2017 Regional Championships
Second Section previews & predictions

4BR looks forward to the Rhapsodic action in the Second Section at Perth, Torquay, Bedworth and Durham on a piece that is posing real demands on bands about understanding its true identity.

Middle East

‘Rhapsody in Brass’ has already become the Area Championship equivalent of ‘The Return of Martin Guerre’ - although this returning soldier’s tale of conflict is not one dreamt up by an imposter, even if the bands who have performed it have struggled somewhat to fully understand its war ravaged identity.

Nearly forgotten past

Like the protagonist’s problems slipping into his old shoes, bands in the North West and Yorkshire also found the beautiful craftsmanship of a nearly forgotten past, difficult to fit comfortably into than they first thought they would: The opening section with its anxious optimism, followed by the melancholic reflections of the central interlude and joyful release of the finale. 

on occasions it has resembled fashion conscious women trying to slip oversized feet into a pair of 75 year old high-heeled Manolo Blahniks4BR

Fair play though, they certainly gave it their best - although on occasions it has resembled fashion conscious women trying to slip oversized feet into a pair of 75 year old high-heeled Manolo Blahniks.

Superb test

Dean Goffin’s work has been a superb test of style as well as substance - something the adjudicators in Blackpool and Huddersfield made clear.  It’s just that not too many bands, a bit like the wife of Martin Guerre, have been able to marry the two together comfortably as they explore its real personality.

How the 46 contenders at Perth, Torquay, Bedworth and Durham try and work out an answer to this perceived identity theft will be interesting then - although they will all surely benefit from the experience of trying.

2016 Champion: Coalburn Silver


The last time the National trophy headed back north of the border was in 1997, and the nation’s representatives haven’t secured a single top-six place in the last six years at least. What hope for any of these 11 decent looking contenders then if they get through to Cheltenham in September?

Hopefully plenty, as there are a few here who will fancy their chances of catching the ears of Mike Kilroy and Sheona White in the box - including last year’s third and fourth placed finishers Arbroath Instrumental and Broxburn & Livingstone and Dalkeith & Monktonhall who impressed at the Scottish Challenge Shield.

Jedforest Instrumental, the promoted Campbeltown Brass and Croy Silver could also battle for the top-six places alongside our dark horse of St Ronan’s Silver.

4BR Prediction:

1. Arbroath Instrumental
2. Dalkeith & Monktonhall
3. Broxburn & Livingston
4. Jedforest Instrumental 
5. Campbeltown Brass
6. Croy Silver 

Dark Horse: St Ronan’s Silver

City of Bristol
2016 Champion: City of Bristol

West of England 

The West of England has an impressive record of achievement at the National Finals - with wins in 2005, 2006 and 2011, as well as top-six finishes in five of the last six years. Last year’s representatives ended runner-up and fifth, so a great deal for the 16 rivals to live up to if they get through.  
It promises to be a cracking contest, headed by last year’s Area champion, City of Bristol, returning to defend their title after their outstanding podium finish at Cheltenham. 

They will be the bookies favourite, whilst the likes of Bodmin Town, Bream Silver and the super young talents found in Camborne Junior Contesting could all be in with shout alongside Otterbourne, Ocean and our dark horse of Denmead to try and impress Paul Norley and Stephen Roberts in the box.

4BR Prediction:

1. City of Bristol
2. Bodmin Town
3. Camborne Junior Contesting
4. Bream Silver
5. Otterbourne Brass
6. Ocean Brass 

Dark Horse: Denmead Brass

2016 Champion: Ibstock Brick Bras sin action at Cheltenham


Hathern’s National win in 2004 now seems a while ago, but in the last few years the Area has sent strong contenders to Cheltenham that have come close to adding to that victory. Three consecutive runner-up finishes and a fourth since 2011 is a decent return, although last year’s qualifiers ended up in the midfield places.

The Second Section is the smallest field at the Midlands Championship, with just 11 bands taking part – although they do tend to be busier than most in contesting terms, so it could be a difficult task for Derek Renshaw and David Hirst in the box on Sunday. 

City of Coventry comes to Bedworth backed by solid recent form as do the likes of Bakewell, Hucknall & Linby and Foss Dyke.  Avonbank (Evesham) and Glossop Old make up our potential top-six finishers alongside our dark horse of Daventry Brass.

4BR Prediction:

1. City of Coventry
2. Bakewell
3. Hucknall & Linby
4. Foss Dyke
5. Avonbank (Evesham)
6. Glossop Old

Dark Horse: Daventry Brass

2016 Champion: Dunston Silver

North of England

Another small field of just the eight bands for Leigh Baker and Richard Marshall to compare and contrast on Saturday morning, although they could be in for a bit of a tasty treat.

The region can boast a National victory in 2012, and a runner-up finishes 2014, although only one band represented the Area at Cheltenham last year.  Hopefully two will make the trip down this time as they could be in with a shout - especially J36, who came runner-up in the Third Section National Final and has really made an impact on the contest stage. 

East Riding of Yorkshire and Ellington Colliery are solid contenders and could well battle to join them, whilst Ashington Colliery, newly promoted Bearpark & Esh, Durham Miners Association and Houghton Brass could be snapping at their coat tails with NASUWT Concert Brass.

4BR Prediction:

1. J36
2. East Riding of Yorkshire
3. Ellington Colliery
4. Ashington Colliery
5. Bearpark & Esh
6. Durham Miners Association

Dark Horse: Houghton Brass and NASUWT Concert Brass

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.

Jonathan Pippen

Conductor, Adjudicator, Trombone Soloist & Clinician


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