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Bolsover Contest success for Towcester Studio Band

On a beautiful sunny October Sunday morning TSB travelled to Bolsover, Derbyshire to compete in the annual Entertainment Contest. This was the first time that TSB had been to the Bolsover event for many a year and after weeks of hard practice under the direction of Neil Brownless (Musical Director) it was time to perform!

Each Band that enters is allowed 20 minutes of performance time which includes actual playing time and any introductions or narration. If you exceed the 20mins you receive penalty points and so timing is critical. Neil chose a programme with an American theme. The opening number was American Tale, originally written for Dallas Brass and arranged for brass bands by composer John Wasson. A lively piece and perfect for grabbing the adjudicator’s attention!

A requirement of entry is that one of the pieces is a solo, and Neil consulted with Andy Rigby, Solo Euphonium and together they chose ‘La Belle Americaine’ a well-known feature piece for either Cornet or Euphonium written by John Hartmann. Andy is a top player and performing without music his rendition of LBA was faultless and certainly appealed to the judge as he was awarded best soloist in our section of the competition.

The Band’s third piece was ‘Cadillac of the Skies’ from Empire of the Sun, written by the great John Williams and arranged for brass by Jonathan Bates. A beautifully melodic slow paced tranquil piece ideal for a sunny afternoon in Derbyshire!

The finale was far from tranquil and entitled ‘An American Tale’. Throughout the piece the composer Dan Price dips in and out of traditional American tunes with the final section building to an energetic ending requiring all players to be on their feet for the last chord!

TSB were last to play in the 3rd Section and so as the tension built, the playing was done and it was time to listen to the Adjudicators remarks! Simone Rebello is a professional percussionist and it was her job to firstly select best soloist, which as mentioned earlier went to TSB’s Andy Rigby. She was most complimentary of all the soloist efforts but Andy Rigby’s was her stand out performance of the day.

It is normal for results to be announced in reverse order and so we all sat patiently in anticipation of making the top three. Third place was awarded to Matlock Band, second place went to Newhall and first place I’m delighted to report was awarded to Towcester Studio Band. This was Neil’s first entertainment contest with TSB and so we were all thrilled and quite loud when the result was announced! The trip back down the motorway was much easier than it might have been.

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