MASTER OF HIS TRADE - Remembering Allan Littlemore

Issue 6082

COVID ROADMAP - Optimism at route out of restrictions

COMPOSER CAST - Christopher Bond meets Naomi Styles

West of England Regional Championships - Second Section LIVE

Sunday 10 March, 2019

Full results

1) Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey) *
2) Weston Brass (Carl Whiteoak) *
3) St Pinnock (Colin Hudson)
4) Wotton-Under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)
5) Bream Silver (Hugh Bamford)
6) Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
7) Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope BEM)
8) Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver (Jo Sykes)
9) Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (David Boorer)
10) Shrewton Silver (Peter Bede)
11) Downton (Paul Williams)
12) Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)
13) Cinderford (Chris Howley)
14) Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)
15) Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)
16) Corsham (John Heritage)


Congratulations to Sidmouth and Weston on qualifying for the national finals in Cheltenham this year, as well as every band that competed, there was not one bad performance today. The Championship section has begun now with Jeremy Wise providing comments. Hope you enjoyed the commentary for the second section.

Thank you,
Sion Jones

1) Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey) *
2) Weston Brass (Carl Whiteoak) *
3) St Pinnock (Colin Hudson)
4) Wotton-Under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)
5) Bream Silver (Hugh Bamford)
6) Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)

* qualify to national finals

It’s been a really well fought contest here today with some brilliant playing that could go on to do very well at the national finals in Cheltenham later this year. There have been many different interpretations today so I do not envy the adjudicators job. Some earlier draws could play a part in a contest this big so I have gone for a top 6 of:

1) Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
2) Wotton-Under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)
3) Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
4) Cinderford (Chris Howley)
5) Weston Brass (Carl Whiteoak)
6) St Pinnock (Colin Hudson)

Dark horse - Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope BEM)


16 - Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)

Newly promoted Lydney band up next with Kevin Ford at the helm who does such good work with youth/training bands in the area, a few of whom are on stage today. They open with a strong chord but the tuning is suffering in the quieter sections. Flugel plays well with a great sound; euphonium is not quite on the same page however in terms of tempo. Eb bass handels solo very well and the band move in to the faster tempo with ease. Semi-quavers not quite matching up as we have seen a lot today.  Dynamic contrast could be greater moving in to the slower section. Solo cornet plays well with a good sound and the band accompany him well. In to the faster tempo now and the ensemble is good, if not a little loud. Similar to earlier in the piece, the semiquavers suffer from not lining up properly here but some good sounds coming off the stage and a big ending.
Overall, a solid first outing for Lydney in the 2nd section and a solid platform to build on with so much youth, especially the little lad on 2nd baritone who had a firm thumbs up from the MD before the start of the performance.

15- Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)

Last time Sidmouth where competing in the 2nd section, they were promoted off ‘Mermaid of Zennor’ and came an impressive 5th at the finals. Can they repeat this? Huge dynamic contrast in the opening and it is very tight; the tuning however has issues creeping in occasionally. By far the slowest flugel solo today and it gives the soloist a good chance to express every note. MD Adrian Harvey taking quite a few risks so far, but they are all paying off. Eb bass handles the solo very well and the detail in the semiquavers can be heard very well. Again a strong account so far and the principle cornet player is shining with a beautiful tone and the baritone player handles his part with ease. Tempo ramps up now and it’s a fast one! The ensemble however is still tight, but the balance could be better as it bottom heavy, with the bass trombone very much enjoying himself.
MD took a lot of risks today and most of them paid off in my opinion definitely brought something new to the table that could feature.

14 - Weston Brass (Carl Whiteoak)

A strong year for Weston Brass last year with a win under their belt and some solid performances. One of the loudest starts we have heard today but the notes are not quite starting/finishing together making for some slightly sloppy ensemble playing. Flugel handles the solo with ease, one of the best so far today and the euphonium does not get in the at all. Eb bass is played with some style but is on the edge of being out of control. Good playing coming off the stage overall, just a few insecurities in places. Solo cornet plays very well followed by flugel who again shines. Overall, all soloists and counter melodies are coming off without a hitch. Tuning issues begin to creep the further we get into this ‘slow’ section, usually between band and muted backrow. Ensemble is not quite together in this last section of the piece which means it is not quite projecting as well as it could. A strong finish however redeems things and they should be very happy with that performance.
Weston giving us a very different rendition of the phoenix that has mixed signals with us up here. Could do well today.


13 - Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (David Boorer)

Phoenix Brass up next who have placed 11th twice over the past two years, will a late draw help them this year? A big sound to start their performance and the horns & baritones are really going for it and powering over the band. Flugel player has some good style despite a few small insecurities, euphonium is very conscious dynamically. Sop and Trombone good lead in. Some of the semiquaver is being lost now however despite the pretty tight ensemble. Solo cornet projects so well and phrases beautifully. Baritone plays well and is well balanced to these soloists. The faster tempo is approached very well and ensemble remains tight. Again, the semiquavers are losing details in the phrases across the band.
Overall, a very strong performance that was full of character and some great solo playing, especially Principal cornet. Perhaps a little lacking in the quieter dynamics.

12 - Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver (Jo Sykes)

This is Midsomer bands 2nd year in the 2nd section along with Corsham. Big bold start showing off their louder dynamics and some great detail. Flugel solo and euphonium does not quite sit as comfortable as could but some solid playing from both players. A fast tempo in this first section but the band and MD navigate it with ease. Flugel struggles slightly at times during solo in ‘slow’ section but continues playing and recovers. Tuning issues begin to appear during this section but the band is quick to react. The tempo has increased now and the ensemble takes a few bars to settle in before those big dynamics come back. Trombones very tight and project. As we come closer to the end, some of the semi-quaver passages begin to rush along and we lose part of the detail.
A performance of two sides. When the band opened up dynamically it was great with a huge band sound, however when the dynamics where quitter, the ensemble and dynamics would often suffer.

11 - Cinderford (Chris Howley)

Another one of the favourites on stage now with Cindeford. Vigorous opening full of detail and dynamic contrast. Flugel shapes the solo so well and sings through the band, euphoniums are sharing out the responsibilities and dovetailing very well. Eb bass tackles his solo well, some of the detail not quite coming through but great shapes. Back row bells up and the effect is very clear. Chris Howley has really worked hard on the detail in this piece and we are hearing things that have been missing today so far. Some minor tuning issues creep in during the slower sections but it does not take away from this very musical performance. Solo cornet recovers very after a few small clips, another great tone. Baritone struggles slightly but again recovers. As the tempo ramps up, the ensemble wavers slightly between band and percussion but the dynamics are superb. MD is very animated through this section and definitely enjoying himself, then goes completely the other way by taking a step back, stops conducting and just listens!
A great performance this one full of dynamic contrasts and details that we have not heard today.

10 - Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)

Hoping for their first win since 2010 is Denmead brass. Great variations of dynamics right from the off and tight ensemble. Another young percussion section that are performing so well as a unit. Lush sounds from the flugel and so well phrased, the euphonium is a little hesitant however but gets through well. Eb bass struggles slightly but recovers. A steady tempo in this section which lets the technique through. 2nd man down playing the cornet solo, another fantastic tone, accompanied by the baritone player who is playing beautifully. Baritone player continues to shine during the Flugel solo. Again a very steady tempo moving in to the last section of the piece, but it is together and dynamic contrast is evident. Front row are facing out to project and it works well, trombones are almost lost in balance however because of this.
Denmead have definitely put their own stamp on this piece of music with some great ensemble playing and dynamics. Baritone player really stood out as one of the best today for me so far.

9 - Downton (Paul Williams)

One of the favourites on stage now with experienced percussionist Paul Williams at the helm. A safe opening dynamically, but loads of style with some great accents. Flugel plays very well with the euphonium perhaps a bit too loud in the mix of things at times. Plenty of articulation detail in this performance so far but tuning is suffering at times. The semiquaver detail is lost at times which is a real shame seeing how well the rest of it is coming across. Solo cornet plays very well and baritone matches perfectly. Again, some of the semiquaver detail is lost. Performance begins nearing the end, however the horns are extremely sonorous when it is their time to shine. A great chord to finish.
A strong performance from Downton band that was full or articulate detail.  

8 - Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)

Newley promoted Hatherleigh up next and they are currently flying through the sections, 4th section in 2017! Another good start here, but as we get in to it the ensemble begins to suffer with a few early entries. Flugel player is really in form with a big lush sound, the euphonium has a couple of small moments of insecurities but overall is well balanced and thought out. Sop and tromb link up very well. The band sound in some of the louder sections is fantastic and well controlled. All the solo players are really showing off in this performance especially the principal cornet that shines. Entering where the tempo increases, the ensemble is tight and dynamic contrast is great. Basses deal with the semiquavers well, if not a little frantic. This then carries on throughout the sections when the semiquavers arise.
Overall, a very impressive performance with great dynamic contrast and very tight ensemble.

7 - Shrewton Silver (Peter Bede)

Shrewton band on who came 2nd last year and finished in a very admirable 8th place at the national finals. A big chord to open, with the trombones maybe a bit too strong in the balance. Baritone slips up slightly but recovers well. Flugel solo is going very well and the MD standing over him easing every note out. Eb bass solo has a small slip as well as the euphonium but the general band playing is strong. When the band opens up it sounds great and projects well, however when the dynamic drops, some tuning issues are arising. Some tempo differences in the slower section between flugel and muted backrow creeps up but another good recovery. Tempo has picked up now and the band seems to be hitting their stride after a slightly bumpy section. Trombones facing out to help their sound project and it worked pretty well from up here. A strong last section helps the band along and they seem to be very happy.
A solid performance from Shrewton Silver with a few slips here and there but very well played overall.

6 - Wotton-Under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)

First year back for Wotton band in the 2nd section and here after a convincing win at the Oxford contest only a few weeks ago, which I am sure will have all the players geared up and ready for today. Best opening so far today with a great band sound. Flugel player is playing it very cool and the euphonium is well balanced. Principal cornet also plays very musically with the baritone part adding slight interjections at times, but never too much. Muted back row section with flugel solo is not quite in tune. The ensemble and dynamics are very well controlled when the tempo picks up and it sounds like the band is very comfortable on this stage. Another stand out section in this band is the young percussion duo who are playing with great finesse.
A great performance from Wotton band and so well directed from Ian Dickinson, with some fantastic solo playing throughout the band.

5 - Corsham (John Heritage)

2nd year for this band in this section and they open their performance with a great chord, if not a bit safe dynamically. Flugel plays well but it does not quite flow as well as some earlier performances, and the euphonium counter-melody is lost in the balance. Bass end tuning suffers slightly in the early stages of the piece, the Eb bass solo however is great and is a stand out player for the band so far. Some good consistent playing going on but when we arrive at the Flugel & baritone feature, it does not quite match up. Horns also suffer in some of the quite sections and fall off notes.
A rather safe performance from Corsham band that had its great moments, along with some moments that did not quite match up.

4 - St Pinnock (Colin Hudson)

Another band on stage now that have had disappointing results here over the past few years and seen a lot of changes to the person in the middle since 2016. St Pinnock’s opening is a bit steadier than what we have heard so far today and gives the semiquavers time to breath and we can hear all the notes clearly. Flugel has a couple of very small slips but plays it is so musically and the euphonium is not too overpowering. Cornet section in tutti areas are tight but perhaps a bit too much at time dynamically. Back in to the ‘fast’ section and the ensemble is good as well as balance. Great bass end, and they really shine when given the opportunity. Sop player struggles slightly at times but it does not take away from the performance as a whole. Tuning starts to suffer near the end of the performance.
A great show from St Pinnock and the MD really brought out some detail we have not heard yet and some stand out performances from the Flugel and Euphonium player.

3 - Bream Silver (Hugh Bamford)

Next on is Bream Silver band who have not had much luck recently in results and draw, shame today to have another early draw. A rather un-orthodox set up with euphoniums sat by the basses here as well. Opening chord suffers slightly from tuning but settles quickly after this. The Horn section is standing out in this performance so far with some great sounds and really punchy accents. Flugel plays well throughout and euphoniums are lost slightly in the balance. Principal cornet plays with class and is another stand out player. The Ensemble is not quite together at times when go back into the ‘fast’ section but the further we get into it, the tighter it gets. Nearing the end now and the horns once again stand out as a feature section. Another performance where dynamics are restrained and not fully opening up.
Bream can be quite happy with that performance which grew with confidence the further they got in to it.

2 - Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope BEM)

Camborne are next on and as the name suggests, it’s a very young band (with the exception of a few members!). Dynamics straight away are full bodied but tuning suffers slightly from it. Flugel plays very well and the euphonium interjections are very well balanced. Some of the semi-quavers are lost in the detail at times but it’s a very musical performance so far from the young outfit. Solo cornet shows off some great vibrato in the ‘slow’ melody. Tuning is suffering between the melody & countermelody at times. The young trombone section are strutting their stuff in some of the louder sections and sound great.
A tidy performance from the young band and definitely some future stars to be heard on stage here today.

1 - Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)

Cheltenham Silver open with a strong rendition of the Phoenix and their Flugel player is really shining. Dynamics so far feel a bit restrained but some great solo playing from the end seats, especially the baritone who plays with class. The further we get in to this performance the tuning starts to suffer and it seems like there are some tired lips. The ensemble stays tight however and the MD steers the ship home for a rousing finish.
Overall, a very good opening account from Cheltenham band really setting the standard for the rest of the day.

Second Section:
Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Adjudicators: Alan Bourne & Brian Rostron

1. Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)
2. Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope BEM)
3. Bream Silver (Hugh Bamford)
4. St Pinnock (Colin Hudson)
5. Corsham (John Heritage)
6. Wotton-Under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)
7. Shrewton Silver (Peter Bede)
8. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
9. Downton (Paul Williams)
10. Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)
11. Cinderford (Chris Howley)
12. Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver (Jo Sykes)
13. Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (David Boorer)
14. Weston Brass (Carl Whiteoak)
15. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
16. Lydney Town (Kevin Ford)

Sion Jones reporting