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2011 North of England Regional Championship — Darlington preview

Numbers are down in the North of England — but the appetitive for banding remains as strong as ever.

Dolphin CentreThere is always is lovely warm welcome for visitors to the North of England Regional Championships – but behind the smiles there must be concern that there won’t be as much music making to enjoy this weekend as there has been in the past.

Cold chill

A cold chill has blown through some bands in the area since 2010 – a chill that this year sees just 39 competitors making it to the starting line ups over the two days. 

It’s the lowest number since the Miners strike of 1983.

Hit harder

The area has been hit harder than just about anyone else – there were 52 bands here in 2003 - and despite the hard work of Alan Hope and his committee, there must be concern that after a couple of years of progress an area with such a rich banding heritage has seemingly taken a step back.

This year there is no Flookburgh, Barrow Shipyard, Kirkby Lonsdale, North Skelton, Craghead, Spennymoor or Stape – although there is the welcome return of Lockwood.

Numbers down

Whatever the reasons, numbers are down, whilst contesting success have been disappointing too –the qualifiers for both London and Harrogate returned home less successful than in 2009, with just the one top six finish.

There are no bands at the British Open, only one at the Grand Shield, no promotions from the other Blackpool contests, no real appearances of note at Pontins or Butlins in any sections either. 

Strangely, even the big money Doctor Martin Entertainment event last year (with a top prize of £4,000) didn’t attract a great deal of local participation either.

2010 really was a step back after two significant steps forward in 2008 and 2009.

Not all doom and gloom


However, not all is doom and gloom, with the fledgling grass roots showing promise at the likes of NASUWT Riverside Concert, who enjoyed a wonderful experience at Harrogate, as well as emerging bands such as Catterick Brass, South Milford and Barton, and young conductors such as Jonathan Fenwick, Brendan Wheeler and Steve Malcolm amongst many.

The organisation as always is first class and the appetite to listen to banding remains undiminished (just look at the turn out at Brass in Concert) – its just that the locals haven’t had much to cheer about in the last 12 months.

Lets hope that starts to change this weekend.

Iwan Fox



Regent Hall Concerts - Black Dyke & International Staff Band Trombone Oct

Friday 15 November • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ W1C 2DJ


Black Dyke Band - Barnsley Civic Hall

Saturday 16 November • Hanson St, Barnsley S70 2HZ


Contest: 43rd Brass in Concert

Sunday 17 November • St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays NE8 2JR


Black Dyke Band - Scunthorpe Bath Halls

Sunday 17 November • Doncaster Rd, Scunthorpe DN15 7RG


Black Dyke Band - Sheffield Citadel Salavation Army

Thursday 21 November • 12 Psalter Lane, Sheffield S11 8YN


Flixton Band

November 13 • Following some recent departures, Flixton Band now has some rare vacancies! We are looking to add the following players : - . Principal Eb Bass. We compete in the NW 1st section and are based near the Trafford Centre off M60 J9


The Marple Band

November 13 • The Marple Band are looking for dedicated team players to help complete our line-up as we move up to first section in 2020. We're currently welcoming applications for solo cornet (position depending on experience), 2nd cornet and Eflat/Bflat bass.


Strata Brass

November 13 • SOLO CORNET (Assistant principal available) & TENOR TROMBONE.. Rehearsals MON/WED (SUN/WED from January). Bandroom 5 mins from J35/36 M1 (Hoyland). MD Jonathan Bates. Good bandroom atmosphere & challenging music.


Michael Bennett

BSc, RNCM (Perf)
Performer, Composer, Arranger, Teacher


               

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