The annual Gloucestershire Brass Band Association (GBBA) March & Test Piece contest took place in Cheltenham on the weekend.
With the respected adjudicator John Winterflood making the all important decisions and with compere Dave Hayward on hand to keep everyone informed, the day ran smoothly thanks to the excellent GBBA organisation team which fully utilised the BBE BOPA requirements to ensure a safe and friendly environment for all ages.
The competing bands were appreciative of the rehearsal room made available within the complex and a warm up room prior to taking to the stage. In addition there were tasty refreshments, whilst the Mr. Tuba brass specialists were on hand to give advice with a range of instruments to view
The Training Band section saw plenty of engaging selections of music, with the eventual winner, Lydney Training Band under Kevin Ford, giving a fine performance of 'The Winter's Tale'. Packed with the highest number of young players of the day, they claimed a deserved Gold Award and a music voucher, with all three excellent competitors gaining special awards.
Local band Wotton-Under-Edge Silver under Ian Dickinson gave a fine rendition of Steven Bulla's 'Images for Brass' to claim the joint Second & Third Section AS Felton Trophy honours and £200 first prize ahead of Arrow Valley's 'A Celtic Suite' and Bream Silver's 'River City Suite'.
Chinnor Silver took the 'Best March' accolade with a rousing performance of 'Knight Templar'.
John Winterflood later commented that, "the high standard and commitment of all the bands was obvious, leading to excellent performances and a close result overall."
The day was rounded off by a fine battle in the joint Championship & First Section contest, which was won in impressive fashion by Forest of Dean Brass conducted by Gareth Ritter.
Their performance of 'Ad Undas' was full of drama and musicality as they repelled the bold 'Connotations' challenge of Lewis Merthyr conducted by Craig Roberts to claim the West of England Trophy and £200. The band also took the 'Best March' prize and Gareth Ritter picking up the James Whitson Trophy as the winning conductor.
Forest of Dean Brass also picked up the lion's share of the various instrumental awards on offer, with Tom Dunne taking home no less than three trophies for his outstanding efforts.
The day was rounded off by a fine battle in the joint Championship & First Section contest, which was won in impressive fashion by Forest of Dean Brass conducted by Gareth Ritter4BR
Class A: Championship/First Section
Own Choice test piece:
1. Forest of Dean Brass (Gareth Ritter)
2. Lewis Merthyr (Craig Roberts)
1. Forest of Dean Brass
2. Lewis Merthyr
Best Instrumentalist: Thomas Dunne (euphonium) — Forest of Dean Brass
Winning Conductor: Gareth Ritter
Class B: Second & Third Section
Own Choice test piece:
1. Wotton Under Edge (Ian Dickinson)
2. Arrow Valley Brass (Andy Culshaw)
3. Bream Silver (Hugh Bamford)
4= Chinnor Silver (David Pegram)
4= Pillowell Silver (Ian Whitburn)
Best Instrumentalist: Kate Giles (flugel) — Bream Silver
Highest Placed Second Section Band: Wotton Under Edge
Highest Placed Third Section Band: Arrow Valley Brass
1. Chinnor Silver
2. Wotton Under Edge
3. Bream Silver
4. Arrow Valley Brass
5. Pillowell Silver
Class D: Training/Youth & Unregistered
1. Lydney Training (Kevin Ford) — Gold Award
2. Lydbrook Training (Robert Morgan) — Gold Award
3. City of Bristol Learners (Steve Ellis) — Silver Award
Class D Winner: Lydney Training Band
Best Instrumentalist: Katie Whitfield (Trombone) — City of Bristol Learners
Best section containing most youth: Cornets (Lydney Training)
Youngest Player: Bertie (aged 7) — Lydbrook Training
Band with most Under 14 years of age: Lydbrook Training
Special Awards: (All Classes)
Best Cornet: Louise Russell (Lewis Merthyr)
Best Flugel: Kate Giles (Bream Silver)
Best Horn Section: Forest of Dean Brass
Best Euphonium: Thomas Dunne (Forest of Dean Brass)
Best Bass Section: Chinnor Silver
Best Percussion Section: Forest of Dean Brass
Best Instrumentalist: Thomas Dunne (Forest of Dean Brass)