NASUWT RIVERSIDE JOIN FRATERNITY - First ever Grand Shield victory for North East outfit

Issue 5999

MAESTRO'S MUSINGS - Preparing your band for a competition

DYKE IMPRESS AT STOLLER HALL - Coverage from the latest in the Best of Brass series

North of England Regional Championships - 2nd Section LIVE!

Saturday 17 March, 2018

2nd Section

Test-piece: Ex Terra Lucem (Jonathan Bates)

Saturday 17 March

Draw: 3.00pm (commences 4.30pm)

Adjudicators: Howard Evans and John Roberts

Anne Crookston reporting 



1. North Skelton (Daniel Brooks)

2. J36 Brass (Andrew Warriner)

3. Ferryhill Town (Gareth Sykes)

4. Cockerton (Peter Elcoat)

5. NASUWT Concert Brass (Andrew Hall)

6. Durham Miners Association (Stuart Gray)

7. East Riding of Yorkshire (Gary Hallas)

8. Bearpark and Esh Colliery (Phillip Tait)


Best Euphonium: North Skelton

Best Basses: North Skelton

Best Soprano: J36


A tough contest today - no-one really came out and nailed it from beginning to end. Some really fine solo playing from some of the bands - a couple of stylish jazz solos, but all of the bands falling prey to the dreaded rhythm demons. Playing quavers off a tied note - but it should all be in time with percussion - you'd think it would be easy!!! Let's wait to find out what judges Howard Evans and John Roberts make of it all.

8. North Skelton (Daniel Brooks)

Big sounds to open – but starts to get a little rough round the edges – sop is REALLY going for it. Solid work from solo euph but those pesky rhythmic sections between band and percussion are coming apart. This is testing all of the bands today. Nice work from solo horn and sop – well judged. MD is really whipping the band into frenzy in the closing moments, the transition is nicely judged though. Nice flow to the slow transition and good work on sop, the handover almost comes off. Solo cornet delivers solidly – just some untunefulness in the inner band parts. Nice work on flugel. Solo cornet closes of the section nicely. The band are delivering one of the quietest sections today – and tubular bells have given us some well judged triplet crotchets – well done. The final transition os successful, but there are some nervy entries in the finale. Nice work in euphs and lower band. Flugel delivers once again. Lovely work solo cornet – another really stylish jazz solo. Lower band sounds are powerful and don’t lose any energy in the closing moments.

7. Bearpark and Esh Colliery (Phillip Tait)

Not the quickest tempo today, but maybe the tidiest ensemble. Nice flowing flugel solo line and the MD is really trying to pull out some of the finer details. Tutti band sounds are warm, although some untunefulness is creeping in and the timp gets away from the band just before the euph delivers a solid solo contribution. This piece is giving all of the bands some to think about – once again the ensemble between band and percussion isn’t what it could be. Tied notes – it’s a problem! Tubular bells are VERY prominent – wonder what they’ll make of that in the box? Some nervousness in the entries but sop delivers a nicely shaped solo line. Well done MD you’re letting the melody flow a little without rushing it. Solo lines are a little nervy but come off  - loving the lower melodic lines on cornets, what a rich sound. A BIG pause before solo cornet hands over to the quiet playing. All I can see is tubular bells trying so hard to time those triplet crotchets – so difficult, and it nearly works. A BIG tempo change during the solo cause the band issues – it’s interpretation, but not as we know it! Closing moments are neat but the band and MD are struggling to keep the tempo consistent – lower band slow things down a little. Some of the solo lines are struggling a little now. Ok – that’s a new one, the troms are on their feet – it’s a bit of an unusually worked ending. But the crowd seem to really like it!

6. Durham Miners Association (Stuart Gray)


Rhythmic opening, although some untunefulness creeping into the solo lines. Timp not quite with the band in a couple of places. The rhythms are quite tight, however the ff sounds are a bit too strident. Euph solo – nearly works. The tempo is moving a bit, and euph struggles to keep up in places. There is some good energy and the transition is handled tidily – perhaps the nerves have settled a little more now. Lovely work sop – the handover to principal cornet works well. There are nice solo contributions all around – maybe the tempo could just ease up a bit and give them a little more space? Transition to the quiet passage is tidy again and there is sme nice phrasing – percussion are barely noticeable – it’s created a nice atmosphere. Just keep control of that tuning! The final few bars in the slow movement are well handled by this young band and we hear tidy detail in the opening bars of the finale. They’re really trying to play quiet. This is the best jazz solo we’ve heard today – well done. A commendable attempt to bring some life to the finale – there is a good rhythmic feel to it. The final chord loses a little energy but a grand effort.

5. Ferryhill Town (Gareth Sykes)

This has got the most energy about it so far – and some real solid quality about the band sound. Percussion support really well. A bit of untunefulness in cornets in the bigger sounds. Euph solo is effective, although the tempo has dropped a bit. A blip in percussion – just gets apart from band for an instant – he’s kicking himself!! Lovely solo contributions from solo horn and sop though. Big sounds are really solid – there are 5 basses, but the ensemble isn’t always tight and we have some intonation issues in the transition. MD is working hard to pull some musical shapes – lovely work sop, the handover to solo cornet works nicely. Again – the solo contributions from solo cornet and flugel are solid – the music has some space and is flowing. The quiet section has nicely shaped phrasing that allows the principal cornet to sing through at the end. Some ragged entries as the music builds, sop and solo horn are fighting slightly as the movement comes to close. Nice detail in cornets and flowing lines in lower band. The band has its energy back thanks to some powerful lower band sounds – nice control to finish (although timpanist is melting it!) A solid performance with some of the same rhythmic issues that others have had today, but effective in the other details.

4. NASUWT Concert Brass (Andrew Hall)

Tidy opening – but there are some serious tuning problems in trombones! Nice sounding flugel but the tempo has dropped quite a bit – a few splashes creeping already. Full band sounds are well organised but are becoming a bit strident. Euph solo is well handled but the rhythmic sections are really getting away from the band – just sounds a bit unsettled. Lovely solo contributions from solo horn and sop. Oops a bit of an early entry in the lower end just after the big fff, but the tempo transition is tidy and takes us to a well-controlled slow movement. Sop solo is well shaped and the handover to solo cornet is nearly seamless. The band sound a lot more settled now – flugel is well in control and shapes the lyrical lines nicely. Principal cornet doesn’t quite get away with it – just sounds a little nervy but the quiet section is really well handled – great control basses. They’re back on form again with really nice solo contributions from PC and sop – lovely dim.. into the finale! Great stuff. The tempo is a lively one – it’s got a bit of energy and cornet detail is clear. Lovely flugel again – and stylish cornet solo. Tuning just tips over the edge a bit in the louder passages but the end is more convincing than the opening was.

3. J36 Brass (Andrew Warriner) 


A powerful opening – but once again, the band accomp and percussion not always together. Solid delivery from euph – well done. Tempos are a wee bit inconsistent – slower in the lyrical sections and upbeat again when rhythmic. Some really lovely solo contributions from sop and solo horn – nice work. Percussion help build well to the first fff  and the transition to our slow movement is confidently handled. Sop is on form and hands over to solo cornet tidily. Some nice melodic lines here – and the solo contributions are well shaped – always with an eye on the music. Just the odd moment of intonation in cornets maybe. Solo cornet delivers in declamatory style before handing over to the muted section. Sadly, the intonation is suffering here. Although the phrasing is nicely handled, the tuning really is detracting. Solo cornet is on solid form today. Sop and solo horn balance well to close this off. Opening of the finale is set at a steady pace and we can hear detail – nice work from flugel and solo cornet eases comfortably through – the band is comfortable in this last section, however timp is overbalancing a little (out of tune as well – yikes!)– so easy to do. Gets a little rough towards the end. A solid performance from the band – and the solo cornet in particular. Some rough edges that might keep it out of the prizes though.

2. East Riding of Yorkshire (Gary Hallas)

Neat opening – but once again accompaniment and percussion not always together. Some lovely solo lines and the tempo remains consistent – great. Band and percussion coming apart a bit in places, Fantastic euph solo – stylish! A pity – a couple of splashes got in the way at the end. The ensemble has really picked up and we hear a solidly delivered horn solo. Lovely sound sop. Lush sounds in the cornets and powerful band sounds at the fff! Some untidy moments through the transition and into the first slow passage. Some really nervy entries begin to mar the playing. But… oh what a lovely cornet sound (again not without a splash or two!) Some really lovely, lyrical contributions from soloists throughout, but nerves just getting in the way. Some clipped phrases and splashes – MD is taking this at quite a lick as well, give it a little more space to breathe! Controlled, quiet playing and a beautiful melodic style from solo cornet. The movement closes tidily but the rhythmic opening to the finale is missing something – not all going well here, but we recover a little as the music builds. A bit of a tempo change after the stylish jazz solo cornet. Lovely solid sounds from lower end end – however I fear it may be too late. The end is convincing, but – principal cornet aside – there were moments that really didn’t come off today.

1. Cockerton (Peter Elcoat)

Opening sounds are confident – although sop is sharp. Rhythmic accomp isn’t always with the solo lines and the tempo drops in the lyrical solo sections. Euphs – wooft you’re sharp! Full bands sounds are strident from letter E. Nicely handled euph solo – we’re still struggling to play rhythms accurately though. Who knew tied notes could cause so much trouble? Horn is solid and negotiates his first contribution safely. The transition to our first slow section is neatly handled, with well-judged muted cornets. Good work sop – and the hand over to solo cornet just about works seamlessly. Solo cornets delivers tidily as does flugel – although a little less in tune. The transition from solo cornet  works well. The quiet section is well controlled – difficult percussion work in this passage is there – just. Not all intonation is comfortable and particularly at the end of this movement where sop pushes a little too sharp. The finale takes off with some good detail in cornets, the balance is nice with tuned percussion. Nice solo contributions from flugel – and solo cornet, this style is well in your comfort zone. Tutti band is sounding more comfortable now. The lower end of the band finish in solid fashion. A healthy first performance in this section – perhaps not one that will make the top three though.


1. Cockerton (Peter Elcoat)

2. East Riding of Yorkshire (Gary Hallas)

3. J36 Brass (Andrew Warriner)

4. NASUWT Concert Brass (Andrew Hall)

5. Ferryhill Town (Gareth Sykes)

6. Durham Miners Association (Stuart Gray)

7. Bearpark and Esh Colliery (Phillip Tait)

8. North Skelton (Daniel Brooks)