Take 5
Five things of note from the 2017 Yorkshire Regional Championships

4BR recalls a quintet of notable memories from the recent Yorkshire Regional Championships in Huddersfield.

Worth another go at least?

1. Huddersfield Town Hall

A bit like the old Wembley Stadium, St George’s Hall in Bradford has been loved for its history and atmosphere, but loathed for its inadequate facilities. 

By the time it was ready to be knocked down and rebuilt, it had long passed its sell by date. The same could well be true of St George’s Hall, which is currently undergoing a much needed £4 million renovation.

In the meantime, Huddersfield Town Hall provided a super alternative; blessed with a fine acoustic and excellent contest day facilities for the bands. It may seat fewer paying punters and the trader’s area was small, but that did nothing to lessen the atmosphere, especially for a great top section event.  

And when even Philip Morris of Kapitol Promotions (a Welshman to boot) gets a cheer for saying he felt it was a great place to hold the contest it surely deserves another go for a year or two?

Yorkshire audience
Yorkshire folk did themselves proud on the weekend

2. Swab for Sykes

Just like Blackpool the week before, the good folk of Yorkshire banding showed magnificent support for the DKMS ‘Swab for Sykes’ campaign.

Over 200 took five minutes of their time to give their details to the charity in the hope that they can be a match, not just for the talented trombonist, but for countless thousands of others who are suffering from this horrible life threatening form of blood cancer.     

Everyone one should be proud of themselves.

Black Dyke
Look who won the silverware?

3. Black Dyke reign supreme

There is no other brass band contest in the world quite like the Yorkshire Area Championship Section event - where claiming the local bragging rights as ‘Yorkshire’s Best’ means almost as much as winning the National title itself. 

Black Dyke did it for a record 21st time on Sunday night with a performance of ‘Pageantry’ that was topped by MD Prof Nicholas Childs holding his baton in both hands like Excalibur in front of his face, before plunging almost through his score as if piercing the hearts of every one of their rivals in the process. 

For sheer theatrical drama and musical excellence it was breathtaking. Black Dyke reigned supreme once more.

Sheridan Fryer
Land of the ever young: Sheridan Fryer (left) claimed a well deserved 'Best Soloist' award

4. Young and old

From the ‘Youngest Players’ in Andrew Naylor, Robert Thorpe, Harry Moulson, Elizabeth Chung and Lewis Barton (all either 10 or 11 years of age) to Hayden Griffiths MBE conducting Armthorpe Elmfield in the Third Section just a few months shy of his 90th birthday, Yorkshire banding quite rightly celebrated its age range diversity.

It was also noticeable that there was an increasingly youthful element sprinkled throughout the ranks of nearly all the competing bands and with the excellent Yorkshire Regional Committee. 

However, it was still great to see Sheridan Fryer claim a well deserved ‘Best Soloist’ award in the Third Section. 

Even after all those years winning prizes as a baritone player with Brighouse & Rastrick (including a World Championship in 1969) you can bet he couldn’t quite believe the warmth of the reception he gained for his efforts as he did, when very modestly, he came onto the stage to accept his award as solo euphonium with Clifton & Lightcliffe ‘B’ Band at the tender age of 74.

Top Section
A few too many?

5. Thirteen?

Yorkshire will send a number of strong contenders to both National Finals later this year, but for the long term development of a sustainable future it must surely take the lead in re-aligning its sections. 

A supposedly pyramid structure of increasing quality that at the moment boasts more bands in its top two sections than it does in its bottom two cannot be fit for long term purpose.    

If Yorkshire takes the lead (can anyone argue that it really has 13 true Championship Section standard bands?) then others will follow.

It may be a painful procedure for some, but the long terms benefits for all could be immense.

Contest: 100thSpring Festival

Saturday 8 May • 97 Church St, Blackpool, FY1 1HL

Contest: 168th British Open

Saturday 11 September • Symphony Hall, Broad Street, Birmingham. B1 2EA

Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Saturday 18 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Race Course, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL40 4SH

Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Sunday 19 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury, Cheltenham, GL40 4SH

Contest: National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain

Saturday 2 October • Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP

Watford Band

April 22 • Come and join the Watford band!. We are a friendly, welcoming band. . Currently in Fourth Section but hungry for promotion. . We are looking for Bb Bass, 2nd Trombone, . 1st, 2nd Horn Players, and Percussionists.

Chinnor Silver

April 19 • With rehearsals starting soon in line with government guidelines we are looking to strengthen BACKROW CORNETS &PERCUSSION TEAM concerts and contests planned.we rehearse on wednesdays in our own bandroom check out our lockdown performances and come join us

Chadderton Band

April 17 • Chadderton Band is a friendly non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are looking for players of all ages and abilities on all sections of the band particularly on Euph Drums and Horn. Come along for a blow most welcome.

Martin Heartfield

Conductor, Adjudicator, Educationalist


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