Issue 5970

Egon Virtuosi Brass - An inside story

The Owen Farr Seminar - the first in a monthly series of brass masterclasses by the tenor horn virtuoso

Besses Boys' Band - Celebrating 75 years

Grimethorpe Youth Band feature

LIVE - North of England Championships - Championship Section

Sunday 12 March, 2017

Adjudicators: Dr. Roger Webster and Richard Marshall

Test-piece: Pageantry (Herbert Howells)

Steve Jack reporting 


1. NASUWT Riverside

2. Reg Vardy


4. Fishburn

5. Easington

6. Kirkbymoorside


In the BB Frame*


2. Reg Vardy

3. NASUWT Riverside

4. Fishburn

5. Lockwood

6. Easington Colliery

*NOT the official result!


8. Lockwood (John Roberts)

Mvt 1 The second Roberts brother takes to the stage. Big sounds come from the band but percussion misses a crucial cymbal clash and it becomes nervy, ‘edge of your seat’ stuff.

Mvt 2 Unsure of the opening which seems restrained and tentative. SC clips a note and shaky nerves come to the fore. Lead into 6 is good but sop struggles into tranquillo. Intonation was a problem throughout,

Mvt 3 Scrappy and a little messy too after fanfares. There is some good playing but also parts missing, especially percussion.

7. Kirkbymoorside Town Band (John Woodward)

Mvt 1 Rather clumpy lumpy basses belt out after the fanfares. Its rather like they want to get off stage before they’ve got into their stride.

Mvt 2 Rather a quick start and it flows like a river after heavy rains rather than a meandering stream. There’s no ‘feeling’ in this at all with MD John Woodward going for the Derby couse record! Sorry, but it wasn’t pleasant to listen too.

Mvt 3 SC does good job of fanfare but band seems ill at ease with tempo chosen – half want to go quicker (!!) and it’s already fast. Rushes onto finale with the bus waiting at the finish line. Afraid it’s not good. (Judges may like it though)

6. NASUWT Riverside Band (David Roberts)

Mvt 1 Another powerful start with a great euph too. However it’s not knitting entirely together and there are some tuning moments in middle of band.

Mvt 2 Not entirely secure in execution with blips and blobs coming thick and fast. And then it settles and soprano is lovely in tranquillo. A very good ending

Mvt 3 Tina Mortimer just about nails fanfare. We then charge headlong through the movement. Very precise and ensemble work is good with sop shining like the sun off a knights helmet. Another one that is vying for a London place.

5. East Yorkshire Motor Services (Stig Maersk)

Mvt 1 This is forceful entry. The flags are flying over the drawbridge for this one. It’s loud (maybe too loud?) but everything is in place and sitting comfortably. Good omens?

Mvt 2 Baritones good but a touch forceful in execution. But it comes across nicely (if you turn the volume down) and the lead into 6 is well handled. Kevin Donaldson plays his part beautifully on sop and leads to a subdued close

Mvt 3 SC just about nails it and the band certainly does. We just sit back and listen and enjoy the work that goes on in the inner ensemble and harmonies. The build to the finish is tremendous with Stig Maersk racing to the finish line. Great reading too.

4.Fishburn Band (Joseph Cook)

Mvt 1 Good start and all is well in the world like Robin Hood charging against the latest run of King Johns money. Secure and safe.

Mvt 2 Baritones are a little scared at the start. Seem a bit unsure until the build into 6 and basses (5 of them) come to the fore. Sop slightly struggles into tranquillo and horn clips a couple of notes. However they are trying to keep dynamics down to a minimum.

Mvt 3 SC doesn’t quite get the sense of regality in Fanfare. Very good but not as loud and tell-tale tiredness creeps up on them. Overall though a good show

3. York Railway Institute Band (Dr David Lancaster)

Mvt 1 A good start  and full of vigour in its demenour. As we progress it gets scrappy and ending is not as good as it could have been.

Mvt 2 Band is suffering from its exhertions in first. Messy with horns coming in bar early, and throws band right off. Rescued by nice sop.

Mvt 3 SC sets off a race and band continues in that vain. Scrappy parts throughout and it reaches the climax…just.


2.Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)

Mvt 1 A great start- listening to the triplet-semi quavers, which are so precise, and music making of a high quality. Ending is fabulous.

Mvt 2 Baritones a little hestitant but solo horn is good and Graeme Tindall make a cracking impression on his first solo line.

Build into 6 is good but sop sound hestitant in tranquillo.

Mvt 3 SC does quite make it to the end of fanfare. It’s very good especially euph and trom. Russell Gray pushes and pulls and band responds. Great climax and audience is already clapping before it ends. Still may have left the door slightly ajar…

1.Easington Colliery (Ian Robinson)

Mvt 1 Fair star though theres some untidy work in lower register parts. Troms are little wayward but pull together and it builds towards good close.

Mvt 2 insecure opening and trom trio is uncertain. Nice climax but falls away towards end when sop

Mvt 3 Just a tiny slip from SC on his fanfare. Little splish and splashes are spoiling the overall picture