BATTLE OF THE TITANS - Bands gear up for a titanic battle at the Royal Albert Hall

Issue 6016

COMPOSERS' CORNER - Dr Liz Lane looks at the subject of  networking 

HERE IS THE NEWS - Looking back at the Daily Herald's Nationals sponsorship

BB at Butlins - 2nd Section

Saturday 14 January, 2017

2nd Section

Venue: Royal Arthur Suite

Section Controller: Steve Jackson

Saturday 14 January

Draw: 8.30am (commences 10.30am)

Test-piece: Inclusion (Paul Sharman)

Adjudicators: Brian Rostron and Allan Holdsworth

Dave Kinross reporting




1. Pemberton Old DW B (Mike Golding)

2. Skelmanthorpe Prospect (Phil Garlick)

3. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)

4. Bodmin Town (John Maines)

5. Haydock (Mark Quinn)

6. City of Coventry (Stephen Cooper)

7. Besses Boys (James Holt)

8. Hucknall and Linby MC (Paul Whyley)

9. Waterbeach Brass (Andrew Kershaw)

10. Ellington Colliery (Jonathan Fenwick)

11. Pleasley Colliery Welfare (Geof Benson)

12. Milton Keynes Brass 

13. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)

14. Hoover (Bolton) (Craig Mann)

15. Soham Comrades (Jayne Murrill)

16. Old Hall Brass (John North)

17. Epping Forest (Keith Schroeter)

18. Yiewsley and West Drayton (Christopher Cole)

Highest Placed Mining Band: Crofton Silver


In the BB Frame*

1. Haydock

2. Besses Boys

3. City of Coventry

4. Crofton Silver

5. Hucknall and Linby

6. Pemberton Old DW B

Well! An enjoyable day in the Royal Arthur Suite with a large and appreciative audience. Paul Sharman’s “Inclusion” certainly provided a stiff test and there were pitfalls that quite a few bands fell foul of. We’ll stick our neck out and say that we heard the winner fairly early on and they delivered a marker that stayed in front till the end. Haydock by a reasonable margin for us with not a lot between the next three places. That's our opinion; the ones that matter will be out at 7.30pm.

18. Skelmanthorpe Prospect (Phil Garlick)

Bass players will have been thinking of this opening entry whilst they munched on their turkey for sure. It’s another one that that suffers slightly and the muted cornets tuning isn’t quite on point. Like so many before them, they get going when the dynamics open out. Another band with a fine sound, but things are just a little untidy in the ensemble. Some sweet flugel and soprano sounds are on show and the MD is allowing space to some of the lovely moments in this piece. Once more it’s a little ragged towards the end but a great final chord, that the soprano will have enjoyed.

17. Hucknall and Linby (Paul Whyley)

This starts well enough with security across the lines. Sensible tempo choices are paying dividends here although there is just a little untidiness creeping in at certain points in the middle of the band. In general there are some fine individual efforts and the MD is giving the band room to be expressive. Some lovely middle band sounds topped off by a fine euph. In the closing stages it again gets a little ragged which is a shame. This was a well-directed performance that made musical sense.

16. City of Coventry (Stephen Cooper)

City of Coventry take to the stage and start well. There’s a quality in the ensemble and close attention is being paid to intonation. Cornet and euphonium duet is delivered in fine style, this is good stuff. This is a super reading form an MD who knows how to get the best from his charges. Into the last movement things just show signs of becoming a little untidy in the moving bass line and the ending suffers the same fate. This was a performance that had a lot of merit but for us it may fall short at the end.

15. Yewsley and West Drayton (Christopher Cole)

Another opening that has some slight uncertainties but these soon disappear when the MD is able to open up the band sound. This is a well-directed performance and the band sound is rich but occasionally there are a few nervy entries that distort the picture. The band is coping well with the tempi and the detail is clear. At times the upper dynamics come across a bit heavy which is a shame as it’s a fine sounding band. It gets just a little untidy to end but it’s a performance that had its moments.

14. Epping Forest (Keith Schroeter)

A slightly uncomfortable start with some tuning issues in the muted cornets and it really takes a while to settle. Some nice contributions from cornet and flugel are a feature but and the ensemble is impressive in the slower passages. Unfortunately another band that is finding the faster moments a bit challenging. All in all a good effort from the band but one we don’t think will feature.

13. Besses Boys (James Holt)

The band captures the atmosphere from the get go and although not every entry is entirely secure it doesn’t lose the affect. Some super contributions from the trombone section in particular the young man on the solo chair. When the tempo picks up the band responds well and the upper dynamic is robust but well controlled. Some intonation issues in the upper cornets is beginning to feature. The dynamic contrast in the quick passages is impressive and the attention to detail with the accents are some of the best of the day. It’s a rousing, perhaps overcooked end to a fine performance that’s right up there for sure.

12. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones) 

Good opening with fine euph sounds, a little untidy in the muted cornets though. Bravo basses to conclude the opening, Bravo EEb Bass! The tempo that follows has the band right at the edge of their capability and it sounds just a little untidy. Some of the playing in the slow passage is the best of the day with great control and the intonation is in check. This is really fine euphonium playing with the supporting cast playing their part too. Dean Jones takes some risks with the lower end dynamic and the band don’t let him down. Very effective flugel and horn duet, the music is really flowing here. The band puts the burners on to close and it gets a little untidy. Could this cost?

11. Old Hall Brass (John North)

The opening is subtle but slightly insecure, this soon settles though. There are few more expressive conductors than John North and he certainly gets his intention across in what is a really nice reading particularly in the slower passages. Once the tempo picks up there are some inconsistent and nervy entries and upper end intonation is an issue which undoes some of the lovely musical moments heard earlier. Again, one that may find that inconsistencies cost but a fine effort.

10. Soham Comrades (Jayne Murrill)

An atmospheric opening that unfortunately has some nervy entries and it takes a little time to bed down. The band really has a fine depth of sound that shows towards the end of the first movement in great style. Into the slower passages there’s some real sensitivity afforded to the music by Jayne Murrill and it’s a real shame that some of the nerves are creeping back in. Some of the detail in the inner lines is among the best of the day, the band have clearly been working hard on getting the effects to the fore. The MD applies sensibility to the closing tempi and there’s a cracking contribution from the sop to close! What a shame about the nervy entries.

9. Darwen Brass (Steve Hartley)

One of the heavier openings we’ve heard today but the added security allows the band to settle quickly. Some nice sounds on the end cornet chair but the picture is being spoiled somewhat by intonation in the rest of the section. Another performance that is being blighted with some unevenness in entries, in this piece it really affects the overall picture. Much of this is good quality but we feel that consistency of performance will be something that will count and it’s lacking slightly here. Lots to admire in a fine effort.

8. Bodmin Town (John Maines)

A good opening by Bodmin although it doesn’t escape completely unscathed from some intonation rubs in the bass line. The experienced John Maines moves the music along well stylistically with the slow movement really showing the band off in fine style. There are some real luxurious sounds here but some of the entries are a little untidy. Some great work taking place in the Euph/Bari line and the flugel horn duet has a lot to admire. The MD captures the majesty of the closing passages and the tempo to end allows the detail through. What a shame some of the untidiness took away from the overall picture.

7. Waterbeach Brass (Andrew Kershaw)

A hesitant bass line to open but euph does well. Some of detail is being lost in the faster tempo’s which is unfortunate because elsewhere the music is being well shaped by the MD. Some nice sounds round the stands particularly the soprano cornet, it’s just a shame that there are some rocky moments in the upper band intonation at times. Once again towards the end the tempo kills some of the detail which detracts from the overall picture. A brave effort but not one that will feature we feel.

6. Pleasley Colliery (Geoff Benson)

The opening doesn’t have the surety of some previous but it settles well enough. Some fine young talent around the band in particular the flugel who plays with assurance and a nice sound. Unfortunately this one is suffering from some quite careless intonation which is a shame because there’s some really nice moments otherwise. As the piece enters the home straight, it’s being well supported by the bottom end of the band and the conclusion has excitement.

5. Haydock Band (Mark Quinn)

The opening is well worked and there is some real zing in the dynamic contrast. The band is showing off some fine ensemble sounds but they’re not overcooked and come across well in this acoustic. A mention to the percussion team who are playing with real authority and subtlety when needed. In Mark Quinn we have another MD who has really taken care with his preparation on this piece, he’s giving the music room and has trust in the players around him. Some slightly rocky moments towards the end in the moving bottom end lines but it’s not detracting. A really good show from Haydock!

4. Pemberton Old DW B (Mike Golding)

The opening of this piece is going to prove crucial today and Pemberton is the best so far, with the detail in the counter lines really coming out. The allegro is together and moving along at a good pace which is creating excitement and musical sense. Into the second movement the young cornet team is impressing no end with their style and maturity. The band is being given plenty of room to express by Mike Golding. There’s no let-up in quality as the band heads into the final stages of what’s been a fine effort that takes the lead for us.

3. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann)

Some moments of discomfort to open but the band soon shakes it off to get into gear. Some good solid delivery from the MD and the band where they create some really good moments. Again some hesitation creeps into the middle movement which is a real shame but it doesn’t detract for long as there are some real quality sounds on display. Heading towards the end the band displays great control in the upper dynamic to good effect.

2. Ellington Colliery ( Jonathon Fenwick)

Atmospheric opening and some confident solo playing in evidence in what is a very enjoyable first movement. As we go into the middle section there are some super sounds particularly from the solo cornet. The conductor has really thought about the music here and has an air of authority with the band that’s paying dividends. Some of the inner detail in the final movement doesn’t quite come off but as we head for home the delivery has some sizzle into a fine close.

1. Milton Keynes Brass (Bob Stradling)

Some hesitant moments to open but it quickly settles to some nice sounds particularly from the middle of the band. Moving into the middle movement there are some elements of uncomfortable intonation in the upper end but when the tempo gets going there’s excitement and some really effective use of dynamic contrast. All in all a solid opener here in the Royal Arthur Suite.         



*Almost certainly not the overall final result as given by the official judges!