The City of Bristol Brass Band were sad to learn that M.D. Ian Holmes, a popular conductor from the west country, was taken ill last week and will be unable to conduct them at the Area contest in Torquay. The band has kept in close contact with Ian and send him very best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Bryn James came to the rescue taking the band to the Oxfordshire and District Brass Band Association contest on 23rd February, at just 48 hours notice, achieving a creditable 3rd place on only one rehearsal.
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.
The National Brass Band Championships
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
For more information, visit the West of England Brass Band Association website.