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

Yorkshire Regional Championships - First Section LIVE!

Friday 1 March, 2019

Test Piece: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter)
Adjudicators: Gary Davies and Howard J Evans

1. Hatfield & Askern Colliery (Stanley Lippeatt)*
2. Old Silkstone (John Hopkinson)*
3. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)
4. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Simon Gresswell)
5. Drighlington (Neil Robinson)
6. Lindley (Robert Westacott)
7. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)
8. Prospect Brass Skelmanthorpe (Duncan Beckley)
9. Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)
10. Wakefield Metropolitan (Peter Kench)
11. Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)

*Qualify for National Final

Best Soloist: Neil Wright (Eb tuba) Hatfield & Askern Colliery
Best Soprano: Sam Fisher (Crofton Silver)
Best Euphonium: Mick Tyler (Drighlington)
Youngest Player: Max Creese (Hebden Bridge)


Lindley (Rob Westacott)

All smiles from the MD as Lindley get off to a great start aided by a secure soprano cornet. Nice effort at some controlled quiet playing. Percussion and tuba lose some of the earlier cohesion but things get back on track. The quirks of Vinter's writing are handled well and EEb tuba leads his solo line well. There's a good pulse to the music as we head to the end of this movement.

The insecurities that have been heard at the opening of 'Grave' just creep in on the odd occasion but the mood is set well and the Soprano gets his moment to impress with a nicely crafted solo. The solo cornets have been well drilled by the MD and they get over the technical hurdles relatively unscathed. The ending is warm and sonorous.

Not the cleanest start to the third movement and it takes a moment for things to settle down through the numerous time changes. Very impressive snare drum playing from what appears to be the youngest player in the band. Controlled playing with subtle timpani leads to the Euphonium solo that despite the most fleeting moments of unease is played well. And so the close. Starts with definite purpose and control by the MD before he unleashes his troops on the final march to home. A solid performance, blips and clips that will be noticed but lots to admire.


Old Silkstone (John Hopkinson)

A fairly successful opening from cornets. The stately tempo allowing the band to work the detail. Intonation issues and ensemble discrepancies get in the way and the volume creeps way above what is required.

'Grave' doesn't open as quietly as we have heard but it is fairly successful. Soprano cornet is the standout performer for the band so far and has a well earned smile to herself as she finishes the solo! The band are not lacking in confidence as we close the movement.

Movement 3 has slips and blips and is slightly louder than required. Ensemble has been inconstant throughout and the louder dynamics have really tested the acoustics of what is a very lively hall. However, things settle into more cohesion through the pesante. Timpanist really enjoys himself! Another wonderful Euphonium soloist. Good understanding of line and phrase. The final jaunt for home is slower than we have heard and the clarity and ensemble is not quite there.

A good drive to the finish brings to a close a forceful (perhaps too much at times) performance from the band. Bravo Soprano.


Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)

The opening again finds victims. Looks so easy on paper but my goodness it's anything but. Lots of experienced heads in the band and there's a nice sound when things are kept in check. MD working hard to keep things on the right track. The upper dynamics are forceful but perhaps not always balanced and tuneful.

Grave opens with real drama and force. Intonation is a problem but the idea is right. Every ounce of passion is being sought by the MD but at times this interrupts the flow of the movement. Soprano solo is secure if not always tuneful. Again, the upper limits of the louder dynamics are pushed a little too far before we bring the movement to a subtle close.

Movement 3 airs on the side of cautious with the tempo which is effective but ensemble mishaps get in the way. Percussion have been good throughout and through the time changes make a real impact. The MD throws caution to wind in the pesante and explores the realms of the FFF. We hear another well executed Euphonium solo. The final chapter is marred by clips and splits which wont go unnoticed. A powerful account that perhaps lacked the ensemble accuracy of others here today.


Wakefield Metropolitan (Peter Kench)

A tentative start to proceedings from the cornets which is a shame as when the band opens up there is a good sound to be heard. Ensemble playing is not the tightest we have heard today and a few 'unforced' errors creep in.

A good effort with the opening of grave takes us to some great moments from the trombone section. Horns set the scene for a very clear sweet soprano cornet sound. Well done. The muted cornets have intonation issues which creep in again as we move to the close of the section. Snare drum is great.

Movement 2 starts nicely with the horn duet delivered with real style and class. Bass trombone gets to open up and the band finds some confidence as we move through the time signature changes. The solo Euphonium is as good as we have heard today. A huge sound.

The final movement opens with a very steady tempo set by the MD before moving through the gears into the final flourish. A good effort from the band but the difficulties of this challenging piece were apparent today.


Prospect Brass Skelmanthorpe (Duncan Beckley)

A lively and bright tempo with a well executed cornet line kicks things off. The good spirit continues with one or two slips and intonation issues just taking the shine off things. Solo EEb tuba leads well and the energy that we started with sees us to a good close.

Grave has the right mix of balance and style but sometimes looses the ensemble clarity that we have heard today. Soprano does well and the band builds on the good direction from the MD. Tubas making a great sound. The end is very nice.

Movement 3 starts with excitement, horn is unlucky as the intent and style is excellent. Things tick along with careful consideration driven again by a wonderful tuba foundation. Snare drum is slick and this aids a great transition into the boisterous pesante. Euphonium handles the solo line well and we move into the final chapter of the piece again with a careful tempo from the MD. The final romp homeward is littered with tuning issues which is a shame, the fatigue perhaps starting to show in this magnificent piece.


Stannington (Derek Renshaw)

 A carefully selected tempo to open by one of the most experienced MD's in the game. Nice bright band sound rings around the hall here. Excellent EEb tuba soloist. A few moments don't quite gel together but there is confidence around the band and the playing is well delivered.

A stately and brooding 'Grave' adds real menace to the wonderful score. An assured soprano solo followed by  fleeting moments of intonation uncertainty from trombones. Lots of space given by the MD and a delicate close. Not the cleanest we have heard today.

Movement 3 has great style given by the horns which paves the way for the band to follow suit. A few moments of uncertainty from various sections of the band slightly detract from what is a committed performance. The young Euphonium soloist does a great job. MD opts for a carefully planned tempo as we head to our ending. Lower dynamics are to be enjoyed and the band opens up to a full bodied, gutsy close. The young band from Sheffield can be very pleased with themselves


Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Simon Gresswell)

Every cornet player takes on the challenge of the opening bars and it pays off with a crystal clear opening. Nice shaping through the 'calmo' a good tread from the tuba team. Lots of detail in all sections of the band and a very clear pulse and style is evident. Very well worked opening movement.

Again the clarity and detail can be heard as we start the 'grave' section. Troms are clear and well balanced. Soprano is very assured and the band continue to give a solid reading. Lots to admire here.

The final movement opens with just the right amount of character that just about gets the MD's hips swinging in the excitement! The dynamic contrast of the band has been excellent. Euphonium is so classy, given the freedom by the MD to express himself. Such a great understanding from beginning to end of this music. Should feature very highly today.


Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)

A cautions opening with errors is a shame but as we move to the 'calmo' section, there is a nice warmth to the playing. The maestoso to close ends well.

'Grave' begins well with a few minor blemishes along the way. Tubas give a good account of themselves. Wonderful soprano solo and a nice warmth to the playing (no doubt helped by the key!)

Movement 3 has a good style and tempo. Again not the cleanest at times but MD has worked his band well. The pesante is not as heavy or loud as we have had today but its held together well before Euphonium delivers a nice solo line. Tutti Forza again is under control and not quite the FFF dynamic written. a lively Briso brings an interesting account to a close.


Hatfield & Askern Colliery (Stan Lippeatt)

A good tempo from the MD and a solid cornet opening gets things off to a great start here. A real good effort at the quieter dynamics before the band gets to open up once more with a solid sound. Things don't quite gel as the quirky writing of Vinter tests the band  ensemble but we end with a very bold close.

Grave is controlled well and Euphs and Tubas make a great sound in their solo line. Soprano is clear and error free. Well played. We hear the first sounds of minor intonation issues as the full dynamic capabilities of the hall are tested. Lovely sonorous ending though.

The final movement opens well, solo horn doing a nice job. The MD is really starting to enjoy things now, clear leadership keeping the band in check. Solo Euphonium is so assured and delivers his solo with ease. A few clips and slips as we build into the excitement of the ending. It's bold and brassy but a great close to a well considered reading by Stan and his band.


Crofton (Dean Jones)

The slightest of clips takes the shine off a lovely opening from the cornets but the bold sound of the band kicks in and we are well on the way.

Lots of colour and detail is being made very evident helped by a crystal clear cornet sound.

Lots of swagger to close the opening movement, the Euphonium and baritones soaring over the band with their countermelody.

Movement 2, 'grave' is well considered, perhaps a few uncertain moments detract but there is a lot of detail and drama here. Soprano delivers a wonderful solo supported by very subtle percussion. The dynamic light and shade is well worked and the movement ends with real class.

Movement 3 takes a while to fully settle. Tuba line not quite together but percussion is rock steady and things get back on track. Lots to enjoy as we lead into the Euphonium solo which is played extremely well with sensitive accompaniment. A few fragile moments before we launch into the grand ending. A very good reading from the band.


Drighlington (Neil Robinson)

So band drawn number 1 gets things under way in the 1st section. Clear opening from the cornets. We have a few difficulties with the general 'togetherness' in the ensemble but the playing is committed. The lead into the close of the first movement is forceful just not together.

'Grave' has drama but isn't without its moments of uncertainty. Soprano delivers a confident solo. There's a good pulse to this and the band handles the technical challenges well, not error free though.

The final movement is a carefully chosen tempo by MD hoping to bring out the clarity and detail needed. Lots of commitment round the stands however the sound becomes a little forced particularly in the lower band. Euphonium produces a lovely solo. As we drive for the finish line, the confidence grows and we see the band sign off with a solid ending. Not faultless but a good start to this competition





Hatfield & Askern Colliery

Hebden Bridge

Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel


Prospect Brass Skelmanthorpe

Wakefield Metrapolitan

Knottingley Silver

Old Silkstone



Live coverage of the 2019 Yorkshire Regional Championships 1st Section

Test Piece - Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter).

Adjudicators - Howard Evans and Gary Davies

Damian Wileman reporting from Huddersfield Town Hall