variations. The waltz variation in particular felt stilted in all of these performances whilst the last movement was at times taken at a tempo that found the bands struggling to overcome the technical hurdles placed for them in the score.

The final seven bands in the prize list also fell foul of lack of consistency. Some started well, whilst others had good central movements. Nearly all though played the final movement too quickly and subsequently they all lacked the detail required to make a mark.

All in all though this was a fine contest – the top five performances in particularly were quality shows, and if the final result had been in any other order we think there wouldn’t have been too many complaints from the players or the audience. We enjoyed them, and so did Roy Roe. The qualifiers here will be well placed to do well in Harrogate we think.

Note: 4BR were given these details of the contest, not from our usual reviewer.

© 4BarsRest

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