February 2022 saw a return to contesting in the Midlands following a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and this year on Saturday 25th February, the band returned once again to The Core at Corby Cube to make their mark with Phil Lawrence’s, A Day in the Life of a Knight.
After a more leisurely start to the day than we have had in some years gone by, the band bus left the band room in Bilton at 1pm to head to our warm-up venue of Gretton Silver Band room. A quick final run-through of the piece, and we were ready to head to The Core for the draw. Drawn band 10 out of 16, we knew we wouldn’t be on stage until around 17:30, which provided time for some much-needed refreshments.
Anyone who has played on the stage at The Core knows what a nerve-wracking experience it can be, as the acoustic is extremely dead, but the band went on with their heads held high, ready to do our MD for the day, Jack Fisher, proud. Due to unforeseen circumstances with the band’s professional conductor, Jack bravely stood up to prepare the band for the contest over the last 2 months.
Jack said “I was cautiously optimistic going into Saturday, but the result we achieved was thoroughly deserved by the band and for such a brilliant group of musicians. The performance was so controlled and felt very comfortable and my thanks go to every player for some brilliant preparation and enthusiasm throughout. We are now back where I fully believe we should be; the Championship Section.”
The band pulled off a well-received rendition of Phil Lawrence’s filmatic score, receiving comments from the adjudicators such as “…there were very well observed musical moments through the middle and you ended with some drama”, “well played” and “lovely sounds”.
The band was especially pleased to have Julie Knight back on bumper-up after a tough year. Diagnosed almost 12 months ago with cancer following the 2022 Area contest, Julie said “This time last year, I didn’t know if I would ever play again but I’ve achieved something that I didn’t think would be possible”.
After a not-so-leisurely trek up five flights of stairs at The Cube for band and player photos, we resided to the pub to relax and mingle with friends from other bands (those in the know might say it looked like a bus driver convention!). The results were finally announced some time after 19:00, and whilst there was some frustration that we weren’t allowed in to hear them, we found out we had achieved an outstanding 3rd place out of 16 in the Midlands First Section.
Arriving at Saturday’s contest in a fairly comfortable position in the table, this means that the band is now looking at promotion to the Championship section in 2024 and a place at the National Brass Band Finals in September 2023. It’s safe to say there was a lot of celebration on Saturday night and some sore heads on Sunday morning, but we are all very much looking forward to presenting our best at the finals in September. It is a true testament to the hard work of not only the band, but also of our MD for the day, Jack Fisher, in his ability to bring the music out of a piece where many would find the music lacking, that we have achieved this result.
The band’s Chairman, Matt Moran said “I am so incredibly proud of the team for their hard work on a challenging piece which resulted in a well-earned third place. The opportunity to go to the finals with promotion already guaranteed is the icing on the cake. I’d like to thank Jack Fisher for stepping up to the mark and getting the best from the band with his hard work and dedication”.