Sovereign Brass will be relying on some overseas help in their bid to claim the First Section National title in Cheltenham this weekend.
However, unlike some elite level bands who fly in assistance for a one off appearance for a single contest never to be seen again, the Midland Champion will be welcoming back a player who became one of their most popular members.
Lithuanian cornet star
Lithuanian cornet player Vakare Gikyte joined the band during her studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and enjoyed the experience so much that she asked if she could fly back from her homeland to play with them at Cheltenham, even though her studies had finished.
They are the best of friends and so supportive. Now I can't wait to play with them at the FinalsVakare Gikyte
Band Manager Vicky Flint told 4BR: "Vakare played for us earlier whilst a student at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire but flew home at the end of her studies.
We were thrilled when she said she really wanted to perform with us at Cheltenham. It's great to have Vakare back sitting next to me too — she is such a classy player with a great technique and amazing sound.
Having her on stage with us at the finals feels great to be doing and will be a fitting end to the journey she's had with us (so far!)"
Vakare got back last week — making a 2.30am start to get her flights in time for a weekend of sectional rehearsals. She told 4BR: "As I loved played with Sovereign, I couldn't imagine them going on stage at the Finals without me.
They are the best of friends and so supportive. Now I can't wait to play with them in Cheltenham."