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2012 Midlands Regional Championship — Third Section retrospective

Martin Benson looks back at the Third Section Area contest at Bedworth.

Civic HallA contest that saw a number of well constructed performances from the 17 competing bands was won by one that had that little bit of extra class and quality in Daventry Brass.

Bob Stradling’s band captured the essential spirit of Philip Harper’s ‘Olympus’  to such an extent that by its close it won the contest by a clear margin. 

Quality

Joining them in Cheltenham will be Long Eaton Silver and Ibstock Brick Brass, both of whom showed considerable quality in beating off the challenge of a host of purposeful accounts that snapped at their heels.

The victors fully deserved their place at the top of the prize winning podium after delivering a performance that combined technical security and refreshing musicality.

The filmatic inspiration behind the Harper score does lend itself to a touch of self confident bombast (an essential characteristic it must be said to become an Olympic champion), but it also rewards those who base that confidence on having done the hard slog and ground work preparation.

Drive and purpose


That was clearly the case with Daventry with a rendition that had drive and purpose allied to lyricism and security.

It was a clear and deserving winner, with middle sections that were of a quality nobody came close to matching.

Full of detail


The same applied to Long Eaton in second place, who lived up to its title by pocketing the runner up spot with a well delivered account under the baton of Sharon Stansfield.

Solid, secure and full of detail, it may not have had that extra sheen of burnished quality of the winner, but it wasn’t far behind.

For Ibstock Brick Brass, a wonderful, if slightly unexpected return to form under the baton of Huw Thomas. His sensible approach enabled his band to keep control of dynamics and pace.

Whilst rivals fell by the wayside, especially in the lip sapping finale, the rather neatly retained their form to claim the third qualification place on offer.

Photo finish

In what would have been something of a photo finish in the box for Malcolm Brownbill and Barry Thompson, it was just enough to beat off the challenge of three well directed performances from City of Birmingham, West Mercia Police and Arrow Valley, who eventually had to settle for a top six mention off the stage.

Each had their extended moments where they must have felt that they were heading to Cheltenham, but in the end Ibstock’s control just beat them to the line.

All three will have left a little disappointed at the end result, but well pleased with their efforts.

These are three very competent bands.

Inconsistency

Inconsistency was the key element in seeing off the chances of a top six finish for the likes of Stourport, Shipston, Rushden and Rolls Royce (Derby), as each delivered performances of merit that on another day may have just benefitted from a little less desire to try and force their way to the finishing tape.

As with the bands that ended behind them in the results table, the cracks and fissures that undermined chances were more obvious, with ensemble intonation the real problem in the middle ‘temple’ and 'flame’ sections.

Loud stuff


The loud stuff from Wem Jubilee, Stamford Brass, Hucknall & Linby and Cubbington Silver was secure and at times thrilling in its intensity, but when the dynamic level dropped so did the ability to play with confidence.

These were solid bands just lacking that little bit of stylistic polish and musicality on the day.

Struggled


The bottom three of Fairfield (Buxton), Rushden Windmill and Croft Silver struggled, but the performances were not that far away from what was required to make more of a mark on a day when the very best bands claimed their places at Cheltenham in some degree of comfort.

Podium finishes and even gold medal chances at Cheltenham are on the cards if the qualifiers produce this type of competitive form once again.

Martin Benson



Foden's Band - Aberystwyth

Saturday 25 January • Old College, King Street, Aberystwyth SY23 2AY


Black Dyke Band - RNCM Brass Band Festival

Saturday 25 January • 124 Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9 RD


Tredegar Town Band - RNCM Festival of Brass

Sunday 26 January • Royal Northern College of Music. 124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD


Black Dyke Band - Gladstone Theatre

Sunday 26 January • Gladstone Theatre, Greendale Road,Birkenhead,. Wirral CH62 4XB


Contest: Brass in the Wire

Sunday 26 January • Pyramid and Parr Hall, Palmyra Square, Warrington WA1 1BL


London Central Fellowship Band

January 23 • Vacancies for CORNET (solo / 1st / 2nd), TROMBONE, Bb BASS and PERCUSSION. An enthusiastic band affiliated to the Salvation Army with a full and varied diary of local and national concerts. We are looking for committed enthusiastic players


Mid-Rhondda

January 22 • Are you looking for a change for 2020 or a new challenge with a friendly/sociable band. We have vacancies for Soprano, back row cornet, Bb Bass and percussion. Rehearsal is on Thursdays at the Band Hall, Dunraven Street, CF40 1AL


Corby Silver Band

January 22 • Corby Silver Band, 3rd section - Midlands Area, are looking to recruit a back row cornet and/or 1st horn player for the regional Contest and beyond. We rehearse in our own band room in Corby, North Northamptonshire on Monday and Wednesday at 8pm.


Neil Samuel


Conductor


               

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