For the second year running The Marple Band has qualified to compete at the National Brass Band Championships to be held at Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday 20th September.
On March 9th the band competed in the second section of the North West Area qualifying championships, having been promoted from the third section in January 2014.
With the possibility of an early draw on Sunday morning, the band decided to travel to Blackpool on Saturday evening and stay overnight. Following an early evening rehearsal, band members took in the fresh sea air of the Lancashire Riviera and, inevitably, fine dined on local fish ‘n’ chips, before returning to the hotel for a Tea-Total social evening!
On Sunday morning there was a band warm-up while anxiously awaiting the results of the draw. Through good fortune or serendipity, we were drawn to play 8th, which allowed for a fairly relaxing morning prior to travelling the short distance to the Pavilion Gardens.
The contest piece, Chaucer’s Tunes by Michael Ball, was challenging for all sections of the band and consisted of six interconnected sections, which were played as one complete, continuous movement. The band was in good spirits and relaxed, as being new to the second section, we had not been tipped by any of the usual websites to be in the top 6 places.
On leaving the theatre we were very pleased with the performance and encouraged by the comments of many band’s supporters and friends from other bands who all said we had put on a very creditable performance, potentially worthy of a prize. Come the results and awards presentation, we were delighted to have attained second position, qualifying us for the National Finals at Cheltenham in September.
This was a fabulous result for the band, not only for qualifying as soon as entering the second section but also for overcoming several late changes to players on the run-up to the contest. It is testament to the work and professionalism of the Musical Director, Les Webb (who has now presided over 2 successive national finals qualifications), the band, the committee and the supporters that enabled The Marple Band to achieve such an amazing result.
The band also wishes to thank Jess Tredrea and Garry Cutt and recognise their kind contributions in its preparations for the contest.