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

London and Southern Counties Regional Championships - 2nd Section LIVE!

Sunday 18 March, 2018

2nd Section

Gordon Craig Theatre

Test-piece: Ex Terra Lucem (Jonathan Bates)

Sunday 18 March

Split Draw: 9.00am and 11.00am (commences 10.00am)

Adjudicators: Leigh Baker and Tom Davoren

Andy Straiton reporting

 

Official Result

1. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)

2. St. Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)

3. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)

4. Wantage Concert Brass (David Hayward)

5. Horsham Borough (Mark McLauchlin)

6. Chinnor Silver (David Pegram)

7. Soham Comrades (Mark Ager)

8. Waterbeach (Andrew Kershaw)

9. Tilbury (Ben Jones)

10. BAE Systems (Melvin White)

11. Yiewsley and West Drayton (Christopher Cole)

12. Welwyn Garden City (Graham Chambers)

13. Epsom and Ewell Silver (Paul Graham)

14. Fairlop Brass (Kevin Jordan)

15. Littleport Brass (Nicholas Garman)

16. Hungerford Town (Tim Crouter)

17. Cold Ash Brass (Jemma Johnstone)

18. Castleton Brass (Peter Ryan)

Best Basses: Chinoor Silver

Best Trombones: Wantage Concert Brass

Overall

Another great contest with Ex Terra Lucem as the test piece. Bands have evidently enjoyed performing it and the audience have enjoyed listening. A real success story for the music panel. In terms of a result, we are going for Wantage Concert and Littleport as the top two after two musically convincing performances. Beyond that there are a number of bands that could be up there, we are going for St Sebastian, Milton Keynes, Waterbeach and LGB, but what do we know? The adjudicators will be out the box soon and we will post the official results as soon as we have them.

 

In the BB Frame - Not the official result

1. Wantage Concert Brass (David Hayward)

2. Littleport Brass (Nicholas Garman)

3. St Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)

4. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)

5. Waterbeach (Andrew Kershaw)

6. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)

 

 

18. Fairlop Brass (Kevin Jordan)

 

Last band of the contest and we get a well controlled opening, however as the volume increases the band does get a little scrappier with some of the rhythmic detail being lost. More risks could be taken on the quieter dynamics however the middle movement is generally well played and lyrical. Transition into the final movement isn’t the cleanest but the band sounds clean and accurate afterwards. Soloists are all technically strong but could do with playing with more style and confidence.

Overall: Another performance that didn’t quite get going. The band played well but it just seemed to lack the spark of the best performances.

 

17. Hungerford Town (Tim Crouter)

A very controlled and measured opening which is nice and tight, but there are intonation issues from the off. The tempo is a little under and this does affect the momentum of the music a little, however the playing is generally tight. The middle movement sees some lovely soft playing however like so many bands today it didn’t quite feel 100% comfortable. Final movement was well played and under control but didn’t quite have the style and big sounds of the best we’ve heard today.

Overall: A committed and controlled performance from Hungerford. The band played within their limits and what was asked of them by the MD. A few too many clips and likely lacking the style needed to make an impact at the top though.

 

16. Yiewsley and West Drayton (Christopher Cole)

The opening is a bit scrappy but the band settles in gradually as the nerves begin to dissipate. The band really opens up and what a sound they have. There are a few fragilities in the intonation and again the middle movement doesn’t quite gel as the band would’ve liked. Final movement is well played, with the cornet solo very classy. Once again the band opens up with it’s big sound for the ending and the last chord is great.  

Overall: A committed account that has a lot of merit, but we feel it had too many slips to make an impact at the top today.

 

15. St. Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)

Great clarity in the opening here, the tempo is dropped a touch but the performance is none the worse for it. The middle movement doesn’t quite gel 100% at times but soloists all do a fine job, flugel especially. The band takes some risks on the quiet dynamics and it pays off well. Cornet stands at the front to deliver his solo with great style, not sure the standing contributed anything though. The final movement really builds well to a great finish. Potentially a little too much tam tam at the end but a fine end to what is a strong performance.

Overall: A contender here with a very well delivered performance. Maybe lacked the excitement of some bands but this well constructed performance could certainly feature in the results ceremony.

 

14. Tilbury (Ben Jones)

A tight opening from Tilbury that drives forward well, but the intonation gremlins are once again present in the cornet section. Some really good quiet playing follows in the middle movement with the band really taking a risk on the quietest dynamics. The final movement is a bit steadier, potentially too steady though as it does feel to lack a bit of drive.

Overall: A strong performance from Tilbury but one that we feel just lacked the extra something that the best bands have had.

 

13. Waterbeach (Andrew Kershaw)

An even faster opening from Waterbeach, but it doesn’t quite feel under control. As it settles down a little there’s some lovely ensemble playing and the band has a lovely rich tone. Middle movement hears some lovely lyrical playing, perhaps a touch on the loud side though and percussion aren’t always with the rest of the band. The final movement opens well, some quieter playing and the flugel soloist is on fine form. As we build towards the end the performance really gels and is very stylish – really capturing the menacing style of the music. No mention of intonation either – until the last chord! Such a shame

Overall: A performance that grew and grew from Waterbeach, with moments of such class. The opening and final chord will likely cost but could it be a dark horse today?

 

12. Littleport Brass (Nicholas Garman)

Lightening quick opening but the band can do it and it sounds tight. The band has a very big sound but there’s a bit of overblowing creeping in at times. The detail is coming through well and we hear good contrast in dynamics. Again there are a few tuning issues but this is a strong performance so far. The final movement is a touch slower than most today but sounds so classy. The big band sound is heard again in a powerful ending, this time without the overblowing.

Overall: A really strong performance from Littleport. Not without the odd moment but we really enjoyed it and it could definitely be up there come results time.

 

11. Epsom and Ewell Silver (Paul Graham)

Big bold sounds in the opening movement, the band certainly aren’t holding back. The oh so familiar tuning gremlins are creeping in again but this has been an exciting start and is generally nice and tight. Middle movement is very relaxed and the band sound a lot more comfortable. Some splits in solos aren’t ideal but the movement works as a whole. As the final movement builds it doesn’t quite gel, perhaps tiredness is creeping in?

Overall: A committed performance and we really enjoyed the opening. Tiredness potentially affected the latter half of the piece which is such a shame after the opening  

 

10. Soham Comrades (Mark Ager)

Nice tight opening but it is all just so very loud here. Tuning gremlins again creep in within the cornet section. The middle section is again too loud – almost mf not piano at all. The music is allowed to flow nicely and finally at the end of the movement we get some quiet playing! The final movement really motors on, perhaps at the expense of some detail. The end is where the big bold sounds of the band come into there own and it’s good stuff to close.

Overall: Some dynamics and quieter playing would’ve really added to this performance, but in spite of that it was a strong performance from a capable band.

 

9. Cold Ash Brass (Jemma Johnstone)

Another band with intonation problems, the first chord especially so. The first movement moves along nicely with a good sense of rhythm, even if it is a little scrappy at times. Soloists do well in a middle movement that has promise but just requires the band to play with a bit more confidence! Transition to the third movement is smooth, leading to a final movement that builds nicely. Bass section especially have a great sound in this last movement.

Overall: A well-directed, committed account from Cold Ash Brass. Again though, another band that will sadly suffer due to intonation issues.

 

8. Horsham Borough (Mark McLauchlin)

A fast-paced opening from Horsham doesn’t quite have all the detail we would like but is nonetheless musically enjoyable. Middle movement has a couple of uneasy movements but soloists perform well and the MD’s reading gives the music the time and space it so deserves. Final movement goes along nicely if again lacking the cutting edge we expect from the best however it draws to a strong ending.

Overall: An enjoyable reading by the MD, delivered well by the band. Could’ve done with a little more detail at times to really make it come to life though.

 

7. Chinnor Silver (David Pegram)

Opening feels to have a slight lack of conviction and again we hear some issues with intonation. There is good rhythmic clarity (especially from back row) and dynamic contrast is strong. A lovely flugel solo is the highlight of a middle movement that moves on possibly a little too quickly for us but is well delivered. Final movement is a lot slower than others we have heard today and does feel to lack momentum but it all builds to a good final chord

Overall: Lots to commend in a committed account from Chinnor. Intonation will likely cost come results time though.

 

6. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)

Tuning at the opening hampers what is otherwise a strong first movement. The middle movement is really allowed to flow and we are hearing the quietest pianos of the day so far. Again though, there are moments where intonation makes it sound a little uncomfortable. The extra bass provides a slightly bottom heavy ending but this was a well-delivered performance – potentially could have taken a few more risks to make it stand out though.

Overall: A strong if slightly safe performance from the band, just a shame about tuning in certain passages.

 

5. Welwyn Garden City (Graham Chambers)

The first movement moves along nicely with the band playing tightly, even if it isn’t the boldest reading we have heard today. Percussion all line up on one side behind the trombones creating an interesting effect however, they aren’t always with the rest of the band which is a shame. The middle movement is again generally tight if a little safe. A few clips in otherwise strong solos are a shame, flugel especially doing a fine job. Final movement moves along nicely but doesn’t quite have the big bold sounds we’ve heard from other bands.

Overall: A tight if safe reading from Welwyn, maybe a little too safe to get towards the top today.

4. BAE Systems (Melvin White)

Another pacey opening, does feel a little overblown at times though. A nicely controlled, musical transition leads into a slower movement that features some lovely soft playing, some clips in solos do detract a little though. Final movement moves on nicely with a lovely solo from principal cornet. Ending feels a little tired but the fundamentals generally remain in place which is good.

Overall: A performance that had a lot of potential but maybe didn’t quite come of as the band would have hoped

 

3. Wantage Concert Brass (David Hayward)

The first of three bands from Wantage today and the opening is the tightest we’ve heard today. A few small tuning issues but this is tight, exciting playing. Percussion certainly ensure they can be heard towards the end of the first movement. Solo playing is good in a nicely flowing middle movement. Final movement is again fast paced but doesn’t feel out of control, with some great band sounds to close.

Overall: A real step up in class from Wantage, could really take some beating today.

 

2. Castleton Brass (Peter Ryan)

The opening feels a little timid and the tuning is a little off. The band really gets going at the louder dynamics though, some great sounds! Transition to the slow movement is a little uneasy but some good lyrical playing follows. Ending is bold but doesn’t feel too overdone, they definitely grew into the performance.

Overall: A band with a great sound, just requiring a little more consistency to make a mark

 

1. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)

The opening is full of excitement, possibly at the cost of some of the detail. Soloists do well but the middle movement feels like it needs a little more space for us. The final movement is again exciting but begins to sound hurried and we hear some tuning issues creep in.

Overall: A good exciting marker from the number one draw, a few slips may cost though.

 

Draw

1. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)

2. Castleton Brass (Peter Ryan)

3. Wantage Concert Brass (David Hayward)

4. BAE Systems (Melvin White)

5. Welwyn Garden City (Graham Chambers)

6. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)

7. Chinnor Silver (David Pegram)

8. Horsham Borough (Mark McLauchlin)

9. Cold Ash Brass (Jemma Johnstone)

10. Soham Comrades (Mark Ager)

11. Epsom and Ewell Silver (Paul Graham)

12. Littleport Brass (Nicholas Garman)

13. Waterbeach (Andrew Kershaw)

14. Tilbury (Ben Jones)

15. St. Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)

16. Yiewsley and West Drayton (Christopher Cole)

17. Hungerford Town (Tim Crouter)

18. Fairlop Brass (Kevin Jordan)