For the uninitiated, brass band contesting can seem crazy – and it is a bit. You spend about 4 months (on and off) practising one piece of music which culminates in 10 minutes of performance on stage to a pair of judges in a curtained cubicle.
On the plus side, it gives a band the chance to really get under the skin of a piece and to concentrate on technique. It brings the band together and puts a bit of pressure on us to perform – and it’s also a good day out!
This year – After a last rehearsal in the morning of Sunday 19th March – we made our pilgrimage to the Gordon Craig theatre in Stevenage. The fourth section is quite big (18 bands) so it’s split in two and we were in the first half of the draw. We had a little time before going on which can be spent listening to other bands, catching up with friends or looking at shiny new instruments for sale (and trying to resist the temptation to purchase). We went on stage as prepared as we could be and I was genuinely excited. We played. We waited.. and in the early evening we heard: 6th place!
The result was a good one for the band, and it’s a nice reflection that the band is secure in its new bandroom; we have a healthy number of regular members and an experienced conductor. Who knows what we could achieve next year, but for now bring on the summer programme!