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2018 Yorkshire Regional Championships
Preview & Predictions

It won't just be the bands hoping for the kindly intervention of an omnipotent presence this weekend in Huddersfield to help them get to the National Finals.

Huddersfield
In God we trust... to give us great music and weather in Huddersfield

Although the good folk of Yorkshire will whimsically tell you that God speaks with a Wensleydale accent, they will all still be hoping that he will be listening to their pleas for good weather this weekend in Huddersfield whether it comes from a praying bandsman in Barnsley or Bergen.

Omnipotent intervention

The ‘Beast from the East’ may have a biblical ring about it, but it could well have very human consequences if the worse of its Siberian weather front meets up with Storm Emma in the next few days: One of the great British contests, which attracts visitors from all parts of the banding world, will be hoping for a kindly touch of omnipotent metrological intervention. 

Even Regional Secretary Peggy Tomlinson, a woman who has in the past repelled crisis ranging from malicious e-mail registration hoaxes to Black Dyke disqualification is keeping her fingers crossed. Bands could do no worse than play a few verses of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ instead of warming up on a morbid Methodist hymn from the famous Red Books.

Hopeful signs

At present (Wednesday) all the signs are hopeful that 57 bands will take to the stage at Huddersfield Town Hall to try and book qualification places at the Albert Hall or Cheltenham.

The great old building will hopefully be brimming with support too - with accents of allsorts heard over two days of competition that climaxes with the sold-out Championship Section on Sunday afternoon.

The great old building will hopefully be brimming with support too - with accents of allsorts heard over two days of competition that climaxes with the sold-out Championship Section on Sunday afternoon.

2017 was a pretty decent year for Yorkshire representatives, headed by Brighouse & Rastrick claiming the National title in London. However, despite BD1’s wonderful victory in the Third Section only two other qualifiers claimed a top-six finish in Cheltenham.  That said, the contesting Gods were a touch fickle.

That won’t stop any of the competitors here taking to the stage with the traditional type of proud ‘Tyke’ confidence that only comes from those who believe they have been blessed by being born or bred in God’s own country. 

And if the weather turns out grand as they say, who can argue...


bLACK dYKE
2017 Champion: Black Dyke

Championship Section:
Sunday 4th March
Adjudicators: Robert Childs and Arsene Duc
Draw: 1.15pm
Commences: 3.15pm

1. Black Dyke (Prof. Nicholas Childs)
2. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof. David King)
3. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Ian Porthouse)
4. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)
5. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks)
6. Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)
7. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
8. Hatfield (Stan Lippeatt)
9. Hepworth (Leigh Baker)
10. Marsden Silver (Alan Widdop)
11. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
12. Unite the Union (John Roberts)
13. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Russell Gray)

First things first. Whoever adjudicates in Yorkshire will never be able to keep everyone, or perhaps anyone, happy for that matter. 

The cynics and conspiracy theorists will of course have their say about Dr Robert Childs alongside Arsene Duc, but there are just two questions that need to be asked of any brass band judge once they have been appointed by the contest organisers. 

Do they have the necessary skill set to adjudicate, and is their integrity to do so unquestioned? 

If anyone competitor believes the answer is no to one or both, then they should not enter.  

Peggy Tomlinson and her team could have appointed the reincarnations of King Solomon and Herbert Von Karajan and still there would be grumbles. Oddly, no one seems to have dropped out. The matter is closed. 

Peggy Tomlinson and her team could have appointed the reincarnations of King Solomon and Herbert Von Karajan and still there would be grumbles. Oddly, no one seems to have dropped out. The matter is closed. 

Opinions

Competition is all about opinions - those sought and those made. However, the only two that count will be the ones from the men in the box, and given that ‘Odyssey’ is the type of test-piece that requires high class technical execution above all else, any conspiracy theories should come a cropper if the bands here can’t keep a tight lid on unforced errors, frenetic tempos and absurd dynamics. 

That’s what separated the best from the rest in Blackpool last weekend and it could well be the same here too.

With Brighouse & Rastrick already pre-qualified there are two places up for grabs, with defending champion Black Dyke and last year’s ‘surprise’ representatives City of Bradford (who won on ’Odyssey’ at Preston a few weeks back) and Hammonds Saltaire looking to return once more by beating off the challenge of the likes of Grimethorpe (who last qualified in 2015), Rothwell Temperance (2012) and Carlton Main Frickley (2016). It should make for a fascinating battle.

Others may challenge too - such as Hepworth, who were a touch unlucky last year and may fancy their chances on a piece that offers plenty of opportunity to impress without ever having to be memorable. Another surprise or two may well be on the cards.  

Tip-top Dyke

Having heard what Prof Nicholas Childs did with his approach with Foden’s in Blackpool, an on-form, tip-top, clean as a whistle Black Dyke may be the band to beat, although it will of course be interesting to hear what Prof David King does with a score he returns nearly 20 years after he last opened its pages on a contest stage.  

Carlton Main and Rothwell Temperance will surely be in the mix given their pedigree, whilst Grimethorpe being Grimethorpe could just turn up and wipe the floor with their rivals. Hammonds Saltaire have kept their powder dry after an unlucky appearance at Brass at the Guild Hall, whilst Hepworth may be a good each way bet to cause a bit of an upset. 

4BR Prediction:

1. Black Dyke
2. Brighouse & Rastrick
3. Rothwell Temperance
4. Carlton Main Frickley
5. Grimethorpe Colliery
6. Hammonds Saltaire

Dark Horse: Hepworth


Marsden
2017 Champion: Marsden Silver

First Section:
Sunday 4th March
Adjudicators: John Doyle and Alan Morrison
Draw: 8.00am
Commences: 10.00am

1. Chapeltown Silver (Sam Fisher)
2. Drighlington (Tommy Tynan)
3. Hade Edge (Jonathan Beatty)
4. Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)
5. Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)
6. Lindley (Robert Westacott)
7. Old Silkstone (Owen Wedgwood)
8. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)
9. Skelmanthorpe Prospect (Philip Garlick)
10. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)
11. Strata (Jonathan Bates)
12. Wakefield Metropolitan (Richard Larder)

Hopefully this contest won’t become the turgid, glacially paced affair that took an age to complete in Blackpool last weekend. 

‘Brass Metamorphosis’ is an interesting work in academic terms, even if much of the material sounds very familiar in its eventual exploration, so it was puzzling that it caused so many problems at the Winter Gardens.  

Championship potential

For whatever reason it became a curious drag – and not just time wise either, with just the one band according to the judges giving the type of performance of James Curnow’s testing, but not overtly difficult composition, that had the true stamp of potential Championship Section authenticity about it.

‘Brass Metamorphosis’ is an interesting work in academic terms, even if much of the material sounds very familiar in its eventual exploration, so it was puzzling that it caused so many problems at the Winter Gardens.  

Hopefully there will be a few more here - although the MDs will surely have to be careful with their tempo and dynamic choices (as well as hoping all their soloists play to the top of their game) if they are to catch the ears of John Doyle and Alan Morrison the box.

Hard to call

A hard one to call; as early season form has been difficult to judge - with only Lindley giving it an ‘under construction’ go at Brass at the Guild.  They should have polished it up much further by the weekend and could be a band to watch out for, whilst the confident Butlins podium finishers of Stannington and Skelmanthorpe should also be worth a qualification each-way bet.

Old Silkstone and the relegated duo of Chapeltown and Strata Brass could be there or thereabouts, with a dark horse in Drighlington.  

4BR Prediction: 

1. Stannington 
2. Skelmanthorpe
3. Strata Brass
4. Lindley
5. Old Silkstone
6. Chapeltown 

Dark Horse: Drighlington


Wakefield
2017 Champion: Wakefield Metropolitan

Second Section:
Saturday 3rd March
Adjudicators: John Doyle and Arsene Duc
Draw: 3.45pm
Commences: 5.30pm (approx)

1. BD1 Brass (Lee Skipsey)
2. Clifton & Lightcliffe (John Clay)
3. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)
4. Horbury Victoria (Duncan Beckley)
5. Kippax (Ian Knapton)
6. Meltham & Meltham Mills (Tim Sidwell)
7. Slaithwaite (Ryan Watkins)
8. South Yorkshire Police (Jack Capstaff)
9. Worsbrough Brass (John Hopkinson)

Jonathan Bates’ ‘Ex Terra Lucem’ brought out the best in the 21 bands at the Winter Gardens last weekend, so hopefully the quality will be the same even if the quantity is somewhat diluted here, with just nine bands for John Doyle and Arsene Duc to compare and contrast.

Character

What was evident in Blackpool was the desire of the MDs to bring out the character of the music - from the lively dance like elements of the ‘Brigantes’ to the reflective lyricism of the central ‘St Elyn’s Church’ and the building tonality of the final ‘From the Ground, Light’ which gives the work its Latin title.

Lots to look forward to then, especially if these well-matched looking bands play to form. 

Winning start

Talking of which, there isn’t a great deal to go on: Crofton didn’t have the best of returns at Butlins, although Slaithwaite enjoyed a winning start to the year at Brass at the Guild Hall ahead of 2017 Third Section National Champion BD1 Brass in third. 

These three should fancy their chances of battling for a Cheltenham spot, whilst Worsborough will look to return to the Finals once more alongside the usually solid performers of Horbury Victoria and Meltham & Meltham Mills. Our dark horse is Kippax.

4BR Prediction:

1. Slaithwaite
2. Horbury Victoria
3. Crofton Silver
4. BD1 Brass
5. Worsborough
6. Meltham & Meltham Mills

Dark Horse: Kippax


West Yorkshire pOLICE
2017 Champion: West Yorkshire Police

Third Section:
Saturday 3rd March
Adjudicators: Anne Crookston and Howard J Evans
Draw: 11.15am
Commences: 1.00pm (approx)

1. Barnsley Brass (William Rushworth)
2. Barnsley Metropolitan (Alex Francis)
3. Clifton & Lightcliffe 'B' (David Crisp)
4. Dinnington Colliery (Lindon Bolt)
5. Dodworth Colliery M.W. (Eliot J Darwin)
6. Dronfield Genquip (Damian Wileman)
7. Emley (Garry Hallas)
8. Huddersfield & Ripponden (Adam Bell)
9. Lofthouse 2000 (Andrew Whitaker)
10. Oughtibridge (Gavin Somerset)
11. Rockingham (Adam Whittle)
12. Wetherby Silver (Derek Wharley)

Although the Yorkshire Dales aren’t quite up there with the Alps in terms of topographical altitude, they still take a bit of conquering even for those equipped with sensible hiking boots and a good supply of Kendal mint cake.  

Alpine inspiration

Heaven knows what Napoleon would have made of things if he had ever made it across ‘La Manche’, but you suspect he would have enjoyed the prospect of a grand old battle between a dozen solid looking domestic rivals given Philip Harper’s highly entertaining test-piece – which has more nods and winks to Alpine inspiration than Roger Moore in James Bond mode making his famous parachute jump in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.  

Yep – Nobody does it better.

There is more to ‘Napoleon on the Alps’ than that though, with the bands needing to portray the determined tread of the French troops ever upward in the opening section, followed by the reflective middle section and the final all guns blazing finale with Old Boney astride his splendid stead Marengo.  

Heaven knows what Napoleon would have made of things if he had ever made it across ‘La Manche’, but you suspect he would have enjoyed the prospect of a grand old battle between a dozen solid looking domestic rivals given Philip Harper’s highly entertaining test-piece – which has more nods and winks to Alpine inspiration than Roger Moore in James Bond mode making his famous parachute jump in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.

Gallic flair

It takes a well-drilled band to play it confidently, and a conductor who can bring a touch of Gallic flair to the proceedings too - so hopefully it will, like Blackpool, be one to savour.  

Early season form saw Dodworth Colliery MW, Emley Brass and Dronfield Genquip claim top-six places at Butlins on a very different test of musical character ('Henry V' giving the French a good old spanking), although only Huddersfield & Ripponden were persuaded to give things a bash at Brass at the Guild Hall.

Those three Butlins bands should fancy their chances, whilst the likes of Barnsley Brass, Rockingham and Lofthouse 2000 could be in with good shout of a qualification berth. 

4BR Prediction:

1. Dodworth Colliery MW
2. Dronfeld Genquip
3. Barnsley Brass
4. Emley
5. Lofthouse 2000
6. Rockingham

Dark Horse:  Clifton & Lightcliffe B


Huddersfield
2017 Champion: Huddersfield & Ripponden

Fourth Section:
Saturday 3rd March
Adjudicators: David Lancaster and Stan Lippeatt
Draw: 7.45am
Commences: 9.15am

1. Armthorpe Elmfield (Haydn Griffiths MBE)
2. Deepcar (Cathryn Rogers)
3. Friendly Band (Sowerby Bridge) (Neil Robinson)
4. Garforth (John Thompson)
5. Gawthorpe Brass '85' (John Edwards)
6. Golcar (Peter Strawson)
7. Linthwaite (Paul Kershaw)
8. Loxley Silver (Lee Dunkley)
9. Maltby Miners (Terry Clifford)
10. Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)
11. Tingley (John Belton)

Rodney Newton’s ‘World Tour’ may well be as musically stereotypical as a full blown Yorkshire male voice choir version of ‘On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at’ - but it ain’t half enjoyable; allowing conductors to build on good contesting basics by adding a touch of character and style to a cleverly written score.

Tweaking of tempos

The opening section is a case in point – with some artful tweaking of tempos allowing for a touch of swagger to ‘Punchinello’ and a little bit of longing pathos to the echoing strains of the National Anthem.

The Joplinesque homage to Chicago ragtime must also be paced correctly (‘not fast’ as the great man said himself), whilst there will be both a need to maintain flow as well as an evocative sense of languid relaxation to what could be a troublesome ‘Pacific Paradise’ (it was at Blackpool). 

It ends all ends with the larrikin ‘Castlemaine XXXX’ Aussieness of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ to bring us back to the home port and hopefully see two well led bands head to Cheltenham on a mini world tour of their own.

None of these contenders opted for an early season trip to Preston, so any form indicator of sorts came from Butlins where Maltby Miners ended sixth and Tingley eleventh. 

As those 1906 Besses players must have said as they used those old French public conveniences for the first time on their world tour stop off in Paris: There’s not much to go on then. 

Not much to go on

As those 1906 Besses players must have said as they used those old French public conveniences for the first time on their world tour stop off in Paris: There’s not much to go on then. 

It’s a bit of a stab in the dark then – and we’ve put the infamous 4BR kiss of death on Gawthorpe Brass ’85 with Maltby Miners to join them at Cheltenham.  Thurcroft, Loxley and Deepcar can hopefully challenge them with our dark horse of Garforth. 

4BR Prediction:

1. Gawthorpe Brass ‘85
2. Maltby Miners 
3. Thurcroft Welfare
4. Loxley Silver
5. Deepcar
6. Linthwaite

Dark Horse: Garforth



Enderby Band - Enderby Band Christmas Concert

Monday 17 December • Enderby Church. Corner of Leicester Lane/Blaby Road. Enderby. Leicestershire LE19 4AR


Foden's Band - Little Lever High School

Tuesday 18 December • Little Lever High School ,Church Street, Little Lever, Bolton, BL3 1BT


The Wigston Band - The Wigston Band Christmas Concert

Thursday 20 December • St Thomas Church, South Wigston LE18 4TA


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Thursday 20 December • St Alfege Church. 3 Greenwich Church Street SE10 9BJ


The Wigston Band -

Thursday 20 December • St Thomas Church, South Wigston LE18 4TA


Haslingden & Helmshore Brass Band

December 18 • Haslingden & Helmshore, North West 1st Section Brass Band. . MD Mr. Simon Cowen (Principal Trombone with RLPO) . Require 2 front row Cornet players & Percussionist to complete the band. . A very sensible mix of engagements with rehearsals every Tuesday 8pm


Meltham and Meltham Mills Brass Band

December 18 • We have a vacancy for a Soprano and BBb Bass to complete the line up for the areas. Nice Schilke Sop sat waiting for the right person! The band currently competes in the 2nd Section and has a full program of concerts and contests.


The Corsham Band

December 18 • The band are currently looking for an experienced Back Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team. Second or Third Cornet position available.


Simon Gresswell


Conductor, adjudicator, tutor, tuba specialist