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National Finals: First Section Runners and Predictions

Published in Contest on 2013-09-14 by Empty Chairs

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Our final look forward to Cheltenham sees us previewing and predicting for the 1st Section Finals on Sunday September 22nd.

Seventeen bands from around the UK will perform Gavin Higgin's Fanfares and Love Songs for adjudicators Robert Childs and Paul Holland.

Fanfares and Love Songs is traditional in structure; an exciting fanfare opening is followed by an expressive love song. The final movement revisits the fanfares of the first movement whilst a fast paced dance brings the work to a triumphant and breathless close. The piece was commissioned by the National Children’s Band of Great Britain for their 2009 Summer Course.

Alder Valley Brass – London & Southern Counties

A tenth trip to the Finals for the internationally contesting Alder Valley. Second place at the French Open back in June will work as good preparation. From next year they will be competing in the very top flight of banding so they will be looking to impress before beginning to work toward the 2014 Areas.

Bildworth Welfare – Midlands

There have been inconsistent results for Bildworth over the last year. The Bolsover Entertainment Champions only managed 23rd place at Butlins before qualifying in 3rd place at the Areas. They will have to pull out all the stops at the Finals to be in the running.

Catterick Brass – North of England

A third trip to the finals for Catterick in their short contesting history. With a series of consistent results this is a band in with a chance of making an impression. They have usually done well with an early draw so they might well be hoping to be first band on for the third consecutive time.

Drighlington – Yorkshire

The recent of form for Drighlington shows a band with an outstanding chance of a top place next weekend. The current Butlins Mineworkers champions qualified in 2nd place at the Areas and 5th place in the Senior Trophy is an impressive series of results that will see the band start 2014 in the Championship Section.

Filton Concert Brass – West of England

The 1st Section West of England and Wychavon champions will be competing at the Finals for the fifth time. The band has seen a couple of good results under the baton of Tom Davoren and will be hoping for a third consecutive top spot.

Foresters Brass 2000 – Midlands

Foresters will be hoping to better their ninth place in this competition last year. The band, promoted to the Championship section from next year, has had inconsistent results in 2012 coming only 20th at Butlins in January but winning the Wood Farm entertainment contest later in the year. Consistency is key to success in the Championship section and Peter Collins will be hoping to start the trend at the Finals.

Freckleton – North West

A tenth trip to the Finals for Freckleton. Last time in 2010 the band with Paul Dalton achieved 2nd place, a feat they will be hoping to repeat this year. The band have been promoted to the Championship section for next year and they will be looking to leave the first section with a win.

Harrogate – North of England

The North of England champions are promoted back to the Championship Section for 2014 and following a series of consistent results Craig Ratcliffe will be confident of a good result at Cheltenham.

Hebden Bridge – Yorkshire

A nineteenth trip to the finals for Hebden Bridge. Their last appearance in 2010 resulted in a disappointing seventeenth position and Alan Hobbins will be hoping for a much better result this time around. Promoted to the Championship section from 2014 Hebden Bridge have seen some good results this year.

Johnstone Silver – Scotland

Second place in the Scottish Championships saw Johnstone Silver qualify. Since then they have only competed in the Land O'Burns contest achieving sixth place.

Kidlington Concert Brass – London and Southern Counties

The current London and Southern Counties champions will start 2014 in the Championship section. Their last visit to the finals in 2001 saw the band come a disappointing twentieth but with a good series of results at the start of the year the band will be hoping to do much better this time out.

Lanner & District Silver – West of England

A fourth visit to the finals for promoted Lanner and District who since 2011 have been in the prizes at every contest they have entered. Most recently they became won the first section at Bugle Contest. With such an impressive set of results there is almost an expectation of being in the prizes at Cheltenham and Stuart Chappell has to hope the band can withstand the weight of that expectation.

Morecambe – North West

The North West runners up achieved a respectable sixth place the last time they competed in the Finals back in 2011. With three silvers to their name so far this year including the Areas and Butlins Morecambe are well placed to better their 2011 result this year.

Newtongrange Silver – Scotland

A seventeenth visit to the Finals for Scottish Champions Newtongrange. The band have since won the Senior Trophy and been promoted to the Senior Cup at the Spring Festival next year. With these results behind them Newtongrange are one to watch in this competition.

Penclawdd – Wales

Mixed results for Penclawdd over the last couple of years means that the Welsh runners up will have to work hard to be amongst the prizes at Cheltenham. Tony Small has plenty of experience with the band however, taking them on a regular basis starting from the 4th sections areas in 1974.

Staffordshire – Midlands

The Midlands champions have had a good year, winning the Areas and coming 6th in the Senior Cup. They will be hoping this is part of their road to recovery and a good result at the Finals will encourage the band to push forward in 2014.

Tylorstown – Wales

National Finals Champions in 2010, Tylorstown have seen good results in 2013 winning the Welsh Area and third at Ebbw Vale. The band has been promoted to the Championship Section from 2014.



The first section is a difficult section to call with a lot of bands of a very similar high quality competing. It could be a case that either a mistake, or a moment of brilliance on the day will be the deciding factor on the results as we expect all the bands to do justice to this test piece.

Our top six are: Alder Valley Brass, Catterick, Drighlington, Lanner & District, Morecambe and Newtongrange Silver.

For the top spot, if we could bet each way it would be on Drighlington and Lanner. If we're going to be forced to put a fiver on the just one band we think Drighlington.

It's a tough call though, and nothing would surprise us on the day.

1st Section Preview & Predictions
2nd Section Preview & Predictions
3rd Section Preview & Predictions

4th Section Preview & Predictions

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