2004 Welsh Regional Championships - Retrospective
Sunday 13th March
Test Piece: Vizcaya – Gilbert
Adjudicator: Steve Pritchard
The Third Section was a bit of a mystery to us. Listening to all
the bands, we felt it was going to be a clear cut battle between
Beaumaris B and Royal Buckley for the top prize, with Newbridge
and Newtown making up the top four places.
We were wrong – but it is nice to report that after listening
to what the judge, Steve Pritchard – Jones had to say for
himself and his decision from the stage, you understood clearly
what his thinking was behind his final placings. Bands and audiences
like consistency in their judges, and this was a consistent decision
for sure; Steve knew what he was looking for, and subsequently rewarded
those bands that gave it to him.
Steve felt that the winning performance was very good – not
a great performance he added, but very good nonetheless. He stated
he was looking for the basics to have been mastered and for the
rhythmic challenges to have been overcome. None of the performances
were blemish free, but the winners for sure had the least number
of audible mistakes. He praised the solo cornet players who in just
about every band did well. Clear and concise eh? – and at
this level, a welcome common sense approach to the judging process.
Steve’s approach meant that Newtown Silver under
the returning Steve Edwards were declared winners. Theirs was a
performance that had real control, and obviously benefited from
a very intelligent approach from the MD, but for us it just need
a bit more oomph. There were just some minor errors in the ensemble
lines but the soloists were very good and although it didn’t
quite catch our ear (we had them 4th) it certainly caught the judges,
and that’s all that counts.
Newtown have had a couple of difficult years,
but the return of Steve Edwards has given them a tremendous boost.
Here is a talented MD with an intelligent approach to his performing
bands. His success and that of his band is most welcome.
Second place went to Royal Buckley (shows we know
something then) who were an experienced band that performed well
under the direction of G. Thomas. Again it was compact and controlled
and just lacked a little vibrancy for us, but it was more than good
enough to deservedly take the second qualification place for the
Behind them came the two bands who should and who could have qualified.
Beaumaris B gave a tremendous account of the set
work for us – full of life, bubbling along with real style
and benefiting from some super solo work from a very talented young
man on soprano called Graham Bushell (one to look out for in the
future) and Aled Evans on solo cornet. Both were the best on the
day for us, but their efforts didn’t quite get the reward
we thought they deserved. Just a few little nasty clips may have
cost them a place in the Finals, but it was for us the most complete
picture of “Viscaya” were heard on the day.
Newbridge Celynen were the one band who could
have qualified if they played to anything like their true form.
This was an error strewn performance that fell from grace from the
efforts of both MD and players to try and play far too loud and
aggressively. The music just didn’t need it, and although
when things went well they sounded a classy band, the mistakes just
robbed them of precious points.
After the top four, the standard fell away somewhat and the five
remaining bands just didn’t get to grips with either the musical
of technical demands of what was a very stern test.
Porthaethwy Menai Bridge very nearly brought out
a fine performance, but after starting so well they tailed off as
the stamina of the band went. This was though a very musical account
from a young band, but perhaps an extra year’s practice and
a few more meals with red meat will prove beneficial. They are heading
in the right direction.
Trefor perhaps tried too hard and if they took
off 20% from the volume they would have featured higher than their
eventual sixth place. It had its moments and they certainly had
an experienced line up, but it just need a bit more control.
Finally Ebbw Vale and Harlech
struggled a little to make an impression as they found the piece
perhaps a little too difficult for them. Harlech were minus a soprano
player and try valiantly as he did, the solo cornet player couldn’t
make himself sound like one. It was a brave effort, but it certainly
cost them points. Ebbw Vale meanwhile just found it a tough piece
to overcome and would be thankful for some neat bass playing and
some nice horn work.
We thought we wouldn’t be far out, and were confident that
our top two were set in stone. Not to be. Steve Pritchard –
Jones thought differently, and he was the man in the box. We may
have disagreed him, but you couldn’t fault him for his methodology.