2008 Yeovil Entertainment Contest - Preview: Runners and Riders


14 bands will line up to do battle at the Octagon Yeovil this weekend to see who will claim the 31st title and the 2000 first prize.

4BR Ranking:
Melvin White 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Richard Hughes
Euphonium: Matthew Dixon
Soprano: Paul Bilkey
Trombone: Simon Ridge
Horn: Clare Smith
Flugel: Claudia Hughes
Baritone: Graham Palmer
Eb Tuba: John Harman

Best Result: 8th in 1995
Last Year: 10th
Record since 1998:
2007: 10th (Dave Barringer)
2006: 7th (Steve Sykes)
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: 13th (David Williams)
2001: DNC
2000: 13th (David Williams)
1999: DNC
1998: DNC

Form Guide:
Aldbourne returns this year under the baton of Melvin White and the experienced MD has a respected record of bringing something different to entertainment programmes.  

Last year the band didn’t really shine and came home in 10th place and with the loss of a few players they could well be looking further ahead to the Regionals as their main objective for success in the early part of the season. You never know though, but it may be asking a lot for a top six finish.

Player to listen out for:
Principal cornet player Richard Hughes has taken over the end chair with impressive results and has shown himself to be a talented soloist and ensemble leader. 

2007 Programme:
Also Sprach Zarathustra: Strauss
Healing Waters: Kenneth Downie
The Lord Bless You and Keep You: John Rutter
Peel Park – The Bandstand, from Lowry Sketchbook: Wilby

2006 Programme:
Trumpet Blues & Cantabile: Harry James arr. Bill Geldard
Gypsy Festival from Echoes of The East: Rodney Newton
Variations from Home On The Range: Erik Liedzen
The Lord Bless You and Keep You: John Rutter arr. Klass van der Woude
Finale From The Little Russian, Symphony No 2: Tchaikovsky arr. William Gordon  

BournemouthBournemouth Concert
4BR Ranking:
: Chris Davies OBE

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Dan Shave
Euphonium: Stephen Didcott
Soprano: James Cooper
Trombone: Lloyd Bartlett
Horn: Rosie Horne
Flugel: Steve Rowland
Baritone: Brad Rouilier
Eb Tuba: Bill Willis

Best Result: 2nd in 2007
Last Year: 2nd 

Record since 1998:
2007: 2nd (Chris Davies)
2006: 13th (David Hayward)
2005: 5th (David Hayward)
2004: 8th (David Hayward)
2003: 5th (Lt Col. Chris Davies)
2002: 4th (Major Chris Davies)
2001: 7th (Leonard Adams)
2000: 9th (Howard Evans)
1999: 5th (Howard Evans)
1998: 14th (Nigel Taken)

Form Guide:
Bournemouth really surprised a number of people last year in coming home in 2nd place – their best ever performance at a contest at which previously they have been solid enough without ever suggesting that type of finish.

They certainly have the players to shine on the entertainment stage and if they can gel on another well chosen programme from the energetic Chris Davies they could well fancy their chances of once more heading for a podium place.  It’s a tough field they are up against though, but they have done it once…

Player to listen out for:
James Cooper is a soprano player of high quality with startling ability to shine when the mood takes him. 

2007 Programme:
Valero, James Swearingen: arr. Sandy Smith
Through the Eyes of Love
General Mitchell: R B Hall
Hymn for Diana
Flight of the Wild Geese: Dewhurst

2006 Programme:
Jubilee: Paul Drury
Czardas: Delibes
Summer Isles from Hymn of The Highlands: Philip Sparke
Radio City: Jim Parker
Ave Maria: Franz Biebl
EDU, 9th Variation from The Enigma Variations: Edward Elgar  

4BR Ranking:
Graham O’Connor

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Roberts
Euphonium: Mark Hutcherson
Soprano: Meirion Davies
Trombone: Jonathan Pippen
Horn: Jeff Hutcherson
Flugel: Alexandria James
Baritone: Tim Jones
Eb Tuba: Kate James

Best Result: 2nd in 1991
Last Year: 3rd

Record since 1998:
2007: 3rd (Jason Katsikaris)
2006: 11th (Jeremy Wise)
2005: DNC
2004: 5th (David Stowell)
2003: 8th (David Stowell)
2002: 5th (David Stowell)
2001: 6th (Gareth Pritchard)
2000: 8th  (No conductor)
1999: 4th (Steve Sykes)
1998: DNC

Form Guide:
On their day BTM are a match for just about any band in the entertainment business, although they can blow literally, hot and cold at times. 

After a fine 2007 they will be looking to make further progress under the experienced baton of Graham O’ Connor, who will surely have them in trim for their first appearance of what could turn out to be an exciting season ahead. On paper they have a very strong line up of players and they shouldn’t be short of confidence either, so could they be the one Welsh sporting success on the weekend? 

Player to listen out for:
Soprano player Meirion Davies was on sparkling form at the Nationals in London late last year and outshone some of the biggest names in the business.

2007 Programme:
Prelude on Tallis: Graham
Children of Sanchez, Chuck Mangione: arr. Reid Gilje
Sweet Shepherdness: Goff Richards
Firebird: Stravinsky arr. Farr

2006 Programme:
Liberty Fanfare: John Williams
Song & Dance: Philip Sparke
Sing, Sing, Sing: Louis Prima arr. David Twitchins
In Perfect Peace: Kenneth Downie
Shine as The Light: Peter Graham  

4BR Ranking:
  Frank Renton

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Kayleigh Rowe
Euphonium: Robert Jose
Soprano: Les Kneebone
Trombone: Barry Buist
Horn: Mark Letcher
Flugel: Andrew Mitchell
Baritone: Gavin Knowles
Eb Tuba: Timmy Joslin

Best Result: Winners 1993
Last Year: 5th 

Record since 1998:
2007: 5th (Frank Renton)
2006: 5th (Frank Renton)
2005: 6th  (Chris Davies)
2004: 6th  (Paul Murrell)
2003: DNE
2002: DNE
2001: DNE
2000: 10th (Leonard Adams)
1999: 3rd  (Leonard Adams)
1998: 9th (Leonard Adams)

Form Guide:
Camborne could be a bit of a dark horse here this year. Frank Renton has a band that as they showed at the Scottish Open late last year has real ability and a good mix of youthful vigour and level headed experience to fall back on.

That said, they haven’t really caught the imagination here over the last few years (and haven’t had much luck with the draw either) but have been solid enough to push themselves into the top six for the last four years. Can they just up their game a bit more for a podium place or even  a long overdue second victory?  Frank Renton’s take on innovation could be interesting.

Player to listen out for:
Mark Letcher is a really talented horn player, a quality act in fact. 

2007 Programme:
Liberty Fanfare: John Williams
My Love is like a Red, Red Rose:
Funiculi, Funiculà Rhapsody: arr. Garasi
Helter Skelter:
Russian Christmas Music: Alfred Reed

2006 Programme:
Mission Impossible: Lalo Schifrin
Chelsea Bridge: Billy Strayhorn arr. Adrian Drover
Brilliante: Peter Graham
Norweigian Wood: Lennon & McCartney arr. Adrian Drover 
Duel of The Fates: John Williams  

fRIARY gUILDFORDFriary Guildford
4BR Ranking:
Chris King

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Richard Straker
Euphonium: Wayne Fitzpatrick
Soprano: Richard Marley
Trombone: Roland Knight
Horn: Nigel Stephens
Flugel: Mark Yarham
Baritone: Alex Stevens
Eb Tuba: Phillip German 

Best Result: 9th in 2007
Last Year: 9th

Record since 1998:
2007: 9th (Chris King)
1998 – 2006: DNC 

Form Guide:
A return to Yeovil for the first time since 1996 last year saw Friary Guildford put in a solid enough showing to come home in 9th place.

Although they didn’t quite set the stage on fire here they certainly showed good form in coming 4th at Pontins against a strong field of contenders at the end of last year. If they can use that confidence booster to kick-start their current campaign here then another decent result ahead of the regionals may be in line. 

Player to listen out for:
Richard Straker is a talented soloist and ensemble leader and provides a solid cornerstone for the band. 

2007 Programme:
Gavorkna Fanfare
Enemy God and Dance of the Dark Spirits: Prokofiev
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind: arr. King
Finale from Glorifco Aeturnum: Dean Jones


JaguarJaguar (Coventry)
4BR Ranking:
Dave Lea

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Bob Baggott
Euphonium: David Johnson
Soprano: Bob Stradling
Trombone: Kevin Lea
Horn: Lynette Wild
Flugel: Andrew Bates
Baritone: Julie Plant
Eb Tuba: Mick Wild

Best Result: 8th in 1998
Last Year: DNC

Record since 1998:
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: DNC
2004: 13th (Dave Lea)
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: 12th (Dave Lea)
1998: 8th (Dave Lea)

Form Guide:
Jaguar (Coventry) has a well respected concert platform reputation even if they haven’t enjoyed much success on their last three appearances here.

Dave Lea is one of the most experienced MDs around and he does bring something different to his programmes - the band were very good at the US Open a couple of years ago.  There is quality around the stands and the ability to up their game to a very high level on occasions too. Could this weekend be one of them?

Player to listen out for:
Kevin Lea is a fine exponent on the trombone and a much under rated player. Well worth listening out for. 

Mount CharlesJAG Mount Charles:
4BR Ranking:
Andrew Duncan

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Thomas
Euphonium: Neil Pascoe
Soprano: John Small
Trombone: Martin Sanders
Solo Horn: Sarah Whitehead
Flugel: Yasmin Stevens
Baritone: Terry Sleeman
Eb Bass: Shaun Woodland

Best Result: Winners in 2002
Last Year: DNC 

Record since 1998:
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: DNC
2004: 10th (Peter Parkes)
2003: 2nd
2002: Winners
2001: 5th
2000: 2nd
1999: 8th
1998: 14th

Form Guide:
The 2002 winners return this year with a bit of a perplexing problem to overcome.

They were good at Butlins but didn’t appeal to the men outside the box – so what happens here them with the judge locked away? Mount Charles has been rebuilding and the signs are encouraging that they are not far away from getting right back on track, even if the results haven’t been going their way. Plenty of good quality players and an MD who does try to bring something new to his programming. Time for a lucky break then?

Player to listen out for:
John Small is a fine soprano player and one who can play in a variety of genres with accomplished aplomb. 

ParcParc and Dare
4BR Ranking:
Richard Evans

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Carl Saunders
Euphonium: Helen Kinder
Soprano: Paul Eddy
Trombone: James Voros
Horn: Mike Sanders
Flugel: Louise Russell
Baritone: Gareth Maidment
Eb Tuba: Hugh Williams

Best Result: 3rd in 1983
Last Year: Withdrew

Record since 1998:
2007: Withdrew
2006: DNC
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: 9th (Craig Roberts)
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC

Form Guide:
Hopefully Parc & Dare won’t have to get the snow ploughs out in the Rhondda Valleys to get them to the contest this year, and it should be interesting see how the band get on with Richard Evans at the helm.

He is a one off for sure, although his programmes tend not to veer too far off the tried and trusted route that has proved so successful for him over the years. Parc will be looking to make a fine impression here ahead of the regional championships and they will want return back to the Principality as at least the topped ranked Welsh band for sure. 

Player to listen out for:
Paul Eddy is a mercurial talent on soprano with the ability to add the perfect cherry toping to any performance.   

4BR Ranking:
Philip Harper

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Howley
Principal Euphonium: Andy Hicks
Soprano: Spencer O'Leary
Solo Horn: Vicki Reynolds
Flugel: Danny Winder
Solo Trombone: Nick Hudson
Baritone: Carolyn Chandler
Eb Bass: Robin Norman
Best Result: Winners in 2003, 2004, 2007
Last Year: Winners

Record since 1998:
2007: Winners (Philip Harper)
2006: 2nd (Philip Harper)
2005: 4th (Philip Harper)
2004: Winners (Philip Harper)
2003: Winners (Philip Harper)
2002: 3rd (Philip Harper)
2001: 2nd  (Philip Harper)
2000: DNE
1999: 11th (Michael Fowles)
1998: 2nd (David Williams)

Form Guide:
The pre contest favourites will want to retain their title and set themselves up for yet another fine year of achievement. 

On their day they could be a class apart from the rest of the field with their heady mix of high class arrangements, clever choreography and quality playing – but they do leave themselves open at times to get beaten if all three elements don’t gel together as well as they would have hoped. A fine band nowadays though and the short priced bookies odds are not misplaced.   

Player to listen out for:
Nick Hudson is a well travelled star trombonist, but there are few, if any, better than him anywhere in the banding world.  

2007 Programme:
Don't Stop Me Now: arr. Harper
Virtuosity: Baker:
The Water of Tyne:
Finale from Symphony Number 4: Tchaikovsky
It's Raining Men:

2006 Programme:
Superman: John Williams
Basso Continuo: J S Bach arr. Bernard Reader
Indian Daybreak: Philip Harper
The Incredibles: Michael Giacchino
Wonderwoman: Charles Fox  

WoodfallsSWT Woodfalls
4BR Ranking:
Melvin White

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Kevin Darby
Euphonium: Graham Lawrence
Soprano: Mark Pye
Trombone: Scott Stewart
Solo Horn: Trish Chislett
Flugel: Adrian Wallace
Solo Baritone: Chantel Pye
Eb Bass: Terry Cawte

Best Result: 2nd in 2005
Last Year: 8th
Record since 1998:
2007: 8th (Melvin White)
2006: 4th (David Barringer)
2005: 2nd (David Barringer)
2004: 4th (Jonathan Camps)
2003: 3rd (Jonathan Camps)
2002: 6th (Jonathan Camps)
2001: DNE
2000: DNE
1999: DNE
1998: 12th (Melvin White)

Form Guide:
Like Mount Charles, SWT Woodfalls face a conundrum of their own. At Skegness their programme was slick and well presented, but perhaps lacked a touch of innovation and variety, even with Nicholas Childs at the helm.

It was popular with the audience though and it would be a surprise if they changed things much here. Do they stick with what they know then, or try for something a bit different? There’s perhaps £2,000 at stake on their answer. 

Player to listen out for:
Mark Pye was on tremendous at Butlins a few weeks ago and on that form is as good as any high wire act in the country.

2007 Programme:
Where Eagles Sing: Lovatt-Cooper
Cousins: Herbert Clarke
Jubilee: Paul Drury
18th Variation on a Theme by Paganini: Rachmaninov
King of Heaven: Kenneth Downie

2006 Programme:
Gavorkna Fanfare: Jack Stamp
My Funny Valentine:
Sing, Sing, Sing: Louis Prima
Schindler's List: John Williams
Be A Clown:
Finale from Music of The Spheres: Philip Sparke  

SovereignSovereign Brass
4BR Ranking:
Stephen Roberts

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Claire Hutchinson
Euphonium: Mark Hadlington
Soprano: Steve
Trombone: Mike Wallbridge
Horn: Bob Allen
Flugel: Sarah Matthews
Baritone: Steve Parsons
Eb Tuba: Phil Green

Best Result: 2nd in 1999
Last Year: 7th

Record since 1998:
2007: 7th (Stephen Roberts)
2006: 3rd (Stephen Roberts)
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: 12th (Stephen Roberts)
2001: DNC
2000: 6th (Steve Cooper)
1999: 2nd (Stephen Roberts)
1998: 12th (Stephen Roberts)

Form Guide:
The hard working Sovereign Brass return this year hoping for a better return than the disappointing 7th place they chalked up 12 months ago.

Solid and well drilled they are a band that can really sound top notch on their day and with Stephen Roberts to provide the odd little gem of innovative programming here and there they could well fancy their chances. Lots of experience and quality around the stands, a repeat of their 2006 result would be a huge confidence booster ahead of the regionals in a couple of months time.

Player to listen out for:
Phil Green is one of the great brass band tuba players of the past 20 years or more, with a technique of a cornet player and a sound as big as the horn on the QE2.

2007 Programme:
La Peri Fanfare
Hungarian Rhapsody Number 2: Liszt arr. Roberts
Shaker Variations: arr. Roberts
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans: arr. Roberts
The Resurrection from Mahler's Symphony Number 2: arr. Roberts

2006 Programme:
In A New York Minute: Simon Wallace arr. Stephen Roberts
Bring Him Home: Claude Schonberg
Libertango: Astor Piazzolla arr. Stephen Roberts
Tiptoe Through The Tulips: Dubin & Burke arr. Stephen Roberts
Dance of The Comedians: Smetana arr. Roy Newsome
Finale of Mahler's 3rd Symphony: arr. Stephen Roberts 

TongwynlaisTongwynlais Temperance
4BR Ranking:
Gareth Pritchard

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Eve Nixon
Euphonium: Martyn Patterson
Soprano: Morgan James
Trombone: Robin Hackett
Solo Horn: Alyn James
Flugel: David James
Baritone: Gareth Nixon
Eb Bass: Nick Wills

Best Result: 10th in 2005
Last Year: DNC

Record since 1998:
2007: DNC
2006: 12th (Andrew Jones)
2005: 10th (Bryn James)
2004: Withdrew

Form Guide:
A band that has started the year with a real bang, Tongwynlais enjoyed yet another fine outing at Skegness where they came home in 3rd place overall and certainly made a mark with the adjudicators in the entertainment element of the contest.

Will they amend and tinker with a formula that proved so successful with the judges (and was appreciated by the packed hall) at Butlins, or will they leave well alone in the belief that they are striking entertainment gold?  Whatever they do, if they perform like that again then a podium place could well be within their sights.

Player to listen out for:
Percussionist Gavin Pritchard is a top quality performer with the confidence to try something new and exciting given the opportunity – so watch out. 

2006 Programme:
The Rap, Rolf Lovland arr.Gareth Pritchard
Caravan, Duke Ellington/Juan Tizol arr. Steve Sykes
In Perfect Peace, Kenneth Downie
Pantomime, Philip Sparke
The Pines of The Appian Way, Resphigi arr. Howard Snell 

4BR Ranking:
Ian Porthouse

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Dewi Griffiths
Euphonium: Darren Morris
Soprano: Steve Barnsley
Trombone: Steve Turton
Horn: Chris Davies
Flugel: Andrea Lewis
Baritone: Geraint Chamberlain
Eb Tuba: Mark Carter

Best Result: Winners in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2006
Last Year: DNC

Record since 1998:
2007: DNC
2006: Winners (Michael Fowles)
2005: DNC
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: 7th (David Hirst)
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: 9th (Phil Bailey)
1998: Winners (Garry Cutt)

Form Guide:
The band with a nap hand of wins here over the years returns once more to try and make it six of the best under the direction of Ian Porthouse.

After a long period of rebuilding there was a confident performance at the National Finals last year and they will be looking to build on that once more as they set out on what could be a very important contesting season for them.  A strong line up of personnel, but will be enough to hit the opposition for six?

Player to listen out for:
Principal cornet player Dewi Griffifths has been setting the standard for the rest of his band to follow on the contest and concert platform of late. 

2006 Programme:
Devils Galop, Charles Williams
Bolivar, Eric Cook
Postcard From Mexico, Howard Snell
A Little Prayer, Evelyn Glennie
The Downfall of Lucifer, Derek Bourgeois 

Zone OneZone One Brass
4BR Ranking:
Paul Archibald

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Craig Bennett
Euphonium: Tony Sommerville
Soprano: Shane Brennan
Trombone: Doug Coleman
Horn: Hannah Evans
Flugel: Ellie Lovegrove
Baritone: Chris Gommersal
Eb Tuba: Mark Grainger

Best Result: N/A
Last Year: DNC

Form Guide:
Difficult to really know how Zone One will get on here, despite their fine contesting record in the short space of time they have been going.

Undoubted quality players in the ranks (as has been shown in the past year), and a talented man in the middle, but it depends on this occasion if they have been able to get together in sufficient numbers and on a sufficient number of occasions to bring together a concert programme that will trouble some pretty stern competition.  Could be a real dark horse – but then again….

Player to listen out for:
All of them. Given that this is their debut here then why not sit back and enjoy what this talented bunch can do.

Record since 1998:
Debut this year


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