MARVELLOUS MARCUS - BB meets composer and performer, Marcus Venables

Issue 6103

NATIONALS UNCERTAINTY - Bands withdraw amid COVID concerns

TIME CAPSULE - Sandy Smith on a magical moment in time for Black Dyke

BB at Butlins - 4th Section

Saturday 14 January, 2017


4th Section

Venue: Centre Stage

Section Controller: Mick Veasey

Saturday 14 January

Draw: 8.30am (commences 9.30am)

Test-piece: Own-choice

Adjudicators: Paul Norley and Brett Baker

Rob Richardson reporting




1. Crystal Palace (Michael Gray)

2. BMP Europe Ltd. Goodshaw (Joshua Hughes)

3. Sherwood Forest Brass (Christine Lippeatt)

4. Woodbridge Excelsior (Chris Lewis Garnham)

5. Syston (Chris Banks)

6. Bannovallum Brass (Steve Ingham)

7. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)

8. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)

9. Whitwell Brass (Ryan Stacey)

10. Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)

11. Kirkby Colliery Welfare (Neville Buxton)

Best Mining Band: Sherwood Forest Brass


In the BB Frame*

1. Crystal Palace (Michael Gray) 

2. BMP Europe Ltd. (Goodshaw) (Joshua Hughes)

3. Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)

4. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)

5. Woodbridge Excelsior (Chris Lewis-Garnham)

6. Syston (Steve Ingham)

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


11. Whitwell Brass (Ryan Stacey)

A Haslemere Suite - Peter Graham

Confident sounds to begin this performance, with fine pulse and good layering of the musical lines. As with some other bands, the dynamics could be more pronounced, but the control is certainly there. The slow section to open the second movement is well-balanced and the drum kit allows the band to enjoy the faster music that follows, with good accents and syncopation from the players that almost fits perfectly together. Some of the cornet muted figures could come out of the texture even more, as they are occasionally drowned out. The slow playing is controlled, even more legato would help! The final movement is taken with some drive, but the semiquaver lines could be more clearly pronounced and more dynamic contrast would increase the effect. A confident ending to a performance that had many admirable moments, but which was also one that would have benefited with more contrast and accuracy.


10. Syston (Chris Banks)

A Malvern Suite - Philip Sparke

Very controlled to open, slightly faster tempo choice than other performances of this work we have heard today. This is stylish playing, with everything in the right place and good tuning between sections. The solo playing is confident and some fine musical lines are being created by the MD, with a solid bass end providing a firm foundation to the band’s sound. Cornet soloist plays very nicely, and there is a fine flugel counter-melody featured. The final movement has drive and pulse, and the tuning is kept steady in the muted passages. Could there be more dynamic contrast perhaps to add to the excitement? Just loses a little bit of sync in the middle of the last movement between cornet soloist and band accompaniment, but this rights itself. A controlled final section rounds off a performance of real merit which could have had more contrasts throughout to challenge the leaders today.


9. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)

A Malvern Suite - Philip Sparke

Not 100% to open but this settles into some fine sounds from the band. Not all notes are completely accurate but there is real spirit to this playing. Trombone solo is sweetly played with fine accompaniment from basses and euphoniums. Not everything comes off, but the MD is creating some very nice shapes in the middle movement with the music and tuning is mostly very accurate. The final movement starts well and the technical hurdles are mostly overcome, with the fine style continuing to show. This performance maybe didn’t have the overall polish of some others, but it was a very enjoyable reading that showed off a band and MD in control of dynamics and rhythms!


8. BMP Europe Ltd. (Goodshaw) (Joshua Hughes)

Chorale Variations - Jan de Haan

Warm sounds from middle band are a pleasing feature of the opening section of this piece, although not all the lines move together in the chorale. The band makes a very nice, balanced sound and tuning is mostly good – hard in a piece such as this. The faster section is tight and controlled, with a big sound that does not fall into the trap of becoming harsh. This playing is very impressive, stylish and clear with only very minor tuning problems. Controlled euphonium and confident horn and cornet solos are enjoyable to end the slow movement. The rhythmic drive and accuracy impresses towards the end and the performance ends confidently – just a few small minor tuning issues within the chords.


7. Crystal Palace (Michael Gray)

Music for Kantara - Kenneth Downie 

Controlled opening with good rhythmic drive and fine sounds across the sections, the use of controlled accents is impressive also. The band is playing with a lot of style, nothing is overblown and the clarity in the melodic passages adds much to the overall impact. The tuning in this opening movement is also more secure than any band we’ve heard so far today. A fine opening to the second movement from euphonium leads to a beautifully played cornet solo. Minor moment in tuning at the end of the second movement, but this has been extremely well played. The third movement opens very stylishly (only minor tuning grumble in basses), continuing the drive and accuracy that has characterised this performance. This was a very fine performance from a well-prepared and disciplined ensemble. Perhaps slightly more in the louder dynamics would have added to the effect even more?


6. Woodbridge Excelsior (Chris Lewis-Garnham)

Lucid Perspectives

Another atmospheric opening, with some excellent bass work – just some tuning problems in muted cornets but these settle as the opening progresses. The rhythmic passages are carefully managed and there is a balanced sound across the dynamic range. Again, as with every band so far, some tuning problems are caused by mutes however! This music requires a lot of control, and the band achieves this. Dynamic contrasts are very impressive and the piece ends with a full sound. An interesting and different piece to entertain the audience this morning!


5. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep) 

The Dark Side of the Moon – Paul Lovatt-Cooper

Atmospheric opening, with good control of quiet dynamics, some pitches are not 100% though. Although there a few scrappy moments, the sound the band produces, especially at the lower end, is fine and there is some great percussion work on show. Euphonium Fs and horn Cs rub in the tuning occasionally towards the close of the first section. Cornet soloist makes a fine sound and plays with lyricism! The band makes a big sound at the louder dynamics which is pleasing, with just a few more tuning discrepancies slightly marring the picture. The final section has lots of drive and passion – it just runs out of steam a touch in the closing bars, but the final chord is powerful and concludes an enjoyable show!


4. Banovallum Brass (Horncastle) (Steve Ingham)

Saint-Saëns Variations - Philip Sparke

Opens well with very good character and excellent percussion helps drive the music along. There is some excellent ensemble playing on show, just some slight moments of tuning unease in the lower band on occasion. Soloists are confident as well, and there is some nice legato playing on show with only some minor slips in solo passages detracting very slightly. Could there be more risks taken with dynamics perhaps? The slow movement ends with some controlled solo/duet playing, but again some tuning issues do detract. The trombones and basses add some weight to the ensemble’s sound without being harsh and the triple time section has excellent control and pace. A fine ending to a fine performance, with only some tuning issues to quibble with.


3. Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)

Saint-Saëns Variations - Philip Sparke

Heroic conductor receives a round of applause from the audience before the band has played a note for delivering a Bb bass on stage! The performance opens confidently with very good pace and style, with some crisp articulation from the cornet section. The slower passages are handled sympathetically with some nice solo lines and control around the band, with only minor tuning issues disturbing the picture. The band’s control at the upper end of the dynamic range is good and the ensemble playing is mostly very crisp and accurate. Changes of meter are skillfully negotiated and there is a stirring conclusion to a very spirited performance with lots of character.

2. Kirkby Colliery Welfare (Neville Buxton)

A Malvern Suite - Philip Sparke

Slightly unsettled start but this soon rectifies. The music moves along with good flow, with only a few moments of unease in tuning and notes. The cornet soloist plays with a nice sound in the slower section and the band accompaniment could be even smoother to aid him. Dynamic contrasts are well handled and band produces a warm sound at the louder end of the dynamic range, avoiding any harshness. The basses support the euph/bari line well at the beginning of the final movement and there is some stylish playing on show. Not everything has been 100% together, but the syncopated quavers are dealt with confidently. Starts to come slightly unstuck in the latter stages of the movement and some tuning and note errors creep in, but the performance ends confidently.

1. Sherwood Forest Brass (Christine Lippeatt)

Partita - Edward Gregson 

Bold opening to start and tuning is well handled. Some young faces on show! The first movement is clean and crisp with an even sound across the sections of the band. The next section opens confidently, perhaps even more legato would aid the flow? Cornet solo is nicely handled, with just the odd moments of tuning unease, but the band continues to produce a warm, balanced sound and the euphonium and cornet duetists play lyrically. Just some slight intonation issues in the muted chord at the end of the 3/4 section! Everything is clear in the final movement and it moves along with good pace, with only a small number of tuning issues slightly detracting from a very enjoyable show to start the day’s contesting!


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