2004 London and Southern Counties Regional Championships
Sunday 21st March
Test Piece: Partita – Edward
Adjudicator: Barry Thompson
Barry Thompson had the unenviable task of judging twenty-one bands
in the Fourth Section, and apart from the odd performance, it wasn’t
until the final furlong, that the winners emerged from the long
list of runners and riders.
Waterbeach Brass, Potters Bar Town and Fulham will
all take the road North in buoyant mood having secured qualification,
but a bit of sympathy goes to Battle Town Band
who missed out and had to be content with fourth place. As with
the Third Section, away from the top four, the standard was disappointing
with many band struggling to cope with the rigors of Partita.
Waterbeach Brass drew number eighteen and it suited
them. The three-movement piece had many hurdles for a number of
bands, but Waterbeach coped well with each movement, and in a contest
that was waiting for a performance to make everybody sit up, the
band did that. The ‘Intrada’ was well within
the band’s grasp, and when they arrived at the ‘Chorale
& Variations’ excelled and grabbed qualification
with both hands. It was good all round playing, balance, tuning
and a good sound. As long as the final ‘march’
section was all right then this band would qualify and they did.
Potters Bar Town and Sarah Groake can count themselves
unlucky not to have lifted the title. The band was drawn last and
the interpretation and understanding of Gregson’s music from
the MD really shone through. Sarah Groake gave the music the chance
to breathe and be heard and that was something that many bands didn’t
do. The acoustic of the sports hall isn’t the best, but even
so, the clarity of sound in the overall performance was superb.
Fulham will join their banding colleagues in Harrogate
after playing from number eleven. It had a few moments of uncertainty,
but consistent throughout to take third place.
Battle Town followed Waterbeach Brass on to the
platform, and but for Potters Bar, would have been going to North
Yorkshire. It was a good interpretation from the MD who only asked
what the band could give him. Sadly though, a few blemishes would
prove costly, but they take a lot of confidence from the performance
Away from the top four, a number of bands were very similar in
performance. The bands that did well took into account the acoustic
of the hall and it paid dividends. At times some bands were very
loud, and this was a sports hall, not a concert hall, and it made
one huge difference to the overall sound of bands. For a good number
of bands, too many performances were not secure enough, mainly due
to tuning and balance, and on occasions, not the best ensemble playing.
To everyone’s credit though, everybody had a go, even if it
didn’t happen for them and twenty-one bands in this section
is a terrific achievement. It will be interesting to see how the
qualifiers get on in Harrogate, and all will relish the challenge
of becoming Fourth Section National Champions.
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