Report & Results: 2023 Buxton Contest

Hebden Bridge lead the list of winners as the sun shone and a wide variety was performed in Buxton.

Hebden Bridge
  Hebden Bridge carried on their good run of form with victory at Buxton

There was a fine day of competition to be enjoyed in the Octagon Theatre in the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton on the weekend, as the sun shone, and the bands performed a wide variety of own-choice music in splendid fashion for adjudicator Martin Heartfield and a supportive audience.

Hebden dance to title

They were headed by Hebden Bridge led by MD Christopher Binns, as the Yorkshire Area First Section champion produced a high quality account of Edward Gregson's 'Dances & Arias' to secure the combined Championship & First Section honours.

The band's excellent solo cornet player Charlie Heaven deservedly claimed the 'Best Soloist' award.

Writing on their Facebook page, the band stated: "A successful day out at the Buxton Contest. Go team Hebden! And a special mention to Charlie. Fab performance from all today's soloists."

Second place went to Middleton under another rising conducting star in Jamie Cooper, as they gave a confident rendition of 'A London Overture', whilst Hucknall & Linby MC was third as Paul Whyley led them in a well-crafted performance of 'Land of the Long White Cloud'.

Hazel Good

The upward contest progress of Hazel Grove was once again on show as they secured the Second Section title under the experienced Nigel Beasley.

Their colourful rendition of Philip Sparke's 'The Saga of Haakon the Good' saw them lift the trophy for the first time since 2014, thanks in no small part to the contribution of their 'Best Cornet Section' team.

North West rivals Besses Boys was runner-up as James Holt led them on an evocative rendition of 'Lions of Legend', whilst the final step on the podium was claimed by 2022 Third Section National Champion, Skelmersdale, with their take on William Rimmer's classic arrangement of 'Les Preludes'.

Dominant Dobcross

Dobcross Silver maintained their excellent run of form in the Third Section as they secured the title with a splendid rendition of Edward Gregson's 'Laudate Dominum'.

Aided by the 'Best Euphonium' section it was the 2022 National Fourth Section Champion of Great Britain's first victory since promotion — making it a 'double' triumph at Buxton following their Fourth Section win last year.

Celebrating their win on their Facebook page they said: "Three trophies won today. Section winners, best placed NWBBA Band and Best Euphonium Section. We are really proud of the whole team!"

There was also delight from Trinity Girls as led by Anna Hughes-Williams they posted their first podium finish since 2017 with a fine reprise of the Area set-work, 'Chorale & Toccata'.

Third place and a fourth consecutive podium finish at the contest went to 2023 North West Area champion Hawk Green as they performed 'Viking Age'.

Blackley's victory

In the Fourth Section there was a super victory for Blackley — their first since 2017.

Their evocative performance of Simon Dobson's 'Penlee' under Adrian Smith saw them pip rivals Stalybridge who also played a nautical themed work with the classic 'The Shipbuilders' (aided by their 'Best Basses'), whilst third place went to Dodworth Colliery who performed 'A Cambrian Suite'.


Speaking about the day, trainee adjudicator Matt Whitfield echoes the sentiments of those present. "Bravo to the prize winners. There was some excellent playing on show on some excellent repertoire.

Big thank you to Richard Milton for letting me be present at the contest and another big thanks to Martin Heartfield for allowing me to join him in the box."

Wonderful day

A spokesperson for the NWABBA told 4BR: "Our thanks go to all the bands who came and made this a wonderful day of competition.

The great weather, fantastic venue and plenty of great music making shows that this contest remains a vital and popular part of the contesting diary. We hope to see everyone and even more bands again next year."

A successful day out at the Buxton Contest. Go team Hebden!Hebden Bridge Band .

Combined Championship & First Section:

Adjudicator: Martin Heartfield

1. Hebden Bridge (Christopher Binns)
2. Middleton (Jamie Cooper)
3. Hucknall & Linby MC Brass (Paul Whyley)
4. Marsden Silver Prize (Andrew Lofthouse)
5. Kidlington Concert Brass (Jonathan Pippen)
6. Bedworth Brass (Matt Rowe)

Best Soloist: Charlie Heaven (cornet) — Hebden Bridge

Second Section:

Adjudicator: Martin Heartfield

1. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
2. Besses Boys (James Holt)
3. Skelmersdale Prize (Benjamin Coulson)
4. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Michael Golding)
5. Foss Dyke (Gareth Westwood)
6. Haslingden & Helmshore (Joshua Hughes)
7. Marple (Stephen Sutton)
8. Lindley (Alan Widdop)
9. Royal Buckley Town (Keith Jones)

Best Cornet Section: Hazel Grove

Third Section:

Adjudicator: Martin Heartfield

1. Dobcross Silver (Jason M Smith)
2. Trinity Girls (Anna Hughes Williams)
3. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson)
4. Greenall's Brewery (Russell Prescott)
5. Trentham Brass (Shaun Farrington)

Best Euphoniums: Dobcross Silver

Fourth Section:

Adjudicator: Martin Heartfield

1. Blackley (Adrian Smith)
2. Stalybridge (Nigel Lawless)
3. Dodworth Colliery MW (Geof Benson)
4. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
5. St John's Mossley (David W. Ashworth)

Best Basses: Stalybridge

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