The annual National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain was a roaring success for the young Lions as the Youth Band secured second place.
The success didn’t stop there as the Beginner Band were awarded a certificate of merit and the Junior Band a silver award – a top result in a category containing 12 bands!
It was all change for the competition this year as the venue moved to Warwick Arts Centre in order to avoid a clash with the East holidays. Brass Bands England chairman Mike Kilroy told audiences the competition could well stay put next year as well.
A section containing 12 bands was always going to lead to an early start, and it was the Juniors who were drawn to take to the stage first.
An excellent performance consisted of a range of pieces stretching from traditional hymns and marches – both mandatory in this section – and ending with the instantly recognisable Star Wars.
Their pieces were:
- Slam Dunk
- Scarborough Fair
- True and Trusty
- Ellers featuring Lydia, Isobel, Jim, Tom, Lily-Mae, Jonnie, Maddy, Joe and Ollie
- Star Wars
The band were given a silver award and joint fourth with Fred Longworth High School, from Tydesley. This result matches their success in 2015 and 2017.
The eventual winners were Wardle Junior Band with Beaumaris Band coming second and Chalford Youth Band coming third.
Beginner Band Section
The Lions Beginner Band were again drawn out of the hat to open their section at Warwick Art Centre’s The Goose Nest – a temporary auditorium.
The band were commended by the ajudicators for their smiley faces and managed to perform well, even though delays in previous sections meant a lengthy wait before going on.
A vibrant choice of pieces from the young Beginner Band even included a featured piece from Charlotte Shaw and friends – with some fantastic boomwhacker skills!
Their pieces were:
- Minni March
- Pop Rock
- Little Stars ft Charlotte Shaw and friends
- Ode to Joy
Beginner Band musical director Chris Thompson said: “I couldn’t be prouder of the way our youngest members played. They gave it their all and did everything we could possibly have asked of them.
“To play like that, after the huge turnover in players we’ve experienced, is just reward for the effort and commitment the players have shown. For me, that was worth more than any trophy.”
The Beginner Band were awarded a certificate of merit along with Stockport Schools Junior Brass Band. Band of the day went to Wardle Junior Blast with Birkwood Brass and Marriot Brass picking up band with the most potential and highly commended.
The final section of the day was the Championship, with Gordon Langford’s daughter on hand to witness the young players perform her father’s composition Overture Metropolis as this year’s test piece.
Brass Bands England chose the piece shortly after Gordon’s passing in 2017.
The Youth Band played second, following Youth Brass 2000, and began with Road to Run by Paul Lovatt Cooper. Up next it was the test piece before a world premier of The Fall of Icarus – a composition commissioned by the band from Foden’s solo horn Jonny Bates.
Pieces and features included:
- Road to Run featuring Natasha Brett, Jamie Reid, Emma Drew and William Brooks
- Overture Metropolis
- The Fall of Icarus
The Youth Band came second winning £200 and a glass trophy. Youth Brass 2000 came first, while Birmingham Schools’ Brass Band took third.
Musical director Nigel Birch said: “This was my 22nd Nationals and the performance ranked among the very best, as all three pieces were very good. I was extremely proud of all the players, not just on the day but for their dedication and hard work in the preparation.
“I would also like to congratulate Tom, Chris and all the tutors who develop the players so that we can continue to achieve our fantastic results.
“Thanks to our great team lead by Jane Stubbs for everything you provided for the performance and their fabulous work on the day in testing circumstances. I am proud to be the Lions Youth Brass Musical Director.”
For anyone wanting to hear more of the Lions, the Youth Band will be performing at The Civic, in Alsager, on Friday (April 27), at 7.30pm. Or the previews of the new CD – Carnival! – can be found online.