A TALE OF PERSEVERANCE - Mareika Gray - the story of an unlikely musical journey

Issue 6006

ON THE BEAT - The first in a new series by Gavin Pritchard discussing all things percussion

PRODUCING A RECORDING - Adam Goldsmith reveals the secrets to a successful recording

North of England Regional Championships - 4th Section LIVE!

Saturday 17 March, 2018

4th Section

Test-piece: World Tour (Rodney Newton)

Saturday 17 March

Draw: 9.30am (commences 11.00am)

Adjudicators: Michael Fowles and John Roberts

Anne Crookston reporting 



1. Spennymoor Town (Fiona Casewell)*

2. Tewit Silver (Martin Hall)*

3. Trimdon Concert Brass (David Kinross)

4. Burneside Brass (Dave Higson)

5. Lanchester (Tom Yates)

6. Marske (Nigel Barnes)

7. Penrith Town (Chris Torn)

8. Craghead Colliery (Alan Fernie)


Best Cornet: Soprano, Spennymoor Town

Best Euphonium: Spennymoor Town

Youngest Player: Spennymoor Town



That's it for the fourth section - a closely-fought contest, with bands succumbing to some intonation issues in the difficult slow movement. However, at the top - the three bands we think will be in the frame are Trimdon, Burneside and Tewiit - good luck to all.

8. Tewit Silver (Martin Hall)

A bright, lively opening from our final band today – not all ensemble is together, but there is real intent here. The march is lively and well held together and the opening movement ends tidily. Ragtime is quite brisk but there is good attention to detail and euph and solo cornet work well together – this is working nicely – I like it! This ragtime is a real toe-tapper, great work. A couple of wee scratches but that won’t worry anyone. Really good work! Although the slow movement doesn’t quite start together the solo lines are delivered with clarity. The music flows along well – some intonation issues – all of the bands have had them. The band’s young flugel player delivers well – a little scratchy from sop though, and inner intonation issues in horns but they’re trying so hard. An unfortunate mobile phone going off between the movements! Walkabout has well-constructed lines and neat ensemble in the main – the waltz has real pulse. The return is not without incident though – as at the beginning – not all of the ensemble comes together – a pity, this had real potential for a long time. Lots to commend in this one – the MD shaped the performance really well – just some parts that got away, but definitely in the frame for me.

7. Penrith Town (Chris Torn)


Steady opening from Penrith with a good sound in evidence. There are intonation issues, however – these might play a part later on. This is a bright sounding cornet section with a clear sop cutting through on top. The march has neat ensemble – the lines and phrases could have neater endings for me though. Yikes – cornets turning out when the intonation isn’t 100% - is that a good idea? The ragtime is a good steady tempo, but we need the style to go with it – give the syncopation some life please! Lovely work solo euph – so well under control. Solo cornet and flugel deliver solidly. Ensemble just starts to come apart in places, but there is intent – the end isn’t quite together though. Pacific Paradise – another one that gets away, but the solo lines are confidently delivered. Tempo is a bit sedate – they’re definitely on a beach somewhere … It has a feeling of tranquillity, but could flow more. Sop – bravo! Horns show nice control at this pace and dynamic, well done. Controlled ending (cornets turned in? Can we just play quietly?) Nice contrast in the opening of our Walkabout – there’s a it of life about this! Well-shaped and neat ensemble – good attention to detail. The intonation rocks quite a lot however,as we embark on the Homeward leg – we’re home, but it hasn’t been an easy journey. Nicely shaped in places and a solid sounding band – however the top end suffered from intonation issues – particularly when asked to deliver bigger volume. No need to turn out guys!

6. Craghead Colliery (Alan Fernie)

Timp. took a bit of a flyer – clearly eager to get underway! Strong solo cornet work – just the two of them today – they’re got their work cut out! Solid lines and a committed performance from sop get us underway. Nice march tempo – this balances really nicely, well put together. WE hear the dockside concert snippets really clearly. Now the journey begins …  A bit of an unfortunate opening to the ragtime, but when get underway, we’re on safer ground – bravo solo euph, stylish! They really find the style in this ragtime – just a couple of scratchy moments from soloists. Again, an untidy opening to the slow movement – so many bands have succumbed to this difficult opening. Rodney’s music is proving a worthy test! On safer ground, the tutti band sounds are shaped nicely. Solo cornet delivers  his solo towards with some assuredness – he’s really working hard today. Some intonation issues are causing problems. Walkabout opens with great intent from the troms – bravo and we’re waltzing along stylishly. On the homeward leg of the journey now and the band are safely home. A tough ask today for the band with only two on the front row – so an admirable show all round. Perhaps just not their day today, though.


A really assured opening from Burneside – lovely reading with great contrasts in the march section. A really good reading this. The ragtime tempo is just right for me – nice control all round. Lovely work from solo euph and flugel shapes the solo so stylishly. The tutti band work is rhythmic and with a controlled close, this has been the best ragtime today. Not a great opening to the Pacific Paradise, solo lines are a bit wobbly, but when the band find their feet the lines are nicely shaped, with good attention to dynamic shapes. We finally find some tranquil moments. Lovely moment from sop – great control. The band are working really hard to find quiet dynamics – it’s working, but the ensemble and intonation just aren’t quite soid enough for me. Our Outback adventure starts with great intent, however troms ihave intonation issues. Great work in the middle of the band before we return to home shores. Good lines are again in evidence and the band has a good sound to close. A good start to their performance was just marred by uncertainty in solo lines in the slow movement and some intonation as we drew to a close.   

4. Trimdon Concert Brass (David Kinross)

Safely underway with Trimdon – certainly the best tutti band sound we’ve heard today,  with clear intent and strong lines. The march has great style and control, neat ensemble and well-intentioned music making in abundance. The ragtime is quite brisk compare to some we’ve heard however it’s dances along and solo lines are all beautifully delivered – bravo. They’re enjoying this! Lovely work from troms – so stylish. Big smile on the face of virgin conductor Dave Kinross – he must be enjoying this! Neat and tidy opening to the Pacific Paradise – there’s warmth and strong performances from the soloists. The band are displaying good control and musically shaped lines. Just the odd bit of untunefulness in places, but they’re going for some quiet dynamics as well. Lovely work from sop – great sound. Controlled opening to our Walkabout, lovely neat ensemble and solid trombones – this is a really good show. Great debut performance for MD Dave Kinross and the band – warm sounds and the band clearly enjoyed the music!


3. Marske (Nigel Barnes)

Warm sounds, lyrical and flowing opening leg of journey, Marske have made a good opening impression. Bright and contrasting tempo changes in the march – a little under-powered in terms of sound, but intonation is secure. A little untidy to open their ragtime – and the quickest tempo so far, but we’re dancing along rhythmically! Euph and solo cornet have this well under control! Neat and tidy ensemble – great work from horns and sop. Again, an untidy opening to the slow movement but the solo lines are safely delivered. The band and conductor finding some lyrical shapes to their Pacific odyssey, with a solid show from soprano and solo cornet. A little shaky to close. The trombones begin their Australian Walkabout at a steady pace – no hurry to get home just yet! Some intonation issues are creeping as the band are heading home – a pity, it’s tiring a little. A good solid performance with a great show from sop and solo cornet.

2. Spennymoor Town (Fiona Casewell)


Good opening sounds from Spennymoor, confidently setting sail. March is a bit steady but rhythmically secure. There are nice touches of dynamic contrast – well led this. The ragtime has a bit of style to it - and they dance along nicely. Pacific Paradise shows nice lines and solid solo lines. They’re working hard to give some shape and flow to the music, and finding some of the quieter dynamics in the process. Not without a few mishaps on the way, but the young principal cornet players delivers his lines with ease! On the homeward leg now – a bit pedestrian in pace but all is well under control. The waltz bowls along nicely and we can hear some really tidy ensemble. Back to our opening theme now – almost home. A good show from Spennymoor with solid solo lines and a good reading from the MD. Well done.                             


1.         Lanchester (T. Yates)

Confident opening from Lanchester, however some frailty in intonation is apparent early on. The march is bright and the band their young conductor seem to be in their comfort zone. Solo lines sound fairly nervy but we negotiate our way safely out of port and are on our way! A really steady tempo for the ragtime leaves this a little flat in style for me – we should be dancing along, but the weaknesses in ensemble are becoming evident. A little untidy to open our Pacific Paradise but the solo lines are delivered in workmanlike fashion. When the tutti band sound opens out we begin to feel the warmth of the Island sun, however the tempo is flagging – this needs to flow! We’re on the homeward journey now and trombones deliver in fine style. All feels a lot more comfortable now, nice change to the waltz, this is more like it! And we’re home. It’s been a bit of a troubled journey – in places comfortable and rolling along, however the band succumbed to some intonation issues and untidy ensemble. May not be their day today, but a young conductor and a mix of youth and experience to build with.



1. Lanchester (Tom Yates)

2. Spennymoor Town (Fiona Casewell)

3. Marske (Nigel Barnes)

4. Trimdon Concert Brass (David Kinross)

5. Burneside Brass (Dave Higson)

6. Craghead Colliery (Alan Fernie)

7. Penrith Town (Chris Torn)

8. Tewit Silver (Martin Hall)