Published on February 23rd, 2020 by gavin

LIVE: NW Regional Championships 2020 – 1st Section

Final Thoughts & Prediction

Well, it’s been an interesting one here in the 1st Section today. Some of the bands here shone, while some struggled with the piece and it’s demands. Even right down to the band basics like Intonation and Tuning. Some of the rhythms in the last movement caught bands out. The sop players were definitely challenged with this piece as well. The little obligato passages caught a few out. For us, there’s one band that really stuck out, followed by a few other good bands.

We’re going to go for:

  1. Longridge
  2. Roberts Bakery
  3. Blackburn & Darwen
  4. Eccles Borough
  5. Middleton
  6. Freckleton

Dark Horse : Ashton-Under-Lyne



Band #16 – Flixton

A completely different seating arrangement for Flixton, changes the sound here. Flugel sticks out at the beginning because of this. Plenty of detail to be heard as we head to the faster section. The balance isn’t all there in the louder passages. Not sure this seating arrangement is working for the band. The detail to close is lost, nice solo lines though.

A tentative opening to the 2nd movement leads into a flowing full band sound. Principal Cornet does well. Suspect tuning in the underlying band parts however. Watch the balance in the full band playing, it’s a bit bottom heavy. Horn/Euph watch the intonation. Again, the balance isn’t quite there. Lots of detail coming through however. The playing becomes a bit fragile to close.

Good start to the last movement. Detail can be heard in all lines. The melodic lines are slightly clumsy at times, but there is still a sense of flow. Good Trombone triplets! The energy is there. As we move into the quiter passage the conductor is trying to build the energy back up. There is a slight sense of frantic playing here. Good band sound to finish the piece.

Overall – Good performance from Flixton to finish off the 1st section contest. Lots to commend, but also lots to think about. The strange seating plan didn’t work for me sadly. The fundamentals were mostly there. Was it enough to be up there?


Band #15 – Roberts Bakery

Solid opening from the band. Odd parts stick out however. The music has a nice flow to it. Watch the tuning in the upper band. Nice balance in the full band playing. As the music becomes quiter, odd parts are sticking out again. Watch the tuning to close.

2nd Movement starts with a nice Flugel, and the music begins to build. Excellent balance here. Principal Cornet does well, and the conductor gives him time for the melody. This flows really nicely, and the band are making music. Just the odd moment of insecurity. Horn/Euph melody works well. Again, the music is flowing nicely in the full band sounds. Excellent balance! Solo lines to close show a few clips. Nice Euph to close.

Final movement begins in a more subtle way than we’ve heard so far today. The tempo is good and allows the detail to shine through. Well done Trombones! The playing is pretty consistent here. Good balance, plenty of detail. A few cracks start to enter the music. The energy is still there and the music flows well. A tidy close.

Overall – An exciting one from Roberts Bakery. The attention to detail was very apparent and the balance worked well throughout. Just the odd moment, but definitely a contender. One to watch!


Band #14 – Haslingdon & Helmshore

A more subdued opening than we’ve had today. Not quite settled with the odd split detracting. Odd moment of wayward tuning. Faster section builds well and the detail is still apparent. Nice full band sounds. Intonation suffers to close.

Slightly unsecure Flugel opens a very bold 2nd Movement. The tempo is very steady here, giving the music time. Solo Cornet good but not without blips. Full band playing is solid. The music flows well. Horn/Euph do well together. Good effort Sop! The band sound tired in the full band playing. The balance isn’t always there. Nice Horn melody.

Good trombones to open the final movement. The tempo isn’t too fast allowing the detail to come through. Intonation is starting to waiver as the band become tired. Good effort trombones! The full band playing hasn’t quite got the same energy it had early. Intonation in the solo lines isn’t 100% accurate.  The conductor is pushing the band but the energy isn’t there. It’s definitely a tired close.

Overall – Another performance that fell victim to nerves and wayward intonation. Good balance throughout but the tempo choice made some of the playing hard work.


Band #13 – Silk Brass

Secure opening. This has a nice flow about it. The balance is good which allows the detail to be heard. Slightly clumsy entry into the faster feel. Good balance from the band. The moving lines aren’t always coherent and precise. Nerves creep in to close.

Nervous opening to the 2nd movement. Quickly settles into a nice full band sound. Watch the tuning in the solo lines cornet! The full band sound is nice and solid. Just a few fragile solo lines. Horn/Euph melody ok, just watch the intonation again. Nerves are apparent in the solo lines. Good euph to close.

Final movement is a good stately tempo. Still, the detail isn’t always clear. The balance isn’t always 100% solid. The melody needs to flow more throughout. The band has plenty of energy, but lack of clarity sometimes. The band are getting tired to close. The end is solid, but slightly overblown.

Overall – Another band that lost it’s way slightly with the piece. Nerves crept in and tuning issues were apparent. A shame as there were some nice moments too.


Band #12 – Marple

Loose opening from the cornets. The music flows nicely, however the melody has moments of hesitancy. Nerves are starting to creep in. Watch the tuning in the louder passages. The moving lines aren’t always together in the triplets. Nice close.

The 2nd movement starts well, but we start to hear the tuning issues again. Nice Cornet solo, just the odd blip detracts. Sop shines through the band in the obligato playing. This has started to settle now. Horn/Euph melody isn’t together and the music doesn’t have the same flow. Nice build up in to the full band playing. The balance is good here! This ends well.

The final movement is a nice stately pace allowing detail to be played. A bit understated perhaps. Some of the melodic lines are becoming disjointed as the music doesn’t quite get into full flow. The band are losing energy as the piece moves on. It’s not as tight as it should be. Watch the balance in the cornets! As the piece draws to a close the band try to gather energy, but I feel it’s too late for that.

Overall – Another one that never quite got going today. Nerves were apparent throughout and the sense of drive the piece needs was never really there. Intonation issues were apparent also.


Band #11 – Eccles Borough

Slightly unsecure opening from the band, but settles quickly. A different seating arrangement too, not sure it makes a difference on this stage. The detail can be heard clearly and the music has a nice flow. The faster section sounds slightly frantic but there is good balance. There is a slight lack of energy here to finish.

Good opening to the 2nd movement. Cornet solo is nicely played, but the music seems stilted almost and the accompanying playing is perhaps too loud for the soloist. The balance is good in the louder playing. Odd moments of wayward tuning creep in. A big band sound is spoilt by a few clips here and there. Solo lines aren’t always clear. Watch the intonation to close this movement.

The last movement moves on fairly quickly. The band are just handling this tempo and the detail suffers slightly. The sense of drive is good. The tempo is hindering some of the rhythms. The band are loosing energy as the piece goes on and the lines aren’t always together. Intonation in solo lines isn’t always 100%. The band does well to close, nice balance!

Overall – A dissapointing one from the current 1st Section Butlins Champions. A performance that never quite got going. It had all the makings of a leader, but something was missing throughout.


Band # 10 – Mossley

Secure opening. Flows nicely, if the odd moment of tuning in the longer notes. The clarity in some of the moving passages isn’t always clear. The full band playing is good. Nice balance. The close to this section doesn’t quite gel properly.

The 2nd movement opens well. Tuning is ok. Cornet Solo is played well and the band follows nicely. Sop does well. The music flows well. Few moments of weak intonation here and there. Horn/Euph line isn’t secure. The full band playing is nice and not overblown allowing the music to come out. A bit of tuning is suspect. Good euph to close.

The final movement is a bit steady, but allows most of the detail to come through. The music lacks a little drive and energy. Everything is being played, but lacking a bit of excitement. Principal Cornet does well. As the music builds, it still lacks that energy. Balance is good to close.

Overall – A solid performance from Mossley. All the detail and music was there, but just lacked a bit of drive and excitement throughout.


Band #9 – Blackburn & Darwen

Nice opening, if a little quicker than some bands today so far. Good balance in the full band playing. All the detail can be heard in the faster playing. The music has a good flow to it. The quiet playing is clean and again the detail is clear.

The opening to the 2nd movement is a little fragile but settles quickly. The cornet solo quickly settles, this is good. The band are responding well to the conductor as he moves the music. Good balance and intonation. Sop does well. Euph/Horn line is nice and delicate and the underlying band is sympathetic to the melody. Sop fanfare is good! The full band is a perhaps a little understated here however. Bold Euph to close.

The final movement starts well. Detail is clear, even from the basses! Nice momentum to the music. Feels secure. Balance is good and the melody has time. Everything is in it’s place, with a good energy. The conductor is driving the music forward. The ending is solid, if not slightly understated.

Overall – A good performance from Blackburn & Darwen. The fundamentals were there and the band were allowed to play the music. One to watch this, it could most definitely be up there!


Band #8 – Freckleton

Nervous opening from the cornets. Melody flows well, although intonation is suspect. Watch balance as the detail can’t always be heard. Louder playing is good. The faster section moves well. Again, just moments of poor intonation can be heard. The flow is a bit stop/start but overall flows well. Watch the tuning to close!

The 2nd movement starts a bit nervously, but settles quickly. Cornet solo is played with style, this is lovely. As the band builds there’s just the odd moment of tuning. The Horn/Euph melody, watch the intonation in places. The full band sound is nice, but again…watch the tuning. Not quite together towards the end of this movement.

The final movement is a little unsettled to start. Watch the balance in the accompanying lines. There is a good sense of drive to this! Again, just moments of wayward tuning. Good effort trombones! The energy is slowly starting to disappear and there are cracks starting to appear. Intonation is still suffering in places due to overblowing. The close was very overblown for me!

Overall – A mixed one from Freckleton. It had good moments, but some weak ones too. Lots of overblowing from the band lead to intonation and tuning issues. The detail was mostly good but again, lapsed in places. Another perfomance that didn’t quite work today.


Band #7 – Manx Concert Brass

Brisk opening this. Loose detail in the muted lines. Melody flows well though. Watch tuning in the Sop/Cornet lines. Good balance so far. The fast section has lots of energy, the detail can’t always be heard. Trombones do well. Lively to close.

Straight into the 2nd movement without a gap, not sure that worked for the music. Cornet solo sounds slightly fragile but mostly well played. The music flows well, but tuning issues are starting to show. Sop obligato is good. The balance in the full band playing isn’t always 100%. The quiet passage is nice and the music flows. Tuning and cracks start to show as the band gets louder again. Intonation isn’t always 100%, watch the overblowing Trombones! Nice Flugel line to close. Euph tuning is suspect.

The final movement starts off a bit quicker than we’ve had from some today. As such, the detail suffers a bit in places. The balance isn’t always there again. The band is loosing energy and drive. The triplet rhythms aren’t always accurate in the lower end. As we move through the music, there is overblowing and loose playing. The balance isn’t there. The tuning to close is out.

Overall – A solid performance from Manx Concert Brass, that just didn’t quite come off. Intonation suffered in places however. There was overblowing in the final momvement, especially the Trombones, that detracted from this. The band just lost momentum as the piece went on. Disappointing as there was lots of good playing!


Band #6 – Bollington

Nervous opening from Bollington this and intonation suffers. Stately pace gives the music chance to flow. Balance is good. Few clips in melodic lines. Faster passage doesn’t really have the energy this needs. Muted sections do well, though not always clear.

2nd section opens well and has a nice flow. Principal Cornet does well, and gives the music time. The accompaniment doesn’t always move together here however. Moving quavers into the Horn/Euph melody don’t work from the band and the intonation in the melody doesn’t sit right. Sop fanfare is good. The louder playing is not balanced. Nervous solo lines to end.

The fast section starts well, but lacks drive. Some loose playing here and there. The music is loosing energy and the detail just isn’t there. As we move through this, it’s starting to settle. Principal Cornet does well! The ending to this is sounding tired and not all together clear.

Overall –  A dissapointing one from Bollington. It never quite settled. Well done Principal Cornet througout the performance however. Good effort from the band, but it just didn’t work for me.


Band # 5 – Middleton

A slower opening to this, effective still. Melodic lines flow well. All the detail is clear, however the intonation isn’t always 100%. The faster section moves well. Balance is good. Great Sop! The quiet playing is good! Watch the tuning in the Trombones.

The 2nd section opens with a few intonation issues, but a nice feel to the music. Principal Cornet does well! Sop obligato is stunning. Band balance is good. The quiet playing is stunning also. Tuning starts to waiver as the band crescendos. Nice flow in the full band playing. Few nerves start to creap in towards the end in the solo lines.

A steadier 3rd section for Middleton. This allows all the detail to be heard though. Starting to get a little scrappy in the lead lines as we move through this. Trombones not always together. Overall balance is good! Odd moments starting to creep in however. Dynamic contrast could be better. The momentum has picked up towards to the end. Watch the over-blowing however!

Overall –  Another good performance this. Had moments of insecurity and nerves however. The last section maybe got the best of them today as it wasn’t the tidiest I’ve heard so far. Another one that’s hard to judge.


Band #4 – Diggle

Secure opening from Diggle. The detail isn’t always clear. Watch the balance in the moving sections. Doesn’t always seem to flow 100%. Feels unsecure moving into the faster section. We’re loosing detail here. Cornet mutes are very prominent.

Flugel little nervous opening the 2nd section. Full band sound is nicely balanced. Subtle Cornet Solo, but effortlessly played! Tuning is good in the muted sections. Horn/Euph does well. Little loose moving out of this. Watch the balance in the full band playing. Back row and Percussion not always together. Intonation is a little suspect between moving lines.

Into the fast movement works well. Good trombone work! Moving triplets not always together. The music is starting to loose energy and it’s staring to sound hard work in places. The conductor is trying to drive the music forward but it still has a loose feel to it. As we get to the close, the band sounds tired.

Overall – A different account from Diggle that never quite got going. The Principal Cornet was stunning throughout. A bit tired towards the end and tuning issues here and there. Not sure how this will feature today.


Band # 3 – Ashton-Under-Lyne

Nice opening. Watch the tuning in the melody. This has a very precise feel to it. Everything is in it’s place but the music still flows well. As we move into the faster section the detail can be heard. Nice sop! There is lot’s of space here. Euph a little loose to finish. And watch the tuning to end.

Nice opening into the 2nd section. Cornet accents are well heard! The Cornet solo flows well, and the accompaniment is nicely balanced. A different style to the Sop melody here. This is breathtakingly quiet, allowing the band to crescendo so well! Starts to get a little rough in places due to overblowing.

The fast section is off! All the detail can still be heard however! Great balance. Starting to lose some clarity as we move through. Lower end does well. This band can play quiet! Horn moving triplets rush slightly. The energy builds to the close. Exciting finish!

Overall – A different one from Ashton. It had all the detail, and excitement but was a little understated in places for me. The conductor had a very clear image for this one, and it came across in the music.


Band #2 – Haydock

Opening not quite together. Cornet tuning is suspect in the moving passages. Doesn’t quite flow enough for me. The detail can be heard in the faster section. Trombones could hold back a bit. Back row moving passages little scrappy.

Another nice Flugel opening. Watch the tuning lower end! Slightly nervous Cornet solo, still does well however. This has a nice flow to it. Sop does well. Euph/Flugel/Horn melody is nice and gentle, just watch the tuning. Sop intonation isn’t always secure.

Can’t quite hear all the detail into the fast section. Doesn’t quite have the energy this section needs. Horns do well! As we move through this movement, it’s loosing energy for me. Detail is now always together. Horn & Euph moving lines work well. Exciting to close, watch the tuning however.

Overall – A different one from Haydock. Exciting at times, gentle at others. There were a few nervous solo lines, and some suspect tuning at times. Again, percussion wasn’t always clear. Perhaps the hall? Overal, a good performance from Haydock.


Band #1 – Longridge

Nice opening from Longridge. Melodic lines flow well. Accents are heared clearly. Good balance so far. Little scrappy in faster passages however.

Flugel does well opening up the slow section. Stunning Cornet solo! Excellent support from the band. Euph and Flugel/Horn not always together. Percussion is perhaps a little understated. The support from the band in solo lines is so well done.

Slightly loose into the fast section. Most of the detail can be heard. Again, can’t quite hear the percussion (timps) clearly. A little scrappy in the quiter moments. Nothing is over-blown or over-done. Exciting to finish.

Overall – An excellent opener from Longridge. Great dynamic contrast and lots of excitement. The solo lines were excellent, especially the Principal Cornet! Percussion lines, especially the Timpani, couldn’t always be heard. Overall, a solid performance from Longridge.

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