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2011 West of England Regional Championship — Postcard from Torquay

It's all about the sights and sounds in Torquay...

Cloth cap
Odd sights and sounds in Torquay...

You know when you are getting close to Torquay by the number of weird and wonderful things that start appearing on the side of the M5.

On your way to Brass in Concert, you get to peer skywards at the full expanse of the beautiful ‘Angel of the North’, whilst on the road to the Scottish Open you take in the magnificent sight of the Forth Bridge:

T- Rex

On the journey to the Riviera Centre you first pass a 40 foot tall green foliage ‘Wickerman’, two painted camels and a T-Rex.

You suspect they are not works by Anthony Gormley.

It set the tone for a weekend of the weird and wonderful at the West of England Championships.

Norman Collier

First you had the annual meeting of the Norman Collier Appreciation Society, with Brian Elliott leading the way with his ‘intermittent’ microphone tribute – although both Derek Broadbent and Ian Brownbill did passable impressions too.

Then there was the rather spooky Eric Ball ‘I shall rise again - as a seagull’ moment during the Second Section, which sounded as if Doris Stokes had contacted a dead Eric Cantona.

The cackling laughter of the birds as some bands were trying to find the deep-set emotive core of the great work sent an odd shiver down the spine.

Time
Time stands still...

Cat out of the bag


Even odder on the ear was Phillip Morris of Kapitol Promotions almost letting the cat out of the bag with the test pieces for the National Finals.

’None have been decided’ he said, before adding, ‘and one hasn’t even been written yet’. Which one we wonder?

The Albert Hall hasn’t heard something new for a while…  

Time does stand still on occasions here – although the old digital clock on the wall of hall never quite ticked to 23.58 this weekend as it did a few years ago when famously the last band at the Lower Section Finals started playing on Sunday night and finished on Monday morning.

Smiles
Winning smile for an Aldbourne supporter...

Romanian team


Amazingly though there seems to be time warp when it comes to uniforms – with the vast majority of bands wearing bespoke outfits that look like a cross between a circus lion tamer and the blazers of the 1976 Romanian Olympic rowing team.

Red, Blue or Green – time and time again.

We are sure some bands played, walked off and just passed their uniform onto the next band on stage.

It made any notion of ‘judging with you eyes’ by the colours of the jackets (something 4BR is occasionally accused of!) down right impossible.

Everyone looked the same; although there were the odd bands that went for black shirts and trousers, coloured neck ties and cumber bands.

First class

Still, the organisation down here is first class (and the number of listeners in each of the sections was really encouraging) and we got to past time between the bands talking to the wonderful Brian Minnear and his wife (both who ribbed the Celts about the rugby), Philip Hunt and a welcoming assortment of local bandsmen and women who took the time to come up and say hello.

If you do get the chance to come to Torquay, it is well worth a visit – although don’t be put off either by the spooky wildlife, the misfiring microphones or the local roadside art.

Iwan Fox



Foden's Band - St Michaels & All Angels Church

Saturday 25 May • Egerton Road, Ashton on Ribble, Preston PR2 1AJ


St Pinnock Brass Band - Rock Choir Cornwall

Sunday 26 May • Sterts Theatre, . Sterts, . Liskeard, . PL14 5AZ PL14 5AZ


Contest: All England International Masters

Sunday 26 May • The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering Conference Centre, Thurston Drive NN15 6PB


Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 29 May • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD


Black Dyke Band - George Lawton Hall, Mossley

Thursday 30 May • George Lawton Hall, Stamford St, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 0HR


Horbury Victoria Band

May 22 • Horbury Victoria Band.. Preparing in good time for section one next year require Solo Euphonium and Front Row Cornet.. A not too busy, friendly and happy band. Rehearsal Wednesday 8pm


Hathersage Band

May 22 • BBb Bass to join in our music making under MD Andy Furmidge. Hathersage Brass Band is a non-contesting band whose friendly members enjoy performing at Village Galas and Fetes as well as several Christmas concerts.


Hathersage Band

May 22 • Back Row Cornet to join in our music making under MD Andy Furmidge. Hathersage Brass Band is a non-contesting band whose friendly members enjoy performing at Village Galas and Fetes as well as several Christmas concerts.


Julian Bright


Conductor, Compere/MC, Cornet Soloist