2005 Regionals: London & Southern Counties - Preview: Championship Section


The top bands south of the Watford Gap line up to get to grips with the Romans and David Read. What will the result be we wonder?

Date: Sunday 20th March
Adjudicator: David Read
Test Piece: Overture to Rienzi - Wagner
Commences: after Section Two
Draw: 13.00

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

John ClarkAlliance Brass
Conductor: John Clark
4BR Ranking: 73

Last Four Years:
2004: 2nd (J. Clark)
2003: 2nd (P. Parkes)
2002: 5th (B. Ellin)
2001: Winners 1st Section

Where as a couple of years ago, Alliance were seen as something of a surprise package, that is certainly not the case now, as they have qualified as runners up here for the past two years. Last year they went to the Albert Hall, where they played a piece they didn't like (certainly not the MD) and still came away with 15th place.

Lots of talented players for sure, and if they have put in a bit of practice, they should be there or thereabouts again once more.

Nigel TakenAveley and Newham
Conductor: Nigel Taken
4BR Ranking: 33

Last Nine Years:
2004: 3rd (N. Taken)
2003: 3rd (N. Taken)
2002: 2nd (N. Taken)
2001: Winners (N. Taken)
2000: Winners (N. Taken)
1999: 3rd
1998: Winners
1997: 2nd
1996: 6th

2005 is a very important year for Aveley and Newham (haven't we said this before though), but unlike the past two years or more, this time they have started the year in fine fashion and are on the best form they have shown for a considerable time. They will love to show that here though and claim a finals place for the first time since 2002.

Lots of talent around the stand, and an MD who has already shown what it takes to win on the piece. What price a double then? 

K. MaxwellFriary Guildford Brass
Conductor: K. Maxwell
4BR Ranking: 132

Last Nine Years:
2004: 4th (K. Maxwell)
2003: Winners of First Section (prom) (K. Maxwell)
2002: 5th (K. Maxwell)
2001: 13th (K. Maxwell)
2000: 5th (K. Maxwell)
1999: 10th Championship (rel)
1998: 9th Championship (rel)
1997: 5th Championship
1996: 5th Championship

A great result last year saw Friary Guildford come 4th and beat quite a few more fancied bands in the process. The years in the First Section have done them good it seems, as they have rebuilt and returned full of confidence after gaining promotion in 2003. They would dearly love to go at least one place better this year, but the standard has improved from 12 months ago, so another top six place may be the best they can hope for.    

Ipswich and Norwich Co-op
Conductor: S. Kenna
4BR Ranking: not in top 200

Last Nine Years:
2004: 9th (S. Kenna)
2003: 3rd in First Section (prom) (S. Kenna)
2002: 11th (S. Kenna)
2001: 5th (S. Kenna)
2000: 4th (S. Kenna)
1999: 9th
1998: 9th
1997: 2nd
1996: 10th Championship (rel)

Ipswich returned to the Championship Section last year and produced a creditable account of a difficult test piece to come home in 9th place. This year should be a bit more easier for them, although the standard here has improved somewhat.

They will be looking to make more of an impression this time out for sure, but they may find it hard to gain a place higher up the prize list than last year.

Catherine UnderwoodKidlington Concert Brass
Conductor: Catherine Underwood
4BR Ranking: 164

Last NineYears:
2004: 5th (C, Underwood)
2003: 6th (C. Underwood)
2002: 7th (C. Underwood)
2001: 2nd (C. Underwood)
2000: 9th (C. Underwood)
1999: 4th (C. Underwood)
1998: 5th (C. Underwood)
1997: 6th (C. Underwood)
1996: 7th (C. Underwood)

One of the most consistent bands at the London Regional Championships, Kidlington put in solid performances under Catherine Underwood, that more than hold their own against the opposition here, but tend not to feature highly when they travel out of the region.

They last qualified for the Finals in 2001, but since then they have hovered around the top six without possibly suggesting they may be due a return to the Albert Hall. Last year was much of the same, and it may well be that a repeat of that 5th place could be the summit of their ambitions this time around.   

Graham WilsonKM Medway
Conductor: G. Wilson
4BR Ranking: not in top 200

Last Nine Years:
2004: 10th (G. Wilson)
2003: 4th in First Section (prom) (G. Wilson)
2002: 9th (D. Cutting)
2001: 3rd (N/K)
2000: DNC
1999: 8th Championship (rel)
1998: 5th Championship
1997: N/K
1996: 3rd Championship

KM Medway returned to the Championship Section for the first time since 1999 last year, and found life in the higher quite tough as one a difficult set work they managed only to come home in 10th place.

They too will face a less stiff test on this time and with the experienced Graham Wilson at the helm to guide them they will be more confident of making a mark on this less difficult overture. We will see though.

Northfleet Brass
D. Lewis
4BR Ranking: Outside top 200

Last Nine Years:
2004: 2nd First Section (D. Lewis) (prom)
2003: 5th (D. Lewis)
2002: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
2001: 17th (rel)
2000: 12th
1999: 4th 2nd Section (prom)
1998: 3rd 2nd Section
1997: 6th 2nd Section
1996: 9th 2nd Section

The rise and rise of Northfleet Brass continues at pace it seems, and this year sees them make their Championship Section debut after coming runner up in the First Section 12 months ago and claiming their promotion. That second place also meant a trip to Hrrogate where they came 16th, so they may find the step up in class this year a very big one indeed.

Still, given their record of achievement of late, they won't be short of confidence for sure.

Melvin WhiteRedbridge Brass
Conductor: Melvin White
4BR Ranking: 46

Last Nine Years:
2004: Winners (M. White)
2003: Winners (M. White)
2002: Winners (M. White)
2001: 4th (M. White)
2000: 6th (N/K)
1999: 2nd
1998: 3rd
1997: Winners
1996: Winners

Redbridge and Melvin White are going for an unprecedented four in a row year this year, and you have to hand it to them, in the past three years they have been well worth the money for their wins here which has seen them now claim 8 regional titles, and give the MD his 10th in all, which places him joint ninth on the all time list.   

On their day they are a very competent band indeed and can mix it with the best, and in London at the Finals last year they put in a strong show to come 12th overall. Can they do it again? It may be a little in the interpretation al lap of the judge this time, but don't bet against them.

Chris KingSoham Comrades
Conductor: Chris King
4BR Ranking: 171

Last Nine Years:
2004: 6th (P. Filby)
2003: 4th (P. Filby)
2002: 4th (P. Filby)
2001: 7th (P. Filby)
2000: 5th (N/K)
1999: 7th
1998: 3rd 1st Section (prom)
1997: 6th 1st Section
1996: 5th 1st Section

The Comrades are certainly one of the most consistent performers here over the past six years since gaining promotion up from the First Section, and they have made it into the top six in the past three years.

It could be another yer when they just miss out on the qualification places as the standard is high here at the top end of the table, but they should be confident of at least repeating last years effort or better under new MD Chris King.  

Welwyn Garden City
Conductor: D. Jones
4BR Ranking: 175

Last Nine Years:
2004: 7th (D. Jones)
2003: 7th (D. Stokes)
2002: 2nd 1st Section (D. Stokes) (prom)
2001: 4th 1st Section (D. Stokes)
2000: 10th 1st Section (D. Stokes)
1999: 3rd 1st Section
1998: Winners 2nd Section
1997: 5th 2nd Section
1996: 10th 1st Section (rel)

Welwyn Garden City did very well last year to come 7th on "Prague" and more than hold their on their debut in the Championship Section in 2003, and they showed that was no fluke last year on the very difficult "Tristan" where they repeated that feat once more.

Can they make it three in a row then, or perhaps breakinto the top six for the first time and further confirm that they are now very much a contender here.  

Simon DobsonZone One Brass
Conductor: S. Dobson
4BR Ranking:
Outside top 200

Last Three Years:
2004: 5th First Section (S. Dobson) (prom)
2003: 2nd (S. Dobson)
2002: DNC

Simon Dobson and his youthful band of talented players have come a very long way in a very short space of time, but one wonders how they will cope with the rigours of the Championship Section. The talent is there in spades for sure - right from the man in charge down to the bottom third cornet player, but given their make up can they really make a mark here, especially as 12 months ago they could only mange 5th place in the First Section?

Past Qualifiers:

2004: Redbridge Brass, Alliance Brass
2003: Redbridge Brass, Alliance Brass
2002: Redbridge Brass, Aveley and Newham
2001: Aveley and Newham, Kidlington Concert
2000: Aveley and Newham, First City Brass
1999: First City Brass, Redbridge Brass
1998: Aveley and Newham, City of Oxford
1997: Redbridge Brass, Aveley and Newham
1996: Redbridge Brass, Staines Brass
1995: John Laing Hendon, Aveley and Newham
1994: Regent Brass, John Laing Hendon
1993: John Laing Hendon, Aveley
1992: London Electricity Redbridge, Asphaltic Newham
1991: London Electricity Redbridge, Alder Valley Aldershot
1990: John Laing Hendon, London Electricity Redbridge, Aveley
1989: Asphaltic Newham, John Laing Hendon

*Pre Qualified

How London & SC bands did at the Finals:

2004: 12th, 15th
2003: 15th, 19th
2002: 11th, 12th
2001: 12th, 20th
2000: 7th, 9th
1999: 12th, 13th
1998: 18th, 20th
1997: 17th, 18th
1996: 13th, 18th
1995: 12th, 17th
1994: 15th, 19th
1993: 14th, 19th
1992: 13th, 19th
1991: 18th, 21st
1990: 15th, 18th, 21st
1989: 5th, 7th

4BR Prediction:

Much is made of the fact that the bands in the Championhip Section here cannot seem to cut the mustard when it comes to the Finals themselves at the Royal Albert Hall, and those facts do clearly show that it is five years since one qualifier here has come in the top 10 and sixteen years since one came in the top six.

That is a little unfair though as in the past two or three years the standard of the best bands here has improved dramatically, and there are now two or possibly three bands here that will fancy their chances of a possible top six finish come October. The form in the past 12 months of the likes of Redbridge and Aveley and Newham suggests that they will be the two battling it out once more for the title, and if they both play to form they should also claim the two qualification places on offer.

As to who will win? Aveley and Newham are due a victory, and may just have the edge at present to top Redbridge and claim the title.   Alliance meanwhile should have enough about them to more than hold a podium place and possibly upset the apple cart - if all the players and the MD like the music.

Behind them it could be a bit more difficult to sort out, but we think Soham Comrades could well pinch 4th place with Kidlington just behind and Friary Guildford making up the final spot. Our dark horses are Zone One though, and don't be surprised if they really do make an impression.  

1. Aveley and Newham
2. Redbridge
3. Alliance
4. Soham Comrades
5. Kidlington
6. Friary Guildford

Dark Horse: Zone One Brass


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