On Saturday, 16th September 2023, Bilton Silver (Rugby) Band travelled to Cheltenham Racecourse to compete in the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain First Section finals. The band, conducted by Bandmaster, Jack Fisher, performed Philip Harper’s ‘St James: A New Beginning’ and gained an early draw, playing second out of 20 bands.
‘St James: A New Beginning’ is a challenging piece of music that requires a high level of technical skill and musicality from the performers. It is a modern brass band composition that features a variety of musical styles, including jazz, rock, and classical. The piece is inspired by the story of the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666, and it tells the story of the city’s journey from devastation to renewal.
Bilton Silver gave a spirited and committed performance on the day and was praised for their technical skill, musicality, and interpretation of the piece. However, the band faced stiff competition from the other bands in the contest, and they ultimately finished in 20th place.
Despite the disappointing result, Bilton Silver Band can be proud of their performance at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain and gained valuable experience from competing at such a high level.
The band’s journey to the contest began many months ago who started rehearsing the piece in April 2023, after coming Second in the Midlands Regional Contest. Jack and the band worked tirelessly to learn the piece and to develop a performance that would showcase their musicality and technical skill. The Band also owe a debt of gratitude to their new Musical Director, Brad Turnbull, for his hard work and dedication in helping the band prepare for the big day.
On the day of the contest, the band arrived at Cheltenham Racecourse early to warm up and to prepare for their performance. The band were nervous, but they were also excited to compete against the best brass bands in the country.
The band would like to thank everyone who has supported them on their journey and is grateful for the support of its members, their families and friends, and the wider community. Bilton Silver are now looking forward to the next challenge, and to continuing to develop its musical skills in the Championship.