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2004 Scottish Regional Championships

First Section
Saturday 14th March

Test Piece: Coventry Variations – Bramwell Tovey
David Read and Alan Morrison

Moving to Sunday for the first time in since 1992, the Scottish First Section promises to be a pretty close run affair as usual. Both of the promoted bands from last year's Second Section are in good shape and the ones entering from the Championship Section are of the standard that would make you expect that they will want to return there as soon as possible.

Add to this the existing contenders and we really could be in for a treat, with the difficulties within "Coventry Variations" providing both a testing and enjoyable platform for the competing bands. There are a number of very ambitious bands in this contest, not all of which can achieve what they hope for, so there will be plenty of them crying in their beer on Sunday night.

Arbroath Instrumental
Conductor: M. Robertson

Last Eight Years:
2003: 2nd 2nd Section (prom) (8) (M. Robertson)
2002: 2nd 3rd Section (prom)
2001: Winners 4th Section (prom)
2000: 9th 4th Section
1999: 10th 3rd Section (rel)
1998: 11th 3rd Section
1997: 11th 2nd Section (rel)
1996: 8th 2nd Section

Following a hat-trick of promotions, the band from the North-East and Scotland's only prize-winner in the 2003 Nationals will be in optimistic mood for this one. They have some good young players around the stand including Scottish Solo Finalist Iain Maxwell on trombone. Mike Robertson will take a musical approach with the test-piece as always and we expect them to do pretty well this time. Perhaps further promotion would be a year too soon for them but they are undoubtedly a band going the right direction.

Clackmannan District Brass
Conductor: J. Davies

Last Eight Years:
2003: 10th Championship (rel) (9) (J. Smith)
2002: 2nd 1st Section (prom)
2001: 3rd 1st Section
2000: 10th Championship (rel)
1999: 2nd 1st Section (prom)
1998: 4th 1st Section
1997: 9th Championship (rel)
1996: 8th Championship

A poor performance of "Prague" last year despatched Clackmannan to a further spell in the Firstt Section and they will be keen to bounce back straight away. They've brought in Jim Davis of Cory and Brighouse fame to lead them and although they have enough quality to perform well this time, the section is stronger than in previous years and we think they'll need a good day to make it back at the first attempt.

Dunaskin Doon
Conductor: J. Boax

Another band that's found it difficult to become established in the Championship Section, John Boax's Ayrshire outfit have been knocking on the door the last couple of years at this level. They're pretty consistent and although they haven't been too active on the contest front lately, we expect them to be challenging for a prize again.

Last Eight Years:
2003: 3rd (2) (J.Boax)
2002: 4th
2001: 10th Championship (rel)
2000: 7th Championship
1999: 8th Championship
1998: 2nd (prom)
1997: 3rd
1996: 9th Championship (rel)

Granite City Brass
Conductor: D. James

Last Eight Years:
2003: 4th (5) (D. James) (UDI Aberdeen)
2002: 10th
2001: 6th
2000: 3rd
1999: 4th
1998: 7th
1997: 4th
1996: 5th

This will be Granite City's first Scottish Championship appearance since their name change last year and although they could do with a good result to avoid relegation, we think they are well equipped to get it. A good performance at the Whitburn Contest in November will give them confidence and with David James at the helm they should find the long journey from Aberdeen worthwhile.

Johnstone Silver
Conductor: G. Lindsay

Last Eight Years:
2003: 5th (3) (R.Tennant)
2002: 9th Championship (rel)
2001: Winners (prom)
2000: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
1999: 10th (rel)
1998: 6th
1997: 6th
1996: 3rd

Former soprano star Gavin Lindsay makes his Scottish Championships debut with Johnstone following the departure of Raymond Tennant to Scottish Co-op last year. Johnstone had a short taste of the Championship Section recently and they are well equipped for a return this year. They have become known as entertainment contest specialists, having had a fair bit of success over the years in that field, but Gavin will ensure that they can adapt their style to suit the piece and will have a good reading of this music. We think they will be in the shake-up on Sunday.

Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass
Conductor: A. Orr

Last Eight Years:
2003: 6th (7) (C. Bradley)
2002: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
2001: 5th 2nd Section
2000: 2nd 3rd Section (prom)
1999: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
1998: 3rd 4th Section
1997: 9th 4th Section
1996: 10th 4th Section

The junior of the two bands from Kirkintilloch, Kirkie Kelvin have made terrific progress through the sections over the last few years, the highlight of which was their win in the Royal Albert Hall in the 2000 Third Section National. This time they have tuba player Alistair Orr in charge of them and they will be hoping to consolidate on last year's 6th place on their first appearance at this level. Further promotion might be a bit too soon for them just now, but they should be strong enough to survive the drop.

Livingston Brass
Conductor: A Samson

Last Eight Years:
2003: 7th (4) (A. Samson)
2002: 3rd
2001: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
2000: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
1999: 11th 2nd Section (rel)
1998: 9th 2nd Section
1997: 8th 2nd Section
1996: DNC

Livingston have withdrawn from the contest.

Newmilns and Galston
Conductor: TBA

Last Eight Years:
2003: Winners 2nd section (6) (Craig Anderson)
2002: 9th
2001: 10th 1st Section (rel)
2000: 7th 1st Section
1999: 10th Championship (rel)
1998: 7th Championship
1997: 2nd 1st Section (prom)
1996: 6th 1st Section

Newly promoted Newmilns & Galston from Ayrshire have been strong contenders in the lower sections over the years although their form has fluctuated a bit in recent times. They are on the way up just now though and with Craig Anderson conducting they will be well prepared. They have a pretty strong cornet section and that will serve them well on "Coventry Variations". A good result in Fife in November will give them confidence following a disappointing National in Dundee and we think that they could be close to securing another spell in the top section.

Newtongrange Silver
Conductor: K. Wilkinson

Last Eight Years:
2003: 9th (5) Championship (Bryan Hurdley)
2002: 3rd Championship
2001: 6th Championship
2000: 5th Championship
1999: 6th Championship
1998: 3rd Championship
1997: 5th Championship
1996: 4th Championship

Every now and then, you find a band that somehow gets itself in the wrong section and this is possibly the case with Newtongrange. Very consistent performers for over 20 years in the Championship Section, a surprising 9th place put them down last year and they will be more keen than most to succeed in this one. On paper, they have probably the strongest line-up in the contest, but band contests don't take place on paper and their last two performances at Whitburn and the Scottish Open were poor by their standards. They have brought in an old friend from USA for this one, Keith Wilkinson, who led them to their only Scottish Championship in 1991 and they will hope that he will provide the inspiration for a swift return to the top section. We don't think they will be far away.

Tayport Instrumental
Conductor: I. Davey

Last Eight Years:
2003: 8th (6) (R. MacDonald)
2002: 5th
2001: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
2000: 9th (rel)
1999: 6th
1998: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
1997: 9th (rel)
1996: 7th

Fife's only representative in the First Section, Tayport will be hoping to improve on last year's disappointment and they have managed to secure the services of former Fairey's euphonium player Iain Davey to help them do it. They had a disappointing result at the Fife contest in November and will require an improvement in form if they're to stay in the section. They were in the Championship Section in the mid 90's but a return there is probably just beyond them at the moment.

Results archive:
Full results of previous year's contests together with a results summary can be found in our results archive.

Past Qualifiers:

2003: Bathgate, Bon Accord
2002: Broxburn Public, Clackmannan District Brass.
2001: Johnstone Silver, Bo'ness and Carriden
2000: Bon Accord, Kingdom Brass
1999: Unison Kinneil, Clackmannan and District
1998: Longannet Colliery, Dunaskin Doon
1997: Broxburn Public, Newmilns and Galston
1996: Dalkeith and Monktonhall, Unison Kinneil
1995: Bon Accord, Clackmannan and District

Scottish Bands at the Finals:

2003: 10th, 17th
2002: 12th, 17th
2001: 6th, 9th
2000: 8th, 9th
1999: 2nd, 5th
1998: 2nd, 4th

4BR Prediction:

This one should be very close, with about 5 or 6 bands capable of delivering the winning performance on their day. We've gone for the bands with the experience in the top flight and when we threw all the balls up in the air, this is how they landed:-

1. Newtongrange
2. Johnstone Silver
3. Granite City
4. Dunaskin Doon
5. Newmilns & Galston
6. Clackmannan & District

Dark Horse: Arbroath Instrumental

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