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2004 West of England Regional Championships

Third Section
Sunday 28th March

Test Piece: Vizcaya – Gilbert Vinter
Adjudicator: David Read

David Read is perhaps our most well known and most respected adjudicators, and perhaps the reason why, is that he not only judges solely at the Championship level, but also takes time to judge at the lower levels as well. This year for instance, he has been in the box at Championship level in Yorkshire (perhaps the hardest job of the lot) as well as in Scotland, and has adjudicated on the First, Second, Third and Fourth in Scotland and the North East.

One thing is for sure – he will know the score of “Vizcaya” inside out, whilst his remarks to bands at this level are invariably constructive – based on his knowledge of the limitations as well as the expectations of the bands and the MD’s. Whoever wins here will have found favour with a man who certainly knows his business.

The MD’s in particular should be wary of trying to make something from a clear and precise score that isn’t there then. In many of the other regions we have heard, too many conductors thought that the Vinter of this piece was perhaps Wilby or even Bourgeois for that matter in disguise. Those who know Vinter’s music, (and David Read is certainly one as both a player and judge) will know that his is a unique musical voice, that cannot and should not be tampered with to make it sound like something it clearly isn’t.

“Vizcaya” offers plenty for the band to overcome both musically and technically – there is no hidden secrets here, so get the basics right and the music will surely flow.

The bands here therefore will be faced with a hard test to overcome, but those who do find favour with Mr Read can look forward to making the long trip to Harrogate (although not as long as Dundee) confident of doing well. Last year, the regions qualifiers came back with 4th, 10th and 15th – not bad, but it was at least the sixth year in a row that at least one qualifier had come in the prizes.

Whoever gets the nod this time will surely be looking to carry on that type of form.

Bream Silver
Conductor: H. Cole

Last Eight Years:
2003: 13th (N. Howard)
2002: 10th
2001: Winners
2000: 13th
1999: 5th
1998: 12th
1997: 4th 4th Section (prom)
1996: N/K

Bream were the 2001 winners here, but since that time they have fallen off the pace big time and after coming 10th in 2002, they could only manage a disappointing 13th under Nigel Howard last year. They will need to improve on that if they are to stave off a possible relegation battle and they have drafted in a new MD in the shape of H. Cole to help them on their way. We will have to wait and see then.

Bristol East
Conductor: J. Griffin

Last Eight Years:
2003: 4th (J. Griffin)
2002: 6th
2001: 13th
2000: 18th 2nd Section (rel)
1999: 14th 2nd Section
1998: 13th 2nd Section
1997: 4th (prom)
1996: N/K

Bristol East seem to be moving in the right direction here, and in the past three years they have improved their results year on year. From 13th in 2001 to 4th last time out is a fine effort and under conductor John Griffin they will certainly be looking to maintain that upward trend. A possible top three place and a trip to Harrogate will be a realistic ambition.

A. PopeCamborne B
Conductor: A. Pope

Last Eight Years:
2003: 3rd in Fourth Section (prom) (A. Pope)
2002: 7th
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

The other band from the Camborne stable will certainly be looking to maintain the form that saw them come third in the Fourth Section last year and gain promotion. That podium finish meant they had perhaps the longest trip of all the qualifiers in any section to Dundee, and they returned home with a solid 15th place under their belt. Alan Pope directs again in this just their third appearance at the contest.

Cosham Concert Brass
Conductor: J. Hill

Last Eight Years:
2003: 14th (S. Dunster)
2002: 7th
2001: 14th 2nd Section (rel)
2000: 7th 2nd Section
1999: 18th 2nd Section
1998: 10th 2nd Section
1997: 14th 2nd Section
1996: N/K

Cosham can do with a good result here this year if they are to stop themselves falling through the trap door of relegation and dropping into the Fourth Section. Since 2000 they have had ever decreasing returns here and after coming 7th in 2002 they dropped to 14th place last time out under the direction of Steve Dunster. That partnership has ended, but a new MD in J. Hill will hope to get them back on track.

Gillingham Imperial Silver
Conductor: TBA

Last Eight Years:
2003: DNC (rel)
2002: 3rd in Second Section
2001: 15th
2000: 10th
1999: 10th
1998: 16th in First Section (rel)
1997: 15th
1996: 13th

We don’t know the reason why Gillingham didn’t compete here last year, but they came 3rd in the second Section the year before, so relegation on paper may seem a bit harsh. What form they bring to the contest we don’t know, but if they repeat 2002 then great – if not, then who knows? A real dark horse.

Hayle Town
Conductor: D. Johnston

Last Eight Years:
2003: Winners of Fourth Section (prom) (D. Johnston)
2002: 2nd
2001: 9th
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: 14th 3rd Section (rel)
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

Hayle Town secured a fine win in the Fourth Section her last year under the baton of Derek Johnston and that led to a trip to the Lower Section Finals in Dundee where they came a fine 7th place. That would have filled them with the confidence they need to do well here, and that would have been further enhanced after they won the Fourth Section at the November Torquay contest playing “Devon Fantasy”. Ones to look out for then.

New Forest Brass
Conductor: I. Luxford

Last Eight Years:
2003: 6th in Fourth Section (prom) (I. Luxford)
2002: 4th
2001: DNC
2000: 15th 3rd Section (rel)
1999: 19th 2nd Section (rel)
1998: 16th 2nd Section
1997: 10th 2nd Section
1996: N/K

New Forest gain promotion to the Third Section this year after two years in the Fourth when they made a solid impression by coming 4th in 2002 and 6th last year under the direction of Ian Luxford. There is a bit of a step up though from there to here, so they will be looking to make a mark and more than hold their own.

Pendennis Brass (Falmouth)
Conductor: G. Thomas

Last Eight Years:
2003: 9th (G. Thomas)
2002: 3rd 4th Section (prom)
2001: 3rd 4th Section
2000: 16th (rel)
1999: 16th
1998: 10th
1997: 18th
1996: Winners 4th Section

Pendennis Brass (Falmouth) more than held their own here last year when they settled into a midfield placing and came ninth under the direction of G. Thomas. That partnership returns once more and they will be looking to push for a possible top six place at least.

Portishead Town
Conductor: TBA

Last Year: 7th
Last Eight Years:
2003: 7th (D. Beckley)
2002: 17th
2001: 11th
2000: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
1999: 5th 4th Section
1998: 8th 4th Section
1997: 20th 4th Section
1996: N/K

No news as yet to who will be taking Portishead to the contest – last year it was the experienced Duncan Beckley who really pulled the band up by their socks to jump ten places and gain 7th overall. Another leap like that and they could well be booking a place in Harrogate. We will have to wait and see what team they put out though.

Saltash Town
Conductor: N. Ellis

Last Year: 5th
Last Eight Years:
2003: 5th (D. Dobson)
2002: 9th
2001: Winners 4th Section (prom)
2000: 7th 4th Section
1999: 8th 4th Section
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

N. Ellis takes over the baton this year from David Dobson at Saltash and he has a hard act to follow. The Fourth Section winners of 2001 showed that they were very much at home I the higher section and came 9th in 2002 and 5th last year. If the new team can keep that level of progress going them a possible podium finish and some hotel reservations may be on the cards.

Shrewton Silver
Conductor: M. Dunford

Last Eight Years:
2003: 12th (M. Dunford)
2002: 6th 4th Section (prom)
2001: 7th 4th Section
2000: 4th 4th Section
1999: 25th 4th Section
1998: 18th 4th Section
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

Michael Dunford and Shrewton did well last year on their debut in the Third Section to come 12th. On paper it may not seem a great result, but when you consider they were coming 25th in the Fourth Section in 1999, that is still a fine achievement. They are a band that has been making very solid progress here since 2000, so another step in the right direction may be awaiting them.

St. Breward Silver
Conductor: A. Harvey

Last Eight Years:
2003: 8th (A. Harvey)
2002: 18th
2001: 10th
2000: Winners 4th Section (prom)
1999: 7th 4th Section
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

Aaron Harvey, the former top man at Bodmin continues to make solid progress with St. Breward and after the disappointment of coming 18th in 2002 they made a huge leap up the prize table to come 8th last time out. The talented MD will certainly be looking for another leap towards the big prizes and they come with good form after securing second place at the November Torquay contest to St. Stythians playing “The Ship Builders Suite”.

B. Minear St. Dennis
Conductor: B. Minear

Last Eight Years:
2003: 2nd (B. Minear)
2002: Winners 4th Section (prom)
2001: 2nd 4th Section
2000: 11th 4th Section
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

A real old famous name in West Country banding is possibly set to make yet another giant leap back towards the glory days of yesteryear when the band under the late Eddie Williams were a top six finisher at the Championship Section at the Royal Albert Hall. Brian Minear is certainly producing the goods and has set the band on course with a very solid foundation of good playing. Winners of the Fourth Section in 2002 and second here last year (they came 4th at the Finals) – we think they could well go all the way again.

St. Pinnock
Conductor: P. Minear

Last Eight Years:
2003: 15th in Second Section (rel) (W. Harris)
2002: 9th
2001: 10th
2000: 11th
1999: 4th 3rd Section (prom)
1998: 2nd 3rd Section
1997: 8th 3rd Section
1996: N/K

The third of the four saintly bands on show, St. Pinnock will be looking for some sort of intervention from above if they are to make a mark here in the Third Section. They were relegated last year when they came 15th in the higher section under the baton of William Harris, so the new team of P. Minear (any relation to the St. Dennis Minear we ask?) will have their work cut out. We wish them well.

St. Stythians
Conductor: D. Johnston

Last Eight Years:
2003: 6th (D. Jonston)
2002: 5th
2001: 16th 2nd Section (rel)
2000: 16th 2nd Section
1999: 11th 2nd Section
1998: 5th 2nd Section
1997: 17th 2nd Section
1996: N/K

St. Stythians come to the contest in fine form after winning the November Torquay contest under Derek Johnston in fine style. After more than holding their own here in the last two years they will be confident of improving on a top six place and pushing for a podium and Harrogate finish. It could be their year.

South Molton Town
Conductor: D. Tilling

Last Eight Years:
2003: 15th (D. Tilling)
2002: 11th 2nd Section (rel)
2001: 12th 2nd Section
2000: 16th 2nd Section
1999: 14th 1st Section (rel)
1998: 15th 1st Section
1997: 10th 1st Section
1996: N/K

South Molton are in need of a good result here this year if they are to stop themselves falling down through the relegation trap door to the Fourth Section. Dave Tilling may have his worked cut out as if the results are anything to go by over the past few years, the results rot needs to be stopped. Lets hope they can do it.

Tewkesbury Town
Conductor: N. Morgan

Last Eight Years:
2003: 10th (N. Morgan)
2002: 15th
2001: 4th 4th Section (prom)
2000: 6th 4th Section
1999: 3rd 4th Section
1998: 15th 4th Section
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

Tewkesbury are a band moving in the right direction here it seems. Since 2000 they have improved their results year on year and after coming 15th in 2002 they improved that to 10th last time out. Another five place jump and they could well be challenging for a podium place – whatever happens though we think the improvement may well continue.

Wincanton Silver
Conductor: Brian Kelloway

Last Eight Years:
2003: 14th in Second Section (rel) (M. Winter)
2002: 16th
2001: 3rd 3rd Section (prom)
2000: 3rd 3rd Section
1999: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
1998: 2nd 4th Section
1997: 7th 4th Section
1996: N/K

Brian Kelloway will be taking Wincanton to the contest this year. The band return to the Third Section after a couple of difficult years in the Second, so they will be determined to repeat the form of 2000 and 2001 for sure. Sometimes bands can be promoted too quickly for their own good, but lets hope 2004 sees Wincanton start on the road back.

Wooton under Edge and District Silver
Conductor: R. Carr

Last Eight Years:
2003: 11th (R. Griffiths)
2002: 13th
2001: 13th 2nd Section (rel)
2000: 11th 2nd Section
1999: 15th 2nd Section
1998: 6th (prom)
1997: 6th
1996: N/K

Wooton are another band that has a new MD at the helm for the contest. Last year they were directed by Rhodri Griffiths from Wales who led them to 11th place – an improvement of two places on 2002. Perhaps they will be looking for something for a bit better this time around and a safe spot in the top 10 at least.

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

Past Qualifiers:

2003: Michelmersh Silver, St. Dennis, Filton Concert Brass
2002: Michelmersh Silver, RBL Crownhill (Plymouth)
2001: Bream Silver, Helston Town
2000: Lympstone SW Telecoms, City of Winchester
1999: Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne), Test Valley Brass
1998: Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne), St. Pinnock
1997: St. Keverne, Cosham Concert
1996: Yeovil Town, N/K
1995: Stoke sub Hamdon, Corsham

West of England bands at the Finals:

2003: 4th, 10th, 15th
2002: 6th, 17th
2001: 5th, 6th
2000: 3rd, 10th
1999: 1st, 9th
1998: 6th, 15th

4BR Prediction:

A real close one then, and we think it could well be between up to seven bands who we think will battle it out.

We think it could well be a battle of the “Saints” for the title with St. Dennis, St. Stythian and St. Breward the three for us to fill the podium and qualification places. Challenging them hard should be Bristol East, with Saltash, Hayle making up the top six. Our very dark horse is Gillingham Imperial.

1. St. Dennis
2. St. Stythian
3. St. Breward
4. Bristol East
5. Saltash
6. Hayle

Dark Horses: Gillingham Imperial

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