Creating a buzz at the National Youth Championships

Issue 5965

All the fun of the big event at Warwick University

BBC success for Isobel Daws and Thomas Nielsen

European stage awaits in Utrecht

West of England Regional Championships - 1st Section LIVE!

Saturday 10 March, 2018

1st Section

The Forum

Test-piece: Brass Metamorphosis (James Curnow)

Saturday 10 March

Draw: 1:00pm (commences not before 2:30pm)

Adjudicators: Brett Baker and Stan Lippeatt

Kenny Crookston reporting

  

In the BB Frame

1. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Howard Evans)

2. Michelmersh Silver (Melvin White)

3. City of Bristol Brass (Paul McLaughlin)

4. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)

5. Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)

6. Chalford (Steve Tubb)

 

19:50 A very challenging contest in many ways with nearly every band falling short in some way or other. Bournemouth’s authoritative reading and performance should be well ahead for us but it’s a close thing for second so don’t be surprised if we’re will off the mark with the lower positions in our top six frame. Real results coming soon.

 

Result

1. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Howard Evans)*

2. Chalford (Steve Tubb)*

3. Forest of Dean Brass (Bryn James)

4. Michelmersh Silver (Melvin White)

5. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)

6. City of Bristol Brass (Paul McLaughlin)

7. A.W. Parker (Drybrook) (Joshua Ruck)

8. Roche Brass (David Hamilton)

9. Glastonbury Brass (Simon Jones)

10. Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)

11. Otterbourne Brass (Melvin White)

12. Bodmin Town (John Maines)

13. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)

14. Andover Town (Steve Large)

15. Wotton-under-Edge and District (Ian Dickinson)

16. St. Keverne (Gareth Churcher)

 

16. Otterbourne Brass (Melvin White)

There’s no rest for the wicked, or Melvin White, so it’s straight back on stage with Otterbourne and off to a pretty scruffy opening in comparison with his last band. Some inaccurate rhythms from the percussion in Var I but we like the light and shade. Some poor background sounds in Var II but we like the flugel and trombone duet. Not quite the same level of assuredness as the variation develops. Var III has the same approach as the previous band but just falls short for precision. Var IV is one of the day’s better attempts overall, building in energy appropriately into Var V, which although well laid out musically sounds rather tired. A good show overall but a number of less precise moments could cost it a few places.

 

15. Michelmersh Silver (Melvin White)

Slight scrappiness in the opening before we some good solo entries in the tranquil section. Var I is comfortable in style and delivery, and we like the atmosphere in Var II. Lovely flugel and trombone work, although the balance in the background is inconsistent (back row cornets). We like the soprano too. Var III is pretty steady for tempo and that allows everything to speak clearly. Var IV finds all soloists on form and we like the control as it reaches the end of the movement. Good work form the cornets in Var V and it builds to a fine conclusion. A good show that may just challenge for a qualification spot for us.

 

14. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Howard Evans)

A lot more quality in the opening than we’ve heard so far, with all the lines coming through clearly and good interplay with the percussion. Var I has authority and although there are occasional minor clips in Var II it is a level above the opposition so far. Terrific work on the euphonium solo and the control towards the end of the movement is notable. Var III is off like lightning and we hear it all, even if the horns and cornets are right on their limits. Var IV holds together well and the build to the conclusion has precision and drama. An excellent show that should put Bournemouth the length of Torquay promenade ahead.

 

13. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)

Quite a few fraught moments in the opening and first variation. Nice overall sound and we like the dynamic approach but the ensemble is ragged at times. Var III feels on edge at times as the tempo is just too much for some of the players. Better in IV where the accompaniment matches the quality of the soloists. It is quite robust volume-wise, which is also the case in the final variation. A lot to commend this one but like many today it has just fallen short too often in delivery.

 

12. Andover Town (Steve Large)

Solid opening and the tranquil section works as well as any so far. Band and percussion become temporarily disconnected in Var I but we like the musical approach here. Great work in Var II from the young back row cornets, and the classy flugel adds the finishing touch. Just a pity about the slips that followed, while Var III is just on the edge of being too quick for the band. Var IV features the excellent solo horn and although all soloists show their quality there are just a few clips too many for comfort. A good musical performance overall.

 

11. Glastonbury Brass (Simon Jones)

One or two hesitant moments in the opening section, despite the generally secure ensemble. We like the motion in Var I. Unfortunately it’s hard to disregard the high error count, which continues to rise rather rapidly in Var II. III is also a bit of a struggle as the band attempts to match the conductor’s expectations. Some soloistic discomfort in IV, although we like the drama created. V has a bit more authority, but we fear it may be too late for this one today.

 

10. Chalford (Steve Tubb)

Quite a tidy opening, although not all the solo lines speak clearly in the following tranquil section. Var I is rhythmically accurate if a bit scratchy in terms of splits. We like the approach in Var II, but again the execution isn’t always comfortable. The tempo in Var III feels well-chose and the band seems a bit more comfortable here. Horn excels in Var IV and other solo entries are all of a high standard. Occasional clips continue to detract as it approaches Var V, where we actually hear the band at its best. Another curious performance that had a lot to offer musically but just fell short in delivery at times.

 

9. AW Parker (Drybrook) (Joshua Ruck)

Opening section feels rather rushed, while there are also notable intonation problems around the band. Var I feels better for rhythm until the last few bars, where the ensemble becomes slightly tangled. Var II has some uncomfortable moments and although the conductor makes some impact on the shape of the music we aren’t sure that it all works. Var III heads off at quite a tempo, which the band can almost manage to cope with. IV begins to meander towards the end but we like the energy generated in the final variation. A curious one for us - lots to admire but possibly too many moments where the quality just dropped.

 

8. St. Keverne (Gareth Churcher)

Tidier opening than many so far and Var I is solid if slightly light on dynamics. Var II is less successful, with prominent splits and some notable tuning issues around the band. Practical approach chosen in Var III and it mainly works. The reduced energy levels do detract from the music-making though. Good solo contributions are the highlights of Var IV and we like the way it transitions into V. Quite a lot of untunefulness in this one but a lot to credit too.

 

7. Wotton-under-Edge and District (Ian Dickinson)

Another one that finds a few trap doors in the opening section, and the slips keep coming in Var I. The dynamic range is rather narrow too and the same is true in Var II. It’s pretty safe though and Var III sets of at a sensible tempo. Cornets and horn sections both struggle to grips with it, even at this tempo, but again the dynamics are largely missing. Var IV continues to be a challenge and the vinal section feels rather tired all round. Not one that really came to life for us.

 

6. Roche Brass (David Hamilton)

Untidy opening section and the slightly scruffy ensemble continues in Var I. Very good soloists in Var II and the control is better here. Var III gets off to a ragged start but it gets back on track and we hear good work from the horns especially. A similar story emerges in Var IV where lots of good work is occasionally undone by lapses around the band. We like the style in Var V but we fear that it might be too little too late for this one. Very poor tuning in the basses as it approaches the end of a slightly disappointing performance.

 

5. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)

Solid sounds in the opening and the ensemble is tight. The tuning isn’t perfect in Var I. We like the approach to dynamics though. Very nice flugel in Var II and the duet with the trombone is perfectly measured all round. Var III feels about the right tempo. Some of the delivery is scrappy but the spirit of the music is certainly there. Var IV is very ‘safe’ dynamically, but there is still uncertainty in delivery. V builds nicely in energy towards a powerful finale. An interesting performance with plenty to offer but one that just became a bit ragged at times.

 

4. Forest of Dean Brass (Bryn James)

Bold and slightly brash in the opening and there are intonation problems and quite a few splits as it proceeds. Var I has spirit but again the precision isn’t really there all the way. Some discomfort also in Var II, where the intonation continues to be a problem. Lovely playing from the solo horn is the highlight. Var III has the right approach in terms of tempo. There are still a few ragged edges on the ensemble, however, while the dynamic range also feels rather narrow. Better playing follows in Var IV and the final section knocks along apace, with the ensemble suffering as a result. Not quite at their best today for us.

 

3. Bodmin Town (John Maines) 

Convincing opening and the tranquil playing is all under control. One or two notable slips in Var I but again it has good overall shape. Lovely soprano playing in Var II - very classy. Not all of his colleagues are quite so tidy in delivery but moments of real quality keep popping up in this one. Unfortunately the reverse is also true… Var III is quite sedate and although you can hear every note clearly some of the tuning is very poor, especially in the trombones. Confident horn in Var IV is the pick of the soloists and the final variation arrives in a bit of a rush. One that got away for Bodmin today.

 

2. Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)

Not quite as tight to opening and the ensemble threatens to unwind slightly in Var I. Band and percussion really not together at times. Var II has a tentative feeling about it, even although it holds together and the quiet passages are well measured. Tempo well-chosen in Var III, allowing us to her everything clearly. Great work from the solo horn in Var IV and she is ably matched by her colleagues. Nice run in to Var V and the end builds nicely from there, despite the poor tuning in the basses. One that improved with age here, but some early flaws could be costly.

 

1. City of Bristol Brass (Paul McLaughlin) 

Tight opening and the band sound is well-balanced and sturdy. Var I is well measured and very well handled all round. Just the occasional loss of precision. Var II has one or two intonation issues and not soloists speak with full confidence. Great playing from soprano and euphonium, and we like the solo horn’s style a lot. Var III knocks along a bit but the respective leading lines are all well handled. More assured playing all round in Var IV (we like the soprano player!) and the transition into Var V is seamless. Good ensemble all the way to the end of a very good opening performance.

 

Draw

1. City of Bristol Brass (Paul McLaughlin)

2. Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)

3. Bodmin Town (John Maines) 

4. Forest of Dean Brass (Bryn James)

5. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)

6. Roche Brass (David Hamilton)

7. Wotton-under-Edge and District (Ian Dickinson)

8. St. Keverne (Gareth Churcher)

9. AW Parker (Drybrook) (Joshua Ruck)

10. Chalford (Steve Tubb)

11. Glastonbury Brass (Simon Jones)

12. Andover Town (Steve Large)

13. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)

14. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Howard Evans)

15. Michelmersh Silver (Melvin White)

16. Otterbourne Brass (Melvin White)