Tendring Brass wins third place in National contest

Following its success as runner up in the London and Home Counties Regional Brass Band contest in March this year, Tendring Brass travelled to Cheltenham this weekend to compete in the third section of the National Brass Band Championships. On Sunday 18th September the Band, along with 18 other third section bands, played their test piece “Lake of the Moon” to two world class adjudicators. Many weeks of preparation and hard work were rewarded as the Band was awarded third prize. The adjudicators praised the Band’s attention to detail, control and musical performance of a challenging piece. Musical Director Antony Sanders said “The Band gave a superb performance and it’s fantastic that all that practice and rehearsal led to such a great result on the day. The Band gets better and better year by year and a win at national level is such a brilliant reward and a huge confidence booster for everyone”.
The cost of competing at national level is very high. Band chairman and treasurer Brian Harmer said “We are very fortunate and grateful to have received donations from Clacton and Harwich Rotary clubs and David Watson Transport. These helped significantly with the cost of competing and travelling to Cheltenham.” Tendring Brass Academy also put on a concert to help raise funds for the trip. Band member and bass (tuba) player Bob Bales, a keen cyclist, did a sponsored cycle ride. He made a six day “epic” 400 mile round trip to Cheltenham included via Oxford, Stevenage and Aylesbury. He took with him a “mini bass” instrument and enjoyed a rehearsal with City of Oxford band. Bob raised around £900 to be shared between the Band and St. Helena Hospice.

Bob with his bike prior to the sponsored ride
Bob with his bike prior to the sponsored ride

Regional Contest 2016 – A players reminisce

Tendring Brass Band’s day at the London and Southern Counties 2016 Regionals

The day of the Regionals Qualifying Contest finally arrived on the 20th March. The last 2 months of planning, rehearsals and drilling finally came to an end and nothing else could be done except to get out of our warm cosy beds at the crack of dawn ready to embark on the 2 hour coach journey to Stevenage (except those who chose to stay overnight the night before, the things people do to get an extra hour in bed!)

With no major dramas and all band members and supporters on board the coach on time, we set off for Stevenage. We arrived at our destination as planned at 08.30 and made our way to a local school for rehearsals. Rehearsals went well, with lots of praise and encouraging comments from our Musical director Antony Sanders and all were in good spirits.

Halfway through the rehearsals, Emma  came in and announced the results of the draw. “We are 8th” she said and all cheered. Everybody clearly relieved not be drawn first. After a few more minutes of polishing and perfecting we left the school and set off for the five minute journey to the venue. A venue that some have attended many a time and for some for the first time.

Once in the venue, band members went their separate ways, some to seek out food or drink (hopefully not from the bar!) and some to peruse the stalls selling an array of musical instruments and accessories. After barely an hour, the band met up again in the sports hall to change out of our very smart new casual Tendring Brass Band Uniforms into our more familiar formal blue band jackets. Once all changed, chuckles could be heard around the band as our Registration card photos were shown to each other (nice one Ellie!)

As we passed through the Registration process, we waited patiently to go backstage, I could feel the tension rising. Once in the waiting area backstage though, the message was loud and clear – stay calm, relax and just do what you have been doing. I think this helped and I felt a sense of self belief and confidence all round. Our performance reflected this mood and went very well, with minimal errors.

After the performance, we all breathed a sigh of relief and again went our separate ways, some to watch other bands, where hopefully we could gauge our performance, others for food or drink (and yes we did go to the bar this time!)

All met up again towards the end in the Gordon Craig theatre, where we watched our colleague Hannah Rose perform in the Simon Langton Brass Band – lovely to see you Hannah!

Tension in the Theatre began to rise again at the anticipation of the looming results. “Fourbarsrest” were predicting a 2nd place for Tendring Brass Band. Could it be?!

The fourth place band were announced first – Hangleton, no cup or cash for them just the prestige. Next – third place Waterbeach.

Hearts raced at the anticipation of a possible second or first place for us.

The master of ceremonies then said in ‘in second place with a prize of £125 and an invitation to attend the national finels – Tendring Brass’

We did it! Everyone in the band cheered.

First place went to Chinnor Silver – well done to them.

Lots of smiles, hugs and photos followed, and then the Adjudicators report!

Comments like “confident opening, played with style and attention to detail.” “Flowed well.” “Dynamic contrasts heard,” “intonation secure,” “lots of detail” and “soloists played well.”

A very good days work – well done everyone!

Authors Michelle and Ella Mowle