2005 Regionals: West of England - Preview: Second Section


Sixteen bands face a very stern test indeed in the shape of the VW Variations. There will be casualities, but a few bands here will still fancy their chances of impressing Roy Roe and booking a place in Harrogate.

Date: Saturday 12th March
Adjudicator: Roy Roe
Test Piece: Variations for Brass Band Vaughan Williams
Commences: 15.00
Draw:  13.30

No photo? Please send a JPEG to: stating the conductors name, your band, your region and section.

Bath Spa
Conductor: Jin Tanaka

Last Nine Years:
2004: 10th (D. Walker)
2003: 9th (A. Whiteaker)
2002: 12th (D. Walker)
2001: 8th (D. Beckley)
2000: 3rd
1999: 6th
1998: 14th
1997: 12th
1996: N/K

Bath will certainly be looking for a change in fortune here, after coming outside the top six for the past four years after claiming 3rd place back in 2000. This year though they have gone for the very talent Jin Tanaka, the 2004 Young Conductor of the Year and it should be an interesting combination of a real young star and a band determined to do well. Ones to watch out for perhaps.

Bristol East
Barry Pope

Last Nine Years:
2004: 5th Third Section (J. Griffin) (prom)
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

Barry Pope takes over the eins this year following the bands promotion up from the Third Section. There they showed that they were strong contenders with a series of fine performances that found them around or about the top podium places. That has resulted in the subsequent promotion, and we think they could well more than make a mark here this year as well.

maria frickerCorsham
Maria Fricker

Last Nine Years:
2004: 7th (M. Clark)
2003: 13th (E. Haines)
2002: 13th (M. Knapton)
2001: 5th (M. Knapton)
2000: 8th
1999: 16th
1998: 7th
1997: 14th
1996: N/K

Marie Fricker becomes the fourth new MD to front the Corsham band in as many years here, and she will certainly be looking to carry on the good work of lat yer when the band shrugged off two disappointing performances from 2002 and 2003 and just missed out on a top six place. That will surely be the least of their ambitions this time around then.

Ian HolmesFilton Concert Brass
Conductor: Ian Holmes

Last Nine Years:
2004: 5th (B. James)
2003: 3rd in Third Section (prom) (B. James)
2002: 8th (N. Seaman)
2001: 6th (B. James)
2000: 5th
1999: 6th
1998: 9th
1997: 4th
1996: N/K

The talented Bryn James was due to front Filton for the second successive year, but illness has forced him to decline and his place is taken by Ian Holmes. They will surely be one of the favourites to do well here after a fine performance 12 months ago when they came 5th. That was their first performance at this level for many a year, and you think they have the taste to go even higher after last years heroics. Ones to watch out for as well.

jackie gwynneForest of Dean
Conductor: Jackie Gwynne

Last Nine Years:
2004: 2nd (J. Gwynne)
2003: 11th in First Section (rel) (J. Gwynne)
2002: 15th (J. Gwynne)
2001: 11th Championship (rel) (C. Hogg)
2000: 10th Championship
1999: 2nd (prom)
1998: 4th
1997: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
1996: Winners 2nd Section

Jackie Gwynne has certainly turned things around at Forest of Dean Brass in the past 12 months or more, and that was really seen and heard here 12 months ago when they put in a little belter of a performance to come runners up and book a place in Harrogate. That resulted in them coming 13th, and the experience wil have stood them in good stead. A return trip may well be on the cards again then?

charles flemmingLympstone South West Telecom
Conductor: Charles Fleming

Last Nine Years:
2004: 11th (C. Fleming)
2003: 2nd (C. Fleming)
2002: 6th (C. Fleming)
2001: 4th 3rd Section (prom) (C. Fleming)
2000: Winners 3rd Section
1999: Winners 4th Section (prom)
1998: 3rd 4th Section
1997: Winners 4th Section
1996: N/K

A real disappointment for Charles Fleming and his band here last year when they were one of the favourites to do really well following their past two performances in 2002 and 2003. 11th place was a bit of a blow, and we are sure they will want tocome back this year and put the record straight. Up until 12 months ago they were heading upwards and upwards, so was it a blip or a longer term change in fortune?

Dougie GrahamMichelmersh Silver
Conductor: Dougie Graham

Last Eight Years:
2004: 12th (S. Large)
2003: Winners of Third Section (prom) (B. Kelloway)
2002: Winners (B. Kelloway)
2001: 8th (D. Wilds)
2000: 9th
1999: 8th
1998: 5th
1997: 12th
1996: N/K

The double winners of the Third Section in 2002 and 2003 found life a little tougher in the Second Section last year but still put in a solid show to come home12th under Steve Large. Dougie Graham has since taken over at the helm, and he will surely be keen to make an impression this year as the band seek to put down some solid performance foundations at this level. They should do it, and may well make a bit of a mark.

Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne)
Conductor: Mike Knapton

Last Nine Years:
2004: 6th (M. Knapton)
2003: 8th (M. Knapton)
2002: 7th (G. Greenstock)
2001: 7th (G. Greenstock)
2000: 6th
1999: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
1998: Winners 3rd Section
1997: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
1996: N/K

A band just about there or thereabouts here in recent times, and a record to be proud of following their promotion up from Section Three in 1999. Mike Knapton has kept them on track during the past couple of years, and they may now feel that the time is about right for them to make their move up the prize table and gain another top six or even podium finish at least.

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

Last Nine Years:
2004: 8th (D. Stephens)
2003: 6th (D. Stephens)
2002: 2nd 3rd Section (prom) (D. Stephens)
2001: 7th 3rd Section ((L. Hodgkiss)
2000: 6th 3rd Section
1999: 11th 3rd Section
1998: 8th 3rd Section
1997: 13th 3rd Section
1996: N/K

The very experienced Denzil Stephens (he has 4 Championship Regional titles to his name) has been both enjoying life and conducting in this area for some time now. In the past two years the band has put in some decent shows, but has just floated around the fringes of the top six. Perhaps another dose of that old magic may well force his band back into stronf contention for yet aother prize to add to his very long CV of success.

Brian MinearSt. Dennis
B. Minear

Last Nine Years:
2004: Winners Third Section (B. Minear) (prom)
2003: 2nd (B. Minear)
2002: Winners 4th Section (prom) (B. Minear)
2001: 2nd 4th Section (B. Minear)
2000: 11th 4th Section
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

Can there be anything to stop the rise and rise of the St. Dennis Band? Not it seems under the direction of the inspirational Brian Minear who has brough the good times back to this most famous of Cornish bands. 10 times they have won the Championship title here, and it seems they are ever more determined to add to that in the future. Fine winners of the Third Section here 12 months ago, they went on to come runners up in Harrogate. Given the form they showed that day, they should more thanfancy their chances of doing well here once more.

St. Keverne
Conductor: Derek Greenwood

Last Nine Years:
2004: 12th First Section (D. Greenwood) (rel)
2003: DNC
2002: 8th (D. Greenwood)
2001: 3rd (D. Greenwood)
2000: DNC
1999: 6th
1998: 2nd in Second Section (prom)
1997: Winners of Third Section (prom)
1996: N/K

Very nice to see Derek Greenwood at the helm once more, as he is someone who has done so much for this band and many others in the region over the years. 12th place in the First Section though meant that this time around they will be performing in the Second Section, and we think they will be more than determined to show what they can do here this year. Lets hope they play to the top of their form.

derek johnstonSt. Stythians
Derek Johnston

Last Nine Years:
2004: 4th Third Section (D. Johnston) (prom)
2003: 6th (D. Johnston)
2002: 5th (D. Johnston)
2001: 16th 2nd Section (rel) (D. Johnston)
2000: 16th 2nd Section
1999: 11th 2nd Section
1998: 5th 2nd Section
1997: 17th 2nd Section
1996: N/K

The third of the Saintly bands are making a return back to theis section after rebuilding for three years in the Third Section following their relegation in 2001. Derek Johnstonhas been the man responsible for putting down strong foundations here, and it has certainly started to pay off, with 4th place last year leading them back with promotion. A good quality show may just be on the cards to ensure they make a fine impression here and carry on the good work.

David JohnsonTorbay Brass
David Johnson

Last Nine Years:
2004: 14th First Section (D. Johnson) (rel)
2003: 9th (B. Buckley)
2002: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
2001: 12th (rel)
2000: 13th
1999: 8th
1998: 5th
1997: 6th
1996: N/K

David Johnson will certainly be looking to ensure that the experience of struggling a touch in the First Section will not have had any adverse effects on his band as they return to the Second Section this year after two years away.  The experience would surely have done the band good though, even though they found it hard going, and they will be looking to steady the ship here this year for sure and make a marker.



Last Nine Years:
2004: 13th (S. Manley)
2003: 14th in First Section (rel) (C. Sproston)
2002: 11th (S. Davis)
2001: 7th (T. Trehern)
2000: 12th
1999: 3rd 2nd Section (prom)
1998: 11th 2nd Section
1997: 3rd 2nd Section
1996: N/K

Weston Super Mare Brass
Conductor: Peter Nutt

Last Nine Years:
2004: 9th (P. Nutt)
2003: 7th (D. Tilling)
2002: 14th 1st Section (rel) (D. Tilling)
2001: 14th 1st Section (D. Tilling)
2000: 3rd 1st Section
1999: 7th 3rd Section
1998: 3rd (prom)
1997: 5th
1996: N/K

Peter Nutt once more takes the helm for Weston Super Mare (they were just called Weston last year), so we hope the addition to the title of the band will give them an additional musial boost as well, as they seek to improve upon last years result when they came 9th. That was a bit of a drop from the year before, so they will want to stop that trend for sure and put themselves back on course for a top six place at least.

Woodfalls Concert Brass
Conductor: Steve Dunster

Last Nine Years:
2004: 4th (S. Dunster)
2003: 10th (R. Bligh)
2002: 13th 1st Section (rel) (R. Bligh)
2001: 11th 1st Section (R. Bligh)
2000: 4th 1st Section
1999: 5th (prom)
1998: 11th
1997: 8th
1996: N/K

Steve Dunster returns for a second successive year with Woodfalls Concert Brass, and he will be keen to improve on the fine result of a 12 month ago when they came home in 4th place here. That was something like the form they showed when they were strong contenders in the First Section back in 2000, so could this be the start of a climb back up to that level once more?

Past Qualifiers:

2004: Otterbourne, Forest of Dean
2003: Lanner and District, Lympstone South West Telecom
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:

2004: 13th, 14th
2003: 3rd, 15th
2002: 9th, 15th
2001: 2nd, 12th
2000: 7th, 11th
1999: 8th, 15th
1998: 8th, 17th

4BR Prediction:

This is going to be a very closely contested contest we think - the piece though is an absolute killer for bands at this level and just like the other regions where we have heard it played, it will certainly take its fair share of casualites.

It will therefore takes some cool heads from both players and MDs alike to make it come off, and the subtley of the changes in the variations holds the key - they are not all the same tempo or dynamic level, even if they sound better when you play them that way.

Still, one or two of these band should more than fancy their chances of  making a trip to Harrogate to represent the region at the National Finals, and we think this year it could well be St. Dennis once more who will fly the flag the highest here, They are a band very much on the up. Joining them though could well come down to a fight between the liks of Filton, Lympstone and Forest of Dean, whilst Phoenix and Torbay should also be in mix come results time. Woodfalls Concert Brass though could well be a very confident dark horse.   

1. St. Dennis
2. Filton
3. Forest of Dean
4. Torbay
5. Lympstone
6. Phoenix Crewekerne

Dark Horses: Woodfalls Concert Brass


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