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2011 Welsh Regional Championship — Swansea preview

You may have to rub you eyes in disbelief in Swansea — as there may be something of an illusion going on...

BrangIf you ever want to find out exactly t why the Welsh cling to romantic notions about their position in the greater scheme of things, then you need to read a book called ‘The Welsh Illusion’ by a long dead political commentator, Patrick Hannan.

Myth

His sharp eye shed a caustic gaze at what he believed made those who inhabit the Principality persist in believing the myth of their own making – from the political struggles over devolution to the almost comic surrealism of the running of the old British Steel Corporation – or ‘Monty Finniston’s Flying Circus’ as it was known in the valleys.

Before he died, he should have taken the time to write about the state of Welsh banding: because that’s an illusion if ever there was one.

Shrunk

It is one that has produced 14 top six finishers in a row at the Royal Albert Hall, six national champions at First and Second Section level in the past four years, two podium finishers in the last three in the Third, and five in the last six in the Fourth.

All that from a region that despite the success has shrunk from being able to field 58 bands in 1999, to 40 this year.

That’s some illusion in anyone’s book.

Combination of factors

Through a combination of factors, Welsh banding has succeeded in producing champions at all levels, despite its playing base shrinking at an alarming rate.

Quality not quantity the supporters will chirp in the bars of the Brangwyn Hall: Accident rather than design the same drinking naysayers will say in reply.

Illusion or not, Wales will send three bands to Kensington in October once more, and last year came back from Harrogate with a fourth successive Second Section champion, podium finishes in the First and Third, and a top six finisher in the Fourth.

All that and Cwmaman, Point of Ayr, Ebbw Vale, Royal Oakeley, Pontypool, Rhyl and Upper Rhondda are missing from 12 months ago, whilst former National champions of 21st century vintage in  Newbridge and Ammanford are longer term absentees.

Good news


The good news is that there is a warm welcome back for Severn Tunnel, Treherbert, Cwmbran and Ystradgynlais, but the Fourth Section still only has 5 bands and even the top section, which will see a battle royal on Sunday, has only seven contenders.

Dichotomies


Welsh banding is an illusion of dichotomies: Plenty of well run events such as the Welsh area itself, and bands winning titles right, left and centre.

The trouble is that there are less and less of them each year doing it.

Iwan Fox



Regent Hall Concerts - International Trombone Ensemble

Friday 5 June • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. (Opposite RESERVED). London. W1C 2DJ W1C 2DJ


Foden's Band - Parr Hall, Warrington

Thursday 11 June • Pyramid Parr Hall, Palmyra Square S, Warrington WA1 1BL


Black Dyke Band - Halifax Minster

Thursday 11 June • The Causeway, Halifax HX1 1QL


Black Dyke Band - Black Dyke Arts Festival

Sunday 21 June • The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AD


Foden's Band - Prescot Festival

Friday 26 June • Prescot Church,, Church St, Prescot L34 3LA


Deepcar Brass Band

May 23 • Deepcar Band has a vacancy for a MUSICAL DIRECTOR. We are a 3rd section contesting band, rehearsing Monday & Friday nights.Our bandroom is equal distance to Sheffield, Barnsley & Huddersfield.


Chadderton Band

May 21 • Chadderton Band is a non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are a friendly band looking for players of all ages and abilities on all sections + EUPH and percussion. Come along to one of our rehearsals.


Forest of Dean Brass

May 21 • We are currently looking for a Euphonium and Front Row Cornet to join our friendly and ambitious 1st Section Band. We undertake a broad range of activities from supporting community events, charities and Contests, coming 3rd at the West of England Areas.


Martin Heartfield

GGSM, ARCM, PGCE
Conductor, Adjudicator, Educationalist


               

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