2020 National Finals Rescheduled Date Announced
On the back of the bands third place in the first Section at the regional finals held in Torquay on March 14th 2020 the band has now been invited to take part in the National Finals Brass Band Championships of Great Britain (1st Section) held in Cheltenham.
Normally this would take place in the same year as the area finals but like so many events in the last year the finals were postponed.
The new date for your diary are 18th / 19th of September 2021. With the first section competition occurring on Saturday.
The highly regarded conductor Gareth Ritter who played no small part in the band reaching this final has agreed to again take the reins and lead our campaign for national glory.
The test piece will be Connotations for Brass Band by Edward Gregson
Connotations was originally commissioned for the Championship Section Final of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain 1977, held at the Royal Albert Hall.
At the age of 32 Gregson was the youngest composer to have received the honour of such a commission. It came at the end of a productive five years writing for the brass band publisher R Smith. Some of those works – The Plantagenets, Essay and Patterns for example, with their direct and tuneful style, have remained popular with brass bands the world over.
For Gregson, these were the means by which he sharpened the tools of his trade, preparing the ground, as it were, for his finest work to date: Connotations. He thought of calling the piece Variations on a Fourth, but with due deference to Gilbert Vinter perhaps (Variations on a Ninth), he chose a more appropriate one. As Gregson has written, “Connotations suggests more than one way of looking at something, an idea, and this is exactly what the piece is about”.
Writing a competition piece brought its own problems. “It has to be technically difficult and yet musically satisfying. I didn’t like being kept to an eleven-minute maximum. The inclusion of short cadenzas for less usual solo instruments seems to signify a certain test-piece mentality”.
Gregson solved the problems admirably by adopting a symphonic approach to variation form: ‘Introduction’ – fanfares, a call to attention (in effect Variation 1); ‘Theme’ – a six-note motif, given a lyrical and restrained first statement; ‘Variation 2’ – a delicate toccata; ‘Variation 3’ – typically robust in melody and rhythm; ‘Variation 4’ – lyrical solos; ‘Variation 5’ – a scherzo; ‘Variation 6’ – cadenzas; Variations 7-9 – an introduction, fugato and resounding restatement of the theme.