MASTER OF HIS TRADE - Remembering Allan Littlemore

Issue 6082

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COMPOSER CAST - Christopher Bond meets Naomi Styles

Southern Counties Regional Championships - First Section LIVE

Saturday 16 March, 2019

1st Section

Test-Piece: Symphony of Marches – Gilbert Vinter

Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and Paul Norley

Rob Tompkins Reporting.



1.         Amersham (Paul Fisher)*
2.         Fulham (John Ward)*
3.         Medway (Nigel Taken)
4.         Egham (Gareth Green)
5.         Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
6.         Grimesdyke Brass (Sharon Broughall)
7.         Sandhurst Silver (David Johnson)
8.         Cawston (Leigh Sharpe)
9.         East of England Co-op (Nigel Cooper)
10.      Staines Brass (Jonathan Pippen)
11.      Ware Brass (Craig Patterson)
12.      Alder Valley Brass (Lee Woodward)
13.      Chiltern Hills Brass (Gordon Davies)
14.      Soham Comrades (Mark Ager)
15.      City of Cambridge (Philip Fisher)

*Top two bands qualify for National Finals at Cheltenham

Best Cornet: Sop (Fulham)
Best Basses: Amersham


That’s the last of the bands, some struggled to get the most out of the piece, many did a good job and will be in the pack at the results, 3 bands really took the piece and gave us their take on Mr Vinters piece,

For me it is between Sandhurst, Amersham, Fulham and Egham with Cambridge putting in a good shout at the end. 


1st Sandhurst

2nd Amersham

3rd Fulham


City of Cambridge – Philip Fisher

Opening unsettled, but soon sorted itself out, some nice playing and ensemble sounds, nothing overpowering.

When it needs the big ff sound it didn’t quite get there, it was balanced but not big enough.

Nice opening to Grave, great control from the band, showing all of the parts and well blended.

Good Soprano, possibly the best in the section.

The start of the Brio has caused a number of bands trouble and the same is true of Cambridge, just not as neat as you would like.

A well-balanced last movement, controlled and enjoyable to listen to, this has been a good performance.


Ware Brass – Craig Patterson

The opening movement felt comfortable, but lacked any drive, some slips that didn’t help. The band produced a lovely sound at times but that was only in places.

Grave was very well controlled, good dynamics and balance, it felt very safe though, no real stand out moments.

Brio is lacking contrast, the band are playing together and there is a lovely sound, just missing that dynamic change to bring it to life.

There wasn’t much wrong with what was being played, it just lacked drive for me.


East of England Co-Op – Nigel Cooper

Good to see some youngsters on the back row.

Controlled opening movement, some lovely sounds, needed a little more contrast to bring it to life

Grave felt good, again it was well controlled, big sounds from the band, Trombones were a bit big for me, not sure moving the Euph/Bari’s helped.

Brio had a good feel to it, moving along nicely and good attempt at the movement.

Overall it just felt too heavy,  it’s a shame because there were some good moments.


Medway – Nigel Taken

Another confident performance, big opening movement that had some disagreement in places

Grave has some big big sounds that are well balanced, good contrasts and neat cornets and a lovely ending

The tempo for the Brio is pushing along but they are keeping it together in both tempo and dynamics.

Great finish, this is a top 4 performance for me as long as the adjudicators are ok with the tempo


Amersham – Paul Fisher

Confident and a very good balance to open

Solid 1st Movement, no heroics, just well controlled

Grave had good sounds across the band, good balance and solid Basses

Very tidy Cornets and good Sop

Brio is another great opening, the band are all over this, control, balance, contrast

Euph was the best so far today

Was this a winning performance?, I bet it's close


Medway – Nigel Taken

Opening had intonation problems, the band have a lovely sound, so a shame to not get a better start.

Grave – Solid start, well balanced and controlled, but a couple of slips and it lacked some contrast

Into the Brio which had a nice flow, Euph was good and well accompanied but a couple of untidy entries were a real shame.

A good ending


Alder Valley – Lee Woodward

The first movement needed to have more contrast and also a little untidy

Had moments which sounded good, but the slips marred a good 1st movement.

Grave was the same, a nice feel, but lacking in contrast

It felt controlled and was well balanced.

Nice work from the Horn in the Brio and also from the Basses

It’s a shame each movement had the slips and just needed more contrast.

Good finish to the piece.


Comfort Break for the adjudicators

I have Sandhurst and Fulham out in front with Milton Keynes and Cawston both in the frame for 3rd place.


Staines Brass – Jonathan Pippen

Only 3 basses and a lonely percussionist

Opening movement was good, steady progress, Bass trom too big for me

Grave started with a couple of slips, good work from the basses

Long wait for the 3rd movement to start, but it was a good start

The band and the MD are enjoying this, good balance and feels very light and lively


Sandhurst Silver – David Johnson

Off to a quick start, some not together

MD getting the most from the band in the ff sections

Tempo picks up again and this time is more controlled

Good ending to the first movement

Grave felt unsure to start, but basses and troms sound great and lift the band

Nice pp sections

Liked this, best performance of the 2nd movement today

Brio is off to a good start, well controlled, great dynamics

Small slips but the MD asks for plenty and that’s what he gets

Will the slips keep them off top spot


Milton Keynes – Jonathan Mott

Controlled opening section, felt a little slow to finish the 1st movement

Good opening to Grave, lovely Bass and Troms, great sound

Soprano also on good form, loved the little solo

Into the Brio and the band are sounding happy, it has a good feel to it

Some untidy entries will keep the band off the top spots I think, but a lot of positives

I enjoyed the performance


Egham – Gareth Green

Off like a bullet, not everyone was able to keep up

Great dynamics and everything is starting to settle down and sounding good

Nice Soprano and well accompanied

Brio has a nice feel to start, lacking some dynamic contrast and needs to be more playful

Seemed to lose its way for a couple of bars but then picked up to a good finish


Fulham – John Ward

Calm and controlled opening, some intonation issues at the end of phrases

Good opening to Grave, MD leaves the band in no doubt what he wants and the band deliver, control is the keyword for this performance

Into the Brio and the good work continues, MD has a smile on his face and the band are playing with a great sense of fun.

For me this takes the top spot of the bands we have heard so far


Cawston - Leigh Sharpe

Solid opening and nice move into the Calmo

Well controlled and then some bars start to feel rushed

Opening to Grave not convincing, but what a great sound from the basses and troms, percussion also doing a great job.

Nice feel to the Brio, the band are starting to enjoy this now, shame the band ff doesn’t match that of the trombones.

I enjoyed the performance, but it missed out a bit when it got untidy.


Chiltern Hills Brass - Gordon Davies

Only 3 basses for Chiltern, 5 on the Euph/Bari row

Like the start, good contrast in dynamics and good balance.

Some slips and some untidy sections draw the ear away from the good sounds the band is producing.

Good Sop and team trombone are in good form, the band sound like they are enjoying it.

Some sections not together which is a real shame, like the contrasts and like the sound the band produce, just the untidy sections that made it feel like a bit of a fight in places.

It needed the 4th Tuba, especially in the Grave movement.


Grimesdyke Brass - Sharon Broughall

Just 3 solo cornets, will be interesting to see how they cope with the fff sections.

There is a lack of dynamic contrast, would love to hear more of the ff, but also need less in the quiet sections.

Where the band are comfortable then the sound is good, there were some areas that had a great feel to them, but still lacked that all important dynamic contrast.

Soprano player was the star for Grimesdyke, in control and great sound.

Overall the piece just needed to have more fun about it, it was enjoyable to listen to, I just wanted more.



First Section Draw

1. Grimesdyke Brass (Sharon Broughall)
2. Chiltern Hills Brass (Gordon Davies)
3. Cawston (Leigh Sharpe)
4. Fulham (John Ward)
5. Egham (Gareth Green)
6. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
7. Sandhurst Silver (David Johnson)
8. Staines Brass (Jonathan Pippen)
9. Alder Valley Brass (Lee Woodward)
10. Soham Comrades (Mark Ager)
11. Amersham (Paul Fisher)
12. Medway (Nigel Taken)
13. East of England Co-op (Nigel Cooper)
14. Ware Brass (Craig Patterson)
15. City of Cambridge (Philip Fisher)