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2012 North West Regional Championship — Postcard from Blackpool

Some things are changing in Blackpool — and some things are not...

Cupola
Let there be light...

Blackpool is changing; the Winter Gardens are changing: North West banding is changing too.

Quite a bit of money is being spent on the Las Vegas of the North. At first you may not notice it, but little things are a giveaway. Walk into the main foyer of the Winter Gardens and the place comes to life. Light beams down from the restored cupola.

It’s more than just lick of paint though: Something of the old grandeur has been restored.  

Carson

The honours board with the names of some of the great entertainers who have played on the stage of the Opera House has a much more 21st century look about it too – although poignantly one of the first names that jumps out to your eyes is that of comedian Frank Carson, who died a week or so ago.

The main thoroughfare bustles with activity, the traders have a proper (if cold) spot to do their business, and the punters can flit from one section to another to listen to favourite bands with ease.

Postcard
A cleaner, better Winter Gardens

Rococo

The Pavilion Theatre may not have the best acoustic in the world, but there can’t be many more impressive looking venues to host a Fourth Section contest, whilst the massive Empress Ballroom also has its challenges (the elevated adjudicators box, some 60 yards away from the stage being one), despite its fabulous mock rococo interior design.

In comparison the Opera House is a bit dark and dingy, but does offer a stage that soaks up any booming percussion without camouflaging the best efforts of crafty MDs who tried to hide technical deficiencies with a bit of overzealous timpani playing.  

Next year the venues may well stay the same, but the there will be two men in the box in each section.

Bates
Wonderful servant: Peter Bates with presentation vase

Contests?

As for the contests themselves?

After six years, Foden’s long run of supremacy came to an end, courtesy of a Swiss MD who will forever hold a special place in his heart for the Golden Mile.  

Elsewhere the region will send strong qualifiers to Cheltenham – with impressive new champions in particular.

Band Supplies
Keep smiling despite the cold... The lads from Band Supplies 

Debate

There was plenty to debate and argue over too – from Leyland’s fantastically elasticized winning performance, to the appropriateness of some of the test piece choices and even the result in the Third Section.  

The bars hummed with intrigue and arguments long into the night.   

There have also been changes in the organisational structure of the North West Regional Committee, with Keith Tysall taking over the reins from Peter Bates.

He must have been very pleased by the way in which the various contests ran.

New era promise

The new era promises much, with awards for the bands in the top six in each section, bespoke percussion expertly provided by Ray Payne, a new award in memory of the great Tom Cheadle (who always put a smile on your face), and the St John’s Ambulance Brigade on hand to administer appropriate medication for those in shock and awe after some of the results were announced.

Finally, it was good to see Peter Bates presented with a wonderful crystal glass vase in recognition of two decades and more of loyal service to the competition and North West banding – and good to note that his expertise will not be lost. 

He even promised that he will return to wearing his famous white trainers too.

Some things should never change at Blackpool.

Iwan Fox



Regent Hall Concerts - Ensemble Sauterelle (french horns and male voices)

Friday 23 August • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Sandhurst Silver Band - Music in the Memorial Park

Sunday 25 August • Sandhurst Memorial Park, Yorktown Road, Sandhurst GU47 9DP


Foden's Band - Sandbach

Monday 26 August • The Wheatsheaf, Sandbach, 1 Hightown, Sandbach CW11 1AG


Black Dyke Band - Scarborough Spa

Saturday 31 August • South Bay, Scarborough YO11 2HD


Woodfalls Band - Proms in the Park Concert - FREE

Sunday 1 September • Redlynch Social Club. The Ridge,, SP52LN Salisbury, Wiltshire SP5 2LN


Stannington Brass Band

August 20 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA player to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests


Mid-Rhondda

August 19 • An immediate vacancy exists for a Bb Bass player. Join a very experienced band that has well attended rehearsals on Thursday at 7.30pm at the Band Hall Dunraven St. Tonypandy. CF40 1AL


Shipston Town Band

August 19 • We require Bb Bass to complete our team for the forthcoming 4th Section Finals at Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday 14th September Regular rehearsals are Wednesday 7.30 to 9.30 and Sunday 7 to 9 Rehearsals are our own band room in Shipston South Warwicks


Ian Holmes

BA (hons), PGDip (RCM), ARCM, ALCM
Conductor, piano accompanist and educator


               

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