Band Contest in Leigh 
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Report from the Leigh Journal 12th September 1884

On Saturday afternoon a brass band contest, under the auspices of St. Joseph's Brass Band, took place in a field at Down Croft, Leigh. Excellent arrangements had been made by a committee, with Mr. James Grundy as secretary, but they were sadly interfered with through a continual downpour of rain. Many patronisers were doubtless prevented attending by the depressing circumstances, but from 200 to 300 were present. The conditions were that each band should play a quadrille and quickstep of their own choice, but the rendering of the quickstep was dispensed with, and the Judge, Mr. James Barker, a late member of the Healey Hall and Rochdale Borough Bands, gave his decision about six o'clock, when each of the thirteen bands that competed had played their respective quadrilles The first prize, which consisted of a handsome cornet, value £13 13s, was awarded to the Atherton Volunteer Band [4th L.R.V. Chowbent]; the second prize of £4 to the Farnworth public; third of £2 to St. Thomas's Bedford ; and the fourth of £1 to Platt Bridge. Each band strove hard to win the premier position, as the contest, being limited to a radius of seven miles, virtually decided, for a time at least the merits of nearly all the bands in the locality. The competing bands were the following: Astley Public, conductor, Mr. R. Welsh; Bolton Borough, Mr. J. Longstaff; Glazebury, Mr. F. Unsworth; Firs Lane, Mr. J. Knowles; Westleigh, Mr. J. Brown. Irlam, Mr. Thomas Shawcross; Golborne, Mr. William Ellison; Platt Bridge, Mr. J. Makin; 4th L.R.V., Chowbent, Mr. J. Croft; Farnworth Public, Mr. B. Wallwork; Cadishead, Mr. F. Unsworth; St. Thomas's, Bedford, Mr. J. Frost; Bickershaw, Mr. F Unsworth; Mr. Berry of the Black Horse, had a refreshment; stall on the ground.

Appended are the judge's remarks: -

No.1 (Glazebury). Quadrille, "Jeannette." Opening fair. Sop. rather wild and band not smart enough; 2nd, opening rather better, sop. still at fault, making several slips. Cornet and euphonium not well together, sop. in this band would play much better if not quite so prominent; 3rd, fair opening, horn and cornet very fair bass fairly well played and good tone; 4th, opening not smart enough, sop. and cornet not together with tongue and fingers; 5th, opening fair, euphonium missed his note. This band wants more practice. Trombones, euphonium and baritone not quite in tune, tone fair, tune fair, but only a moderate performance.

No.2 (Bickershaw); "Wheel of Fortune." Opening not smart, cornet fair, sop. makes several slips, bass fair, intermediate parts fair; 2nd, opening rather better, solo cornet rather harsh tone, sop. not safe on the lip; 3rd, poor opening, cornet a little better, sop. still at fault; 4th, opening good, band warming up a little, cornet playing much better, the tuttis well played; 5th, opening; fair, comet rather stiff, euphonium god tone, bas fair, tune good, tone fair and a very fair performance.

No.3 (Firs-lane). " Jeannette.' Opening out of tune and the playing not up to mark! 2nd, this band wants thoroughly tuning, all the playing being spoiled by being out of tune, and very poor tonguing; 3rd, opening very poor and out of tune, all the way through; 4th the same fault. tune in this band is something fearful; euphonium flat; 5th, still out of tune, they seem to be very stiff with both tongue and fingers, tune very poor, tone poor, and a very poor performance.

No.4 (St. Thomas's, Bedford). Leisure Hour." A grand opening, good tone, good bass and trombones, and well in tune, and a great improvement on all the playing so far; 2nd, good opening, cornet good pianos and fortes well marked, some grand bass playing here, and good quality of tone, sop. also good; 3rd, opening very nice air and accompaniments very good, band playing well, making a good finish; 4th, Opening very nice, cornet playing well, there are some grand pedal notes here, nicely played; 6th, good opening band well in tune, euphonium good, cornet good, band making good finish, tune good, tone good, precision fair. The best performance so far.

No.5 (Golborne:)."Jeannette" Opening out of tune, sop, and cornet not together, a poor performance.2nd, still out of tune, euphonium and comet not together sop. gets wrong notes, band still out of tune; 3rd. opening poor, horn fair, cornets out of tune and playing very slovenly; 4th, rather better in tune, but not together, euphonium and trombones fair but the after beats for cornets not 'together; 5th,cornet bad method too much of the flat tongue and band still out of tune, euphonium good tone but instrument out of tune in upper register.

No.6 (Astley Public). "Jeannette." Poor opening, band out of tune, everything going wrong; 2nd, still out of tune, too much for soprano, trombone fair; 3rd, still out of tune, too much ta, ta, playing, which is a bad method; 4th, band not together, they seem to have lost their tongues.5th, still out of tune, euphonium fair; this figure is not played, only scrambled through, a very poor performance.

No.7 (Cadishead), "Jeannette" Opening out of tune, cornet and soprano fair, good bass, but trombones out of tune; 2nd, good opening, cornet good, baritone only fair, soprano good here, the shake being nicely played making a good finish; 3rd, band still out of tune, cornet and soprano are playing very well here, but after this they both collapse; 4lh, good opening but, they fall off after; 5th, opening only fair; band out. of tune all the way, only a moderate performance.

No.8 (4th L.R.V. Chowbent) "Roach." Grand opening, well in tune, attacks very smart, good cornet playing and band playing well; 2nd, splendid opening, cornet good in this band, euphonium, trombones and bass grand; 3rd, opening good and very smart, and all the band playing well in the descending passages, tongue and fingers working well together; 4th, good opening, cornet good, bass good and some good all round playing here; 5th, grand opening, bass solo very smart and band coming in. beautifully after, with a splendid attack showing that they have some good training, making a splendid finish. The best band so far.

No.9 (Platt Bridge) "Wheel of Fortune." Opening fair, good body of tone, cornet rather too staccato, soprano makes several slips; 2nd, opening fair, cornet good tone but poor style of playing; 3rd, opening good, horn very good, trombones good, band fair, but soprano rather careless; 4th bold opening by band, but cornet makes some slips, euphonium good, basses same, trombones especially solo; 5th, opening good, cornet playing much better, euphonium good, trombones standing out well, band making a good finish.

No.10 (Farnworth Public) "Rosalind." Grand opening, well in tune, good soprano and cornet, bass good tone, not smart enough with the tongue; 2nd, bold opening, cornet and soprano playing well, but I don't understand the rallintando in the second strain, which I think was overdone; 3, opened well and played well throughout; -4th, solo cornet playing well; but soprano fails here, cornet good in variations, euphonium good tone and playing well, good bass playing, trombones also good; 6th, opening very nice, cornet playing very well; I here the band a little out of tune in this figure. This is the best cornet player I have heard today, but band not as smart as No.8. tune good. Tone good.

No.11 (Irlam),"Leisure Hour." Band out of tune, soprano poor; 2nd, opening still out of tune, solo cornet very fair, but poor playing all round; 3rd, opening fair, cornet playing a little better, soprano slipping several notes; 4th, band still out of tune; it makes one feel sore to hear good music spoiled by being out of tune; 5th, still out of tune. I should advise this band to spend some time in tuning. Tone fair. Tune poor.

No.12 (Bolton Borough),"Jeanette" Opening out tune, soprano makes several slips, band not well together; 2nd, opening rather better, but trombones are out of tune; 3rd, bold opening, but still out of tune, solo horn very good, cornet very good; 4th, opening fair; but not together, cornet and euphonium very good, trombone still out of tune; 5th,rather better in opening, but still out of tune, Tone fair, tune poor.

No.13 (Westleigh). "Jeannette." Opening very fair, soprano not quite safe, solo cornet good; 2nd, bold opening, but cornet and euphonium not together, soprano not very good here; 3rd, band out of tune and not playing smart enough; 4th, band not quite in tune, but this will make a good band with practice; 5th, tame opening and still out of tune, cornet not altogether safe on the lip, only a moderate performance.