A long weekend in Torquay led to a roller coaster ride of emotions almost as choppy as the waves in Torbay. The Academy band rehearsal was so early on Saturday morning I’m sure some people thought it was on Friday night! The band were drawn 6th, and the band came off stage having played Stantonbury Festival as well as ever. 4 Bars Rest (and the adjudicators) were very impressed, especially with the basses: “The trio is rounded off by a super account from Chalford Academy — all the more so as it was built on a brace of tremendous young tuba players. The overall band sound was so well constructed though — and the flowing musicality was a treat.”. This led to a 4BR predicted podium finish, Although the official placing of 11th wasn’t quite as high as the prediction, it’s a fantastic result for a band whose average age (excluding one player) is 15.5!
Steve’s long weekend continued as he worked the senior band hard to put some final tweaks in place during the Saturday afternoon rehearsal. They returned on Sunday morning, and played to an unofficial audience from Woodfalls band, seemingly intent on getting into the practice room early! A long wait then ensued, as the band were drawn 10th, on stage over six hours after the end of the rehearsal. The band left the stage a little bewildered and definitely disappointed – the performance hadn’t been quite what was expected. Nevertheless, it says a lot about the effort put into practice and rehearsal that even though they were newly promoted and did beat two bands, they’d expected more.
Many thanks to all the supporters, particularly those who spent most of their weekend on the M5!
Senior Band – Championship Section
Test Piece: Seascapes (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Major David Barringer MBE and Ludovic Neurohr
1. Flowers (Paul Holland)
2. Aldbourne (David Thornton)
3. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
4. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
5. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
6. St Dennis (Darren R Hawken)
7. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
8. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)
9. St Austell Town (Iain McKnight)
10. Lanner & District Silver (David Hamilton)
11. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
12. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Dr Howard Evans)
13. Hyde (Garry Cutt)
I. Opening is well balanced. Occasional slip and we lose sop for a while. Settles well. Furioso has energy but the balance is not clear here. We lose the quaver pulse at times and this introduces untidiness in the ensemble -> Maestoso. Andante is better but tuning drifts to close.
II. Untidy opening – this needs to flow for me.  feels rushed. Nice troms before   is better and  settles nicely. Duet/Trios not always tidy. You make a nice sound at  but ensemble is not always tidy  stutters and tuning drift again.
III. Never really settles in opening and feels a bit frantic until  (nice flug)  intonation detracts. Tempo is not established at Allegro and we lose a few entries as a result.  is unitdy and Quietamente doesn’t quite come off. Tempo builds consistently but it is too quick to allow you to play semis.
This felt right at the edge of your capabilities and never really got to the heart of the music. Thank you.
MAJOR DAVID BARRINGER MBE
I. It could be more subtle with articulations and dynamics. But the flow is quite ok. From  it misses a good clarity in the details between sections. In the quiet parts it misses a bit of confidence to really enjoy the music
II. From  Please be careful with intonation at Eb bass. This is the base of the harmony. Lovely moments!  Articulation for soloists can be more subtle to reach this funny vibe needed by the composer  The general sound needs to be well supported by the low instruments to be solid. Overall: (!) Intonation put low the quality of your performance
III.  Well done flugel horn. Intonation is not your strong side in this movement.  Soloist miss confidence to be really enjoyable.  A great mix of sounds deserve a better understanding.
Overall: Some good moments of music but a few mistake (tune, balance, reading of score) do not allow to say it is a really good performance. Anyway, thx for your job!
Academy Band – Fourth Section
Test Piece: Stantonbury Festival (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Ludovic Neurohr & Brian Rostron
1. Redruth Town (Andrew Craze)
2. Woughton Silver (Neil Webb)
3. Nailsworth Silver (Steve Ruck)
4. Shaftesbury Town Silver (Martin Hill)
5. Exeter Railway (Graham Eaton)
6. Bideford Town (Mark Durham)
7. Saltash Town (Ross Farr-Semmens)
8. Tewkesbury Town (Nigel Morgan)
9. Okehampton Excelsior Silver (Robert Julian)
10. Great Western Youth (Ben Halstead)
11. Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)
12. Tiverton Town (John Fitton)
13. Test Valley Brass (John Heritage)
14. Shanklin Town Brass (IoW) (Malcolm Lewis)
15. Illogan Sparnon Silver (Shaun Marsden)
16. Torbay Brass (Joe Lowlands)
17. Launceston Town (Alan Iles)
Andante: has a good feel at the opening [A] intonation problems [C] Good euph & bari [D]basses good if a tad loud! [E] Grazioso please [F] has terrible tonguing problems????? [J] all the detail is heard, but needs to be more legato. A fine close.
Moderato: A good style is chosen here. Thank your MD! [C] poor balance here [E] what a good bass sound! More shape at [F] [G] the general intonation suffers in the quieter passages
Allegro: This has a better feel to the music! [B] pp could have been better [C] nice and playful. Basses a tad heavy before [G] [I] lovely sounds here. Has just the right feel to it [L] More shape [N] Better playing here! [O] More shape [P] Good solid basses [Q] Accel could have been more exciting. You bring the piece to a fine close
This performance had some good points but alas also quite a lot of bad ones. Thank you
Overture: Quite ok even if some of the cornets are a bit stressed with the principal theme Some intonation problems cut the MD’s flow but there are good moments of interpretation. This 1st mov deserves a more “Grazioso” attitude. It’s a bit heavy
II. I found some lovely moments of music but the overall band misses some key point by details (intonation, style)
III. [C] Scherzando could be more funny. Percussion: please think that you are as important as the rest of the band (!) Precision/reading of the indications [M] Intonation on cornets! (!) It misses a more balanced style between dancing and banding. Please be more funny in the music! Enjoy the music! Thx for your job!