Comments ~ 2002: March


Comments from March 2002

Even more regional reactions:
Unfortunately - we are receiving so many we can't currently respond to individual messages

Jason responds to David....
Thank you for your comments David. I take on board your views of the contest. I hope you have not taken offence to anything I have said as my reasons for writing in to 4BarsRest was to put some coal on the fire to provoke some friendly rivalry.

Reading my letter back I feel I may have put some parafin on aswell and forgot to phone the fire brigade. I have utmost respect for yourself and Steve Sykes and would not wish any bad feeling between bands. Contesting is an enjoyable part of banding and emotions run high when decisions don't go your way (especially if you have access to e-mail straight after the chatting in the pub!). As you have said, the decision is always down to the adjudicator and I'm sure there have been occasions when we have come in the frame and others have commented. Please respect that this was my opinion and not that of my bands. I wish your band every success in the National Finals in Torquay and genuinly hope that a Welsh band comes home with the cup.

Jason Bevan

4BR reply:
I must say Jason - there are better ways to 'provoke some friendly rivalry'!

Time gentlemen please!

David Childs responds
I wouldn't normally respond to this kind of comment but considering you took the trouble Jason, it's only polite that I do. Firstly, may I express my sincere congratulations to you and your band, Tongwynlais. I thoroughly enjoyed your performance of Royal Parks even though the 2nd and 3rd movements were a little over the composer's tempo markings. Having drawn number one with the Abergavenny Borough Band, I had the opportunity to listen to the majority of the other competing band's performances and I can see why you considered Mid Rhondda to be an "obstacle", they too played a good show in my opinion.

From your comments it is obvious that you do not think Abergavenny and I were worthy winners - I have no problem with this. After all, I have no idea who you are and I believe everybody is entitled to their own opinion. However, to imply that 90% of the audience thought Abergavenny should have been placed 7th at best (below Tongwynlais, Mid Rhondda "Treherbert, Pontardulais, Markham, Rogerstone to name a few") is more than a little unfair in my opinion. Some people may also be curious to know how you carried out this survey.

Having played with bands most of my life I am familiar with the emotions of winning and losing competitions. I have been part of contest performances where the band have come off stage thinking, "we're in with a real chance today" and in actual fact we have been out of the frame. When this has happened, the bandsman I know have usually taken it on the chin, gone back to the drawing board and put everything into the next contest. On other occasions, I've been part of performances where we've come off stage thinking, "that didn't feel quite right, it could have gone better" and we've ended up winning! The decision is always down to the adjudicator - it is his opinion at the end of the day. I don't mean to be rude, but I would imagine that Steve Sykes is far more qualified to adjudicate a band contest than you are Jason.

With regard to Abergavenny's recent contest performance, I can tell you that we put an awful lot of preparation work in. We approached the piece as a 'test' and aimed to get every ounce of music out of it. The players played superb in my opinion, and on that particular day, wherever we had ended up in the result, I would have been proud of their performance.

In your comment you mentioned that you were curious why Abergavenny played an extra bar at the end of the first movement. Let me just clear that one up quickly for you. If you check your part of Royal Parks you will notice that Dawn Flight, the 1st movement ends with a fermata (pause) over the last chord. This means the chord is to be 'prolonged beyond its normal duration' (Harvard dictionary of music). We did prolong the chord, which you mistook for an extra bar. I hope that puts your mind at rest Jason. In hindsight it's probably a shame you didn't pay a little more attention to that kind of detail.

I wish you and the band every success for the future and congratulate you on next years promotion. I'm sure you'll be victorious in the championship section.

David Childs

PS - I'm glad you pointed out that you didn't write your letter as, 'a bitter band member who is very biased because his band isn't going to the national finals'. Had you not pointed that out I'm sure some readers would have presumed wrongly.

Simply for Carina
This is purely and simply for Carina, Pemberton Old Wigan Band - I have no right to judge a band I supposedly didn't listen to at the Area Contest in Blackpool (I was there at 10:30), I'm not judging your Band - I didn't even mention your Band in my comments!! You are right, your performance did obviously stay in the mind of Goff Richards, that's why you are representing the North West in the Nationals and I sincerely hope you do us proud!! Bring the Prize back to the North West - GOOD LUCK!!


Reluctant adjudicators?
I write with regard to the awarding of 'solo prizes' at the area contests. I agree with 4BR and hope that the trophy would be passed on to the 'real' winner (whoever that may be, perhaps its not just solos but leadership!!). However, these prizes go to the 'best' in the adjudicators opinion, and as these contests are closed it is impossible to differentiate between who actually played and who is supposed to have played!! - and I certainly would NOT admit to playing the Rep or Flugel part (with or without the aid of a baseball cap!).

Personally, I feel that the real problem is that adjudicator's are, seemingly, reluctant to award these 'solo' prizes to anyone other than the respective instrumentalist of the winning Band. As one of the instigators of the best cornet prize in the 1st section (L&SC),The Derek Stilwell Memorial Trophy, I am disappointed that year after year it goes to someone in the 1st placed band. This is, arguably, a 'cop' out. I know that some will say that Top Band equals Best Cornet, and this may be the case, but it would be nice if everyone was judged equally so that if your band fails to be 1st, you at least have a chance of winning some prize. It doesn't matter who you are, it is the 'sound' and 'tone' that is is not just notes!!

We shall have to wait until next year to see if the Adjudicators take any notice of what we 'mere mortals' have to say!!!

Julia Crask, The Luton Band.

A moment of sanity
Let's have a moment of sanity - all the controversy about 1st Section Area results are down to one basic fact. "Royal Parks", which is a very musical, and audience friendly piece, was not sufficiently technically difficult to sort out bands who, for the most part, are very capable.

All the bands could play the notes, so the prizes were awarded to the bands whose interpretation suited the Adjudicators personal likings. So forget bias, forget fiddles, next year let's have a really good test piece that will l challenge 1st Section Bands. I suspect, (I could be wrong), that the Area tests are set by a team of blokes (or blokess's) who have spent at least the past 20 years connected purely with bands in the top strata,( I myself played for a top band who won everything in sight in the 60/70's) They still think of "1st Section" in terms of the old "Second Section".

The whole initial conception of the 1st Section was that it was for "Yo Yo" bands that made it to the Championship Section, and were quite capable of giving good performances on Championship test pieces, but couldn't sustain a place in the top Section when up against the "Giants" of the movement.

I honestly know how Peter Godfrey and those who would dispute the Yorkshire 1st Section results feel, but don't blame the Adjudicator, don't badmouth the qualifying bands. This whole debate is because the piece (Nice Music) was just not hard enough - lay lots of blame at the door of the test piece selectors - who appoints them ? - should we all do as Cambridge, and request that all competing bands submit votes for a test piece they would like?

I realise that even this would be a flawed system, but there is no perfect way of judging musical performances to be better or otherwise from the rest.

Some folks call for three isolated judges posting their marks and comments out of the box after every performance to be aggregated at the end - nice idea but look at Cambridge where this system is in use - A few years ago, 2 Adjudicators placed a band 1st, and the other one (I'll spare your blushes Geoffrey !!) placed them 17th !!

Let's close the debate and get on with the job, but before next years events, let's make loud noises in the direction of those responsible for this controversy - the team that select the test pieces whose competence is now to be questioned.

Ian C.Wilkinson

4BR reply:
Thank you Ian. We certainly go along with you when you say debate closed. We are happy to print letters like this and the ones that started the debate but we are not a forum and cannot continue to print letters on this subject.

First section again!
What a thoroughly enjoyable experience again playing on stage in the Brangwen hall. We came off stage ( Tongwynlais ) knowing that we had played a very good performance. This was going to be the year that we represent Wales in the National finals as a true competitor in the National First Section. We came runners up in the Welsh Championship Section league last year, have got 2, 1st placed positions in Weston over the last two years, won in the French national brass band festival and regularly beat many of the Welsh Championship bands in local contests. How good were we feeling.

In our eyes our only obstacle was Mid Rhondda who are a band in a similar position to us ( Championship locally and 1st Section Nationally ). After sitting through the 1st few performances in the brangwen we were quietly confident going on stage although Teherbert brought out a lot more detail than the previous performance ( Abergavenny ). I was curious though why Abergavenny played an extra bar at the end of the first movement. Anyway regardless we had nothing to worry about.

Shock horror!!! The results..........after they called out our bands name for third place the thoughts going through my head were not that it was a good result but who could have possibly beat us after a superb performance. Mid Rhodda .....yes they put on a good show. Had Treherbert sneaked in.....Pontardulais played a good show.....was it them. NO IT WAS ABERGAVENNY! The reaction of the audience said it all. One word of comfort was that Steve Sykes did say that a harder test piece would have tested the bands more and the competition would have not been as close.

I am not writing this as a bitter band member who is very bias because my band is not going to the national finals but as a member of the welsh brass band association that has lost confidence in the whole system because of people working outside the box ( read into that what you will. ). There were several performances ( Treherbert, Pontardulais, Markham, Rogerstone to name a few ) that all put on a better show that the winning band in the eyes of 90% of the audience ( the other 10 being abergavenny ). But hey.....that's banding isn't it!!

We have to ask ourselves the question that is this winning band the best band to represent Wales at the National finals. I believe Mid Rhodda is but we will wait to see the results for the other. Tongwynlais will not be representing Wales this year in the first section, or next year because regardless of Abergavenny winning we will be promoted next year to the Championship Section which is some joy we have taken away with us after this contest.

Jason Bevan

Disgraceful Behaviour!
I have just read, in disbelief, about the behaviour of two Fishburn Band members during the announcement of results at the North of England Championships.

I enclose the statement taken from Brass Band World's Web Pages.

As regional secretary Alan Hope completed his announcement of the results, solo trombone player Malcolm Gill stormed onto the stage. As he tried to wrestle the microphone from Alan, he had to be restrained by committee members & fellow Fishburn players. Whilst leaving the hall he verbally abused another committee member.

Meanwhile solo euphonium player Clive Parker, approached Alan Hope and started to verbally abuse him in front of band representatives, supporters and committee members, before being led away by fellow Fishburn players.

Fishburn secretary, Neil Parkin, as well as the majority of Fishburn players have disassociated themselves with the actions of the two players, and have apologised to Alan Hope.

A visibly upset Alan stated that the matter would be brought before the next meeting of the North of England regional committee, and added that he was "saddened that incidents such as this happened in the brass band family."

This is the second incident of this nature is as many years, and I am disgusted to think that bandsman behave in this manner. The incident last year seems to have set a trend. I hope that the North of England Regional Committee ban these two players from this contest for a very long time. This may be the decision needed to stop this sort of behaviour ever happening again. The Brass Band movement has got to set an example before somebody gets seriously injured.

I presume that the outburst was due to the fact that they had not qualified for the Nationals. I have been in the position on several occasions where my band has just missed out on qualifying for the Nationals, and yes, it is very disheartening, but I have accepted the fact that this is contesting and you have to take the rough with the smooth. One suggestion that might eliminate this sort of behaviour is to only announce from the stage the bands that have actually qualified for the Nationals!

Personally I would like to find out at a later date that my band had missed out by ‘one point' than have it announced from the stage. I hope Alan Hope has recovered from this awful experience and hope we shall see him at the helm at next years contest.

Roger Thorne, Shrewsbury

I note the comments of Jim Owen of BMP Goodshaw from the area results. One observation of this band is that in own choice contests they get great results - recently 1st or 2nd - but at the area they never do very well. Perhaps they ought to look at the way they play. Their own choice pieces are always fast, furious and loud which obviously suits the band but when it comes to playing with some delicacy they never do well. Perhaps their style has something to do with it!

Katy Burke

Congratulations on your excellent coverage and the speed in publishing the results of the London & Southern Counties area. I particular appreciate the coverage given to the lower section bands who are often overlooked by the established publications. Congratulations to all the bands who have qualified for the finals later in the year. I see the poor old adjudicators are coming in for their annual bashing from the "we were robbed" brigade. Can there be a more thankless task (other than a football referee of course!)? We all enter contests knowing that the results are being decided by one man and we have to accept this decision as final, no matter how much we may personally disagree. This is part and parcel of being in a brass band. Fortunately for many of us, contests are not the be-all and end-all of playing in a band and disappointing results can soon be put behind you. Yes, it is important to be able to measure the progress your band is making but in my opinion it needs to be put in context with what you do for the rest of the year. Keep up the excellent work.

Keith Jones, MIlton Keynes

Stand up for the National Anthem
ok so this is really for the benefit of Ken Wilkison and Tara! Did you actually listen to my band at the area contest? Probably not considering that we played at 10.30am!! I agree with Goff Richards comments on the National Anthem, as it gives the adjudicator a chance to listen to the band without just listening to the test piece. If the bands tuning, inntonation, timing etc. are all out in the anthem - well what chance have they got on the testpiece! I must agree that I thought some of the results were a bit dodgy, but still my band obviously set the standard for the day - and we must have stuck in his mind! What right have you got to judge a band you probably didn't hear!

Carina, Pemberton Old Wigan Band

Shed some light...
I was wondering if you could possibly shed some light on the following issue. The band that I play for (Alliance Brass) competed in their first championship section contest yesterday at the London & Southern Counties Regional, and we are all very confused about the cornet prize. This particular trophy went to top man of Aveley & Newham, our confusion comes purely from the fact that this player didn't play in the quartet, or the duet with euphonium, so is this prize given for ensemble playing or should it have been awarded to the whole front row?

I'm sure that their other bands there thought this as well, I know that our top man (David Hilton) played all the cornet solos and then there was David Geoghan of First City, formerly of Black Dyke and principle cornet of the NYBB, who not only played all the cornet solos but the rep solos and with the aid of a baseball cap half of the flugel solo as well. I know that it's a closed adjudication but surely players with the tone of David Geoghan and David Hilton (who last week was playing with the BBC Symphony Orchestra) are quite distinctive.

I thought that your alternative review of our areas was amusing to say the least, a little on the scandalous side, but funny all the same.

Lewis Edney, Alliance Brass

4BR Reply:
This is not the first time something like this has happended and will certainly not be the last. I guess all the player can do is pass on the prize to those who deserve it.

Expressive students
Purely from a listening point of view I would like to take the opportunity to express my enjoyment of the yorkshire area contest recently. I made the decision to go along and listen to the bands for two reasons really:- as an ex bass player in the top section and as a teacher with several of my students actively involved.

In fact, for some of my pupils it was their first taste of brass band competitions; as the authority where I work cater more towards orchestral and wind band instrumental groups. I am positive that they all enjoyed the experience of playing at St. Georges Hall and yet they are already experiencing the negative side of contesting and have even made comments on this web-site already expressing their views.

I firmly believe that competetive element in instrumental music can be made to be an extremely positive learning experience and will encourage pupils to think analytically and be more critical of their own personal performance; whether they improve their:- listening, technical, intrepretative or communicative skills- they all are vital components to becoming both fluent instrumentalists and competent musicians.

On the other side........why do brass bands spend weeks and endless hours preparing a test-piece ; just be be subjected to one persons opinion on one particular day. Surely concerts are the life-blood for all musical groups and I believe that far too much emphasis is placed on contest results and is the reason for a substantial amount of players leaving the brass band tradition and venturing into more orchestral avenues or even packing their instruments away.

The adjudication is one persons idea a particular piece of music should be played and their decision is based on a whole host of comparisons and personal taste. Obviously, the adjudicator has quite a tough task, especially in the higher echelons of brass playing to make a judgement. At the highest level, we expect all the technical demands to be met by all of the top bands and that is where the decision becomes more subjective and be based on personal preference.

However, purely from a listening point of view as I didn't have the scores of the test -piece I was once again bemused by the result of the first section. I do feel as though Peter Hawke Garages Lindley gave the winning performance of Royal Parks in this section and were two/three clear points ahead of the rest of the field. I am not saying that as my students play with that particular none of them do!!!

I enjoyed the performances in the Championship section immensely and i believe that the result given by James Scott was a fair one. Extremely close between Black Dyke and Grimethorpe; the former being slightly more expressive in the slower sections of Whitsun Wakes. With a more confident opening Brighouse would have been pushing more for the top two places for the finals too......unfortunate.

So, thankyou to all the bands for their performances and whether you achieved the result you wanted or not there is always next time!!! Don't be too downhearted if you didn't qualify for London, as another contest is another day. Congratulations to Alex Brown(Trombone),Matthew Stimpson(Eb Horn) and Peter Godfrey(Eb Bass) for their recent outstanding performances in the Mexborough Music Festival.

Bob Dickinson.

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
Having just returned from Swansea, and the Welsh area championships, just a few comments. Having only been there for the Sunday of the contest, these are based purely on that days` events, but hopefully they are indicative of the weekends' events....

First of all, congratulations to every band that competed, I think that as an area, we should all be proud in Wales of the high standard achieved throughout, and I hope that despite any any disputes regarding the results, that we all back and support these bands in their respective sections in either Torquay or London.

Secondly, I would like to pass on massive congratulations to Beaumaris on their fantastic result in the top section, truly a just reward for their hard work in building up the whole set-up that they have (surely a model for any aspiring band).

Thirdly, as a player in the top section, a big thank you to all of those that sat through all of our performances, it is such a big help to have an audience to play to at these events, and I'm sure every other championship section band would echo this and thank you also. Fourthly, and for me, the best thing about this year's areas, is the sense of friendly rivalry which prevailed during the day, which was summed up for me in the "Wig and Pen".

I only came down for the sunday this time, but guaranteed that come next year, I'll be a resident of Swansea for at least three nights! It's a bit of a pity that as an area we only really meet once a year, and yes I know that all South Wales bands could enter the north Wales Rally, and that all North wales Bands could enter any of the South Wales Competitions, but thats probably a can of worms that doesn't need opening!

However, I'd like to open another can of worms in suggesting the possibility of say a "Welsh Masters" competition, where we could get, say the top twenty bands in Wales competing against each other.............Any thoughts or comments on this would be fully appreciated.

Gavin White.

4BR reply:
Welsh Masters! - twenty bands! - Are you serious Gavin?

Those wishing to comment on the Welsh Masters issue can contact Gavin at

A bridge too far
I recently came across a posting on the delphi forum about bands having to travel a fair distance for the national finals i.e Torquay. I though about this for a while then thought that at least the contest venue for the national finals changes each year! I think the same should be done for the venue for the area contest. In wales we compete at the Bramgwyn Hall in Swansea, a fabulous hall, I love playing there but it doesn't half put a finacial burden on those bands travelling from the North of Wales each year! Mainly because you have to have at least one nights stay to compete because driving down at some ungodly hour is not going to enhance your performance on stage.

This places a heavy cost on those bands north of the border who have to get hotels and a coach sorted. I understand that the Welsh association get the hall free of charge, but if the bands in North Wales were asked I'm sure that most would be prepared to pay an extra £50 - £100 to enter and put that towards the cost of paying for another venue especially if they didn't have to travel as far. I'm sure something could be looked at....we used to compete in Aberyswyth which was pretty central for most bands in wales, not as good a venue as the Bramgwyn but a damn sight cheaper to get to seeing as most bands would be able to drive up in the morning. The Bramgwyn hall(as I understand!) was seen as a replacement for a couple of years whilst the university was undergoing some building work...but that seems to have been forgotten and we have to travel to Swansea each year!

Some bands are struggling in North wales to compete every year and find it difficult when they qualify because then they have to fork out for the nationals (whether it be RAH or Torquay). There are some good halls or venues in Wales, William Aston hall in Wrexham, Pavillion Theatre in Rhyl I'm sure there are more in the West of Wales, the thing is if bands in the North were occasionally given some light relief i.e The competition not being held down south each year but alternates between North and South each year....then the movement in Wales might grow a little stronger as the bands will be able to compete at least once every other year!!!....There were five in the 2nd section this year! Five! Not many is it?...Yet bands did not enter because they could not afford the price that they pay is..."go next year or get relegated" hardly fair is it when bands down south have it on their door step and can compete without the huge financial burden of travelling 'down'.

My own band could not compete this year due to the huge expense it would have brought upon the band. We are not the first band to do this and I'm sure we will not be the last! I'm not having ago at any particular band but it does seem unfair on the bands in the North. I Don't know what the situation is like in any other regional areas, but if anybody has a simaler problem or if anyone else from Wales has a veiw on this then lets here it!

Darren Jones

End of an era
Regarding the departure of Allan Withington from Brighouse.............this is indeed the end of an era.

I remember the first rehearsal that Allan came to Brighouse. As players we were not sure at first, Allan was undoubtedly different to what we had been used to.

However, over the years he has proved that he is a creative, inventive and passionate musical director. Within 12 months Brighouse were a different band. We went from 6th place at the Yorkshire area to 1993 All England Masters Champions (1993) in a very short space of time and this was largely, I think, down to Allan's leadership and musical ability. I was a young (18 year old) soprano cornet player when Allan joined Brighouse and he really went "the extra mile" , giving me the benefit of his playing experience and nurturing me as an all round player. In my time at Brighouse (6 years) and the NYBB I was lucky to play under many top conductors but I can honestly say that Allan Withington is the one who has had the biggest influence on me as a player, and now as a conductor. Going back to B&R to help out during 2001 re-established this opinion.

I wish Allan all the best for the future and also Brighouse band. As a young player in Middlesbrough I always wanted to play for Brighouse and Rastrick so to join on Sop at 18 was a dream come true. I will always be grateful for the 6 years I had there.

PS. Is it just me or was the general standard of playing at the London and Southern Counties championship section contest extremelly poor? With the exception of one or two bands, it was a very disappointing standard of playing. I've never heard so many split notes. Has it been the same at all areas?

Andrew Bannister

"Warm up" in the Black Horse
Great web site and all the usual accolades for a job well done for no more than your own satisfaction, but, a favour please. Myself and many of the former Salford lot are looking forward to a good night out next Saturday where we can celebrate the success and hard work of a talented bunch of people, lead by Roy, who have managed to start something bigger than even they expected. To keep the evening up to the standards it deserves though we are planning a Friday night, lets say more "drink driven", event the evening before. I would we very grateful if you could put us the small advert on the site to encourage people to be support the event but also to let them know that there will be a Friday night "warm up" in the Black Horse, 15th March. Any ex-Salford student will know where. I know this isn't why the web site was set up it's just that Salford and ex-students have become such an integral part of the movement that it seems apt to get the information across this way.

Will Evans. Ex, salford, swinton, YBS and bass palying.

4BR reply:

Dyeing to tell us...
Further to Howard Snell's comments re: that poet of the cornet Kevin Dye, I can now advise that Kevin is now a poet of trumpet and is alive and well and blowing in the Midlands. Being a young player brought up on a diet of BBC Best of Brass, I was always in awe of the players, and in particular, Kev, and Nessun Dorma which he made very famous. So you can imagine my delight when some years later as a more mature trombonist, I did a week in a pit orchestra with Kev, and also Charley Pendery (ex Desford Flugel) and Terry Tricker (ex Bass Trombonist, Jones and Crossland). Well, the end result of that was an invitation to join Bentley Brass, a 10 piece brass ensemble in the Midlands, that Kev and Charley both played in, and also including many other fine players from the Birmingham area, including a great friend of mine Steve Bailey, who now plays front row at Desford. Bentley Brass played at my wedding in May 2000, and we featured Kev on a flugel solo (Faure's Pavane) for which my wife and I were both very grateful and he showed a talent that many top bands would still die (Dye!!! pardon the pun) for. So Kev is still very active as a teacher and player in many theatre orchestras and ensembles, and is happily married to Maryann, herself a great horn player and teacher in West Midlands.

Richard Walker
Travelsphere Holidays Band & Bentley Brass

4BR Reply:
Thanks Richard, it's great news to hear Kevin in still involved in the scene.

More regional reactions:
Unfortunately - we are receiving so many we can't currently respond to individual messages

Number 1 draw the key to success?
It would seem from the comments made by Goff Richards at the end of the 1st Section contest at Blackpool, that if you are first band on and play the National Athem well, then you're half way there. Perhaps when he is adjudicating all bands should be allowed to impress by playing the Athem.

Ken Wilkinson

Yorkshire Yarn2
I read with great interest Pete Godfrey's letter recently posted re: 1st section, Yorks Area. I did not take part in the contest but sat and listened to all the bands in this section.

Then the results...........what a joke!

It seems that you will always get someone complaining at the result of any contest, but this result was so wildly out with both my own opinion & that of EVERYONE I spoke to afterwards, you have to question the quality of the adjudicator.

The adjudicator, Mr Roe, gave his own opinion of what he was looking for in the music regarding the general interpretation etc. which is fair enough. But surly when a band plays a performance which is better than its competitors, by far, in every aspect of playing, then this should be the best band? This is the band which should be representing Yorkshire in the finals, not bands that simply do a half-decent performance which includes the odd shape or tempo in the music that 'sits' well with the man in the box. Remember, this incident was not a close run thing! Lindley were 'streets' ahead.

Peter Hawk Garages Lindley Band's interpretation of the music was not very different from the rest of the field, but the basic playing standard was. I am not suggesting for one moment that Lindley are in the class of Black Dyke or YBS etc, but in their own section they were ahead of the field by a country mile. (What was that about the piece being too easy?).

These comments are certainly not ment to be abusive or insulting to anyone. I am simply sick of being witness to this type of 'joke' result where 99% of the audience on the day, including many well known & experienced banding personalities, think that the adjudicator is one of three things : (a) Biased, (b) incompetent or (c) asleep !

Then, of course , the day after the contest nobody says a thing & nothing happens! These 'incidents' should be openly talked about so as to stop, or at least reduce the possibility of poor adjudicators being set on to do jobs that they are obviously not capable of doing. Perhaps he should take Chris Tarrant's advise and 'Ask the audience' next time ! Sorry to moan on..................but it had to be said.

Dave Clegg.

Belvedere conditions...
Just to let you know that I entirely agree with Iain Rayner regarding the conditions at the Belvedere Club I played there 2 years ago with the Raunds Temperance Band and we thought the same. The venue was unsuitable for the number of bands persons there. A lot of bands complained on the day but the officials just said to write to the organisers obviously nothing has been done about it.We were very releived this year to find that we were playing at the town hall a good venue certaily makes the day much more enjoyable both for the bands and the long suffering supporters who have to actually pay to get in.

Peter Jones

Sour Grapes?
Regarding Peter Godfrey's accusation that Adjudicator Roy Roe had personal connections with the Conductors of the two qualifying 1st Section bands, and the intimation that this connection biased him to manipulate the results to save the aforementioned bands from being relegated is a dangerous and foolish opinion to air in public unless he has hard facts to support the inferred allegation, and the necessary funds that may be required to substantiate them. As to bias, I assume this is the same Peter Godfrey who played Soprano for Lindley for some years - could this be the old recipe of "Sour Grapes mixed with a large portion of Egg on Face" ? - come on Peter, take it like a man and stop whinging - it's called "Banding".

Peter, don't fret - I'll send you a "Wish you were here " Card from Torquay

Ian C.Wilkinson, proud member of Kippax Band

A rattled cage?
Oh dear someone has really rattled Mr. Godfrey's cage ! However I do wish to point out some anomalies in his 'yarn' :-

1 Mr Roy Roe has not worked with the Kippax Band since summer 2001 . Well before the area test pieces were announced , and well before the audicators were announced .

2 The Kippax band would not have been relegated if they had come outside of the top two . Yes a top half placing was needed , but not necessairly a top two place .

I feel the whole argument is misplaced , and shows a contempt for not only the integrity of Roy Roe but the whole of the brass band movement . Mr Roe's comments on stage and in his remarks are justified and balanced , certainly when compared to the music wrote in the score. The comments themselves actually being backed up by such emminent writers as 4barsrest ! Did you have a score Mr Godfrey ?

Maybe your comment about being an amateur was correct !! Maybe I misread the context of the article because I could not see Mr. Godfrey's name associated with a band. I probably also misread the tone of the article because it smacks of sour grapes ! I wish to thank you for an excellent site , just what was needed !!

David Jackson

Excellent service...
The text service provided by 4barsrest is superb. I hate being in the hall when the announcements are being made and I was able to relax over a pint of Guinness and still get the results before they filtered out off the hall. Helped dull the pain somewhat when we weren't in the prizes. Congrats to Kirky on their good win.

Les Henderson (Dalmellington)

Stupid system
My Band (BMP Europe Goodshaw) have been the 2nd sect area champions run by the NWABBA for the last two years in a row, but because of this ludicrous system we came within a hairs breadth of being demoted to 3rd sect for the coming year 2003.

Just when are we going to have a fairer adjudicating system for the area's, and by that I mean more than one man in the box (or separate box)? We know why, because the organisers (B&H) want everybody to turn up! But this still be achieved by having promotion / relegation dependant upon 3 or 4 local results one of which must be the national area test. By allowing the points to be built up by using local contests, this will also bolster those contests as well and after all, we all want that. The alternative is for the current trend to stay away resulting in more and more 4th section bands, (as everybody will be there anyway)

Jim Owen
Contest Secretary
BMP Europe Goodshaw Band

Cloak and dagger...
Out of interest.Is just the North of England Regionals who seem to adopt this cloak and dagger act with announcing the adjudicators?? Are they that disorganised that they leave things to the last minute..NOT.. Do they think it this cut throat movement that we may bribe and intimidate the prospective adjudicator??? Can you shed any light on this matter????

Gavin Vardy

Belvedere battered
I have to agree with every word Iain Rayner said about the venue. Last year we at Corby Silver Band put a letter of complaint into the Midlands comittee. We however did not get a favourable response. We made a few suggestions as to other suitable venues, but were told that it would be impossible to please everyone.

Last year, the coach park was so muddy, worse than this year, we all had very muddy shoes, as did every bandsman & woman.

The lighting on the stage was awful, it was multi-coloured, the basses, trombones and percussion players all had trouble reading the music, the least they can do, if we have to contest there is put clear bulbs in for us.

We have had to play in this venue for the last 3 years, that I know of, I think it's about time the lower section bands were given a decent venue, how about the De Monfort Hall, if we must contest in Burton on Trent again then let the 2nd and 4th be at the Town Hall.

I hope other bands decide to put a complaint in writing to the comittee, maybe if enough of us do then there will be changes!

Pauline Dykes

Breath of fresh air
Just to say how much I have enjoyed reading the post match analysis of the Regionals, (and for that matter the whole site) Its good to read a refreshingly objective viewpoint, that also manages to not take itself too seriously. 4BR provides a breath a fresh air to the otherwise cuthroat world of contesting (Thank god our band only does one a year!!) Keep up the good work.

Dave Woollam (Roberts Bakery Band).

Need a bass player?
Could you help me? A Eb flat Bass player from Switzerland will stay in York from mid September till Christmas and is looking for a Band to play. Who can give me some contacts?

Ruth Haas, Diggle Band

4BR reply:
If anyone can help ruth - please reply to her using the email address above.

Crucfying rhythyms
Does anybody have any tips on playing excalibur by jan van der roost- my band arklow silver band, rep. of ireland will be playing it in the b section european in brussells next may- please help-rhythyms are crucfying!!

Tommy Muray
Arklow Silver Band

Ask Roy?
In reply to Stephanie Kenna's request for help regarding help in locating information regarding the history of brass band contests, two names immediately spring to mind, Trevor Herbert and Dr. Roy Newsome. Both have written some absolutely fascinating books on the subject of brass band history. I do not know where you would contact Trevor, but know that Roy is based at the University of Salford, where there is also a fantastic archive of all things brass band. Knowing Roy, I would Imagine that if you have enough enthusiasm to speak to him ( try the bandsman or brass band world for an e-mail address) he will gladly pass on any information that you need to know. Having studied under Roy at Salford I would challenge any Brass band enthusiast to listen to him speak on the subject for any length of time and not become enthralled. Hope this helps.


Dove Holes #1
Very enjoyable article. Dove holes is a village on the A6 between Chapel-en-le-Frith and Buxton. Aniline (Spelt with an "i") is a chemical used in the manufacture of dyes for wool etc Wasn`t there a band once called "Clayton Aniline Works" ?

Carry on with the good work

Malcolm Greig

Dove Holes #2
In your section "Strange Band Names" you mention Dove Holes Band. Dove Holes is a village in the Peak District not far from Buxton.I played in the band as a 12 year old at Belle Vue. The conductor and his advisor were Bob Ball and Brian Taylor, both of whom were players with The Fairey Band at the time.(circa 1969).I believe the band joined forces with th Peak Dale band in later years.


4BR reply:
Tanks Gents...

Help wanted
I have been given the task of organising an exchange visit for the Newstead Welfare Band with another band or musical group somewhere in europe. Easy task you might say, however what I am looking for is a contact who may be interested in doing the same. We are a relatively friendly crew, most of the time, but unfortunately do not have many contacts out the Country - people from Newstead don't generally get out very much.

Over the last few years we have achieved most things on the want to do list, Championship Section Status, 4th place this year at the area, (still smiling over that one) been involved in a major Theatre Production. We have a successful Training Band, made a CD, success with lottery grant, however the band have never travelled any further than Blackpool. Well London and Cardiff I suppose. So next year we would like to look at the possibility of travelling a little further and arranging an exchange visit. I realise that your site seems to reach parts other site don't reach and wondered if anyone out there could help.

Melanie Cooper, Newstead Welfare Band

4BR reply:
Can anyone out there point Melanie in the right direction?

On the Point of extiction?
I think that I speak for the majority of band folk when I express my sadness at the withdrawal, and potentially, the end of the Point of Ayr Band as we know it. It is always sad when a band find themselves unable to attend a contest, for whatever reason, but especially so considering the bands` recent form at both the areas and the Europeans. As a youngster growing up in North Wales, we rarely had the opportunity to listen to the "big" bands, but my Taid sang ( and still sings ) in a male voice choir, and they regularily made recordings for BBC Wales which he usually taped (for his own use of course!) most of the performances. Many of these included a collaboration with Brass Bands, and indeed this proved to be my first encounter with both brass bands, and the Point of Ayr band. At this time, they were the BBC Wales band of the year, and the one thing that sticks in my mind is having the cassette playing in the front room with me in true karaoke style trying to play along with Geraint Jones' rendition of "Silver threads among the gold" (I was 12 at the time!!). On Sunday, I find myself playing with another North Walian band in the Welsh Areas, and however realistic/unrealistic it may be on the day, the prospect of beating Point of Ayr is no longer a possibility, as they have withdrawn, and I for one, will miss those characters that I associate with Point, especially in the bar after the contest! I've just read back on what I've written, and my god!, does'nt it sound like an obituary? I hope this will not prove to be the case, and I hope that we as a banding movement can give the Point of Ayr lot any help they need.

Gavin White

4BR reply:
You make some sense at last Gavin!

Seriously, it is sad to see Point of Ayr withdraw but we sincerely hope they can come through this and compete in the future.

It's all a fantasy...
Have you ever considered creating a fantasy league of brass bands on your site? People could choose their band from a selection with budget [even travel] restrictions - and you could award individual players points on contest/concert performances. It would operate basically in a similar way to a football fantasy league. You could even charge people £5 or something to enter. I'd be up for it!

Dafydd Jones

4BR reply:
It has crossed our minds though we simply haven't the time to carry it off. If someone can come up with the rules and maintain it though - we'll be happy to help.

Give us a mention!
What happened to Livingston band in your preview of the Scottish 1st section? We have just been promoted along with Tayport so please give us a mention.

David Reid

4BR reply:
Sorry David and to everyone at Livingstone. The information we were working off didn't include your bands name so we missed you out. We should have been a bit more careful and checked it out more fully. We weren't alone though and a certain full time publication didn't have you in their list. Apologies from us and we have now put things right.

Troon Winners
In your preview of the Scottish Area Championship section you have credited Kirkintilloch as winners of the Troon contest, which is news to everyone at Newtongrange as it was they who won the contest not Kirky

John Keenan

4BR Reply:
Thanks John, There seems to be a bit of confusion over Troon, and possibly we haven't helped. We have checked our records and there was a Troon contest, formally called the West of Scotland Championships held in June and then there was the Land O' Burns contest, also at Troon held in August. Kirkintilloch won the former and Newtongrange the latter. We should have stated that they were two separate contests, but they did actually take place in Troon!

Greenhall gone...
Just had a look through your Scottish preview........I'd like to point out that the band nominated as the "dark horse" of the second section (Greenhall) in fact folded before Christmas. I played 1st Baritone in the band so I can assure you they are not so much a dark horse as a dead horse! Also it was interesting to note no mention of certain other results which could have been indicators of form - The Land O'Burns win in Troon for Newtongrange, or Bathgate's title as Miners 1st section champions. I like the site but was really disappointed to find that Scottish bands appear to get less attention than the rest of the UK.

Julie Sanderson

4BR Reply:
Thanks Julie for the information. We have tried to provide the most complete and comprehensive previews and coverage of each Regional Championship and we have to trawl through literally reams of information to try and get a snippet about every band. We genuinely couldn't find out that Greenhall had gone so we wrote about them on the their record. Apologies for the mistake.

As for Bathgate – we have amended the details and the Troon contest is just a minefield of confusion. As stated elsewhere there were actually two contests held in Troon last year, but we except we may have caused the confusion in parts.

As for the coverage. Come on. Two part time Welshmen doing as much as we can in the evenings and weekends after work compared against two full time magazines with full time staff and reporters. Compare the coverage. Are we really that bad?

Spelling mistake
You keep spelling my bands name wrong on 4barsrest! It's Moston and Beswick not Mostyn! cheers!

Laura Dawson (Moston and Beswick)

4BR Reply:
Sorry Laura. It's the Welshness in us at 4BR. Everyone down here with that name has it with a "Y". Good luck though – and we'll put it right!

What a stinking hole!
I've had my first experience of the Midlands Area Championships at the prestigious venue of the Belvedere Club in Burton. What a stinking hole! Where the bands queued up to register, it appeared that there was a problem with the sewers and it stank - what a wonderful preparation for bands just about to go on and do their thing. If we wanted that experience we could reproduce that with copious amounts of alcohol and a few dodgy curries.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Midlands committee are supposed to run a system whereby the various sections rotate between the Town Hall, which I understand is a slightly better location, this is I believe the 3rd year running that 2nd Section bands have been in this location. A number of complaints were levied at the officialdom at the club, who seemed oblivious to the fact that it was not the Ritz. The facilities generally were pants, the ladies loos were apparently clogged up by an enormous "Richard" all day (not that I frequent these places, you understand), the bar area was filthy and the "restaurant" (I hesitate to use that word) was totally incapable of serving the number of people there.

So come on Midlands committee, lets go for a decent location, which can accommodate everyone in relative comfort. Bandspeople and their supporters spend all day there after all, surely they deserve a bit better. It may mean splashing out a bit of cash, but I'm sure bands would cough up a little more to have better facilities, wouldn't they? I would be interested to hear the experiences of others.

Iain Rayner Northampton

4BR Reply:
Not a happy man Iain! It would be interesting to hear from others about what they thought of the locations for the contests in the Midlands. We must say though, that this is the only complaint about the conditions we have heard. Was it really that bad?

Sovereign heritage?
Further to the news item on lack of interested parties in buying B&H's instrument manufacturing arm, I would like to observe the following, directed towards their brass instrument manufacturing, and based on my understanding of manufacturing.

(1) The "Sovereign" name is of real worth - rather like the Rolls-Royce name. RR cars were sold a few years ago to VW, I believe, but VW then found that they had bought the run-down factory, the debts, but NOT the "Rolls-Royce" name. The RR label is owned by RR Aero-engines and they decided that they wouldn't allow VW to use their name and label. What a mess! BMW then bought use of the RR name and will, I think, be manufacturing RR cars after 2003 and VW will only be manufacturing "Bentleys" from the original RR factory. What does this story tell us? Well, the value of B&H instruments is in their label not the factory.

(2) A few years ago I worked for a company that designed and built special purpose polishing equipment used by B&H, Yamaha, etc., in instrument manufacture. We were allowed access to all the brass instrument manufacturer's sites and in the words of my old Engineering Director, "....B&H and Yamaha manufacture is like chalk and cheese.". What he alluded to was the usual Japanese passion in getting everything perfect in the equipment, processes, and quality of the final product. B&H relied heavily on the great, and they are great, craft masters who made the sovereign range the best instruments, in my opinion, for brass banding. People don't live forever and engineering apprenticeships are far from what they used to be, so, I fear that their craftsmanship may have waned or gone. In addition, if the company is in debt I would be amazed if their manufacturing facility has seen any serious investment for a long time, making it doubly unattractive.

In conclusion, and purely my opinion, the Sovereign name is worth the money, but with heavy debts, loss of craftsmen / women, and lack of investment in the plant, they may well be an unattractive investment to many.

The question we need to ask is, "...what happens when my band can't get its hands on a brand new Sovereign...?".

I wish B&H all the best and do hope they pull through.

Geoff Colmer

4BR Reply:
You make a number of very good points Geoff, but the reality is that in business a name (however famous) is not worth a heap of beans unless they are producing the quality of goods to back up the past reputation of the brand. The money markets don't think so and neither do the customers if the bank balances are anything to go by.

The history of British manufacturing is littered with the corpses of so-called "great names" who simply hack it in the market place. Remember the British motorbike industry or great British televisions or fridges – the list is endless. Great workers and real craftsmen working in conditions and with technology 50 years out of date. Boosey management have a lot to answer for.

Pontins contact:
At Last, a site that is truly brass band friendly, great job guys. Whilst writing, I am considering entering my band, (Guernsey Concert Band), in this year's Pontins, and due to the requirements for flights and accommodation, need to start planning now. Unfortunately, I cannot find a contact for details....would you know who I can get in touch with please? Unfortunately, in our position, it is not a case of climbing aboard the coach and away we go. Many thanks in anticipation of your help.

Simon Applegate LDBBA
Musical Director Guernsey Concert Band

4BR Reply:
Try contacting Pontins direct at Prestatyn or even better possibly Frank Hodges, who we believe is the contest controller. Perhaps he may be able to help you. If there is anyone out there who can offer advice, please let us know. Try the British Federation of Brass Bands on 01274 511280 and we are sure they will be of assistance.

Cherchebi calls
This took a bit of searching but here is some info on "Cherchebi" the 3rd section test for the Nationals.

Here is a direct quote from Kirkby Lonsdale Band web site

"On the 6th May 2000 we held a very special concert to premiere a brand new four piece arrangement called "Cherchebi" - which is the Doomsday Book's name for Kirkby Lonsdale. This piece was penned by Goff Richard's hand and again he conducted on the night."

Thanks again for a great web site.

Douglas McKechnie

4BR Reply:
We understand that the piece is as you state. It comprises four movements called "Devil's Bridge", "St. Mary's Church", "Ruskin's View" and "Band Contest Day". We don't know if it has been recorded, so if anyone knows please drop us a line. It's by all accounts very much what we have come to expect from Goff Richards – plenty of rhythms, lovely tunes and enough technical challenges to keep players on their seats. Sounds a good test doesn't it?

Tracking High Peak
Thanks for your article regarding the old LP High Peak for Brass. I am desperate to get hold of a copy of this old record. Does anyone at the 4barsrest team have any ideas about where I might find a copy? Anyone else? Keep up the great work on the best brass site on the web.

Steven Symonds

4BR Reply:
Sorry Steve but we don't know. The original was released on the Pye record label "Golden Guinea Top Brass" series, and has a reference number GSGL 10453. It featured Black Dyke circa 1970 playing "High Peak", "Four Little Maids", "Pandora" with James Shepherd, "Elegy" from "Entertainments" and "Spectrum".

It also had perhaps the most famous LP cover in the history of banding – King James in full Dyke regalia looking straight back at the camera, Besson International cornet in his gifted left mitt and a quiet look of sheer genius about him. A whole generation of cornet players grew up just wanting to be able to sit like him, let alone play like him. What a man!

Where's Kevin
Kevin Dye was my brass tutor for a few years, we went to the same secondary school, a few years apart though. As far as I am aware he is still living in the Midlands area. Not sure about his employment or whether he is still teaching brass. I used to have some great lessons and learnt so much from him. If anyone knows his whereabouts please pass on my regards, I now live in York and don't get to that area very much although my parents still live in the same village as Kevin and I grew up. If he reads this though, best wishes Kevin.


4BR Reply:
Thanks for letting us know David. Kevin Dye was a truly great player and someone who was much admired for his lovely sound and cast iron technique. Howard Snell was a great fan and admirer and arranged many cornet solos for him, which are now standard fare for any aspiring stand up cornet player. "Nessun Dorma" was his signature tune as far as we remember – and bloody good at it he was to. Can anyone else shed light on what he is doing now?

Sunlife's demise
I must say now that I'm not banding anymore I do enjoy 4BR as a means of keeping up to speed with music and people I still have a massive soft-spot for. Many thanks 4BR.

In your "your comments" area there is a "4BR reply" that suggests Sun Life's demise &/or existence was totally reliant on the financial support of a sponsor.

Sorry, but what rot.

I played for this group for over 10 years and know it's finances and its people like the back of my hand. Its start, its rise to fame, its glory, and its demise had little to do with money and a lot to do with passion and commitment (not furnished by a sponsor). For example, I remember having to pay for my own hotel at the National and Open - no-one paid it on my behalf. Off-stage uniforms (jackets etc) I had to pay for, most of the time. And I never took a penny for travel or general expenses to getting to/from band. Sure, the end was brought on quicker by the sponsor pulling out, but they did give a year's notice to this effect, so the plug was eased out not pulled out, so to speak. Why did it end? - Lots of reasons, but money was probably number 4 or 5 on my list.


PS. Your quote: "as hoping to survive just on financial sponsorship from a company or benefactor is a two edged sword, as many bands have unfortunately found out over the years. Remember Sun Life,...."

4BR Reply:
You make some salient points Geoff, but one still has to ask the question - Would they not still be with us if they had their sponsor?

Yorkshire 2nd section
I would like to ask the simple question that I'm sure many people would like to know after each contest. What are the adjudicators listening to during the contest. I have just got back from the Yorkshire regional championships, second section. The result was bafling at, least half of the people I spoke to came up with the same top 3 as myself. The adjudicator stands up, gives his spial about what he was looking for and then gives a total other result. Would it not make more sense to have 3 adjudicators in different places and then average the marks to give a final result. Does that not make more sense?

Matt Ward

4BR Reply:
We haven't heared anything about this Matt. As for your 3 adjudicators suggestion - didn't you go to the Masters last year?

Contest history help
I am currently studying for a music degree. For my final dissertation I have decided to look and the history and development of contesting. I was wondering if you have any information on this or could recommend somewhere where I could look. Thank you.

Stephanie Kenna

4BR Reply:
We can't help you unfortunately Stephanie though we hope someone can send us some suggestions to aid you in your study

Masters and rankings
What annoys me about the whole Masters debacle is not the fact that English bands want to keep " English Masters " just that - that's only fair, but the fact that ranking systems use the contest. It would be interesting to know exactly how top Welsh bands such as Cory BAYV and Tredegar can now be judged by the same criteria

4BR Reply:
Yes the Masters is used in the rankings system, but on what grounds do we leave it out?

Black Dyke have chosen not to attend this competition but it hasn't really kept them out of the top flight.

Yorkshire yarns...
Hi, I'm just writing to say that though I really enjoyed the Yorkshire areas I thought the adjudicating was a shambles in the 1st section. At first I thought that maybe I'd misjudged the bands (because I'm pretty much an amateur) but when I talked to the people around me and even the judge of the 2nd Section, John Roberts, agreed with me about the results and all had atleast roughly the same order. Everyone was atleast agreed that Peter Hawke Garages Lindley should have come first. There was a little dispute about 2nd but it was between either Knottingly Silver or Chapletown Silver. My disgust at the result was further increased when I discovered that both these bands would have been moved to the 2nd Section if they had got any result other than 1st or 2nd.

Now a final grumble about Roy Roe himself before I leave u alone in peace. I've found out that Roy Roe is friends with both B.Dyson and I.Colley. He took Kippax for a few rehearsals earlier in the year and is known to go with Wakefield Met and B.Dyson on many trips. Anyway there will have been able to notice that the bands performance was abysmal and accompanied with this the result is very suspiscious. Doesn't this show that it's about time there was a panel of judges organised or at least two so that this was less likely to happen. Though the judge can't see the band there is still ways of letting him know it's you playing. I could start criticising the bands playing but I'm sure you've had enough of me grumbling.

On a cheerier note I think the websites great and despite being there I thought the txt service was very useful. Especially when it came to the Midlands results.

Pete Godfrey

4BR Reply:
Sorry Pete - we couldn't possibly comment!

'The Yorkshires' - A Personal View
Sunday 3rd March at St George's Hall, Bradford was a superb day of brass band music. For me, it was 40 years since I was last at the Yorkshire Regional Championships. In 1962 the Championship Section Test Piece was Gilbert Vintner's ‘Salute to Youth.' A relatively straightforward piece compared to 'Whitsun Wakes' by Michael Ball. The complexity of the music and the standard of the musicianship required have certainly moved on over those years. A similar comparison could be made for the other contesting sections. The First Section's choice of 'Royal Parks' is a very musical piece with an especially lovely and poignant middle movement - 'In Memoriam.' It requires lightness of touch in the playing and the Bands who realised this did well.

Sunday was a brilliant day. Whilst it was a pity that there were only 8 Bands in the Fourth Section - and something needs to be done about that - the playing was good and the players obviously really enjoyed taking part. It was particularly good to see many young people.

The First Section had 9 Bands and all played superbly. Particularly outstanding, for me at least, was the principal cornet playing from Peter Hawke Garages. The playing of 'In Memoriam' was highly intense and moving and was recognised as such by the audience. Well done to Wakefield on coming first and thanks to all for lovely performances.

The Championship Section had 15 Bands. There were many, many highlights and to hear Black Dyke, Grimethorpe, Brighouse and Rastrick and then Yorkshire Building Society, in that order, was surely a special treat. Will the 'draw' ever put those four in sequence again? Dyke won the Section with the polished, powerful performance one has come to expect of this great band. Gimethorpe came second, just a point behind, with a characteristically superb performance. The euphonium playing was, by all bands, absolutely superb and I would not seek to choose one for particular mention. Somehow, beautiful euphonium playing epitomises what Yorkshire is all about. Well done. The flugel playing was of a terrific standard. A difficult solo this and played superbly well. Of particular note for me was the flugel playing by Sellers International, Grimethorpe, Hepworth and Rothwell (a 'star-quality' performance). The soprano playing was also fantastic throughout.

It was great to see some young conductors and highly encouraging to see a lot of young players - e.g. in Pennine Brass. - These are good signs for the future.

I began with some doubts about the test piece but it grows on you! Just a personal opinion but I prefer to hear something with a more melodic core even if it is technically easier to play. Nevertheless, it is a difficult piece and a thorough test of all parts of a band and, of course, a thorough test is what has to expected in a Championship Section Contest. It requires a very high standard from individual soloists and we heard many first rate performances and a few, through sheer tone and emotion, demonstrated true 'star' quality. The finale of the piece is undoubtedly one of the most powerful I have ever heard for Brass Band and the 'togetherness' in the descending chromatic passage just before the end was impressive. Thank you Yorkshire for a splendid day. Keep up the good work and here's to next year with, hopefully, more bands having a go in the fourth section.

Peter Hargreaves, formerly with:
Hammonds Sauce Works Jr. (up to 1962)
Yorkshire Schools BB

4BR Reply:
We're glad you had such a great time. 40 Years absence is a long time!

Various regional reactions...

Unfortunately - we are receiving so many we can't currently respond to individual messages

Holmeward bound
As bass trombone for Holme Silver I speak on behalf of the band. On reviewing your comments, we feel that our performance (especially the second movement) was to depict the colour of each of the movements.

After listening to all the bands in the 1st section I fail to agree that our third movement was over blown. It seems the norm that big sounding 1st section bands get slated for over blowing, rarely is it mentioned when you move in to Championship section. This was brought to our attention when we won the 2nd section nationals, when the adjudicators comments congratulated the band on having a "sound that could compete in the championship section".

The overall feel of the day speaking to the general public who passed comment was Lindley and Holme should feel very dissapointed with the result.

Most people I know who are taught music are taught to play from the heart, and put as much feeling in the music as possible, so to say you could ever put too much into a performance goes against everything I have ever been taught. Congratulations though to the bands place 1st and 2nd, we wish them good luck in Torquay!! As we live to fight another day in the 1st section.

James Haigh.

Trouble on the timps!
I feel compelled to write on behalf of the Rushden Windmill Band. Richard Graves (my other half) had such high hopes for his band, especially after their winning performance at Milton Keynes.

However, on the morning of the contest their drummer just failed to turn up!!! with absolutely no explanation. The Band then wasted time trying to find out where he was living...when they finally got hold of his girlfriend (who had sworn to 'get him out of the band a.s.a.p') she told them he had gone to work!!!! They also heard a rumour that he was injured....if so a doctor's certificate could have been provided. I find this sort of behaviour incredulous..since 4th March he has made no contact with anyone. Although why would he, if he had the gall to let 24 people down in the 1st place, he certainly would make no attempt to apologise. Rushden went ahead with one drummer..but clearly the whole episode affected the players..particularly when the remaining drummer took quite a while to set up on stage. Obviously, no one knows where Rushden could have come but 24 people put a lot of HARD work in preparing the test piece for one little so and so (yes I AM being polite) to complete RUIN their chances.

Thank you for your time in allowing me to 'sound off'!!!

Julia Crask, Luton Band.

Super sop and others!
Having just heard some top class performances of Whitsun Wakes I am convinced that there is a new Sop legend in the making. I know he`s had more allegiances than Steve Claridge and he`s still only a lad, but Allan Hobbins made the Sop cadenza sound like a warm up on Sunday, and when Alan Withington raised an eyebrow as if to say "I think 10 minutes on top C is long enough", the man descended with total control to a perfect bottom G. Worth the £5 entrance to hear just that. Other highlights included Richard Marshall, Kirsty Abbotts, Mark Walters and 2 other flugels: DUT Imps and Sellers

Carl Smith (Aldbourne)

Pre-draw a must
This site goes from strength to strength. The 2nd section York's area review was excellent, and both this sites comments on the performances and the adjudicators remarks were spot on.

Now the gripe - why no pre draw! I'm sure I am not alone in asking this question.

I live 20 minutes from Bradford, however the band bus left just after 11.30am, arrived 1230, the draw was at 1.15pm. Contest starts at 2.45pm and we played at 5.30pm. Results at 6.45pm and home for 8pm. A whole day tied up with banding (you can hear my wife saying this), and I live quite close to Bradford.

As nice is Bradford is on a Saturday, I would like the option of turning up in time to play. The cynical side of me says that ticket sales would decline because bands and their supporters wouldn't make a day of it. Judging by attendances at St Georges Hall, the only people who were in there were bands people and their supporters.

Are we all being naive in thinking that contests are entertaining to people outside the brass band world. Obviously this is linked into the open adjudication debate, of which I am not being drawn. The benefits - less queuing, easier to book rehearsal rooms, able to plan the day etc etc Is there a better way, and more importantly, if the majority agree, how do we change this.

Simon Davies, South Yorkshire Police Band

Keep it up
I would just like to congratulate Long Eaton Silver Prize Band for their two magnificant results. 2nd at NEMBBA and 3rd at the midlands area. You have all worked really hard and we deserve to go to Torquay. Lets keep it up

Sam, 1st Baritone LESPB

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