MASTER OF HIS TRADE - Remembering Allan Littlemore

Issue 6082

COVID ROADMAP - Optimism at route out of restrictions

COMPOSER CAST - Christopher Bond meets Naomi Styles

Scotland Regional Championships - Second Section LIVE!

Friday 8 March, 2019

A second Scottish title in succession for  a triumphant Newmains, with Coalburn joining them at Cheltenham.

Full Results

  1. Newmains & District (Michael Marzella) 188 points
  2. Coalburn Silver (Gareth Bowman) 187 points
  3. Lochgelly (Paul McKelvie OBE) 185 points
  4. Clackmannan & District (Ross Brotherston) 184 points
  5. Jedforest Insturmental (Phil Rosier) 183 points
  6. Broxburn & Livingston (John Boax) 182 points
  7. St David's Brass (John A Dickson) 181 points
  8. Selkirk Silver (Charlie Farren) 180 points
  9. St Ronan's Silver (Kenneth Letham) 179 points
  10. Shotts St Patrick's (Andy Shaw) 178 points
  11. Croy Silver (Kenneth Blackwood) 177 points

Best Instrumentalist: Euan Roberts (cornet) — Coalburn Silver


Final thoughts - An engrossing contest this one. Bands certainly seemed to favour the full body approach, that's for sure. Some managed that look better than others. Of the high octane versions I preferred Newmains and Broxburn's renditions, whilst for me the slightly more restrained renditions by St David's and Lochgelly had a lot ot commend them.

As for the bottom then it's a tough section this year. There will be some bands checking nervously, hoping that they are not facing the same relegation fate as my beloved Dundee Football Club.......

My predictions: (remember, what do I know......)

  1. Newmains and District
  2. St David's
  3. Broxburn & Livingsotn
  4. Lochgelly



Band 11 - St Ronan's Silver - conducted by Kenny Letham

It's a good solid opening. Good flugel solo at letter B. Bass a touch untidy at the risoluto section but the music doesn't lose its drive. A full body fortissimmo section. As we get to letter G great solo cornet work from Calum Robb. Flugel not quite as polished as earlier but music doesn't suffer. Intonation issues in back row cornets which seems to rectify itself as we head towards the agitato section.

Agitato - good sense of shape here from MD - two in the bar feel gives it additional drive and pulse.

At the 2nd risoluto basses much more composed and we're hearing some great cornet work, especially Mr Robb senior on soprano. Letter T is very impressive from front row. As we approach U there is a really cosy warm feeling about the band sound.

Band just needs to watch it doesn't tire too much at V.  


Band 10 - Clackmannan & Dsitrict Band - conducted by Ross Brotherston

A flamboyant opening which has a lot to commend it. Nice flugel solo at letter B. As we enter the risoluto section at letter C, the band begins to capture the excitement contained in the music. Possibly the fortissimmo is a touch over cooked. There is a lovely moment at Letter G where cornet solo is delivered beautifully by Paul Dornan before a similarly effective flugel reply. Well done euph in accompaniment.

Agitato is too heavy for me in the initial phase, and we realise this is going to be a loud one! We are certainly feeling the adventure here!

Risoluto isn't as tidy as it could be in tubas. Good work by horns, then by cornets at R. Letter T is where perhaps we could have heard more clarity if we had slightly less dynamic.

Letter U is nicely handled and we head towards a full throttle ending.


Band 9 - Coalburn Silver - conducted by Gareth Bowman

Here's another bold opening from Coalburn who are showing their quality with an impressive sound and style. Some slight intonation issues between cornets and trombones before we enter into a lyrically played flugel solo at B. Again, good style at C and all through the risoluto section. As we enter the reflective section of the piece there is good work from solo cornet and from flugel. James Bond section is played with a real sense of darkness and foreboding. Percussion deliver well here.

A touch sloppy on basses as we re-enter the risoluto section but things recover well with good work form euphs, baritones and horns. Letter S could do with being a touch crisper. But letter T is well delivered by cornets and we enter a lush section at letter U before the fanfare reprise at the end brings to a close what was  a well delivered package.


Band 8 - Croy Silver - conducted by Ken Blackwood

This is a more measured pace to open with .   MD taking the opportunity to move tempo about on occasion. A hint of a wrong entry after A but band settles down. Slight intonation issues in back row before letter B where flugel does well but possibly hampered by the slightly more leisurely tempo.

Risoluto starts fairly well although tuba line would benefit from only being played by one. Band copes well with this section. As we move into the more reflective portion of the piece there is good work by all the soloists here, and special mention to solo cornet.

Agitato - the band's best playing so far. Special mention to the single percussionist. Bravo young man!

It's growing in confidence as we enter the second risoluto section. At T and U there is evidence that the band is playing with ,ore confidence now. Slight issues with tuning and intonation as we approach the end but a  performance with lots to commend. Another mention for the lone percussionist. A total star!


Band 7 - St David's Brass - conducted by John A Dickson

This is a confident but not overpowering opening from St David's. Good flugel work at B, and a solid offering from E flat tuba at C. However the piece really comes alive for me in the risoluto which is played with plenty precision.

As we enter the slow section at J, we are treated to a delightfully shaped and delivered cornet solo from Stuart Dickson. Sublime. The band are managing to do a great job as well here. MD leads us into a very exciting and well delivered agitato section. Great work here from the three percussionists. nothing over blown through T but we are hearing all the detail, especially from cornets. Lovely sounds form the band at U working through to a never overblown finale.

I liked this, and if the adjudicators are looking for a more subtle reading, then this could be it. Well done to MD John Dickson.


Band 6 - Jedforest Instrumental Band - conducted by Phil Rosier

Well a slightly lighter opening for Jedforest but it retains a large element of excitement and panache. Stuart black comes to the front of the band to deliver an accomplished flugel solo at B. There is a similarly impressive E flat tuba solo at C (why do bass players never get to come to the fornt of the band to do their solos?). The rest of the tubas help to bring a good sense of darkness to the risoluto section.

Solo cornet could do with a bit more air support through his solo; otherwise good. Nice flugel and baritone interplay here. As we approach the agitato section there's a great sense of anticipation. Bravo kit at M - superb.

Great excitment here and it is maintained to the end with a lovely warmth of sound at U leading to a very persuasive conclusion.


Half way thoughts - A good test of bands here and we have seen Newmains probably take an early lead from Broxburn and Lochgelly, but remember these are just my thoughts!


Band 5 - Lochgelly - conducted by Paul McKelvie OBE

A very dapper looking Lochgelly take to the stage and it's an exciting opening to accompany the sequins and natty headgear. Certainly lacking the weight and full power of the last two bands. Good flugel work and then solid E flat work from John Martin at Letter C. The fortissimmmo at E sees the band unleash its power and it's a pretty impressive sound. Letter G sees a lyrical solo from solo cornet with sympathetic attention paid by baritone. And again at letter J. Bravo.

Really exciting stuff taking place at the agitato although it has to be said band and percussion are not fully together at M. However great timpani work before Q. Risoluto finds the band on safer territory. Great work from horns at R. Things are in danger of running away at T but maestro McKelvie does a good job of reining things in.

It's a lovely warm sound at U (but a couple of mistakes creep in). A confident finish and a controlled final chord. Likely to be in the mix?  


Band 4 - Broxburn & Livingston - conducted by John Boax

Another full throated opening here but possibly not without its intonation challenges.  Things begin to settle down and there is some nice lyrical work from Jeff Wilson on flugel at letter B. It's all pretty loud as we exit C and into D and E. But it's a nice transition into F. We have a bit of hesitancy at G and into H. Band is doing well to keep volume down at I but xylo too loud for me. Solo cornet is really expressive at J - well done. This is very impressive as we get into the agitato section. The risoluto section section is exactly that but the fortes are heavy. Letter T almost comes together and it's a nice segue into U, which is certainly a good forte! V is similarly a full on fortissimmo. It's certainly a rousing finish, but will the "full on" delivery find favour with the judges? 



Band 3  - Newmains & District - conducted by Michael Marzella

A big and bold opening. Band is giving it some. Really exquisite flugel interlude at letter B. C starts with a touch of uncertainty but when full band returns it's with renewed confidence. It's a full on fortissimmo. Nice solo cornet at G but baritone doesn't quite gel. Well done flugel again at H (could possibly have had a touch more expression) but it's a lovely sound. Again we hear really lovely solo lines at J - well done cornet and flugel. MD allows the shape and flow of the music to be fully in sympathy with what the soloists are doing.

There is lots of agitato in the allegro agitato for sure. This band had their Weetabix this morning. Risoluto at Q could be tighter from an ensemble point of view. When a touch of dynamic is taken away it b ecomes even more effective. It's a great reprise of the flourishes at the end and if a full throated version is what you're after then this might be your band! Well done band and well done MD.


Band 2- Shotts St Patrick's - conducted by Andy Shaw

A good and confident opening by Shotts here. Only 7 cornets have taken the stage but they are giving their all. Good E flat bass work into a nice solo interlude by cornet and flugel. When we get all James Bond like it goes slightly astray. Percussion and brass are not always as one. However it recovers well. as we enter the reprise of the fugato section at Q there is more confidence. As we approach the flourishes at the conclusion of the music the band is giving everything and end with a solid sound.


Band 1 - Selkirk Silver - conducted by Charlie Farren

A bold opening which shows the band in a positive light. As the piece progresses we hear some excellent solo contributions from solo cornet, euphonium, baritone, but most notably, flugel, who is excellent.

Good dynamic effects at letter L but possibly percussion just a touch overbearing at letter M? The band safely negotiates its way to the conclusion of the piece with a fair degree of confidence with enough left in the tank to show their mettle thorugh the finsal chord.