National Brass Band Championships
The weekend of the 8th and 9th of March saw the annual contest commonly known as the Areas. This year as in the past (and for years to come) it was held in Torquay. Over 70 bands from around the region descended upon the English Riviera all hoping for a place in the National Brass Band Championship Finals later on this year. Saturday saw the 4th, 3rd and 1st Section bands compete, with wins for Corsham, Bratton and Filton, respectively. Sunday was our day, in the Second Section, followed by the Championship section bands eventually won by Flowers).
On Saturday evening the Band assembled to have a final practice before enjoying the spring-time evening. An early bed for most and an early breakfast the following morning gave time for an 8.30 warm-up and run through. During the session we were told that we had drawn the dreaded number one spot, so a quick rendition of the National Anthem ensued before getting changed and ready to go on stage.
Changing room - Registration (no problems there, thank goodness, after bands have been disqualified for late registrations!) - and then onto the stage. With a welcome speech by the MC we were into the National Anthem and then after welcoming the Adjudicators, Mike Kilroy and Steve Pritchard-Jones and making sure they were ready, we started our test-piece, Chaucer's Tunes by Michael Ball.
After an uncertain start, things improved a little in the middle, but went a little awry towards the end, with intonation and clarity getting lost in the excitement. With our performance over, we then had a long wait (in the bar!) before the results were announced:
1. Forest of Dean Brass
2. St. Keverne
3. Ocean Brass
4. Poole Borough
5. Wotton-under-Edge & District
6. A W Parker (Drybrook)
We finished a disappointing 14th out of 16. Not the result we had hoped for and certainly much worse than the Band is capable of achieving; but we will return next year to carry on the fight!
It's just as keen a battle in the sartorial elegance stakes here in Torquay this morning as it is with the music making. First we had Kevin Robbins looking dapper at the helm with City of Bristol in a tasty whistle and flute. (4BarsRest; live comments)
A trio of solid, musically intersecting and well led performances to kick off proceedings here in Torquay.