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2004 Midlands Regional Championships - Retrospective

Fourth Section
Sunday 14th March

Test Piece: Partita – Edward Gregson
Adjudicator: Roy Roe

Apologies for the delay in this report from the Fourth Section at the Midlands Championships – our man left his notes in a place that he couldn’t remember – until now. So sorry folks!

This was a contest that caused a little consternation from quite a few people who had either listened to, or had played in the contest. Adjudicator Roy Roe seemed to be in a bit of a picky mood in his address to the audience at the Burton on Trent Town Hall – he was obviously disappointed with the overall standard of playing he heard, but his comments tended to be a tad destructive rather than constructive.

Everyone appreciates an adjudicator who speaks his mind, but more importantly they appreciate an adjudicator who is consistent. Roy was certainly the former here, but some may question whether he was the latter.

There was little doubt that the top three bands deserved their placings – Rushden Windmill, Newhall and Matlock were all good value and will make the trip to Harrogate with confidence, but many in the audience were mystified at the way in which he described what he was looking for. Roy has adjudicated at the highest level (including the Championship Section at the Royal Albert Hall), but there was a feeling that he brought the type of adjudication approach required at that level to the Fourth Section here.

Judging the likes of Black Dyke, YBS, Cory, Fodens and the bands of this level makes different demands on the adjudicating art – sorting out the wheat from the chaff in the Fourth Section demands something a little more basic. There seemed to be little in the way of constructive criticism from the stage – it was nearly all negative comments and that disappointed many. Bands know they are not going to give a YBS type show, but they do try damn hard none the less.

It wasn’t the greatest quality contest for sure – but it wasn’t any worse than just about any other area around the country. Bands such as Dunchurch, Kirkby Colliery Welfare and Creswell Colliery in particular will have been a bit mystified at their result – we were not alone in thinking they had put in decent shows, and given what Roy had just said off stage, we thought they would certainly be in with a shout. It was not to be, and we know opinions differ, but this was a little mystifying.

Rushden were very good – broad sounds, balanced and robust when needed and some neat touches from the main solo players. They also had the rhythmic quality that Roy was certainly listening out for. Newhall were different – they had a fine horn section (another bete noir of RR) whilst Matlock were the most controlled of the three and made the most music from the score (again RR was forceful in his condemnation of many others). All three deserved their qualification, but all three were certainly different from each other.

Given that the rest of top six – Enderby Youth, Ilkeston Brass and Dronfield were all musical pictures cut from disparate readings you wondered what on earth tickled the adjudicators fancy. Opinions varied – we didn’t agree (so what’s new), but given what Roy Roe stated off the stage, there was more than a little head scratching come the announcement of the results.

Others on the day put in performances that had their merits – right from Tideswell off the number 1 draw, right through to Kirkby Colliery at 17 – each of the bands tried hard to make music from a difficult set work, and we think they should have been applauded more than they were. There was a super little performance from Enderby Youth for example who came 4th, but which was so lightweight in sound that given Roy’s criteria, should have come about 12th and not just outside the qualification places.

As we have said: This wasn’t the best Fourth Section contest we have heard this year – but it wasn’t the worse either. Sometimes adjudicators can be their own worse enemy – and perhaps this was one such time.

© 4BarsRest

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