Bath 8th - 9th July, 2007 European Marching, Concert and Show band Championships
Despite a recent busy period the band also had to prepare for four different types of contest performances for the weekend of the European Championships in Midsomer Norton and Bath.
After a late arrival on the Friday evening the band made their way to the disco put on by the organisers. Within minutes the Romford invasion took to the dance floor showed the other bands that they knew how to party.
On Saturday the competitions began. The first of the four elements was the Concert Band Championships, for this the band welcomed back a former member of the band to prepare the band and conduct at the contest. James Marshall, since leaving the band in the 1980’s has progressed through the ranks of the Corps of Army Music to his current position of Warrant Officer Bandmaster of the Band of the Blues and Royals. James brought his vast experience and ideas to the band. After a last rehearsal on the morning the band arrived at the venue confident in their ability although knowing they would be competing against a tough field of 11 bands, against many unknown international bands including a few adult bands.
The band entered the platform in a slick manner which all the judges commented positively on. With impeccable direction from the conductor the band opened with the impressive Olympic Spirit fanfare which caught the attention of everyone in the large Church venue.
This was followed with the lively Latin Quarter complete with the percussion section playing all the Latin instruments such as go-go bells and guiro’s. The piece featured the saxophone playing of Lydia Stringer who made the tricky solo her very own and draw high acclaim from all the adjudicators present.
The next piece played was the ever popular Concerto Aranthuez Mon Amor as featured in the film Brassed Off. This was played by the bands principal cornet, Band Sergeant Kirsty Evans. Kirsty played the piece in such a way the adjudicators described her playing as “stunning” and “unbelievable”
In a complete change of mood and style the band turned to the music of Africa with the piece Ejala. The acoustics of the church were perfect for the tribal singing required in the arrangement and the audience were invited to clap along.
The final music performed was the topical film theme Pirates of the Caribbean. This final piece showcased the depth of sound and tone colours of the band. This descriptive piece had many tempo and time signature changes and it built to a fast and powerful finale.
The following remarks were made by the adjudicators on the concert performance.
“You look professional and you sound professional, super performance” - Lorcan Daly
“An outstanding performance” - Norman Rogerson
“An excellent performance from an outstanding ensemble” - Simon Nicholls
“Love to hear you again, this was super” - Gerald Kelly
“Excellent show superbly played” - Phil Nicholls
The band was awarded the highest score ever given in the competitions history gaining Gold with Distinction and a score of 96% beating a field of 11 and receiving the European Open Concert Supreme Champions Award.
The next contest took the band into a new dimension, the Mardi Gras parade encourages the bands to dress in costume and entertain. With Steve Evans and Kerrie Binder making a huge amount of costumes in the weeks prior to event the band arrived at the parade dressed as the Village People. The band was divided equally into cowboys, builders, cops, Indians, bikers and soldiers. The band struck up with the iconic YMCA. The response of the crowd was matched by the marks of the judges who awarded the band its second gold of the day and the great work undertaken by Steve & Kerrie paid off with the band also receiving the Best Dressed Band Award.
The end of the parade was the first real chance to meet all the other bands and each band took its turn playing crowd pleasers such as ABBA, Amarillo and Superman.
On day two the band travelled to the historic city of Bath for the Parade and open Show Band Contest.
The first category the band was required to perform in was the parade band contest. For this the band had to execute a number of required elements such as wheels, slow marches, halts and advances. Having not done this competition before the band had rehearsed all the 6 elements in one march and exited the arena. The judges and audience were slightly bemused at our early exit as most other bands were performing at least three pieces. However the criteria for judging had been met and all the elements had been covered. Again the band impressed and a Gold Medal status was achieved giving the band a hat trick for the weekend.
The final element of the weekend’s competition was the Open Show band Contest. Having never been described as a show band, preferring the British Military Style, the band executed a very traditional style arena display that was graded high enough to secure the bands forth Gold of the weekend.
The members of the band enjoyed the experience of competing, enjoying the festivities and meeting many new friends from UK and abroad. The band travelled home delighted at the successful weekend with its highest accolade to date.