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2019 North West Regional Championships
As it happened

All the action from the 2019 North West Regional Championships — As it happened.

Sunday 24, 20:09:01

Result:

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Foden's are the 2019 champion

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Leyland join them in London

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Pemberton return to London for the first time since 2011

Championship Section:

Test piece: Seascapes (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Howard Evans and Sheona White

1. Foden's (Russell Gray)**
2. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)*
3. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)*
4. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
5. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
6. Milnrow (Dennis Hadfield)
7. TCTC Group (Jef Sparkes)
8. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
9. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
10. VBS Poynton (Stig Maersk)
11. Ashton-Under Lyne (Philip Chalk)
12. Freckleton (John Pearson)

** Foden's pre-qualified for National Final
* Qualify for National Final

Best Percussion: Foden's Band


Sunday 24, 19:34:56

Championship Section round up and prediction

A good, solid top section contest — all the bands bringing something to the battle although the differences between the best and rest was marked.

Foden's had that extra touch of class even though they were not at their very best, whilst the same goes for Leyland and Fairey who should end in the qualification places. Both are a step behind their rivals at the moment, with Leyland perhaps just edging ahead to come second.

Wingates could be the surprise package though — especially if the judges really liked their vibrant approach — it certainly make a mark, whilst mature accounts from Pemberton and Milnrow make our top-six. A dark horse could be TCTC Group.

4BR Prediction:
1. Foden's
2. Leyland
3. Fairey
4. Wingates
5. Pemberton
6. Milnrow

Dark Horse: TCTC Group


Sunday 24, 19:27:48

Championship Section:

12. Milnrow (Dennis Hadfield)

Good to see Dennis Hadfield back in front of a top flight band again — it's been a long time since he last took to the contest stage.

He leads a well structured, non nonsense account from his charges — solid virtues and well paced musicality. The opening section has a misty texture to open but found clarity to build to an exciting sojourn to warm climes.

The middle section is a bold Sarabande — just a touch clumsy in style, but it does its job without fuss or bother. Lovely rich sounds from the band too — dark and gooey — like squashed dates.

The finale is a right old chuffer — building up a firm head of steam that never lets go all the way to the home port. Retains its sense of nobility and purpose with bluff pride. Good that — and it ends well too — a real flourish.


Sunday 24, 19:16:10

Result:

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2019 Champion — Sale Brass

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: Stantonbury Festival (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Jim Davies and Andrew Warriner

1. Sale Brass (John Anderson)*
2. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)*
3. BMP Europe Ltd Goodshaw (Alan Seymour)
4. Blackley (Adrian Smith)
5. Dobcross Youth (M.Hindle)
6. Skelmersdale Prize (Ben Coulson)
7. Brindle (Matthew Balson)
8. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker))
9. Ramsey Town (Robert Quane)
10. Cadishead Public (David Holland)
11. Dobcross Silver (Grenville Moore)
12. Red Admiral Brass (Stuart Barton)

*Top two qualify for National Final at Cheltenham
Percussion: BMP Europe Ltd Goodshaw


Sunday 24, 18:53:45

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Fourth Section thoughts and prediction

What an enjoyable three hours this has been listening to bands on 'Stantonbury Festival'. Full marks to the Music Panel for its inclusion.

The final trio of Brindle, Red Admiral and Sale brought plenty out of the score, but to varying degrees didn't always gel everything together as well as they'd have liked.

Sale Brass as last band of the day has certainly given the judges a bit to ponder ahead of results.

Dobcross, Sale Brass, Stacksteads, Skelmersdale, Cadishead and Rode Hall are the six for us in the mix.

4BR Prediction:

1. Dobcross
2. Sale Brass
3. Stacksteads
4. Skelmersdale
5. Cadishead
6. Rode Hall


Sunday 24, 18:52:44

Championship Section:

11. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)

A hard working account from Wardle — one that owed a great deal to the excellent direction from the middle. Well chosen tempi, considered dynamics and pacing meant that the piece was compact and cohesive from start to finish.

Just got a bit scrappy in places in the opening section, but the excitement grew and was never overblown. The second section had a fine lilt in its dance structure — although the smudges were noticeable.

The finale was another piece of intelligent direction — the lid kept on the dynamics but still given enough fuel in the boilers to create a sense of nobility and purpose to the music. There was also something in the bilge tanks to spout out a fine finish too. Bravo — that one had a great of merit.


Sunday 24, 18:28:50

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Championship Section:

10. Foden's (Russell Gray)

A wonderfully lyrical, mature performance from the National Champion, launched in a foggy mist of textures. The opening section grew in stature and excitement as it headed to more exotic climes — not without the odd moment, but it was such a satisfying journey.

A true Sarabande watery dance to follow — again not without the odd splash, but still so cultured in its pacing and colouring — all rich sunburnt golden browns, dark and ripe.

The opening to the third movement was not together, but that little steamer then puffed with a chesty pride — the polished mechanics of the technique the most clear by far today. This was fast paced and driven, perhaps losing that immediate sense of nobility, but it then had a cheeky reprise and a funnel blow ending that was joyous and splendid.


Sunday 24, 18:10:51

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Championship Section:

9. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)

What a purposeful, well tailored account — all clean lines and efficiency amid the waves from the word go — held under the tightest of leashes by the MD. The textures and colours were bright although not hard and metallic, the excitement tempered but still feral.

A middle section of boldness followed — like a huge galleon cutting a swathe through Mediterranean waters — delicate hints of spices wafting in the air. Just a little ungainly in places, but so purposeful and we hear the lapping waves thanks to the fine cymbal work.

A busy little blighter of a steamer puffing like an old Capstan smoker to close — artisan values to the fore but played with a touch of noble pride. Just the occasional smudgy moment or two, but the music knew its final destination and reached it with confidence and more than a swagger of the bows.


Sunday 24, 17:59:10

Fourth Section:

We are heading into the last trio of the contest having heard another three bands here in Blackpool.

Cadishead had the knowledgeable David Holland at the helm and that bit of experience paid dividends with a fine account.

Blackley also offered plenty as did Skelmesrdale with both of them standing out in the trio that could give judges something to ponder.

Good piece for this level though,


Sunday 24, 17:48:37


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Championship Section:

8. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)

Not quite what many people might have expected from John Collins' usually vibrant ensemble — red blooded enthusiasm and verve replaced by a real show of mature consideration.

It was still a bit of a rough diamond, but there was class in the playing in both the ensemble and solo lines, and a warmth and texture to the tonality. Not everything quite gelled in the opening movement, but it had character and excitement, whilst the second section captured a stillness on the waves.

The stokers shovelled just the right amount of coal into the boilers for the finale — although they did start to sound a little tired the closer they got to their home port. Just lost the required nobility although there was plenty of purpose right to the close.


Sunday 24, 17:47:09

Championship Section:

7. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)

A cultured reading of the score from the MD gave this a sense of musical substance — even if there were some curious moments of balance and texture dotted throughout.

The opening took time to find just that — some individual elements sticking out and robbing cohesion, but when it did settle there was much to admire about the approach and certainly the warmth of the ensemble sound. Got excited in the right places too — but nothing too hedonistic.

The central section had a fine ebb and flow — again warmly hued and textured. Just the occasional moments of unease, but it had a relaxed feel of foreign climes.

Not too sure about the bell — more 'seconds out' than 'man the mainsail' — but it didn't detract from the noble sensibilities and the endeavour of the little steamer puffing its way back home. The control shown was admirable — even the final sop flourish retained its good manners to lead the boat to its merited moorings.


Sunday 24, 17:05:27

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Championship Section:

6. TCTC Group (Jef Sparkes)

A hard grafted, sensibly set out and executed account this — the MD allowing the music time to find a natural pace with a comfortable level of dynamic in each of the three movements.

The textures and colours were a little matt in finish as a result, but they were always cohesive and balanced. The exotic climes didn't quite come to life in the first section and we were in need of a more relaxed feel in the middle movement, but the music never lost its flow or focus.

Lots to enjoy with the puffing endeavour of the final section — one that had a feeling of proud nobility about it even if the intonation at times grated on the port holes. Again — the MDs pacing allowed detail to come through even if it sounded a bit chippy in places. Super close — right through the dock gates with a classy flourish.


Sunday 24, 17:03:13

Halfway in Fourth Section…

What a great contest this is turning out to be. Dobcross under the astute leadership of Grenville Moore (father of the trombonist, Peter) delivered a reading full of subtle touches of light & shade that could catch Jim Davies and Andrew Warriner’s ears.

Then Dobcross Youth came on to deliver a committed account that put a smile on the face. Whatever the result, brilliant to see the passion and concentration on their faces.

Finally, a tasty little offering from Rode Hall to take us to the break.

Dobcross and Stacksteads may just have their noses in front.


Sunday 24, 16:39:55

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Championship Section:

5. Wingates (Paul Andrews)

What a bold and evocative account this was — splashed around the bows in places but still with a great sense of exotic verve and spicy mayhem in the first section — a touch hedonistic from the MD that — and it worked.

The middle section just needed a more relaxed pulse in places, but again the music came to life, even if it was occasionally a touch ragged. The textures are a little DayGlo in places, but you can sense where this music has been inspired from.

More excitement to close too — the little steamer belching out the power from its tuba funnels like the QE2. The MD is going full throttle here and it is just about holding on despite the rate of knots. Again, lots of super detail comes through — vibrant, urgent and colourful all the way to a flash sop and the final berth.


Sunday 24, 16:31:03

Result:

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Third Section:

Pavilion Theatre
Adjudicators: Ian Brownbill and Sarah Groarke-Booth

1. Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)*
2. Uppermill (Dean Redfern)*
3. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)*
4. Trinity Girls (Richard Evans)
5. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Steve Hartley)
6. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Chris Binns)
7. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
8. Douglas Town (Ken Mitchell)
9. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)
10. City of Chester (Ewan Easton)
11. Parr St Helens (John Ludden)
12. Greenall's (Phil Boardman)
13. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
14. Darwen Brass (Mike Cotter)
15. Lostock Hall Memorial (Joshua Hughes)
16. Goldborne Brass (Jason Smith)
17. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
18. Stalybridge Old (James Atkins)

*Top 3 bands qualify for National Final

Best Trombones: Valley Brass (Haydock)
Best Percussion: Uppermill
Best Basses: Valley Brass (Haydock)


Sunday 24, 16:23:38

Fourth Section:

We have had three intriguing accounts of ‘Stantonbury Festival’ so far from BMP Europe Ltd Goodshaw, Stacksteads and Ramsay Town.

The nature of the music with four ff chords encourages bands to start off brightly and with encouragement. Some of the ensembles have managed to keep their confidence going whilst others dipped after some cautious moments.

It’s going to be interesting to see how things unfold here. It’s only around 10 minutes in length but plenty in to deliver the basics in banding and more.


Sunday 24, 16:19:56

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Championship Section:

4. Ashton-Under Lyne (Philip Chalk)

A performance that grew from something of an inauspicious start that lacked texture and balance. When it did find its sea legs it had purpose and a bold verve that brought things to life — the growing pace and excitement of the exotica finally emerging.

The central section was much the same — almost hesitant to row into languid waters. When it did it had a fluidity that meandered nicely and grew to a passionate climax.

Not to sure about the final section — a touch frantic in places to evoke the chugging homeward flow of a steamer up to dock, but it still had purpose. Lacked a little Empire nobility about it despite a fine close.


Sunday 24, 16:01:28

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Championship Section:

3. Freckleton (John Pearson)

A sensible, well controlled interpretation this from Freckleton — especially in the first movement where the MD didn't allow the colours and textures to become too vivid and over emphasised.

Just a few moments when the ensemble cohesion didn't hang together in the middle section, but this was once again structured with a great deal of common sense. What was missing was that lanquid sense of travel with the flow of the music, but it was still musically coherent.

Our little chugger of a steamer had its boilers stoked and lost its compass bearings on its way home to port at times, but once again the MD kept a firm hand on the tiller. Sounded a little tired and lacked nobility as the small chips and clips became noticeable. Lost momentum in the last few bars — but what a good effort.


Sunday 24, 15:45:25

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Championship Section:

2. Fairey (Garry Cutt)

A beautifully paced opened section has subtle changes of pace, texture and balance — drawing a growing sense of excitement to the music. A liberal sprinkling of exotic spices are wafted by the MD to quicken the pace.

The central section just loses focus in places, but the warmth of the ensemble playing is marked and sensuous — the filigree turns played artistically. The odd moment of section intonation, but is closes with aplomb.

There is sense of English nobility about the third section — but it then chugs with artisan purpose to its home — fired with articulate drive in the stevedore tubas. The finale is all 1950s Waltonesque wit and empire — a sop flash bringing us to a cracking finish.


Sunday 24, 15:43:40

Third Section round up and prediction

The last three bands give us something to think about with Goldborne opting for a safe and well directed account that just needed to bring out more detail to really come to life.

What a pity intonation issues just took the gloss off the picture created by Trinity Girls. Principal cornet is very good and this is so musical, but those underlying issues may just cost.

Boldness and bravura playing from Hoover Bolton. The intonation issues and intermittent problems in certain lines just tarnish things — as does over enthusiastic percussion.

4BR Prediction
1. Uppermill
2. Valley Brass (Haydock)
3. Darwen Brass


Sunday 24, 15:33:38

Draw:

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: 'Stantonbury Festival' — Ray Steadman Allen
Empress Ballroomn

Draw: 1.00pm
Commences: Following conclsion of First Section

Adjudicators: Jim Davies and Andrew Warriner

1. BMP Europe Ltd Goodshaw (Alan Seymour)
2. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
3. Ramsey Town (Robert Quane)
4. Dobcross Silver (Grenville Moore)
5. Dobcross Youth (Matt Hindle)
6. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
7. Cadishead Public (David Holland)
8. Blackley (Adrian Smith)
9. Skelmersdale Prize (Ben Coulson)
10. Brindle (Matthew Balson)
11. Red Admiral Brass (Stuart Barton)
12. Sale Brass (John Anderson)


Sunday 24, 15:32:37

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2019 Champion — Rainford

Result:

First Section:

Test Piece: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter)
Adjudicators: Leigh Baker and John Doyle

1. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)*
2. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)*
3. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
4. Blackburn & Darwen (Daniel Thomas)
5. Haydock (Mark Quinn)
6. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
7. Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
8. Flixton (Matthew Ryan)
9. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)
10. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
11. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
12. Diggle (Alan Widdop)
13. Mossley (Duncan Byers)
14. Haslingden & Helmshore (John Binns)
15. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)
16. Crewe Brass (Matt Pithers)

*Top two qualify for final in Cheltenham

Percussion: Rainford
Soprano: Longridge
Youngest Player: Thomas Scathe (12) — Mossley


Sunday 24, 15:27:49

Championship Section:

1. VBS Poynton (Stig Maersk)

A rather frenetic performance this — certainly bold and colourful, but with an underlying hard edge to the textures.

Neat interplay in the first section, but more exotic breadth was needed. The languid sense of poise in the middle movement as the ship finds calm waters is missing somewhat, but it is solid enough. It's the third movement that just loses focus — the steamer belching acrid smoke in places rather than chugging with controlled purpose back to its home port.

A fine close is full of excitment, but it rather ploughs through the waves to its dock.


Sunday 24, 15:24:53

Draw:

Championship Section:
Opera House
Test piece: Seascapes (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Howard Evans and Sheona White

1. VBS Poynton (Stig Maersk)
2. Fairey (Garry Cutt)
3. Freckleton (John Pearson)
4. Ashton-Under Lyne (Philip Chalk)
5. Wingates (Paul Andrews)
6. TCTC Group (Jef Sparkes)
7. Pemberton Old Wigan DW (Ben Dixon)
8. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
9. Leyland (Thomas Wyss)
10. Foden's (Russell Gray)
11. Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
12. Milnrow (Dennis Hadfield)


Sunday 24, 15:21:15

Result:

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Bollington's MD Peter Christian claims the wining silverware

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2019 Champion — Bollington

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Runner-up and Cheltenham bound — Besses Boys

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Heading to Cheltenham in third place, Farnworth & Walkden

Second Section:

Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Adjudicators: Derek Broadbent and Brian Rostron

1. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)*
2. Besses Boys (James Holt)*
3. Farnworth & Walkden (Luke Pallister)*
4. Eagley (Chris Wormald)
5. Blackpool Brass (Len Charnock)
6. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Mike Golding)
7. Marple (Stephen Curtis)
8. Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)
9. Delph (Philip Goodwin)
10. Old Hall Brass (John North)
11. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Alex Webb)
12. Besses o' th' Barn (Trevor Halliwell)
13. Allerton Brass (Adam D.J. Taylor)
14. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)
15. Rivington & Adlington (Malcolm Wilson)
16. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
17. Greenfield (Patrick Marshall)

*Top 3 bands qualify for the National Final

Best Percussion: Besses Boys


Sunday 24, 15:00:10

First Section round up and prediction:

A very enjoyable four and a half hours this has been with a piece well suited to the bands here. There are some excellent ensembles here and this is going to be very tight we suspect. with the judges having plenty to ponder.

Boarshurst, Middleton, Rainford, Longridge very much in the mix along Eccles and Haslingden & Helmshore.

Who knows though apart from Leigh Baker and John Doyle.

4BR Prediction:

1. Boarshurst Silver
2. Middleton
3. Rainford
4. Longridge
5. Eccles Borough
6. Haslingden & Helmshore

Dark Horse: Mossley


Sunday 24, 14:57:30

Third Section:

Uppermill provide us with a super performance — full of delicacy and fabulous soloists all around. Second movement is very upbeat, but controlled wonderfully, and the third movement brings us to an epic close. First time we’ve heard snare drum and cornets fitting together perfectly.

City of Chester just strudel with the first movement but the second movement is really steady and well mains intend as is the third.

The trio is rounded off with Darwen Brass -with a balanced opening with nothing overdone. Very quick but controlled second movement, it closes so very nicely and could have pushed itself into the podium places.


Sunday 24, 14:30:45

Second Secton round up and prediction...

It's been a highly enjoyable contest in the Opera House — aided greatly by all the bands being able to bring something out of Darrol Barry's set work.

It's one that certainly pays homage to all things John Barry and James Bond it must be said — but what's so wrong with that, as it's so cleverly put together.

The last two performances of the contest mirrored much that has gone on before today — bold, confident, at times a bit wayward and wonky, but full of colour and excitement. Bravo to both Marple who may just get a mention off the stage, as well as a bravura Besses o'th' Barn.

As for a winner?

Such a hard one to call — and we could be miles out here, but it's Besses Boys, Eagley and Bollington in any order for the qualification places, just ahead of Hazel Grove, Blackpool and Pemberton with our dark horse of Rivington & Adlington.

4BR Prediction:
1. Besses Boys
2. Eagley
3. Bollington
4. Hazel Grove
5. Blackpool
6. Pemberton

Dark Horse: Rivington & Adlington.


Sunday 24, 14:10:35

First Section:

Heading towards the finishing post here in the ballroom (14 gone and two left) with the latest trio of ensembles delivering contrasting renditions.

Paul Lovatt-Cooper's Roberts Bakery was full of confidence whilst Crewe was a touch cautious at times. Eccles Borough was considered in approach and well delivered for ourselves. Who knows where they could end up in the next hour?

Malcolm Wood


Sunday 24, 14:08:26

Third Section:

A bit of a hit and miss one from Hawk Green. All just about there and thereabouts, but never quite sounded totally at ease in each of the three movements. Not their day today.

A confident Whitworth Vale & Healey give an up tempo opening aided by a huge band sound. Although the second movement didn't quite sound cohesive it flowed whilst the third was full to the brim with confidence. Fantastic bass noise helped close an interesting performance.

Talking of interesting sounds, Lostock Hall had a fantastic bass trombone. Nothing over done here from start to finish, despite the odd struggles. Another engaging performance that nearly had the music under control but somehow not quite.

Wilson Taylor


Sunday 24, 13:57:11

Second Section:

Another enjoyable trio of contrasting styles and confidence with Rivington & Adlington, Besses Boys and Allerton Brass.

Rivington was solid no nonsense playing — just lacking a bit of polis, but put together with all the right nuts and bolts by the clever MD. May make a mark this under the radar.

A confident Besses certainly pricked the ears of Derek Broadbent and Brian Rostron in the box — with a confident delivery that flowed with excitement. Just tired to close, but no wonder the MD was bouncing on the balls of his feet at the end. Super flugel was a star.

A brave effort from the promoted Allerton too — just a few too many flaws and scratches, but the evidence of an emerging band of quality without a doubt.


Sunday 24, 13:26:13

First Section:

The second half commenced with what are clearly three excellent bands at this level: Rainford, Longridge and Second Section National Champion, Middleton.

Each delivered measured readings, with excellent detail, whilst the variances in tempi employed and how the judges call it, will be interesting to discover come results time. Some were noticeably quicker than what is written.

The acoustic and what is coming across from where an individual sits though is creating debate. It's only where the judges are sat upstairs that counts though.

Malcolm Wood


Sunday 24, 13:20:13

Second Section:

A trio of contrasting and variable performances straight after the break here — starting with a brave one from Tyldesley — one that just about retained control and kept its cohesion.

Eagley that followed was a super, confident approach and execution. Not everything quite came off but it had control and style by the bucketful. Quite suave in fact. Up there and in the mix for sure.

Don't know quite what to make of Blackpool — super confident playing, but so imbalanced at times. The timp player certainly enjoyed himself. The quality was there throughout, but will the judges take a fancy to the power driven Perc? It may just cost them today.

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A suave Chris Wormald led Eagley


Sunday 24, 13:14:00

Third Section:

Hawk Green give us a bit of a hit and miss one — a real pity as it had a great amount of style and the third movement was spot on.

So much delicacy to enjoy with Thornton Cleveleys' low brass to start, but intonation later just took the gloss off. It was a fine musical picture created by the MD, but just a few too many little clips detracted. A nearly one.

It's a brave effort from Littleborough — with the MD keeping the music flowing (helped by his huge baton!) There were the odd sticky moments but plenty to commend.

The Holst is a fantastic piece with a very tricky sop part that has been bravely met by all the players. The ensemble playing is the most important key though — moulding it together in tune and with style has marked the best bands out.

With that in mind it's Valley Brass (Haydock) for us so far ahead of Greenalls and Pilling Jubilee Silver.

Wilson Taylor

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Josh Hughes gets ready for his turn with Lostock Hall


Sunday 24, 12:52:50

Draw:

Third Section:

Pavilion Theatre
Adjudicators: Ian Brownbill and Sarah Groarke-Booth

1. Douglas Town (Ken Mitchell)
2. Greenall's (Phil Boardman)
3. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Steve Hartley)
4. Stalybridge Old (James Atkins)
5. Parr St Helens (John Ludden)
6. Valley Brass (Haydock) David Chadwick
7. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
8. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)
9. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
10. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
11. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Chris Binns)
12. Lostock Hall Memorial (Joshua Hughes)
13. Uppermill (Dean Redfern)
14. City of Chester (Ewan Easton)
15. Darwen Brass (Mike Cotter)
16. Goldborne Brass (Jason Smith)
17. Trinity Girls (Richard Evans)
18. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)


Sunday 24, 12:34:17

Halfway in First Section...

It's halfway in the Ballroom with Vinter's enjoyable piece sorting the bands out but also proving to be a popular choice.

Boarshurst Silver is the one band for us that has stuck out with an account that focussed on clear detail and sharp articulation. Behind them its wide open, with Haslingden, Blackburn & Darwen and Diggle fighting it out.

Lots to play for but where people are sat listening is offering varying opinions on who they think is in the frame or not. What reaches the box is what counts most of all though...

Malcolm Wood


Sunday 24, 12:32:07

Third Section:

Stalybridge Old gave us the quietest opening we'be heard yet and it built well. Just a few moments of unease robbed the picture, but it was a brave effort.

Parr St Helens (below) chose an irregular band formation, but it worked. Basses, euphs and baris were heard in detail but the outward facing trombones gave it bit of welly at times. It was an interesting take for sure.

The trio was rounded off by the excellent Valley Brass (Haydock) — a fantastic opening by the whole band back by great soloists and so much musical confidence. A clear leader so far for us.

Wilson Taylor

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Sunday 24, 12:16:40

Halfway in the Second Section...

We've reached the mid-way point here in the Second Secion and it has been a hugely enjoyable contest — with Darrol Barry's test piece enabling the bands to play with style and confidence.

Bollington, Hazel Grove and Delph may just have the edge so far, but there is a long way to go. It's been good stuff though from all the bands.


Sunday 24, 12:08:27

Draw:

First Section:

Test Piece: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter)
The Empress Ballroom
Adjudicators: Leigh Baker and John Doyle

1. Haydock (Mark Quinn)
2. Haslingden & Helmshore (John Binns)
3. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)
4. Blackburn & Darwen (Daniel Thomas)
5. Flixton (Matthew Ryan)
6. Diggle (Alan Widdop)
7. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)
8. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)
9. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
10. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
11. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
12. Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
13. Crewe Brass (Matt Pithers)
14. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
15. Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
16. Mossley (Duncan Byers)


Sunday 24, 12:05:22

Second Section:

Another trio of enjoyable takes on Darrol Barry's test piece, with each of Formby, Delph and Farnworth & Walkden bringing excitement and colour from the score.

There are some testing moments for all three as they battled their way through, but a superb cornet lead with Formby was a star, as was the percussion with Delph and the fruity bass trom with Farnworth.

The music is a bit simplistic maybe — but it's transparent and well crafted and the band's seem to be enjoying it all right.

Bit of a break now and then back for another bit of Darrol Barry Bond....


Sunday 24, 12:00:33

A girl's best friend...

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Charlotte Graham and her medical detection dog Lexi before they go on stage with Stalybridge


Sunday 24, 11:56:32

Third Section:

It's been good stuff here in the Pavilion with Douglas Town making a solid start with a fine bass end providing a great foundation. One or two nervous moments from some solo lines, but the ensemble playing was so good.

Greenalls were a little more insecure but it improved as it went along with a super third movement in particular.

In contrast Pilling Jubilee Silver got off to a great start lovely start, and although were a few moment of unease it had a real spring in its step led by a super euph.

Wilson Taylor


Sunday 24, 11:49:25

Mythical creatures...

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Oddly, the Second Section has enjoyed a trio of test pieces in recent years inspired by mythical creatures — from Philip Harper's 'Kingdom of Dragons' in 2010 and his 'Mermaid of Zennor' in 2016 to this year's 'The Rise of the Phoenix' by Darrol Barry.

'Game of Thrones' and 'Harry Potter' have a lot to answer for...


Sunday 24, 11:47:05

First Section:

A trio of engrossing readings in the Ballroom. Boarshurst Silver delivered a detailed account that certainly made an impression in the hall. There was a touch of swagger from Flixton whilst Diggle's Alan Widdop took no risks at all.

It's certainly serving up a good contest. The march and the speed that ensembles are pacing it is fascinating and their fate could be down to what tickles the judges taste buds in terms of getting clarity through.


Sunday 24, 11:35:32

Job done...



Sunday 24, 11:17:26

Second Section:

Another trio of engaging accounts here in the Opera House — all creating plenty of excitement and tapping into those obvious John Barry 'Bond' tropes of a bold rhythmic pulse and close harmonies.

There have also been some cracking little scene stealing cameo appereances too — notably a brilliant Eb tuba with Bollington and a suave flugel with Hazel Grove. Both these bands produced accounts right out of the Cubby Broccoli top draw (their MDs — Peter Christian and Nigel Beasley are of an age when Bond was Sean Connery not Daniel Craig) with Greenfield just lagging a little behind.

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The name is Beasley — Nigel Beasley


Sunday 24, 11:07:31

Draw:

Second Section:

Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Opera House
Adjudicators: Derek Broadbent and Brian Rostron

1. Old Hall Brass (John North)
2. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Mike Golding)
3. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Alex Webb)
4. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
5. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
6. Greenfield (Patrick Marshall)
7. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)
8. Delph (Philip Goodwin)
9. Farnworth & Walkden (Luke Pallister)
10. Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)
11. Eagley (Chris Wormald)
12. Blackpool Brass (Len Charnock)
13. Rivington & Adlington (Malcolm Wilson)
14. Besses Boys (James Holt)
15. Allerton Brass (Adam D.J. Taylor)
16. Marple (Stephen Curtis)
17. Besses o' th' Barn (Trevor Halliwell)


Sunday 24, 10:59:27

Good luck...



Sunday 24, 10:57:26

First Section:

Three intriguing accounts to open in the Ballroom on Vinter's enjoyable 'Symphony of Marches'. Haydock, Haslingden & Helmshore and Boarshurst Silver (below) have all delivered performances of merit.

One early observation is how bands must balance their sound in the boomy acoustic with the judges upstairs. Could be that just taking a bit off the dynamics may pay dividends today.

The good start bodes well though. Traditionally this is a strong section with Oldham Band (Lees) going on to be National Champion last year, so all of these contenders will be looking to following in their footsteps.

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Sunday 24, 10:41:48

Draw:

Third Section:

Pavilion Theatre
Split Draw: 10.00am and 12.15pm
Commences: 11.00am
Adjudicators: Ian Brownbill and Sarah Groarke-Booth

1. Douglas Town (Ken Mitchell)
2. Greenall's (Phil Boardman)
3. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Steve Hartley)
4. Stalybridge Old (James Atkins)
5. Parr St Helens (John Ludden)
6. Valley Brass (Haydock) David Chadwick
7. Eccleston Brass (Johnson Wood)
8. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)
9. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)

City of Chester (Ewan Easton)
Darwen Brass (Mike Cotter)
Goldborne Brass (Jason Smith)
Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)
Lostock Hall Memorial (Joshua Hughes)
Trinity Girls (Richard Evans)
Uppermill (Dean Redfern)
Whitworth Vale & Healey (Chris Binns)


Sunday 24, 10:34:28

Second Section:

We have heard the first three performances of Darrol Barry's enjoyable 'Rise of the Phoenix' — and a trio of hard working and colourful efforts they were too from Old Hall Brass, Pemberton Old Wigan DW B and Poulton-le-Fylde.

It's an engaging piece — with more than a hint of James Bond meets Mack and Mabel about it. Some early nerves but also a couple of excellent soloists on show too. The MDs are allowing the music to find its John Barry let alone Darrol Barry flow...

An encouraging start — this could be a close old contest to call if it carries on like this...


Sunday 24, 10:27:37

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Plenty to see as well as hear today...

As always the brass band traders are on hand to showcase their wares — and get you to enter for a few prizes themselves.

The best today is surely the chance to enter a draw to get your mince pies checked out at the specialist Musicians's opticians, Allegro Optical.

All you have to do is go along and fill out a little slip and put it into the box — and with a bit of luck your name will be pulled out later today.

Go and have a chat though — it's fascinating to find out about how proper glasses can aid your playing...


Sunday 24, 10:06:04

Off we go in the Ballroom

We are under starters orders here in the Ballroom — a few minutes earlier than advertised, but 16 challengers with 'Symphony of Marches' by Gilbert Vinter.

Leigh Baker and John Doyle sat in the box who are the only people that matter for the result today.


Sunday 24, 10:02:49

Draw:

First Section:

Test Piece: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter)
The Empress Ballroom

Draws: 9.15am & 11.15.am
Commences: 10.00am

Adjudicators: Leigh Baker and John Doyle

1. Haydock (Mark Quinn)
2. Haslingden & Helmshore (John Binns)
3. Boarshurst Silver (James Garlick)
4. Blackburn & Darwen (Daniel Thomas)
5. Flixton (Matthew Ryan)
6. Diggle (Alan Widdop)
7. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt)
8. Cheshire Constabulary (David Woollam)

Other competing bands:

Crewe Brass (Matt Pithers)
Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
Longridge (Mark Peacock)
Manx Concert Brass (Ian Clague MBE)
Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
Mossley (Duncan Byers)
Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)


Sunday 24, 09:51:26

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The first of the 500...

The honour of being the first band to perform at this year's regional championships falls to Old Hall Brass led by John North. Last year they were drawn last of the 21 competitors, this year they are first — such is the serendipitous nature of the brass band contest...

Plenty to look forward to today in each of the halls — with the action starting in the others sections throughout the morning.

Off we go then....


Sunday 24, 09:40:08

Draw:

Second Section:

Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Opera House
Draws: 8.45am & 10.45am
Commences: 9.45am

Adjudicators: Derek Broadbent and Brian Rostron

1. Old Hall Brass (John North)
2. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Mike Golding)
3. Poulton-Le-Fylde (Alex Webb)
4. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
5. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
6. Greenfield (Patrick Marshall)
7. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)
8. Delph (Philip Goodwin)
9. Farnworth & Walkden (Luke Pallister)

Other competing bands:

Allerton Brass (Adam D.J. Taylor)
Besses Boys (James Holt)
Besses o' th' Barn (Trevor Halliwell)
Blackpool Brass (Len Charnock)
Eagley (Chris Wormald)
Marple (Stephen Curtis)
Rivington & Adlington (Malcolm Wilson)
Tyldesley (Robert Taylor)


Sunday 24, 08:54:45

Welcome to the 2019 Regionals

We start with the North West

Good morning from Blackpool where the sun has risen, the early alarms have been set and banding folk are set for their day in the Winter Gardens.

So too are Richard Milton and his team who've been here since before dawn setting things up with hall staff in time for the start.

We get going in the Opera House with Section Two at 9.45 followed by the First Section in the Ballroom at 10.15.

Then, the Third Section starts at 11.00am.

It's a day in Sections One Two and Three for split draws so we'll post when they are available, starting with Section Two around 9.30am when the judges go in the box.

Join us later.


Sunday 24, 02:41:09

Contest preview

4BR Editor Iwan Fox looks forward to the first steps on the qualification road to London and Cheltenham starting off at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Sunday.



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Thursday 21 March • Mirfield Parish Church, 38 Church Lane, Mirfield WF14 9HX


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Brass Band

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March 18 • Due to player relocation, The Tongwynlais Temperance Band are searching for a PRINCIPAL CORNET to lead its hard-working cornet section. The ideal candidate will be a strong individual performer, reliable and committed, leading by example.


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March 18 • Current Midlands Regional Champions, Championship Section in 2020, National Finalists 2018 and 2019 and Bolsover 1st Section Champions require SOLO TROMBONE and BBb BASS. We are hard working and sociable and are looking for like-minded players to join us.


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March 18 • Bedford Town Band (London and SC, 2nd section, having just qualified for the National Finals in Cheltenham) have a vacancy for a Soprano Cornet. We are a friendly, ambitious and sociable band with a range of concerts and contests planned.


Martin Heartfield

GGSM, ARCM, PGCE
Conductor, Adjudicator, Educationalist