BATTLE OF THE TITANS - Bands gear up for a titanic battle at the Royal Albert Hall

Issue 6016

COMPOSERS' CORNER - Dr Liz Lane looks at the subject of  networking 

HERE IS THE NEWS - Looking back at the Daily Herald's Nationals sponsorship

Cheltenham National Finals - Live

Saturday 15 September, 2018

Final roundup

Its been a fantastic weekend of music-making here in Cheltenham. Four great tests for the bands... that really did test all elements of performance. Congratulations to all who took part. The work that must have gone in from behind the scenes to the performers on stage is incredible. Yet another great National Finals. Thanks for following. 



2. Staffordshire.

3. Johnstone


5.Dunaskin Doon

6.Ebbw Valley

Best Instrumentalist:- Sop- Johnstone. 



Our Top Six Prediction:

1.Oldham Band (Lees)

2.Sandhurst Silver

3.Foresters Brass


5. Bournemouth Concert Brass


Dark horses Ebbw Valley and Freckleton.


17. Amersham (Paul Fisher)

Band do well to open but not unscathed!  All nicely shaped from here on. Euph does well, and nails it. Some good effects coming through the dancesection and pulses well. Good playing this. All lines are clear and and the band show technical competence. Lovely link into the slow movement and this has good flow. Fantastic sop!! All soloists are really secure.. well done. Intonation generally secure in the 8ves. Band are playing well and have not let the long wait get in the way of their excitement.Clean playing with good basses and nice effects. Not quite the transparency of Oldham but really good stuff. You keep us on the edge and waiting for more. Such a warm sound from the band and all soloists play to there best and nail it. A great horn and now the biggest of ends. Great playing this.


16. Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)

Quite a familiar sight, John Collins and Oldham on the Nationals contesting stage. Band set-up is like Staffordshire's, cornets stood around the band. Classy opening from the cornets.. Fanfare positions really work. Good middle of the band sounds and a glorious full band sound. Accents really come through and the dynamics are super effective. Stunning Euph... What a dim! Riskiest Euph solo of the day and it pays off! The dance section shows off the technical expertise within the band and the effects are sensational. Ensemble is super tight and what an amazing full band sound... It lifts the roof. Perfect transition into the slow movement. Such class from the principal cornet. Beautiful Flugel... so musical. This slow section paints a wonderous musical picture... So well shaped by the MD. Final section is extremely lively and full of technical competence. We hear lines that we havent heard in any other performances today and so may effects from all timbres within the band. Great ending too. Fantastic performance which has taken us on a complete musical journey! Massive congratulations! Clear winners for us so far today.

STAR PLAYERS:- The whole band were superb... Such a team effort.

15. Strata Brass (Jonathan Bates) 

Well one of the cornets hit the wall and I think it took Johny Bates by surprise. Band recover well and get on with the technical elements with a good approach - very effective stuff. Not the contesting start you would want but some good playing since then. A really lovely cornet followed by flugel and sop who are just not in tune. Band come into their own and go for the jugular and use power to explore the elements of the score, it sort of works! Cornet duet is nice and the band are balanced underneath. This is really nice from the band as it heads to the end, odd clip here and there and percussion just not together but a good show.


14. Houghton Brass (Lee Morris)

Opening a little clippy and there's some poor intonation on show. When full band the sound is really big and warm. Nearly Euph! The dance section needs to " dance" and we are loosing clarity and struggle to paint the musical picture. Good hairpins and these really add colour before the slow section. Nice cornet and Euph duo. Love the way the melody passes fluidly around the band and soloists all play well. 8ve melodies have really good tuning... but the accompanying parts show poor intonation. Final section needs more excitement.. effects need to be more and like so many bands today we struggle to hear the prominant lines. Final lyrical section is a safe dynamic and again struggles with intonation. Good effort though on what is proving to be a difficult test for many today. 

STAR PLAYER:- Cornet and Euph.


13. Foresters Brass (John Davis)

All working hard to create the right sound palette. It doesn't quite get there straight away but when it does it's great. Euph shines and detail is flying out.Maybe balance that's making this work because its not all precise but the way the players are approaching it is top section. 

Some lovely playing that just suffers in the tuning between soloists. Risky dynamics that are working mostly.Bands overall picture is a really good one, they sound like they've been rehearsing this for 100 years. (in a good way).The right musical lines are on show and its bubbling along nicely. Clever work by band and MD. The music grows and builds and has been for probably the entire section.  Contest performances have to be clean, safe, and have some thing that little bit special to win and who knows? Bravo band!




12. Dunaskin Doon (Chris Bradley)

Great opening. Not the most mature sounding band but very accurate. Dance section is lively but we do loose detail... Please ensure the more prominant parts come to the fore. It sounds a little one dimensional. Lovely start to the slow movement. Well done cornet and Euph... Good tuning too. Flugel really sings... what a sound! Sop does well.. odd blip but recovers. Lovely movement...well done. Just be careful in the unsion 8ves as you transition into the Final sections.This movement really drives... could have more effects but the band are playing well. Nice final lyrical section and good bass. A little scrappy to close. 


 11. Staffordshire (Leigh Baker)


So, a new set up with the cornets surrounding the band and stood. It pays off well, excactly the right effect. Then the band's warm sound and style add so much. Intonation problems get in the way a little, but great start. Euph so nearly perfect. Band dance along with good effects and precision.Maybe a little 2 dimensional at times but good playing. If the band were a little maturer in sound quality this would all be right up there. Soloists are singing and sop shines. Bravo! some awful octive intonation that's spreading like the plague then all problems disappear and  glorious sounds. This is going well ,very exciting. Band under control but so intense keep going its all gonna pay off for you if you can keep this up! A few uncomfortable moments towards the end but a great show.



10. Harrogate (Dean Jones)

Opening is clippy! Big middle of the band sound and good timps. Intonation jars in the higher range. Band struggle a little with the technique required in the dance section. Good effort from Cornet and Euph in the slow Movement. Solo lines are a little tentative and really need to sing to portray the story-line.. because of this tuning suffers. The piece feels very exposed at the moment. Final section has drive and some lovely effects come through from the lower end of the band and percussion. Some great band sounds as you head towards the end of the piece... Far more assured and confident. Good ending.

STAR SECTION :- Trombones.



9. Freckleton (Paul Dalton) 

Opening is lack luster with wasted notes from the cornets. Young man on timpani does well but again the intensity levels should be through the roof. Band play nicely but should be biting the lid off this for it to hold it's own. When the band go big the effects are great but these have to happen at lesser dynamics levels also. Some really nice playing in the solo showcase and probably the cleanest of the day. This is big points if they can just hang on in there............... and you really do, great movement! The excitement is causing a few new ideas by the MD in bringing parts to the front. Not every musical line needs to be the same but you use your strengths well. Good show from Freckleton.



8. Ebbw Valley (Gareth Ritter)

Good, solid start. Great question and answer between timps and band. Expansive band sound.. Little bits of intonation at the top end. Lovely Euph with a great dim. Dance section has lots of drive and you can hear all the musical lines coming through and tonnes of effects. Ensemble is as tight as a nut! Good duo to open the slow section. Well done! Beautiful transition by sop and cornet. Great balance and because of this we are now hearing chords that we haven't with most bands. Good intonation in the 8ves. Final section motors... But with lots of clarity and again tonnes of effects. Big sounds from the bottom end of the band. Great percussion that really drive. Intonation suffers in the final slow section... but then goes onto become oh so musical. The second great interpretation of the day by the M.D. Well done!

STAR PLAYER:- Timpanist

7. Enderby (Simon Oates) 

Opens ok, but you can't hold back cornets or timpani or it just doesen't sound enough. Band sound is rich but not expansive enough to fill the notes, let alone the hall. This really does take a start,middle and end of each note and the balance of dynamics to be held on the top end for as long as possible. Soloists do really well, just a fleeting moment, but nice sounds. Why are the band playing with such a straight sound in unison? (asking for trouble) Band start next section out of tune and slow. Faster section is exciting and the band go for it, but its not together and the band are tiring slowly. Percussion are not helping the frantic goings on, needs to be very tight and sit just under the band until its your moment. Final legato playing is nice as we head for the end, 



6. Chalford (Steve Tubb)

Good, courageous opening. Are all the notes being played on timps? Band struggle a little in the opening dance. But as the section moves on the band settle. Good solo cornet in the slow section. A couple of blips in the other solos. Lovely solo cornet into a realy warm flugel solo. Entries are sometimes a little bumpy in this section.... Difficult though when exposed and quiet! Octave intonation suffers at times. And now we're off! Be careful that percussion don't slow the band down. The musical line is really difficult to follow as it's being masqued by other parts. Really good effort.. A big piece for the band.


 5. Burry Port Town (Gareth Robinson)

Band start well but don't have the breadth needed to keep in the dark vein. Technical playing is good and stays alive, but again more colour needed from dynamics that haven't beeen stretched enough. Soloists are doing well and are very nearly matching style, but octave intonation isn't perfect. The music shifts to exciting and the band are playing well, but there is so much more depth within this score that needs to speak out. Some real moments towards the end that can make or break, this is really hard. well done!


4. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)

Shaky opening!! Big band sound then emerges and the accents really come through. Nice Euph!  The faster section really drives and the bands technique really shines.  Lots of detail and effects really coming through... Maybe just gets a little harsh at times? Some of the solo lines are a little nervy with the odd clip and intonation issues. Such a shame! Exciting final section  which is really stylish.... You definitely flourish as a band in the louder/faster sections.Maybe a little one dimensional compared to the depth within the score. The musical picture becomes a little lost towards the very end.


3. Sandhurst Silver (David Johnson)

Big sounding band but not overdone! Great dynamics on show and this enables all the prominant lines to speak. Faster section is technically strong and the rhythms really drive. The shaping of the music has been lovely throughout and the sections make perfect sense. One or two clips in the solo lines detract a little. A shame! The final section is exciting with driving percussion and lots of effects coming through. Dynamics are excellent and this adds real colour to the music. Great ending.. Well done!!



2. Johnstone Silver (Martin Ramsay)

Decent start but the band sound light in comparison to Bournemouth and the bigger band sound works better for this piece. Technical playing wasn't biting enough to bring too many points in the box but it was nice and tight. Soloists playing well and really good sop. The band working hard but not sure if its exciting enough, off such an early draw to feature.


1. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Howard J Evans)

Bright and confident opening building to the bands full blooded sound. Euph is clean and the music comes to life and the technical playing is clear in the hall, good start.

Very exposed solo passages that are handled well. Band starts to tell the story as the music unfolds.

Good placement of chords through opening motif.. then enjoy the drive. Percussion over-shadow some nice middle band writing. Little intonation but doesnt detract. Mr Evans bringing out the big gun effects and the dynamics are giving us all the excitement. Percussion not together at the end. The picture was missing some detail through the middle of the band but clarity in the dance was excellent, big band sound.



Test Piece: 'King Arthur — Scenes from a Radio Drama'- Benjamin Britten arr Paul Hindmarsh
Draw: 2pm
Commence: at the conclusion of Section 3

Adjudicators:Alan Bourne, David Hirst, John Maines

1. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Howard J Evans)
2. Johnstone Silver (Martin Ramsay)
3. Sandhurst Silver (David Johnson)
4. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)
5. Burry Port Town (Gareth Robinson)
6. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
7. Enderby (Simon Oates)
8. Ebbw Valley (Gareth Ritter)
9. Freckleton (Paul Dalton)
10. Harrogate (Dean Jones)
11. Staffordshire (Leigh Baker)
12. Dunaskin Doon (Chris Bradley)
13. Foresters Brass (John Davis)
14. Houghton Brass (Lee Morris)
15. Strata Brass (Jonathan Bates)
16. Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)
17. Amersham (Paul Fisher)


Well done to the champions Barnsley... According to the adjudicator they were the clear winners! And well done to all the competing bands... you are all winners for even getting here in the first place. Hope there's lots of celebrations on those busses back home!!



Section 3 Results.



3. Market Rasen

4.Newmains and District

5.Barton Community


7. Taff Vale Brass (Gareth Ritter)
8. Selkirk Silver (Stuart Black)
9. Usk (James Jones)
10. City of Norwich Brass (Mark Ager)
11. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green
12. Bugle Silver (Steve Osborne)
13. Audley Brass (Tom Hancock)
14. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
15. Knaresborough Silver (Nicholas Garrett)
16. Weymouth Concert Brass (Adam Glynn)
17. Cleobury Mortimer Concert Brass (David Maplestone)
18. Chichester City (Rom Stanko)

Best Instrumentalist:- Euph-Barnsley


Our Top Six Prediction:

1.Taff Vale Brass

2.Dronfield Genquip

3.Newmains and District

4. Allerton Brass

5.Barnsley Brass 

6.City of Norwich Brass


18. Newmains and District

Fanfare and Bells;- Some lovely playing from the Scotts all detail heard, very classy, very good attention to detail. The band are right on the money with christmas bells, so alive (i loved this). Contesting is interesting when there's passages of the music where nothing needs doing other than keep the quality and the band do this so well. Then out of nowhere more drama. 

Solenne;- Really nice, again everything heard as it should be. Very tender and you are obviously paying your own tribute. There's fleeting moments of insecurity and intonation but not much, not much at all. Soloist just detract a little towards the back end, but nice stuff.

Finale;- Not as comfortable as before but clear detail and some great sounds from the band (i feel like im willing you on to maintain your top six status). A great end to a terrific performance. Well done!


17. Dronfield Genquip (Damian Wileman)

Fanfare and Bells:-Pretty good band sound and good atention to detail. This certainly has a right old royal feel with some quality players being heard around the stands and some lovely effects. A very good opening movement that the conductor has given room and space for all things to be heard.

Solenne:-Again some nice playing and relatively secure but not the most tender. The dynamics are safe compared to the opening movement. Cornet soloist is stunning us all with such a high class of music, not 100% secure but impressive nonetheless. The climax is warm and shows the bands sound off perfectly.

Finale:-Lively for sure and ticking most boxes until the motifs become really harsh and then some tuning issues. The lower band are rich in quality and the band are versitle until they blow them selves out of tune, careful. A really good show, might see this right near the top.

STAR PLAYER :- conductor (a great reading)

16. Knaresborough Silver (Nicholas Garrett)

Fanfare and Bells:- Bright sounding melody to start. Good lower band sounds. Style suffers a little in the quieter sections... all goes a little timid. Bell section a little scrappy and could be so much more! Good lead into the second movement.

Solenne:- Good efforts from all the soloists... Accompaniment is too heavy though. Euph sings.. Intonation issues in the Euph/cornet interplay and more creep in as the movement continues. 

Finale:- This movement starts with real drive. Euph adds colour. Spirited fanfare section and the detail is coming through (careful troms). Huge bass trom sounds! The band do well to keep the drive through the more complex sections but soloists aren't quite up to scratch. A few balance issues in the top end dynamics, don't make it quite as nice a listen. Careful in the lower end melody as we near the end.. It sounds a little tired. Good last chord.


15. Usk (James Jones)

Fanfare and Bells:-Lots of conversation between sop and conductor, there were delays before the band entered the stage?? Doesn't seem to have affected their playing though as a very transparent and filmatic celebration is being heard. The band drop to risky dynamics but do keep the drive. This might have some impact on the top six if it carry's on in this vein.

Solenne:- This is going well and solo cornet is strong and leads so well. There are good effects noted by band and percussion. Solo cornet, all be it not perfect really impresses. A problem in some players keeping up around the stands is making the standard duck and dive a little.

Finale:- Middle band are so out of tune and the judges will be harsh if they can't get past it. Some struggles occurring as it moves on and not all rhythms are correct. The band haven't managed to take this anywhere, but....its all being played ok. The end is exciting and your cornet section really lead the band well.

STAR SECTION:- solo cornets

14. Selkirk Silver (Stuart Black)

Fanfare and Bells:- Not quite together to open, but the band make a good sound. Nice celebratory feel in louder passages... it looses a little style when the scoring is thinner though. Bells need to sparkle more. Good dynamics, particularly at the lower end. You are taking risks and I like it! Great full band sound!

Solenne:- Good sop to open.. Touch of poor intonation in ensemble around this. Back row and horns are not balanced.. we're struggling to hear their part. Lovely Euph-again good dynamics. Good effort from solo cornet and the music lilts beautifully. Watch tuning in upper register (cornets). Well done sop again! Try to ensure that there are no gaps of sound in the interplay between Cornet and Euph. 

Finale:-Good start.. The music really drives. Cornets working hard and the tempo remains! Fanfare needs much more Marcato.. Otherwise you loose detail. Good playing in the contrasting quieter section.. But some small intonation issues. Music still drives though. Good ending.


13. Barton Community (Garry Oglesby)

Fanfare and Bells:- Good opening which grabs your attention. The quieter passages are a little insipid though. Trombones adding colour nicely. it is majestic and nearly in tune. Euphs and baris need to keep the warmth in their sound for the style of the movement to stay, but good playing all round.

Solenne:- Nice tender sounds and flugel is stunning as is most of the tuning. Tubas have a rich sound. You give this movement a child like tenderness that is really nice to listen to. Please don't loose strength in your long notes. Well handled by most during this movement

Finale:-Great style to open and it feels like you're about to bring something special.  The motifs are a very nearly. Difficult moments detract as the band works hard to keep tempo. Good attention to detail and the score gets more transparent as the band open up. An ok one this.


12. Audley Brass (Tom Hancock)

Fanfare and Bells:- Controlled opening that allows everything be heard and it does feel like a celebration.. but not exciting enough? Band working hard at creating the christmas bell effects. Tuning isn't great as we head for tenderness.

Solenne:- This section is a little hard to listen too because the band are not in tune. Euph keeps bringing us some delightful little moments. As the band reach for the climax of this tribute, it all sounds rather nice.. but strength in your sound is needed to make moments like this really work.

Finale:-Cornets working well but needs to be more together. Band keep the excitement level high even in the quieter playing and keep enjoying moments of vivo. Solo cornet plays well but middle band don't follow the lead in style. (marcato). The band hasn't tired though and the line is clear as we head to the end. Well done.


11. Weymouth Concert Brass (Adam Glynn)

Fanfare and Bells:- Opening a little scrappy... But it settles well. Occasional intonation issues. Really like the bell section.. Accents really come through! Good effort at providing the dynamic contrasts.

Solenne:- This section sounds a little tentative to open. Some good effort from the solo lines. Lots of intonation issues though! Lovely playing from the solo cornet... Needs the Euph to balance up (a shame as they play well). Struggle to hear the detail towards the end as it all gets a little muddled. 

Finale:- This section opens well... really struggling to hear the detail again though. Good unison fanfares... percussion enhances throughout. Nice band sound as you open up! Good cornet, showing a great technique in the faster passages. Good ending!


STAR SECTION :- Percussion. 

10. Chichester City (Rom Stanko)

Fanfare and Bells:- Would have liked to have been thrown into the second half of this contest with a bit more excitement but its all a bit dull at the moment. Some nice moments of control but fill us with joy soon please...and as i type you do. Thank-you!

Solenne:- This is a tender start and its moving nicely but feels like a bit of a struggle in the solo lines. Maybe the opportunity is passing you by, i'm just not getting enough emotion or spirit.

Finale:- Enjoying the statements made in the fanfare motifs and the freer passages are good. Band ensemble struggle with tempo changes and its getting very scrappy. You enjoy the end!

STAR PLAYER:- MD for working hard.


9. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)

Fanfare and Bells:- Band open Majestically. Good dynamics on show (particularly lower end). Well done sop! The bell section could have a more christmasy feel. Intonation suffers in the quieter sections.. ensure the instruments are still fed! Nice reading of the first movement though.

Solenne:- Good musical start to this section.... And it has a solemn feel. Lots of effort with all solo lines... try and ensure they are all musical though (telling a story) and not just playing the notes. Good interplay between cornet and euph -this is a lot more musical. Nice warm sounds as the band hit the climax of this movement. 

Finale:- Big start!! New dynamic created by percussion! Again good dynamic contrasts. Good unison playing... The semis could be clearer in the fanfare passages though. Bravo sop. We loose a bit of clarity in the semiquaver runs too. Nice celebratory feel to this movement though. Well done!



8. Barnsley Brass (William Rushworth)

Fanfare and Bells:- Billy Rushworth up's the anti by living the dream with a funky shirt and togs (lI like it!)  The band open with a really big broad sound that makes them stick out straight away, lovely stuff this. As the bells enter the detail coming through is so clear. Solo cornet shines and dynamic detail towards the end is spot on.

Solenne:- The band find this really comfortable and seem to sit back and play, almost like a concert, very relaxed band. All soloists sound above the section and just keep singing. Then the tenderness disappears a little. Nice to hear a sop thats happy to play at the same dynamic as the band. Bravo

Finale:-Percussion just keep letting the side down with not playing together. Band paints a nice picture then throw some lively statements at us, just gets a little brash at times. All going well and this lasts to the end. The band still finds good detail right to a massive end. Really enjoyable one that.

STAR PLAYER euph (and the subtle sop)

7. Cleobury Mortimer Concert Brass

Fanfare and Bells:- Good bright opening. Lovely lower end sounds. Try and keep the celebratory feel in the quieter sections and watch intonation. Troms add colour. Good pulsing in the triplets. Bells could be so much more.. Just adds another dimension to the music. 

Solenne:- Slow section has a lovely, mournful feel and flows well. Bravo solo cornet! Good balance, solo lines really sing over the top of the accompaniment. Just odd moments of poor intonation. Nicely shaped movement though. Just be careful it doesn't start to drag towards the end.

Finale:- This movement could do with having a brighter feel... More accents and the prominent lines need to shine through. Missing some good, spiky articulation in the semis and detail is lost at times. Good full band sound though. Great Bass trom.. Well Done!! Band sound tired to close. Stamina a struggle with many bands today. Good effort  though. 


6. Taff Vale Brass (Gareth Ritter)

Fanfare and Bells:- Nice and controlled opening, more of a royal feel of celebration than what we've heard so far today. Bells for me could have been more and now the band open up a little more and it suits. Big end but a few wobbles as we head into the Solenne.

Solenne:- This is tender for sure and the soloist including tuba all marry together. Little tuning issues but doesn't detract. Some inner score parts we haven't before but still tuning issues take away a little, only because the standard is so high. Solo cornet just gets better and better. Music making by Gareth Ritter towards the end.

Finale:- Marcato is noted and the cornets are working hard, little details spring out all over the place to keep you engrossed. That solo cornet player is back again and still getting better and better (early days but solo prize?).nice race for home, band just tired a little but Bravo all round.



 5. Market Rasen (David Dernley)

Fanfare and Bells:- Nice controlled opening. An enjoyable sounding band that are keeping the music very bright. A  real "celebration". Odd jolts of intonation. Bells could be so much more..Such a shame! Conductor controls the dynamics really well. Nothing is over-cooked which keeps the band really clean.

Solenne:- Ok start. Poor intonation creeps in and the dynamic is too safe. Classy solo cornet, Euph plays with good control. Could do with more flugel/horn in their solo passages to balance upto the previous solos but all played well. All gets a little too slow towards the end and looses momentum.

Finale:- Band loose a bit of ensemble to open. Cornets working hard.. but not entirely balanced. Band struggle with some of the technical detail required for this movement-particularly in the semis. Sop adding lots of colour.. Bravo! More use of the word Marcato would work a treat. Sounds tired towards the end... But a good show nonetheless.



4. Allerton Brass (Adam Taylor)


Fanfare and Bells:- Nice start. Pretty clean but maybe not as exciting as it could be... then out of nowhere the bells of celebration hit you with such clarity. Brilliant playing due to Adam Taylors set up and instruction. Talk about making sense of the music, stays impressive.

Solenne:- Nice warm sounds and the music making continues, very mature band sound again. Soloists do well. Maybe more rubato or story would be nice.

Finale:- Bang! and we are off again. Not as clear as the first movement, almost doesn't sound as rehearsed. Mr timps go easy. The nearly performance carries on and is still really good. The band has played so well and obvious balances have been brought out and given us a really good show. well done m.d.


3. City of Norwich Brass (Mark Ager)

Fanfare and Bells:- Great start from City of Norwich. Warm band sound and some lovely effects coming through. Just watch intonation in the quieter sections... Loving the fact that you are taking a risk with the quieter dynamics though. Great trom sounds and some lovely accents coming through in the cornets. Good majestic feel to this movement.

Solenne:- This section has good flow. Just ensure that solo lines come through, sometimes its a little overpowered by the accompaniment. Band sounds could be warmer in this slow section and again intonation suffers at times.

Finale:-Band definitely thrive in the faster sections of the piece. Great attention to detail and this makes the piece really enjoyable to listen to.  Big sound for this section.. but not overblown. Ensemble is tight throughout and articulation is spot on! Well done. Good ending. Lovely interpretation of the music by the M.D.

STAR PLAYER:- Conductor.

2. Bugle Silver (Steve Osborne)

Fanfare and Bells:- All starts ok. But key words "Fanfare, Bells, Celebration". These take a while to become clear but it brightens up and we start to get a more musical picture.

Solenne:- Secure slow movement which is handled well. Not the most tender playing and tuning suffers at times. Soloists all working hard and the band lets them shine. Security in numbers seems to work as the whole ensemble joins to paint this musical picture. 

Finale:- Nice rhythmic pulse, but could do with a little more excitement. Good risks taken with dynamics though. The unison rhythms could be so much tighter and this would be much more effective. All guns blazing now! Tired sounds again towards the end of this piece. Must be a bit of a lip buster!


  1. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)

Fanfare and Bells:- Feels like a celebration from Eccleston with good use of dynamics. The odd fragility creeps in at times. Troms and bass end of the band show quality and we hear bells in the cornets for the first tine today. Some really nice effects!

Solenne:- Takes a little time to settle.Euph is singing and cornets clean. Looses a little flow towards the end.

Finale:- Really enjoyable playing from the band and the vivo is extremely lively. Some big sounds as the intensity grows. Maybe the style in the syncopated patterns could do with a  more modern approach? A little tired towards the end.



Draw: 3rd Section.
Sunday 16th September
Test Piece: 'Episodes for Brass' — Gareth Churcher
Draw: 8.15am
Commence: 9.30am

Adjudicators: John Doyle, Roger Webster & Sheona Wade

1. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
2. Bugle Silver (Steve Osborne)
3. City of Norwich Brass (Mark Ager)
4. Allerton Brass (Adam Taylor)
5. Market Rasen (David Dernley)
6. Taff Vale Brass (Gareth Ritter)
7. Cleobury Mortimer Concert Brass (David Maplestone)
8. Barnsley Brass (William Rushworth)
9. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
10. Chichester City (Rom Stanko)
11. Weymouth Concert Brass (Adam Glynn)
12. Audley Brass (Tom Hancock)
13. Barton Community (Garry Oglesby)
14. Selkirk Silver (Stuart Black)
15. Us (James Jones)
16. Knaresborough Silver (Nicholas Garrett)
17. Dronfield Genquip (Damian Wileman)
18. Newmains & District (Michael Marzella)

Section 4 Draw
Saturday 15th September
Draw: 1pm
Commence: at the conclusion of Section 2
Test Piece: 'Divertimento for Brass' — Darrol Barry

Adjudicators: Sarah Groarke-Booth, Gary Davies, John Maines

Gosport Solent Brass (Colin Garner)
2. Bradwell Silver (Brian Keech)
3. Croft Silver (Ian Needham)
4. Cwmtawe Youth (Wayne Pedrick)
5. Regent Community Brass (Chris Bearman)
6. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)
7. City of Birmingham (Ben Hewlett-Davies)
8. Lostock Hall Memorial (Joshua Hughes)
9. Pendeen Silver (Leonard Adams)
10. Stamford Brass (Julian Bright)
11. Sale Brass (John Anderson)
12. Spennymoor Town (Fiona Caswell)
13. Upper Rhondda (Jayne Thomas)
14. Tewit Silver (Martin Hall)
15. Garforth Brass (John Thompson)
16. Highland Brass (Mark Bell)
17. Gawthorpe Brass '85'(John Edward)

Section 4

Our Top Six Prediction:

1.Stamford Brass

2. Lostock Hall Memorial

3. Cwmtawe Youth

4.Sale Brass

5.Gawthorpe Brass '85'

6.Tewit Silver

Dark horse  Regent Community and Garforth




 Band Number 1. Gosport Solent Brass (Colin Garner)


Festival :- Lively opening with a good band sound, just what you need to kick start the 4th section off to a good start. Band keeping the festival alive and treating us to warm flugel sounds, and back to some joyous band playing. Good stuff

Romance:- wow solo cornet, go girl and the duet shines. The whole team of cornets working well, and now euphs turn and again impress. band flow nicely and are looking after tuning really well. 

March;- All the different ways of writing a march section come to light in the 3rd movement and some difference would be nice to hear. A few timing issues on percussion and tuning as the band tire, a good ending nonetheess.

STAR SECTION :- Cornets, beautifully led by the principal.


Band Number 2. Bradwell Silver (Brian Keech)

Festival:- Nice bright band sound to open and the tempo really drives. Lovely dotted rhythms throughout and dynamic contrasts are visible. Balance is good and solo lines are allowed to shine. A few intonation problems creep in through the quieter section. Lyrical playing should still have a festival feel.. be careful it doesn't go to sleep. Comes back to life again in the faster section.

Romance:- Lovely cornet solo and duet is nicely balanced. Good troms in the choral. Euph plays well too. Band be careful it doesn't sound sad, this should exude romance. 

March:- Opening a little clippy but bounces along nicely and the change of genre is noticeable. Band keep the excitement and drive to the end.


STAR PLAYER:- Euphonium.


Band Number 3. Croft Silver.


Festival:- Band open well but with a few bumps on the way and maybe a warm sound will come. Sop does well and flugel also, the accompliment stay under nicely but don't be so sad its a festival. Here we go again, back in the game but not as neat as the opening.

Romance:- cornet does well and duet is handled with care. All soloists doing well but tuning int great, however that doesn't detracted from some lovely playing.

March:- The style is forward thinking and works. The music is building as you enjoy your playing. Maybe a bit bolder still would have given you a bigger sound through this section. A good end.

STAR SECTION :- Percussion.


Band Number 4. Cwmtawe Youth (Wayne Pedrick)


Festival:- Band open with a nice clean version of the festival. Not quite as much power as other bands today but it works. Lovely sop, nice and lyrical and the offbeats in the accompaniment keep the festival theme alive. Good sense of drive throughout.

Romance:-Good tuning to open. Lovely cornet, could do with hearing more of part 2 in the duet. Troms sound beautiful too. Just watch intonation in Euphs.  Really clean playing throughout.. could it have more romance in there though??

March:-Great start-really clean. This really drives and lots the detail in shining through. Good ensemble and nice dynamic contrasts throughout. 

This one shows a good understanding of the composers intentions. Well done to you all.



Band Number 5. Regent Community Brass.(Chris Bearman)

Festival:- Good opening and sense of style. Intonation issues creep in occasionally, but the band has a good sound. Really good balance and we are hearing the prominent lines coming through. Good effort sop and flugel. Lovely Euph, you really sing! The accompaniment is dragging though and this takes away from the festival feel.

Romance:-Nice lyrical playing from solo cornet and the duet is well balanced. Beautiful Euphonium and again the duet is well balanced. Lovely style in all solos, Could there be more romance though??A few intonation issues creep in towards the back end.

March:- This is the best of the day so far good style and exciting rhythmic pulses running through it with clever sections showing their flags one by one. Well done band and m.d.

STAR PLAYER:- Solo cornet and Euph.


Band Number 6. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)

Festival:- Good full band sound to open. Could the dotted rhythm have more definition? Good dynamics. Intonation in slower section is really suspect and accompaniment drags which detracts from the festival feel. 

Romance:- Good effort from the soloists. Just really need to watch the tuning within the accompaniment. Could do with a little more flow from the M.D. Some nice moments though!

March:- Good opening. Trombones add colour. The shackles are off and you are all enjoying yourselves! Band sound is really full and lovely. Good attempt with dynamics.Really opens up nicely to a big ending.

STAR SECTION :- Trombones.


7. City of Birmingham (Ben Hewlett-Davies)

Festival:- Really nice opening and dynamics were used to keep the festival feel alive. The lack of percussionists does take a bit of shine off the top but the brass (who are also short on numbers ) are making up for it. Really good ensemble playing towards the close.

Romance:- Doing well with tuning during a movement that takes some playing, again just a little sad. Really nicely balanced dynamic swells- never easy. Towards the end of this movement the romance is evident.

March:-  Good sounds to open then tubas enjoy their moment. Band dancing along nicely. A real statement tune in the horns and baris and then the run for home. Good work all round.

STAR PLAYER Conductor (well done)


8. Lostock Hall Memorial (Joshua Hughes)

Festival:- Energetic opening with excellent dynamics and a good sense of celebratory style.  Good band sound too. Just watch it doesn't become clippy in the louder sections. Good effort from sop.Lovely flugel sounds and the accompaniment still drives. Nice Euph.. Well done.  The sense of a festival really comes across.. Great direction from the M.D.

Romance:- Lovely hairpins to open. Nice duet in the cornets. Watch intonation in the troms! Euph is beautiful and really sings. Bravo!! There is a real sense of romance,again beautifully directed with oodles of space for all the soloists. 

March:- Great sense of style again in the March section. Full of energy and drive. Great lower band sounds. Best of the day for us so far, well done!!


STAR PLAYER Conductor (beautiful reading of the music) and Solo Euph.


9. Pendeen Silver (Leonard Adams)

Festival:-OK start. Really needs to be more detached and exciting and poor intonation keeps showing up. Percussion keep control. This has ended up all a little nervy and hesitant and then the band pulls there socks up and enjoy. Bravo!!

Romance:- Thank-you solo cornet, some lovely playing and this has helped the band start to produce a really nice ROMANTIC style. Little bits of tuning here and there but some nice playing.

March;-Love the 'why not just go for it' attitude. All feels very nice. Still got to keep concentration or tuning will continue to suffer. And a big fat ending.




10. Stamford Brass (Julian Bright)

Festival: Julian Bright is ready with Stamford brass and what a great start. The use of dynamics to create effects is working well. Good balance and a rich band sound. Good stuff this, just a little tentative in the quieter passages but still warm sounds. Euph sings out, Bravo! Lots of detail on show throughout.

Romance:- Clean start with strength in the quieter dynamics (good basics). Soloist play well but the admiration comes from the depth of detail from the band, really enjoying this so far. Reminds me that this competition is about music making. 

March;- It really moves along and the style changes within the march are clear. Just be careful with tuning horns. Then the run for home. Well now its been a long time coming but that suddenly makes it very close at the top.

STAR PLAYER :- Solo cornet 


11. Sale Brass (John Anderson).


Festival: Bright opening, just watch out for clips and intonation in the top register. Really good dynamics, subito effects coming through well. Tempo is wavering around a little, some of the band not following the conductor maybe?? Good effort sop. Trombone section keeps the colours alive within this festival.

Romance:- Nice balance between solos and accompaniment in this section. Good cornet duo. Be careful this doesn't start to drag! Romance is coming through in the solo lines. Lovely! Well played solo horn.

March:- Great drive. Good troms again! Just make sure the drive and march-type feel continues through to the end.

STAR SECTION :- Trombones.


12. Spennymoor Town (Fiona Caswell)

Festival: Spennymoor looking super smart in their new uniforms and Fiona Caswell ready for action. The band enjoy their playing through the opening and seem pretty excited just to be on stage. Not everything is going to plan, with players maybe needing to watch the conductor a little more. As we head into the more lyrical part of festival the band finds itself in a good place. Tuning really did detract through movement one though.

Romance:- Cornets working hard to stay in the moment but the tuning from other sections is not great. The feel and flow of the music and a real singer of a euph will win you points for sure. 

March:- All going pretty well. Just could do with tightening up again. Really good attempt at the dynamic effects.  This ticks along nicely all the way to a massive end. Not a world beater, but well done.

STAR PLAYER :- Euphonium.


13. Upper Rhondda (Jayne Thomas).

Festival: Confident opening and some nice band sounds. Intonation just a little ropey at times. Could the festival have a little brighter feel to it??  Lovely sop, really lyrical and handover to the flugel is great too. Some strange accompaniment at this point?? Well done troms... Just watch those final chords for tuning. Exciting close to this section.

Romance:- Nice band sounds to open. Could do with more dynamics and expression to really bring the romance to light. Great solo from the horn. Well done! 

March:- Energetic playing in this section and the ensemble is tight. Just make sure that it doesn't loose vitality as the dynamics go quieter. Good ending though. 

 STAR PLAYER :- Soprano and horn.


14. Tewit Silver (Martin Hall)

Festival:Martin Hall working as hard as ever to lay out his intentions to the band. Maybe not the cleanest of starts but the band soon finds their feet. Just a little too delicate from the band through the more lyrical passages. Soloists play well. A few well judged risks in dynamics pay off, just make sure the lead line is always at the front.

Romance;- Very musical this and romantic -not sad. Hard to do, but done well. Odd little clips, but really good playing especially euph. Bravo band and md for this, best of the day for me because it was??? thats right,you guessed it, romantic.

March:-On the lively side of life this and very enjoyable. Could do with the band opening up just a little more and this would work really well. Musical picture is correct and maybe just a little tired towards the end. enjoyed nearly all of that one.



15. Garforth Brass (John Thompson)

Festival: Opening ok in style, but plagued by intonation issues. The band make a nice sound but the picture lacks excitement. I don't feel like i'm at a festival! Lyrical playing from sop and flugel. Tempo slow though.Improves through the accel. Some really nice moments where the main melody lines sit on top of the band.

Romance:-Nice start. Nice cornet duo, followed by good troms. Sop could maybe do with facing in as they're quite a powerful player in the quieter sections. A musical approach..Could have a little more flow throughout though.

March:- Good feel to the March.... And we're off!!Band sound really comfortable in this movement. Just keep the momentum as you go quieter!! Good ending.


16. Highland Brass (Mark Bell)

Festival: Spirited start. A little brash in sound and intonation suffers in the lower band at times. Good attempt at effects with running semis. Good detail and warm sounds. Great effort sop and flugel. Euph projects, just watch intonation in accompaniment. The band take risks with dynamics, but they pay off.

 Romance:- This movement flows nicely but the band sound a little nervy. All doing well. This isn't easy to hold together. Nice euph and good teamwork.

March;- This is  more like it. Great energy and some lovely lower band sounds. Lots of momentum right through to the close. Well Done!



17. Gawthorpe Brass '85'(John Edward)


Festival: Interesting formation with a completely different band set-up! Lively start and the set-up gives the audience a completley different listening experience. Four different musical timbres going on at the same time and the sound is warm. Nice effects, good percussion and ensemble stays nice and tight. Good drive towards the end of the movement.

Romance:- Lovely warm sounds to open. Bravo cornets-lovely playing. When its going well, it goes really well. Some beautiful sounding soloists and well balanced. This section has flow and it has that romantic feel to it!! 

March:- The set up is working well in certain elements of this piece... lots of detail is really clear.Good final movement with neat and tidy ensemble. Again, you can hear the different timbres coming through. The judges will either love or hate this one!! But we thought it was a great performance.



And that concludes the 4th section. A lovely piece of music and one that has tested the bands-particulary with that lyrical middle section. The higher placed ones for us today were the ones that really portrayed the composers intentions of "Festival, Romance and March" in their stylistic approaches. A good number of bands really managed that today and there were a couple of outstanding performances too!



1. Stamford Brass.