On a very sunny Saturday 7th May 2016 the players of Towcester Studio Band (TSB) headed to the Wood Farm Brewery near Rugby for their annual Brass Band contest! Yes all Bands love a brewery and so this was ‘manner from heaven’ for all players of a certain age! This was the first time that TSB had entered the contest and largely thanks to our Soprano Cornet player, Rebecca Hithersay, who is the official photographer at this event! Rebecca persuaded the MD and committee that we should enter this fun local event. So together with fifteen other Bands we assembled at Wood Farm and took our turn in the running order. There were several things at this event that are quite different to our normal contest locations. Firstly the stage is actually a mid-sized marquee pitched on grass. This is fine if the ground is hard but when the soil is wet, chair legs tend to sink in and so some players were playing at a very jaunty angle! The audience are in the open air and therefore vulnerable to the British climate, fortunately for the most part Saturday was dry and warm, but a serious thunder shower did show up mid- afternoon! The contest was an entertainment competition which meant that each competing Band was required to provide a 25minute programme which in the case of TSB comprised six pieces. The Band struck up with Prismatic Light before introducing our soloist spot that featured John Mudway on Flugel Horn. John played God Only Knows. We then went up tempo with Paolo Nutini’s Pencil Full of Lead which really got the audience in full swing. This was followed by Shine Down and the chosen finale was Bat out of Hell, adapted from Meatloaf’s hit single. TSB performed just prior to the lunch interval and it was near to six pm before the contest was concluded and results announced. So being in a brewery and hot thirsty weather, a great atmosphere was assured! TSB played in the B section and I’m delighted to report were awarded first prize. Once again the ‘golden baton’ of Neil Brownless steered the TSB ship to victory! Not only did the Band win first prize but the Bass Section were selected for the best sectional award, so a second trophy for the TSB cabinet. It’s always nice to win but that aside the contest was a really enjoyable event to be part of and all at TSB look forward to defending our title in 2017! But before then we have a very busy summer. The Band is playing in Abington Park, Northampton on Sunday June 5th. Saturday 18th June you will find us in our new location, The Mill Brewery, for the Midsummer Music Festival and then on Saturday June 25th is our main summer concert at Stowe School. This is a joint concert with Brackley & District Band and is supporting Armed Forces Day.