The National Brass Band Championships
West of England Area
The Band has been rehearsing solidly since the start of the year on one testpiece: Edward Gregson's The Plantagenets. This was the piece chosen as the Second Section Area testpiece to be performed across the country to decide who would represent their respective Area in the National Finals later in the year.
With all the extra rehearsals done and the Band settled into the Torquay hotel on the Friday night, it was an early night for some (not so for others!). Breakfast on the Saturday morning was early: 7am, in time for a warm-up and final run-through of the piece. The draw gave us the number 12 slot (of 16 bands) and everything looked very promising. Knowing how much time we had before our performance, another practice time was booked for a quick final final play before we wandered over to the Riviera Centre for a coffee and bite to eat, a nosy through the trade stands or to mingle with the crowds and catch up with old friends.
Our time finally came and we were ushered through to the registration area and then led up the stairs to the hall doors. On the stage it was very warm (as it is every year!) but the band settled quickly, our esteemed MD making sure everyone was happy before he raised the baton.
The performance went very well, with everyone playing their best, and we came off stage very happy with what we had achieved. Now for the long wait before the results.
The results, as always, were announced in reverse order, from 6th place. The expectation was high, but unfortunately, this was not to be our year. On receiving the adjudicators' remarks, we found that we had missed the top 6 by only one place: seventh. We were all very disappointed with the results, but that is banding!
Sixth: AW Parker (Drybrook)
Fifth: St. Pinnock
Fourth: St. Keverne
First: Swindon Pegasus
What 4BarsRest had to say about us:
“City of Bristol up next and one of the form bands of recent time in the area. Can they master The Plantagenets. Starts well”
“A bold one from City of Bristol under Ceri Thomas that pushes into the mix even if the interpretation raised question marks”
“Swindon, Bream, St Keverne and City of Bristol are the quartet battling it out for Cheltenham for us so far in the 2nd Sec.”
“4BR Prediction in 2nd Section. Swindon Pegasus, Bream, St Keverne, City of Bristol, Bugle and Drybrook”
What the adjudicators had to say about us:
A potentially really good opening just spoiled in Cornets. Well managed at (1) and settled. Trombone a little too much at times in the accompaniment. Horn is played well at (3) and Trombones support well here. Solos at (5) are not too bad with a good Cornet line, but later they are inconsistent. Euph opens well and produces a very musical phrase, don't worry about the slip – I liked it. Well balanced ensemble now at (6) with a fair performance by the Solo Horn. The ensemble works well at (7) now and better balance. Basses tried hard before (9) and there is good dynamic range now at (10) and some committed playing by the Trombones. Cornet and Euph work well together with only a few minor slips, just commit to the end – go for it! Rep + Horn good at (12), and good into (13). Bright sound achieved at (13) fanfares. The ensemble at (14) didn't always match + need to watch the tempo at (16) doesn't change. Nice character in the Trombones and then Cornets a little weak into (20). No need to blast Basses at (21) and you do well going into (22). The tempo at (23) is just beyond the band but a nice balance is created at (24) some good Soprano entries. A good committed performance.
Well measured opening. Good playing – but not completely clear ensemble though (1) & (2). Good build to ff & scale down is neat. (3) – legato is well blended & shaped. 4 before (4) – get off those ties for really precise ensemble. (5) – well handled – Troms a bit messy & Cornets to follow. Well done Euph. Individual approach to con espress. Is a bit strange, but inventive is good & it stands out. (6) – well played Horn. (7) – musically done. (8) + 8 basses approach to dotted rhythms is so different to previous statements in upper brass – why? Same material (10) – well played soloists – just small lapses. Go for the high C in the Cornet (breathe & be brave!). (12) – nice duet. Good transition into (13). Good 'brillante' shown. Vivace – messy start & tempo 'chases' straight away – it's got to have control for when the textures get busier. (17) – great lower end sound. (20) some mispitches. (21) – careful that ff is not harsh in this hall. (22) – good balance between Bari/Flug. (23) – some good technique shown. (24) – Good full band sound. Excellent ending.
The City of Bristol Brass Band Learners competed this morning in Ross-on-Wye at the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association Entertainments contest. The Band played really well from the number 2 spot against Abergavenny Borough Training Band, Lydney Training Band and Lydbrook Training Band. MD Steve Ellis was full of praise for everyone.
Here is what the adjudicator, Dr. Graham Jones MBE wrote:
The bands entering the National Brass Band Area Contest in Torquay have been named.
Bournemouth Concert Brass
Filton Concert Brass
Forest of Dean Brass
Lanner & District Silver
Lympstone South West Telecoms
St Austell Town
Verwood Concert Brass
AW Parker (Drybrook)
City of Bristol Brass
Pendennis Brass Falmouth
Pheonix Brass (Crewkerne)
Bristol East & Kingswood
Gillingham Imperial Silver
Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver
New Forest Brass
Test Valley Brass
Wotton-under-Edge & District
Camborne Junior Contesting
Gosport Solent Brass
Okehampton Excelsior Silver
Shanklin Town Brass
South Molton Town
Weymouth Concert Brass
Wilton & District
The contest starts at 10am for the Second Section on the Saturday. We will be performing Edward Gregson's The Plantaganets to the two adjudicators, who are Lt Col Nick Grace RM & David Thornton. Chorum Records will be there as well, recording the whole event and producing a CD of the winners.
For more information, visit the West of England Brass Band Association website
After a lazy Sunday morning (25th November) most of the Band met at the club ready for the coach to leave at 2pm (the members coming from Wales chose to make their own way). Spirits were subdued on the way up a rain-soaked M5 towards Leicestershire. The rehearsal / warm-up / final run-through was scheduled for 5.30pm and the coach made good time, dropping us off early: plenty of time for a drink and a biscuit, accompanied by a band rehearsing Between the Moon and Mexico.
After weeks of rehearsals, the time had come to put our hard work on stage. Our eminent leader had chosen a piece to push us to our limits, with Bruce Broughton's California Legend, written in 1986 and used in the Area Finals that year.
At 11am on Sunday, 18th the Band met for the morning warm up and final run-through. The draw, at 12 noon, gave us the number three slot (out of 8 bands) and, after a slight delay and a confusion over uniform, our contest was under way.
This morning saw a few of the City of Bristol Brass Band show their support for the Bristol Half Marathon. With the roads closed very early, getting to the Lockside Cafe proved a little tricky, but most managed it on time! The race started at 9.30 for the elite runners and by 10am they were passing us just as we started playing. For the next 2 hours and more the runners kept coming, some in fancy dress, others in firefighting or military uniform. There were many who applauded us as they passed and also a few requests. We managed to play Happy Birthday and one guy ran on with a big smile as the Band managed an impromtu performance of Chariots of Fire!
Welcome to the Cinema!
Sunday, 16th September, 2012 saw the Band take part in the Wychavon Festival of Brass, an entertainments contest held this year in Droitwich Spa. The pre-draw gave us the number one slot. Our theme this year was "Film" and the programme started with the band being ushered to their seats followed promptly by the 20th Century Fox Fanfare. Waiting in the wings were Laurel and Hardy (aka. Philip and Claire, our euphonium players) and they entered to the theme tune of the L&H films. Another Fine Mess followed, a euphonium duet arranged by Sandy Smith of various tunes used in their films, with dancing and an inflatable hammer all part of the act!
Phew, What A Scorcher!
On Sunday the Band played at the Bandstand in Ross. It was their first time there and what an excellent afternoon it was! The grey rain clouds of the last few weeks had disappeared and the sun was beating down as the Band played to a large and enthusiastic audience.
It was good to see some familiar faces, too, both supporting and playing in the Band. Welcome back to Carole after her maternity leave!
The rains were still evident as the fields either side of the road were flooded. People took advantage of this and cooled themselves off by paddling and even cycling through the water!
Pictures courtesy of The Dragonfly, news and views from Ross-on-Wye.
Yesterday saw the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association's 75th Anniversary Celebration concert. Highnam Court was the fabulous venue for the event that saw 20 of the Association's member bands perform short sets to an ever increasing audience. At 10am Cheltenham Silver started with an entertaining programme; Pillowell Silver, Forest of Dean Brass and then Flowers Band were next on stage, followed by Gloucester Brass and Bream Silver. They were followed by were Portishead Town Band, ably assisted by members of the City of Bristol Brass Band. Their programme was Let's Face the Music and Dance, the Witches of Westmerland, Autumn Leaves, the Lincolnshire Poacher and the famous march Ravenswood.