2019 West of England Regional Championships
As it happened

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

West of England

Sunday 10, 19:31:05

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2019 Champion: Flowers

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London bound: Aldbourne


Championship Section:

Adjudicators: Major David Barringer MBE & Ludovic Neurohr

1. Flowers (Paul Holland)*
2. Aldbourne (David Thornton)*
3. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
4. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
5. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
6. St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)
7. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
8. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)
9. St Austell Town (Iain McKnight)
10. Lanner & District Silver (David Hamilton)
11. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
12. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Dr Howard Evans)
13. Hyde (Garry Cutt)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

West of England

Sunday 10, 19:09:14

Championship Section opinion and prediction

This was a contest that was blown open in the most refined musical style just when you may have thought the usual Torquay suspects had done enough to secure their trips to London.

One band is going to be mightily disappointed, as the top three today were high quality performances worthy of an October trip to Kensington Gore.

It's between the imposing technical clarity of Flowers against the more lyrical poeticism of Filton Concert and Aldbourne, with Woodfalls, St Dennis and Bournemouth making up our top six.

You could just about slide a piece of Bronco paper between the top three — whoever wins and gets through will have deserved it.

Iwan Fox

1. Filton Concert
2. Flowers
3. Aldbourne
4. Woodfalls
5. St Dennis
6. Bournemouth

Dark Horse: Camborne

West of England

Sunday 10, 18:45:07

Championship Section:

13. Aldbourne (Dr David Thornton)

Those who may have felt this was a contest that was going down a familiar qualification route have certainly been given a bit of a rude awakening — 4BR included.

David Thornton brings his lyrical interpretation of the RSA down to Torquay and it's given a fine account by his committed band.

So much to enjoy with the clarity of musical thought that has gone into this — the opening was paced so well, with the inner detail and balances coming through. A super climax wasn't over done either and the close was filet steak tender.

The Sarabande had a rich textural feel and an oily flow — just the odd moment, but the colours were never splashed.

What a great old finish too — noble and proud. Just sounded a little tired towards the very end, but it had come after so much character had been brought to the fore.

One for the judges to think long and hard about that.

West of England

Sunday 10, 18:34:55

Championship Section:

12. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)

Well now — could this give the MD the most memorable of send-offs before his American sojourn?

What a finely realised interpretation; calmly refined, poetic and lyrical. Dare one say not what we expected?

Paced right on the button to open; allowing the clarity to come through but also to showcase rich textural balances, dynamic contrast and colour inflections. The exciting climax drew you in before spitting you out exhausted.

It was followed by a sumptuous Saranbande — lilting with exotic intrigue.

The finale had such spirit — bold but overdone. The pace was brisk, but there was clarity in the technique and it had a bright nobility. The internal balances were maintained especially in the falling figures. A vicious squall (even the bell sounded in despair) was followed by the tenderest of reposes.

What a cheeky chappy to close — puffing splendidly to dock with one final flourish to perhaps even snatch the title.

A bit of a delight that.

West of England

Sunday 10, 18:17:34

Championship Section:

11. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)

A curious and frustrating one this — at times seemingly at odds with itself and then so coherent and richly characterful.

The opening was a scratchy old affair; the little technical errors sloppy and annoying. Without them the clear intent of the MDs reading would have sparkled. Energy and drive to the climax and the repose was neat, but the damage had been done.

At its best this was flowing gracefully and richly oiled in tender musicality. Too often it snagged on an unforced errors though and it lost it focus. What a pity — there was a foundation of quality deep at its core.

A repeat for the finale — some razor sharp playing, but a fair bit of mishmash too. Super build to the dramatic squall and the tenderest of reposes. It then picked up splendidly for such a noble touch of pompous steaming, but the very ending almost tripped up.

A frustrating one that.

West of England

Sunday 10, 18:00:18

Championship Section:

10. Chalford (Steve Tubb)

A hard grafted account from Chalford that had all the building blocks and essential elements on hand, but never sounded as if they could quite be brought together as a coherent whole.

The first movement had a clarity of pace and defined musicality, but the textures and colour balances were absent. It was a pity as the MD drew a clear indication of where the music was travelling to an exciting climax.

The same could also be said for the second movement — a nicely shaped Sarabande that lacked the exotic spice mixes and hues to bring it to life.

The finale was spirited — noble and passionate. The detail never quite came through although the drama certainly did. The repose was nicely done before that chippy ending with bluff pride to round off a hard working account.

West of England

Sunday 10, 17:34:27

Championship Section:

9. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)

The most coherent take on the score today — a triptych of poetic abstraction that still retained its defined musical imagery.

Paced with growing tension and excitement to open, there was clarity in the solo lines and ensemble balances. It meant that little smudges in execution could also be heard, but it didn't tarnish the overall musical picture created with rich mixtures of colour and texture.

A lovely Sarabande lapped tenderly at the hull of the boat; exotic blends of colours filtering through. Again — just the moments when little chips and clips were heard, but this was engrossing.

The finale had such a touching pompous spirit — chuffing with bluff nobility and style, nothing overdone but still imbued with pride.

That was super stuff — again just the odd little crab caught in the gearing, but the contrast between the squalling drama and tender repose was superb. Great close rounds off a high quality show.

West of England

Sunday 10, 17:15:44

Championship Section:

8. Lanner & District Silver (David Hamilton)

The MD brings a lyrical understanding to the score here — and it's a pity that the technical execution couldn't quite match his intentions.

The opening section was paced so well; drawing the tension out of the music to reach its exciting climax. What was lost in colour, hue and shade was made up in sharp articulation and balanced ensemble.

The exotic textures never quite materialised in the Sarabande, although the flow was viscous and oily. Some lovely moments, but the colour palette needed mixing together — it was all within its demarcation lines — nothing seeped through.

A fine close — again aided by the MDs intelligent pacing. Noble sentiments created and delivered with drama and then tenderness, with a bright ending even if the little coda tripped somewhat.

West of England

Sunday 10, 16:46:51

Championship Section:

7. St. Austell (Iain McKnight)

A vibrant performance amid an Atlantic squall beating down on the roof of the Riviera Centre.

Finely judged direction by the MD this; right on the edge of realistic ambition in terms of pace, dynamic and balance in the opening movement — drawing rich colours from the score and growing tension and excitement before its repose.

Just lost its way a little in the central section — the healthy dynamic submerging the sense of the languid climes of afar with the pacing a little stifled for a Sarabande. Solidly delivered though.

More solid virtues on show to end, although at times the scruffiness just took the noble gloss off the little steamer's hull. Great build and the drama was visceral when required. The repose was well handled too. Just enough in the tank for a splendidly upbeat close — chirpy and chipper.

The little flourish to close was neatly judged to round off a performance of merit inspired by the MD.

West of England

Sunday 10, 16:26:41

Championship Section:

6. St. Dennis (Darren Hawken)

Another impressive performance of building maturity from the famous Cornish band and their youthful looking MD.

The opening section was well laid out — building in pace, texture and detail as it went along. There were noticeable smudges of colour and the texture got harsh when the excitement level rose, but it was still persuasive.

A lyrical Sarabande was very nearly over-romantic — heady in exotic spices. It just lost is flow as a result, but it never became bogged down in its own reverence.

The final section had a bright nobility — chuffing along at neat rate of knots. Just lost focus and got a little scrappy in some lines, but both the dramatic squall and the tenderest repose were so well handled.

It also retained its cohesion for a sparky finale and a waspish flourish to round things off.

Good stuff.

West of England

Sunday 10, 16:06:57

Championship Section:

5. Flowers (Paul Holland)

An imposing contest account from Flowers and a significant step up in overall cohesive quality.

Took a few bars to settle, but there was a defined quality to the detail. The colour palette, although bold was not overtly vivid and the balanced texture mixed well.

Just occasions when harshness crept in when visceral excitement was required, but such a fine climax and repose.

The Sarabande was dynamically healthy, but there were some lovely touches of malleability — gentle ebbing and flowing. Very secure in execution, it may have lacked the feel of the true exotic, but it had a stamp of quality.

MD takes a few shovels of coal away from the steamer's boilers and is rewarded with such clarity in the ensemble detail and super solo lines. That was so well done and kept its noble sentiment. It gains pace when needed and then relaxes to close, but still with a classy flourish.

Very good that.

West of England

Sunday 10, 15:46:23

Championship Section:

4. Hyde (Garry Cutt)

A lyrically inspired reading from Garry Cutt (cut from the same page as he did with Fairey) — so well proportioned and paced.

It gave the music clarity and definition in the opening section, even if the colour and textural mixes were not quite as deep and resonant as they needed to be to sound exotically charged. A super build to a visceral climax and neat repose were well done.

Again — lovely pacing and a subtle pulse to the Sarabande. It's the colour palette that was a bit primary and the textures a touch coarse, but the malleability of the music had real ebb and flow.

A fine final section had a purposeful nobility — although it did lose its cohesion in places and sounded a bit tired to close.

West of England

Sunday 10, 15:27:02

Championship Section:

3. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)

A solidly delivered account this — artisan in approach and execution. The lack of subtle nuance in terms of colour, balance and texture was noticeable — it was well defined, purposeful monochrome.

Lots of clairty on show in the opening section but it never quite coalesced into the coherent mix required. The excitement was raw and dramatic.

The central Sarabande never quite found its lanquid lilt — it was all there but in seperate pigments of colour and threads of texture.

A fine final section steamed with a bold purpose and drama with the MD keeping control at the helm. Just the odd moments of unease and tiredness tarnished the uncomplicated picture to close.

West of England

Sunday 10, 15:08:44

Championship Section:

2. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)

Contrast comes immediately with the muscular take from the Cornish band. Right from the start it was heavy in the water — boldly coloured and textured. It's had great drive and pulsating energy, even if the detail was submerged in the heft.

The central section meandered but whether or not it had the languid feel of an exotic Sarabande is open to question. It's certainly made its mark.

The final section steamed along at a far rate of knots — dramatic and colourful, but at times it was very harsh in tonality and the Perc covered much of the details. Exciting without a doubt, but did it really create the subtle abstract pictures of poetic license? Not for us.

West of England

Sunday 10, 14:51:22

Championship Section:

1. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Dr Howard Evans)

A warmly coloured and subtle textured performance this. The MD was true to his remarks in judging in the north west that this is piece about pacing, clarity, balance and shaded nuance.

Lots of clarity in the opening and the music flows without recourse to needless excitement. Gets there when needed though.

The central section is languid but gently pulsing in its Sarabande intentions, whilst the final section has a nobility and sense of imperial restraint.

Lots to enjoy in each of the movements and a very coherent and cohesive abstract picture painted by the MD. A good solid marker that.

West of England

Sunday 10, 14:26:40


Championship Section:

Adjudicators: Major David Barringer MBE & Ludovic Neurohr

1. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Dr Howard Evans)
2. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
3. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
4. Hyde (Garry Cutt)
5. Flowers (Paul Holland)
6. St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)
7. St Austell Town (Iain McKnight)
8. Lanner & District Silver (David Hamilton)
9. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
10. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
11. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)
12. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
13. Aldbourne (David Thornton)

West of England

Sunday 10, 13:57:49

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2019 Champion: Sidmouth

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Cheltenham bound: Weston Brass


Second Section:

Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Adjudicators: Alan Bourne & Brian Rostron

1. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)*
2. Weston Brass (Carl Whiteoak)*
3. St Pinnock (Colin Hudson)
4. Wotton-Under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)
5. Bream Silver (Hugh Bamford)
6. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
7. Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope BEM)
8. Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver (Jo Sykes)
9. Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (David Boorer)
10. Shrewton Silver (Peter Bede)
11. Downton (Paul Williams)
12. Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)
13. Cinderford (Chris Howley)
14. Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)
15. Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)
16. Corsham (John Heritage)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

West of England

Sunday 10, 13:29:48

Second Section opinions and predictions...

A highly enjoyable, if somewhat variable quality contest comes to an end with endeavour, enthusiasm and energy from Lydney Town.

A purposeful reading aided by some fine individual moments — especially the confident youngsters who took mature leads on solo trombone and kit in particular. Not everything came off but it ended in credit.

A clear winner for us today with Sidmouth's super 'Phoenix' rising high from the flames without a scorch mark to surely head to Cheltenham.

Close to decide who may join them there for the judges, but if it was us we would go for Hatherleigh with Wotton and Weston close on their heels.

Then its St Pinnock and Camborne with our dark horse of Cinderford.

Iwan Fox

1. Sidmouth
2. Hatherleigh
3. Wotton under Edge
4. Weston Brass
5. St Pinnock
6. Camborne Junior Contesting

Dark Horse: Cinderford

West of England

Sunday 10, 13:12:10

Second Section:

The gas has been turned up here in the race to Cheltenham, with some cracking performances coming our way.

First up there was a solid effort from Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) that very nearly lived up to its name and that of the test piece. A fine effort that just lost its focus in places on what was a super reading from the MD.

The ante was raised by Weston Brass to follow — with an imposing account that certainly had the heft of Odd Job, if it just lacked that killer instinct to perhaps seal a Cheltenham spot. It was very good in lots of places, but just needed a bit more dynamic polish in the softer dynamics.

What a cracker from Sidmouth though — and a new leader for us.

Great reading of the score from the MD that balanced raw excitement with lyricism and had some exceptional soloists — led by a wonderful flugel and soft toned cornet (and brilliant Perc team).

Kept its nerve and focus right to the end. Cheltenham bound??

West of England

Sunday 10, 12:22:36

Second Section:

Three drama packed performances here — some it edge of the seat stuff.

Denmead recovered from a fragile start to grow in confidence to bring out the character of the music with energy and drive. More comfortable at the higher dynamics and pacier tempos, but it was an enjoyable take.

If it was excitement you were looking for, Cinderford provided it in spades — even if it didn't always hit its target. Animated conducting from the MD (except when he was struck statuesque for 30 seconds) drew out their best playing. On occasions though it was fragile when exposed. A nearly one.

Midsomer Norton also brought excitement from the score — bold and detailed, although it also had a few too many little moments of unease.

When it was good it really came to life (bass trom shooting out little deadly bullets like Scaramanga and his golden gun) and the triumphant finish was great.

West of England

Sunday 10, 11:35:35

Second Section:

Another trio of bold, enjoyable accounts as Darrol Barry's 'Phoenix' draws exciting playing from the competitors.

Shrewton had all the elements on show, but lacked ensemble cohesion to bring them all successfully together. Some lovely playing on the solo lines and a neat reading by the MD, but on this occasion it just needed tightening of the basic nuts and bolts.

No such problems with Hatherleigh — and a super show, full of warm, mature ensemble sounds, backed by suave soloists and real stylistic drama when required. A clear leader for us and it may be a performance to send them back to Cheltenham once again.

A hard working one from Downton too — full of energy and drive, if a little wayward in places. Lots to enjoy with the exciting approach, but the scruffy edges may just lose them a few points.

West of England

Sunday 10, 10:36:41

Second Section:

Another trio of solid, well led performances that although all having basic problems in places played with an admirable sense of musical character, bringing out the vibrancy and drama of Darrol Barry's clever score.

St. Pinnock really captured the 'Bondesque' elements — from two lovely lyrical solos from the suave flugel and solo cornet, to the drive and energy of the quicker sections. Just tired to close, but it was a solid contest marker for others to emulate.

Solid attributes all round from Corsham — not quite as characterful as some so far today, but very well delivered. Just needed a bit more energy in places, but it did its job well.

Much to enjoy with Wotton under Edge — again intelligently directed by the MD. The two lads on percussion were super and added drive and colour. A few moments of poor intonation tarnished the picture — but it was warm and balanced all the way to the close.

West of England

Sunday 10, 10:18:08

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Bond.... James Bond


There is so much to enjoy with Darrol Barry's 'Rise of the Phoenix' — with the obvious and clever pastiche elements of his namesake's John Barry's superb James Bond scores.

There is also a bit of Mack & Mabel and even that old television favourite Dangermouse if you listen closely...

It's great fun and the bands and players are really enjoying it.

Just waiting for a conductor to take to the stage in a 1970's beige safari suit...

West of England

Sunday 10, 09:45:29

Second Section:

The first three bands here in Torquay have given vibrant, enthusiastic accounts of 'Rise of the Phoenix'.

All of them will know that they were a bit scruffy in places and some basic elements were a bit wayward, although all brought vibrancy and energy to their playing.

Cheltenham Silver overcame a fragile start to deliver a solid performance — led by some super solo lines and well chosen tempos by the MD.

The same goes for Camborne Junior Contesting — with their solo lines all played with assuredness by youngsters on flugel, cornet, sop and kit. Just lost a touch of focus on places, but it was full character.

The trio was rounded off by Bream — bold and determined. Euphs right next to Eb tubas gave a big old foundation and there was plenty of neat playing to sprinkle on top too.

West of England

Sunday 10, 08:52:54


Second Section:

Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Adjudicators: Alan Bourne & Brian Rostron

1. Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)
2. Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope BEM)
3. Bream Silver (Hugh Bamford)
4. St Pinnock (Colin Hudson)
5. Corsham (John Heritage)
6. Wotton-Under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)
7. Shrewton Silver (Peter Bede)
8. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
9. Downton (Paul Williams)
10. Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)
11. Cinderford (Chris Howley)
12. Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver (Jo Sykes)
13. Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (David Boorer)
14. Weston Brass (Carl Whiteoak)
15. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
16. Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)

West of England

Sunday 10, 08:20:08

Good morning...

It's an early start in the West of England today with the Second Section starting at 9.00am followed by the Championship Section later this afternoon.

Up in Scotland it's the also the same with the Fourth, the non competitive 4b Section and the Championship battle.

In the Midlands it's a slightly later start with the Fourth Section at Kenilworth School and the Second and Championship Section at Bedworth Civic Centre.

It's all go again then...

West of England

Saturday 9, 20:13:56

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2019 Champion: Michelmersh

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Cheltenham bound: Bodmin


First Section:

Adjudicators: Major David Barringer MBE & Dr Nick Grace OBE

1. Michlemersh Silver (Melvin White)*
2. Bodmin Town (John Maines)*
3. Glastonbury Brass (Daniel Shave)
4. Brunel Brass (Daniel Hall)
5. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)
6. Andover Town (Steve Large)
7. Roche Brass (David Johnson)
8. Soundhouse Brass Plymouth (Lee Clayson)
9. Helston Town (John Berryman)
10. City of Bristol Brass (Christopher Bond)
11. A W Parker (Drybrook) (Joshua Ruck)
12. Otterbourne Brass (Phillip Littlemore)
13. St Keverne (Gareth Churcher)
14. Forest of Dean Brass (Bryn James)
15. Sherborne Town (Gary Greenstock)
16. Mount Charles (Colin Toghill)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

West of England

Saturday 9, 19:25:08

First Section opinion and prediction

This was a right ol' liquorice all-sorts contest. And which one the judges Nick Grace and Dave Barringer pick out as their favourites is anyone's guess.

Not a great standard overall it must be said — despite the majority of MDs trying to keep to the clear intentions of the score. Rather surprisingly it was the technical issues that marred so many renditions.

The best band by a margin was Brunel — but theirs was a very idiosyncratic interpretation. At times it bordered on the surreal. More Jean Jacques Brunel than Isambard...

Roche Brass, SW Comms, AW Parker, Helston, Bodmin and AW Parker all come in a bunch behind, and any of them could win if the judge's step away from that very individual take. Out dark horse is Michelmersh.

Iwan Fox

1. Brunel Brass
2. Roche Brass
3. SW Comms
4. AW Parker
5. Helston
6. Bodmin

Dark Horse: Michelmersh

West of England

Saturday 9, 19:15:23

First Section:

The contest closes with another brace of contrasting performances — this time a free flowing, lyrical take from SW Comms and a more robust Forest of Dean of Brass.

Lots to enjoy as Chris Spreadbury allowed the music to find its right pace in each of the movements with SW Comms — malleable but tempered. Not everything came off technically, but it was one to enjoy on a day when subtlety has been in short supply.

More artisan values from Bryn James and Forest of Dean Brass. Set its stall out with perhaps the best opening of the day — but there after it just needed to relax the tension. Bold, bravura playing even in the gravest melancholy. The last movement had raw excitement — by heck it did.

West of England

Saturday 9, 18:40:56

First Section:

Three more performances full of good intentions, but only the one really made the most of the opportunity afforded to shine.

That was AW Parker — a bit of a mixed bag interpretation wise, but delivered true to the MDs youthful sense of adventure. Not quite sure of some of the avenues explored, but the players delivered confidently. Robust and a little wayward at times, but it had brio by the bucketful.

City of Bristol struggled somewhat, with a lack of stable ensemble cohesion the main bug bear. MD kept things in neutral gears for tempo and dynamic colour and it nearly came off. A bit of a hit and miss one.

Great to see Mount Charles back, and despite the obvious weaknesses and mistakes there was a bold sense of adventure, enthusiasm and endeavour.

It was helped by some super Perc playing and soloists who gave of their all. Last movement had a nobility and then a nice touch of the romantic to close.

West of England

Saturday 9, 17:51:55

First Section:

'Symphony of Marches' may be 55 years of age but it's still got the ability to bite the backsides of bands.

It's been a very variable standard so far — and it's been noticeable that the three most authentic interpretations of Vinter's specific intentions have come from men of a certain banding age with eons of contesting experience under their belts.

Step forward Messers Berryman, Maines and White. They may not win today but it's been a joy to hear performances of such clear understanding.

For the moment Andover gave a neat, well proportioned account that made musical sense in each of the movements. What a pity it was occasionally so scruffy and lacked ensemble cohesion as the musical character was bob on.

The same with Soundhouse Brass — the technical limitations really tarnishing the fine intentions of the MD. Well paced and dynamically coherent, the amount of basic errors at first just annoyed but then undermined things. A frustrating one.

Much to enjoy with Michelmersh though — even if occasionally the overall quality of sound just got hard.

Melvin White knows his Vinter onions — and a super reading of the score brought brilliance to the first movement, dark gravity to the second and breezy wit and nobility to the third.

If they could have minimised the error count it would have been right in the mix. A good one today though.

West of England

Saturday 9, 16:56:31

First Section:

We headed to the mid contest break with a brace of contrasting performances — both that were very persuasive in their musical approach but only one of which came close to delivering their MDs intentions in spades.

Unfortunately, and despite their best efforts, Otterbourne couldn't command the technical challenges imposed by the writing and struggled. It's was pity as the musical flow and context of each of the movements under Phil Littlemore was excellent.

Bodmin though certainly gave John Maines what he wanted and to such an extent that they are right in the mix at the halfway point. Lovely pacing to each of the movements, solid soloists (with a super sop the pick) and a sense of musical understanding that permeated the playing from a youthful band.

West of England

Saturday 9, 16:42:23

First Section:

Well it's certainly turning out to be an interesting contest — although whether it is of any great quality is another matter all together.

Sherborne bravely battled their way through, but it was hard graft. MD helped by keeping the tempos secure and accurate, but there were so many fundamental errors and problems here.

Much the same with St Keverne — although again the MD did help by not trying to do any too elaborate with the dynamics and tempos. It was the technique that seemed to be coming up short here despite the admirable endeavour.

At last! A performance from Helston hat was fused together with complete musical understanding of the composer's intentions. No surprise that it came from John Berryman, as he was principal cornet at GUS when the great man used to pop in and work with the band.

Each movement was paced so well — and technically accurate too. Dynamics were robust, but always in context with each other and the sense of style was brilliant, then dark and finally breezy.

A pity that it scratched about a bit in execution but it was a joy to hear the musical authenticity on display.

West of England

Saturday 9, 15:39:00

First Section:

Three bands — three very different takes on Gilbert Vinter's music.

Glastonbury Brass gave us the traditional meat and two veg 1960s approach. Light, lots of vibrato, warm sounds and decent solo lines. It was paced accurately (although the first bar demi-semi quavers of the second movement did not relate to the semis of the first) and the third movement didn't shift like a rat up a drainpipe. Solid but a little nondescript.

On the other hand Brunel Brass gave us Vinter through the lens of the 1960 expressionist movement — all angular phrasing, brilliantly cut but packed with idiosyncratic interpretations. It went a bit Timothy Leary bonkers in places (sop grace notes?) but it wasn't half enjoyable — and very well played.

You suspect Vinter would have loved the sheer hutzpah of it — but the men in the box?

A modern, sleek and tempered approach from Roche Brass was laid out with such stylish intent — despite the very obvious moments of sloppiness. At times it was bang on the dollar bill, but at others it sounded like loose change too.

A persuasive interpretation, but will the silly mistakes cost them dear?

West of England

Saturday 9, 14:57:33


First Section:

Adjudicators: Major David Barringer MBE & Dr Nick Grace OBE

1. Glastonbury Brass (Daniel Shave)
2. Brunel Brass (Daniel Hall)
3. Roche Brass (David Johnson)
4. Sherborne Town (Gary Greenstock)
5. St Keverne (Gareth Churcher)
6. Helston Town (John Berryman)
7. Otterbourne Brass (Phillip Littlemore)
8. Bodmin Town (John Maines)
9. Andover Town (Steve Large)
10. Soundhouse Brass Plymouth (Lee Clayson)
11. Michlemersh Silver (Melvin White)
12. A W Parker (Drybrook) (Joshua Ruck)
13. City of Bristol Brass (Christopher Bond)
14. Mount Charles (Colin Toghill)
15. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)
16. Forest of Dean Brass (Bryn James)

West of England

Saturday 9, 14:47:26

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2019 Champion: Redruth Town

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Cheltenham bound: Wroughton Silver

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Cheltenham bound: Nailsworth


Fourth Section:

Commence: 9.30am
Adjudicators: Ludovic Neurohr & Brian Rostron

1. Redruth Town (Andrew Craze)*
2. Woughton Silver (Neil Webb)*
3. Nailsworth Silver (Steve Ruck)*
4. Shaftesbury Town Silver (Martin Hill)
5. Exeter Railway (Graham Eaton)
6. Bideford Town (Mark Durham)
7. Saltash Town (Ross Farr-Semmens)
8. Tewkesbury Town (Nigel Morgan)
9. Okehampton Excelsior Silver (Robert Julian)
10. Great Western Youth (Ben Halstead)
11. Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)
12. Tiverton Town (John Fitton)
13. Test Valley Brass (John Heritage)
14. Shanklin Town Brass (IoW) (Malcolm Lewis)
15. Illogan Sparnon Silver (Shaun Marsden)
16. Torbay Brass (Joe Lowlands)
17. Launceston Town (Alan Iles)

*Three bands qualify for National Final

West of England

Saturday 9, 14:32:22

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2019 Champion: Gosport Solent Brass

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Cheltenham bound: Poole Borough

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Cheltenham bound: South Molton


Third Section:

1. Gosport Solent Brass (Colin Garner)*
2. Poole Borough (Lloyd Bartlett)*
3. South Molton Town (Gil Taylor)*
4. Swindon Brass (Tim Crouter)
5. New Forest Brass (Ian Luxford)
6. Ocean Brass (Martin Humphries)
7. Pendeen Silver (Leonard Adams)
8. Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)
9. Bath Spa (Martin Perry)
10. Bugle Silver (Steve Osborne)
11. Pillowell Silver (Ian Whitburn)
12. St Stythians (James Burns)
13. Gillingham Imperial Silver (James Bennett)
14. Bratton Silver (Simon Carr)
15. Verwood Town (Emma Button)
16. Swindon Pegasus (Danny Dullforce)
17. Indian Queens (Mark Arnold)

*Top three bands qualify for National Final

Withdrawn: Weymouth Concert Brass (Helen Brind)

Edit 3/9/2019 8:18:18 AM — West of England

West of England

Saturday 9, 13:57:32

Fourth Section round up and prediction:

We have just come to the end of a cracking Fourth Section contest with two excellent renditions form Launceston Town and Nailsworth.

Both may well feature in the results — with Launceston's bright and breezy approach bringing a great deal of the musical character to the fore. Some lovely touches from solo players and well directed by the MD. The obvious mistakes will have been noted, but it didn't tarnish things too much.

Bold, solid and purposeful from Nailsworth to close — inspired by the MD who gave such clear directions. Just a couple of times when it got a little fruity and a bit harsh, but it was confident playing that had a touch of quality.

As for a winner?

A very hard one to call but we really enjoyed Redruth, Great Western Youth and Chalford Academy with Nailsworth and Shanklin not far behind with Bideford and our dark horse Exeter Railway.

1. Redruth
2. Great Western Youth
3. Chalford Academy
4. Nailsworth
5. Shanklin
6. Bideford

Dark Horse: Exeter Railway

West of England

Saturday 9, 13:40:41

Fourth Section:

It's been a cracker of a contest here — and we have just heard another three bands that could force their way into the mix.

Redruth could be the leader here after a splendid performance full of character, drive, balance, warmth and musicality under Andrew Craze. So much to enjoy — right from the three opening notes played with such poise. Excellent.

Tiverton followed with a solid account — nothing overdone with some lovely touched from the soloists around the stand. Just lost a bit of focus in places, but another account to make the judges think.

The third band here was Torbay — hard working and well led. Not everything quite came off, but there was substance to the playing and character too. Not bad at all.

West of England

Saturday 9, 13:35:14

Third Section overall impressions and prediction...

An enjoyable contest without a doubt, aided by the vast majority of MDs paying respect to the score and not trying to reivent it.

The standard was a throuch variable it has to be said, but there was something of musical substance in each of the 17 performances

As for a winner?

Pendeen for us with Gosport and Verwood perhaps oining them in Cheltenham. The it's anyone's guess with a whole batch of bands with little to choose between.

We go for Poole, New Forest and Gillingham with a dark horse of Swindon Brass.

As we said though — we could be miles out...

1. Pendeen Town
2. Gosport Solent Brass
3. Verwood Tiwn
4. Poole Borough
5. New Forest Brass
6. Gillingham Imperial

Dark Horse: Swindon Brass

West of England

Saturday 9, 13:28:44

Third Section:

Two hard working accounts round off the contest here in Torquay with South Molton and Swindon Brass.

South Molton worked hard from start to finish. It may have lacked the polish of the better bands today but the MD set this out with a great deal of common sense and his players delivered likewise.

The contest is rounded with a spirited account from Swindon Brass — again well set out by the MD with nothing overblown. Intonation issues just grated a little in places, but what a noble March to close — a real touch of pomp and class restraint.

West of England

Saturday 9, 13:16:24

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Experience counts for everything...

The man above is Francis Cowley — playing today with Swindon Brass — aged 92 in May.

He is the President of the Wessex Brass Band Association and only 'took a break' he said from conducting at Christmas to enjoy playing the cornet again.

He could well be the only player in the Areas this year to have competed in a contest at Alexander Palace, having performed there with Wroughton Band in 1938.

He is an amazing chap. "I'll neve retire. Why should I? I enjoy it all too much."

West of England

Saturday 9, 13:11:54

Third Section:

Another three come and go swiftly here in Torquay. It's been a superbly run event and not a minute wasted.

Three decent shows to enjoy as well — although we don't know if they will quite battle their way to Cheltenham.

A bit of a bit and miss one from Swindon Pegasus. Took a little time to find its cohesion and security in the ensemble and solo lines, but it flowed very musically from start to finish.

It was a performance of extreme tempos with Bath Spa — the languid opening just below the mark and well played, the second movement like the proverbial off a shovel, and not well done. A noble March closed things, but the judges may question the tempo choices here.

An enthusiastic show from Pillowell too — always moving with musical flow, if just blighted by a few too many little errors and smudges. A fine close though to a hard working account.

West of England

Saturday 9, 12:33:41

Fourth Section:

A trio of hard working, solidly portrayed accounts make their mark in Torquay.

They are led by Tewkesbury — with a no nonsense well controlled take, neatly directed by the MD. the bets trom team of the day so far add colour and just the right edge when required. Not bad at all that.

It's followed by an equally artisan account from Test Valley — lots of the basics bang in place and a nice layer of considers style on top too. Just lost a touch of balance and ensemble cohesion in the softer dynamics but not bad at all.

The trio is rounded off by Okehampton's mature approach — again, directed with musical intellect by the MD. Nothing overdone. Just needed a touch more colourful brio in places, but another decent show.

West of England

Saturday 9, 12:13:18

Third Section:

A trio of contrasting accounts as we get into the second half of the contest — with a neat, purposeful and well delivered take from Verwood Town.

It's so well directed by the MD — with blended sounds (bass trom right next to the tubas a neat move) and the style so accomplished.

A bit of a struggle for Indian Queens — but well directed by the MD. Just the one trom meant balance problems, but it was spirited playing and full of endeavour.

Pendeen in contrast played with so much confidence and real touch of elan. MD used all the years of his experience to such fine effect (one of the rare conductors to feel safe with one in a bar direction) — and his players responded.

Super stuff that — although conductor Leonard Admas is starting to look more like Barry Hearn by the day....

West of England

Saturday 9, 11:45:56

Fourth Section:

It really has turned into a gem of a contest here — with another trio of super accounts to enjoy, and all played with warmth and confidence.

Wroughton Silver was bold and mature with the balance just occasionally a tad wayward. That may have been because there were just two horns and three tubas, but it was still a fine, flowing effort.

Great Western Youth were a delight — no less than 21 of their players under the age of 18. They played with six percussionist and there was also a super non playing chap helping one of the tuba players. The two nippers on solo cornet didn't take their mouthpieces off their lips and everyone gave their all.

They were very good as well...

It was all rounded off by a mature Exeter — playing with brio and warmth. Good solid playing that and a well thought out take on the score by the MD.

West of England

Saturday 9, 11:26:03

Third Section:

Thanks to the excellent common sense of the organisers, who brought forward the comfort break to allow Gillingham Silver time to prepare and get to the stage without undo haste, we have had no need to change the draw here.

St Stythians were as bright as their red polo shirts — with a fre flowing account that was just punctuated by a few too many little slips and intonation.

The Gareth Southgate waistcoat is is vogue today as Bratton's MD showed — and it was a good solid account too from his band. Nothing overdone and built well after a fragile start. Got better as it went along that.

The trio is rounded off by Gillingham — and bravo to them for making it to the stage with such compusure. Lots to commend despite the occasional blip or two. A bit belt and braces in places (like the MDs fashionable attire), but it was shaped very musically. Top marks for the commitment today though.

West of England

Saturday 9, 11:16:00

Fourth Section:

Another bright and breezy trio here on 'Stantonbury Festival' — with all the bands so far keeping strictly to well chosen tempos and sensible dynamics.

Bideford was the boldest of the three — confident and warmly toned. It just occasionally lost focus, but there was a maturity about the playing and the approach.

Shanklin followed and cut their musical cloth from the same loom — confident and solid. MD brought on a chair on stage like Alex Mortimer of old but was soon out of it to conduct — and it worked well. Lots to engage here.

The trio is rounded off by a super account from Chalford Academy — all the more so as it was built on a brace of tremendous young tuba players. The overall baand sound was so well constructed though — and the flowing musicality was a treat.

A trio of super shows that — it's turning into a great little contest.

West of England

Saturday 9, 10:28:34

Third Section:

We have really been getting through the Holst at a rate of knots here — although the bands have not been going hell for leather.

Poole Borough produced a very neat and tidy account — mirroring the fine conducting style of their MD. The extra baritone gave the middle band sound a bit more filling too — but not at the Spenser of the fine trio of tubas. One to keep an eye on so far.

Contrast with New Forest Brass with a more robust account — a weighty bit of Holst. Nicely styled and confident, it made an impression in the hall, but will the heft impress in the box?

The final band of the trio was a vibrant Ocean, led with youthful vigour by their MD. Again — neatly styled and flowing, although just the occasional moment may cost. Another solid one though.

So much to enjoy so far — and more to come we hope.

West of England

Saturday 9, 10:15:52

Fourth Section:

We've got off to fine start in the Fourth Section in Torquay with the action somewhat mirroring that in the Third with the trio of early draw bands.

The MD Martin Hill's little bit of OCD work in setting up his band was well worth the effort as Shaftesbury Town Silver produced a neat and compact performance — all eyes were on him! Little moments of unease but a solid marker.

The great Illogan Sparnon Silver followed — and bravo! A bit short of numbers and with plenty of young players in the ranks they give their all — with those young tyros taking leading roles as well. Special mention to the MD who kept smiling and encouraging for every bar of the piece.

Saltash Town rounded off things with a bold, flowing account -with the trio of tubas giving a fine foundation. Lots to enjoy desolute the odd moment of unease — but a cracking finale.

An encouraging start here — it could be a great little contest.

West of England

Saturday 9, 10:01:55

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Happy smiling debutants...

These three little smashers are from the Illogan Sparnon Band from near Truro. Formed in 1976 it's been over 25 years since the band last appeared at the contest — a fantastic achievement as just a few years ago they were about to close the rehearsal doors for the last time.

MD Shaun Marsden has done a wonderful job and has been backed by parents, supporters and youngsters like this little trio of talent....


West of England

Saturday 9, 09:48:54

Third Section:

The first three bands here in Torquay have given somewhat variable accounts of Holst's 'First Suite in Eb' — all played with lightness and flow however.

Gosport Solent were excellent off the number 1 draw and have set a very solid and musical marker — flowing and noble all the way through with a great sop topping.

Bugle Silver were a little more fragile in places (and a few short in number), but what a fine effort — and again flowing with musicality. Just the the odd moments with the basics but a fine effort.

The third band on was Porthleven Town with a performance that was the classic 4BR curate's egg. Nerves to start but it then got so much better. Just occasionally waved but it was rounded off with a great March to close aided by super young trio on Perc.

What a good start!

West of England

Saturday 9, 09:12:53


Fourth Section:

Commence: 9.30am
Adjudicators: Ludovic Neurohr & Brian Rostron

1. Shaftesbury Town Silver (Martin Hill)
2. Illogan Sparnon Silver (Shaun Marsden)
3. Saltash Town (Ross Farr-Semmens)
4. Bideford Town (Mark Durham)
5. Shanklin Town Brass (IoW) (Malcolm Lewis)
6. Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)
7. Woughton Silver (Neil Webb)
8. Great Westerm Youth (Ben Halstead)
9. Exeter Railway (Graham Eaton)
10. Tewkesbury Town (Nigel Morgan)
11. Test Valley Brass (John Heritage)
12. Okehampton Excelsior Silver (Robert Julian)
13. Redruth Town (Andrew Craze)
14. Tiverton Town (John Fitton)
15. Torbay Brass (Joe Lowlands)
16. Launceston Town (Alan Iles)
17. Nailsworth Silver (Steve Ruck)

West of England

Saturday 9, 09:02:54


Third Section:

Adjudicators: Alan Bourne & Dr Nick Grace OBE

1. Gosport Solent Brass (Colin Garner)
2. Bugle Silver (Steve Osborne)
3. Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)
4. Poole Borough (Lloyd Bartlett)
5. New Forest Brass (Ian Luxford)
6. Ocean Brass (Martin Humphries)
7. St Stythians (James Burns)
8. Bratton Silver (Simon Carr)
9. Gillingham Imperial Silver (James Bennett)
10. Verwood Town (Emma Button)
11. Indian Queens (Mark Arnold)
12. Pendeen Silver (Leonard Adams)
13. Swindon Pegasus (Danny Dullforce)
14. Bath Spa (Martin Perry)
15. Pillowell Silver (Ian Whitburn)
16. South Molton Town (Gil Taylor)
17. Swindon Brass (Francis Cowley)

Withdrawn: Weymouth Concert Brass (Helen Brind)

West of England

Saturday 9, 08:18:18

Good morning from Torquay, Perth and Bedworth...

The third weekend of Regional Championship contests has dawned with bands in the West of England, Scotland and the Midlands looking to claim places at the National Finals at Cheltenham and London.

The action starts early at the Riviera Centre with the Third Section and Fourth Sections running from 9.00am and 9.30am.

Up in Scotland it's the Third, Second and First Sections today kicking off at 9.30am.

In the Midlands we have the Third Section starting at 11.00am at Kenilworth School, and the Second followed by the First at Bedworth Civic Centre starting at 11.00am.

We are at all three venues to bring you our views and opinions — so good luck to all the bands...

West of England

Saturday 9, 04:56:01

Previews & predictions

Iwan Fox looks forward to the qualification action in Torquay this weekend.

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