Oxford Cherwell Brass
Following the regional success back in March, OCB made their debut at the National Championships at the weekend, performing Gareth Wood's Hinemoa against 18 other regional qualifiers from England, Wales & Scotland. The band gave a solid account of the challenging work which received good praise from judges Mark Wilkinson and Glyn Williams, and were awarded 12th place - beating 3 other area champions. The band now start their preparations for the ODBBA Winter Contest next month where they hope to retain the awards they won last year.
On Sunday, OCB competed at the ODBBA Entertainment contest, held in Malborough School, Woodstock. Making our first appearance at the contest, the band were drawn 13 out of 14 bands. This years contest format put all competing bands into 1 section, with standards ranging from 1st section to unregistered bands. The band performed a varied programme comprising of Prismatic Light, The Water of Tyne, Whirlwind, Be A Clown, and Cumana. The band gave a very solid account of themselves, and were delighted to finish 5th place overall for music (beating several higher section bands), and 3rd overall for entertainment. Along with this, the band picked up all the awards available for 3rd section - best music, best entertainment and best soloist for the bands principal cornet player Steve Clapton. The band are now looking forward to their preparations for Wychavon contest in a couple of weeks time.
The band returned to Malborough School on Sunday to compete against 16 other bands at the ODBBA Entertainment Contest. Following last years win, the band were delighted to again claim the top prize in the 3rd section, winning the best music award, best soloist (Steve Clapton, who also ran the Oxford Half Marthon in the morning), and best conductor (Terry Brotherhood), as well as finishing 2nd in the entertainment category. The band's programme this year was Strike Up The Band, Rusalka's Song to the Moon, Cumana, and the finale from William Tell.
The band entertained a party of American students, parents and teachers who were here to publicise their own marching band. OCB demonstrated the typical music played by an English brass band and a very entertaining evening was enjoyed by all.
For the second year in a row, OCB entertained the guests at a very damp Wheatley Summer Ball. The band performed a varied programme for an hour before the guests settled down for dinner. The other entertainment during the evening was provided by a Madonna tribute act, and the fantastic Mercury (www.mercuryqueentribute.co.uk). A great night was had by all and we look forward to next years event already!
Saturday saw the band return to the Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre yet again for the annual regional championships. They had made their contesting debut at this event two years ago, achieving a very respectable 4th place after a frantic 2 months preparation and leaving the band in a solid position within the grading table. This year, the band had to tackle Cambrian Suite. With hard work put in by MD Terry Brotherhood, the band put in considerable preparation and managed to obtain 8th place out of 16 entrants..
We were delighted to welcome world renowned trumpet tutor, adjudicator and conductor Paul Cosh for 2 rehearsals this week. A majority of our rehearsal time was spent on our area test piece Darkwood by Dan Price, although Paul also spent some considerable time teaching the band some of the forgotten basics of brass playing. We hope Paul's knowledge helps us at our upcoming competitions at the ODBBA Winter Contest (25th Feb) and the London Regional Contest (18th March). We look forward to working with Paul again during the year with various masterclasses.
The band made its 4th appearance at the London & Southern Counties regional contest on Saturday, performing Dan Price's Darkwood. Drawn number 8 out of 14 bands, the band gave a very solid and musical performance, and were delighted to be awarded 2nd place by judges David Hirst and Alan Duguid, and a qualification spot for the National Championship's of Great Britain in September at Cheltenham Racecourse. The band would like to thank everyone for their kind messages of congratulations.
OCB were delighted to be asked to provide the music for a private function held by the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire at her home at Rycot Manor. It was a fantastic opportunity for the band to rub shoulders with the heirarchy of Oxfordshire, as well as making new contacts for further concerts.
The following day, the band made their third appearance at Ewelme village fete. Luckily the worst of the weather was elsewhere in the County, and the fete was another succesful event with a higher attendance and more stalls. We look forward to joining them again next year!
OCB principal cornet player Steve Clapton was honoured to be invited to play with the world famous Fodens Band over the weekend at Winchester Cathedral for a concert in celebration of the Queen's 90th Birthday. During their history, Fodens have been crowned National Champions of Great Britain 13 times, British Open Champions on 12 occasions, as well as achieving numerous other contesting victories. The programme included several major works in honour of the festivities, concluding with a "Last Night of the Proms" finale which the 500+ audience enjoyed with full voice.