Friday 10th Feb saw a few LGB members hot-footing it to Ringmer Community College to help me (with my scaba hat on) set up for the Solo, Quartet and Ensemble Contest. That done, we prepared for the journey to Dover the following day.
The band had entered the new DFDS Seaways Open Brass Band Contest. As the only 3rd Section band there, we knew that realistically, we had little chance of success. The draw had us sandwiched between the London and Southern Counties Championship Section winners for the last umpteen years, Redbridge, and the excellent Belgian Championship Section Band, Brass Band Heist – no pressure there then. There were 11 bands in all across a range of sections, 5 Championship, 3 First, 1 Second – and us!
The aim of going was to give us a run out before the Areas in March. Ian was very pleased with the way the band played, and the remarks will be helpful to our preparation for the Areas. The adjudication format was different from ‘normal’ contests, being the criteria based assessment used by Trinity examiners. There were also very few rules and no registration process. All in all, it was a very relaxed day, the contest ran smoothly – apart from Brass Band Gent missing their ferry – and everyone enjoyed themselves.
Unusually, the organisers chose to name only the 1st and 2nd placed bands, plus the solo winner. Everyone else’s placing were sent on by e-mail later. We ended up where we expected to be – the strongest band, at the bottom, supporting everyone else! However, we received some very positive comments from members of the audience who conduct and play in other bands, as to how much we have improved over the last few months. All in all, well worth doing.
Sunday saw various members of the band head to Ringmer College for the scaba Solo, Quartet and Ensemble Contest. Simon Emberley, Adam Kearley and Christina Farey had the bottle to enter the Slow Melody Contest again. In this open section, they put themselves up against players from Championship Section bands (including our MD Ian, playing with his Friary Solo Trombone hat on). Adjudicator Lynda Nicholson chose to award placings to the top 3 only, but we did get our comments the same day! Huge congrats to Dave Relf (Oxted) for his well deserved 2nd place. Simon also entered the Senior Solo, coming 2nd.
Groups then combined to enter 2 quartets and 2 ensembles. The quartets came 3rd and 4th behind 2 quartets from Denmead Brass, and the ensembles came 2nd and 3rd. All in all, another good day!
They say there’s no peace for the wicked, so on Monday evening, Simon, Tom, Alex, Jane H and Tony headed to the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne to take part in an eventful performance of La Boheme! Pictures of that are below.
Everyone is now lying down in a darkened room until Thursday rehearsal!