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2004 West of England Regional Championships

Second Section:
Saturday 27th March

Test Piece: Kaleidoscope – Philip Sparke
Adjudicator: David Read

There maybe hasn’t been the level of consistent success at the National Finals in the Second Section over the years for the bands from the West of England, but it certainly doesn’t mean that they are not of a good quality standard.

Last year the region sent Lanner and District and Lympstone South West Telecom to Dundee and they came back with a 3rd and 15th – not bad, against very strong fields. This year whoever makes the trip to Harrogate should travel confident of doing well and possibly bettering that third place and possibly claiming a first Second Section title since Torbay won in 1993.

The set work though is a stern test and David Read is a very experienced judge who certainly knows the difference between those bands who are playing a really piece and those who are just thinking they are. The five variations all place different demands on both the MD’s and players with a real need to make noticeable changes to style, balance and tempi. It will be those bands that can maintain a quality of consistency that should do well we think, as too many bands around the country have fallen foul of trying to create excitement through volume and speed when there has been no real need. This is a fine test piece and the detail and possible prize wining is certainly in the writing. Mr Read for sure, will know the score inside out.

Bath Spa
Conductor: D. Walker

Last Eight Years:
2003: 9th (A. Whiteaker)
2002: 12th
2001: 8th
2000: 3rd
1999: 6th
1998: 14th
1997: 12th
1996: N/K

Bath Spa seem to be moving back in the right direction here after coming 9th last year. That result staved off the threat of possible relegation and they will therefore be looking for further improvement this time around under MD, D. Walker who takes over from A. Whiteaker. They have come as high as third here back in 2000, so a return to the top six may not be beyond them

Bugle Silver
Conductor: D. Pope

Last Eight Years:
2003: 12th (D. Pope)
2002: 14th
2001: 6th
2000: 9th
1999: 13th
1998: 8th
1997: 9th
1996: N/K

The band from the famous contesting venue are another moving in the right direction and back to the safety of a midfield place perhaps. The band came 6th in 2001 but fell away in 2002 to come 14th. The recovery started last year under David Pope, and they will be looking for that to continue this time around.

Conductor: M. Clark

Last Eight Years:
2003: 13th (E. Haines)
2002: 13th
2001: 5th
2000: 8th
1999: 16th
1998: 7th
1997: 14th
1996: N/K

Lucky or unlucky for some – Corsham have had two consecutive 13th places at the contest in the past two years, and will perhaps need an improvement on that form if they are not to be drawn into a relegation battle. Eric Haines led the band last year, but for this assault they have engaged M. Clark. Can he oush them up the prize table a few places at least?

Filton Concert Brass
Conductor: Bryn James

Last Eight Years:
2003: 3rd in Third Section (prom) (B. James)
2002: 8th
2001: 6th
2000: 5th
1999: 6th
1998: 9th
1997: 4th
1996: N/K

Bryn James directed Filton Concert Brass into third place in the Third Section last year, and that meant a long old trip north to Dundee where under the baton of Peter Nutt they came 15th. Bryn James again conducts and if they can repeat the form of a twelve month ago they should more than hold their own here.

Forest of Dean
Conductor: J. Gwynne

Last Eight Years:
2003: 11th in First Section (rel) (J. Gwynne)
2002: 15th
2001: 11th Championship (rel)
2000: 10th Championship
1999: 2nd (prom)
1998: 4th
1997: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
1996: Winners 2nd Section

Miss J. Gwynne and Forest of Dean drop down into the Second Section for the first time since 1997, and they be hoping that this signals the start of a upturn in fortunes for the band that is an amalgam of a couple of Forest bands including the once powerful Yorkley Onward. They made it to the Championship Section in 2000, but since then they have dropped away somewhat. The return back starts here then and they did come 14th at Pontins late last year.

Helston Town
Conductor: J. Hitchens

Last Eight Years:
2003: 5th (J. Hitchins)
2002: 3rd 3rd Section (prom)
2001: 2nd 3rd Section
2000: 17th (rel)
1999: 12th
1998: 11th 1st Section (rel)
1997: 12th 1st Section
1996: N/K

The experienced and talented John Hitchins has really made a mark with Helston over the past few years and after gaining promotion from the Third Section they put in a really fine effort to come 5th here last year. Another repeat of that level of performance and they could well be challenging for a qualification place. They come to the contest in good form too after wining the November Torquay contest playing Goff Richard’s “Oceans”.

Launceston Town
Conductor: W. Smith

Last Eight Years:
2003: 11th (W. Smith)
2002: 10th
2001: 11th
2000: 4th 3rd Section (prom)
1999: 10th 3rd Section
1998: 3rd 3rd Section
1997: 7th 3rd Section
1996: N/K

Launceston Town have more than held their own here over the last three years since gaining promotion from the Third Section, but perhaps now is the time for them to make that jump up and challenge for a top six place. Wayne Smith directs the band once more.

Lympstone South West Telecom
Conductor: C. Fleming

Last Eight Years:
2003: 2nd (C. Fleming)
2002: 6th
2001: 4th 3rd Section (prom)
2000: Winners 3rd Section
1999: Winners 4th Section (prom)
1998: 3rd 4th Section
1997: Winners 4th Section
1996: N/K

A band going places it seems – and last year they went all the way up to Dundee after coming runners up here. There they played well and claimed 15th place under the direction of Charlie Fleming. Looking at their record since 1999, they have improved year on year with their results, so that only leaves one possible place left for them this time. 3rd place at the November Torquay contest shows that they could be one of the favourites once more.

Michelmersh Silver
Conductor: Steve Large

Last Eight Years:
2003: Winners of Third Section (prom) (B. Kelloway)
2002: Winners
2001: 8th
2000: 9th
1999: 8th
1998: 5th
1997: 12th
1996: N/K

Last year’s winners of the Third Section showed that their triumph of 2002 was no fluke and they made the long trip to Scotland and Dundee where they came 10th under the direction of Brian Kelloway. Steve Large is taking the band this time, hoping to take the band onto further glory. They could well be ones to listen out for come results time.

Otterbourne Brass
Conductor: Lt. Col. C. Davies

Last Eight Years:
2003: 4th (Lt. Col. C. Davies)
2002: 8th
2001: 9th
2000: 2nd in Third Section (prom)
1999: 3rd in Third Section
1998: 7th in Third Section
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

Otterbourne Bras are the band formerly know as City of Winchester as will be led this year by Lt Col Chris Davies who led the band into 4th place last year. Since gaining promotion up from the Third Section in 2000 they have certainly been on an upward curve with ever improving results in the last three years. Another notch up in form and a trip to Harrogate could well be on the cards.

Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne)
Conductor: M. Knapton

Last Eight Years:
2003: 8th (M. Knapton)
2002: 7th
2001: 7th
2000: 6th
1999: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
1998: Winners 3rd Section
1997: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
1996: N/K

Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) come to the contest on the back of a fine second place at the November Torquay contest where they were placed runners up to Helston Town in the Second Section. Since gaining promotion up form the Third Section here they have been very consistent challengers for a top six place, and if they can keep up the form of Torquay they could well push themselves back into the frame once more.

D. StephensSoundhouse Brass (Plymouth)
Conductor: D. Stephens

Last Eight Years:
2003: 6th (D. Stephens)
2002: 2nd 3rd Section (prom)
2001: 7th 3rd Section
2000: 6th 3rd Section
1999: 11th 3rd Section
1998: 8th 3rd Section
1997: 13th 3rd Section
1996: N/K

The band formally known as RBL Crownhill will be directed by the very experienced Denzil Stephens who we last saw playing second baritone for Bodmin at the Yeovil contest. Some people never lose that competitive streak and he is certainly one of them. The band has also done very well under his direction and after gaining promotion from the Third Section in 2002 they came a very respectful 6th last year. Another repeat performance or even better may be on the cards.

Conductor: S. Manley

Last Eight Years:
2003: 14th in First Section (rel) (C. Sproston)
2002: 11th
2001: 7th
2000: 12th
1999: 3rd 2nd Section (prom)
1998: 11th 2nd Section
1997: 3rd 2nd Section
1996: N/K

Totnes fell through the relegation trap door after coming 14th and last in the First Section contest last year here. S. Manley takes over the baton from Clive Sproston and he will be hoping that the band return to the kind of for they showed year the last time they performed at this level in 1999, when they came third.

Weston Brass
Conductor: P. Nutt

Last Year: 7th
Last Eight Years:
2003: 7th (D. Tilling)
2002: 14th 1st Section (rel)
2001: 14th 1st Section
2000: 3rd 1st Section
1999: 7th 3rd Section
1998: 3rd (prom)
1997: 5th
1996: N/K

Weston were directed by Dave Tilling here last year when they came 7th on their return back to the section after suffering relegation from the First Section. That partnership has now ended and a new MD, P. Nutt takes over to steer their challenge this time around. A top six place will be the least of their ambitions we feel.

Woodfalls Concert Brass
Conductor: S. Dunster

Last Year: 10th
Last Eight Years:
2003: 10th (R. Bligh)
2002: 13th 1st Section (rel)
2001: 11th 1st Section
2000: 4th 1st Section
1999: 5th (prom)
1998: 11th
1997: 8th
1996: N/K

The other band from the excellent Woodfalls organization will be looking for a good result here this year after they could only manage 10th place on their return to the Second Section last time out. Steve Dunster takes over the reins from R. Bligh and a return to the form that saw them come 4th in the First Section in 2000 is what is needed.

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

Past Qualifiers:

2002: Torbay Brass, Bendix Kingswood
2001: Bendix Kingswood, City of Bristol Brass
2000: Ocean Brass, Test Valley Brass
1999: Solent Concert, Sherborne Town
1998: Redruth Town, St. Keverne
1997: Yeovil Town, Forest of Dean
1996: Forest of Dean, N/K
1995: Hyde, Lanner and District

West of England bands at the Finals:

2003: 3rd, 15th
2002: 9th, 15th
2001: 2nd, 12th
2000: 7th, 11th
1999: 8th, 15th
1998: 8th, 17th

4BR Prediction:

We predict a real close contest David Read to try and make sense of here on Saturday. Lots of decent quality bands will both enjoy the musical as well technical challenges of the set work and we think there could be a few disappointed bands come results time.

Still there are one or two bands that do stand out for us and we have to go with Lymptone and Otterbourne to take the two qualification places on offer, although we think they will be pushed very hard by Helston, Michelmersh and Soundhouse. Phoenix and Totnes make up our top six and dark horse places.

1. Lympstone South West Telecom
2. Otterbourne Brass
3. Helston Town
4. Michelmersh Silver
5. Soundhouse Brass
6. Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne)

Dark Horses: Totnes

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