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 Third: Bugle Second: Pendennis 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.