It’s now three years since the band ventured to Stevenage for the L&SC area contest. The 2020 contest was cancelled with 8 days to go due to the growing covid pandemic with the 2021 contest also cancelled.
We have been back in rehearsals since September 2021 and working hard on the first section contest piece for 2022; Spectrum by Gilbert Vinter.
The piece is written around a spectrum of colours with each colour’s section taking on a different style. With a vast array of styles, tempos, dynamics and time signatures, the piece presented a great challenge but also a great opportunity to show the band’s ability and musical range.
We have had incredible guidance from MD Nigel Cooper and his interpretation of the piece has been greatly received at all performances. Philip Harper’s visit to the band in February was an excellent opportunity to hear another MD’s interpretation of the piece and his advice both as a conductor and an adjudicator proved to be invaluable for the band’s performance.
The run up to contest day has been a nervous one with close calls due to covid scares and last minute plans made to cover potentially empty seats but we were incredibly fortunate to be able to arrive in Stevenage with only one player missing.
We started the day with a light rehearsal to look through the piece, tune up and wait to hear about the draw. The first section consisted of fifteen bands split into two draws. We drew eighth putting us playing last of the first half, a draw we were happy with.
We made our way to the Arts and Leisure Centre in Stevenage where the contest took place. After a little more waiting about (there is generally quite a lot of this on contest days) we were finally able to get on stage to perform. And perform we did!
Spectrum was played just as we had practised, with confidence, style and bravery. The band left the stage happy with their performance and all in agreement that we played well and did ourselves proud.
Fast forward two+ hours when the band had regrouped in the theatre for the results to be announced. Adjudicator’s Sheona Wade and Chris Wormald both stood to give their opinions and thoughts on the day; one stand-out opinion being that there was a clear winner and that they were sure this band would know that they had given the winning performance.
The awards started with the declaration of the fourth and third placed bands. Then they moved onto the special awards. Best Soprano Player was awarded to our own Sop player, Jason Beattie with everyone agreeing that he gave an absolutely stunning and flawless performance. A thoroughly well deserved award for a brilliant player. The next award of Outstanding Cornet Player was awarded to our Principal Cornet player, Georgi Hawkes-Wright following another beautiful performance in Spectrum. This is an incredible achievement following her recent award of Best Soloist at the NEMBBA contest in February.
Finally, the announcement of the second and first placed bands.
“The band awarded first place are the band who were drawn and played eighth” – cue three rows of the theatre filled with members and supporters of the East of England Co op Band erupting in cheers and applause.
We are incredibly excited and proud to announce that the East of England Co op Band are the FIRST SECTION CHAMPIONS of 2022.
Huge congratulations and a massive thank you to MD, Nigel Cooper for leading and guiding the band to this winning performance, so much of the piece Spectrum is about the interpretation and performance of the “colours” and all credit goes to Nigel for his vision and direction in this. A special mention also to our soloists for their incredible performances on the day; as mentioned previously, Jason (Sop) and Georgi (Principal Cornet), but also to Trevor, our Principal Euphonium, Danny on Flugelhorn and Linda on Solo Horn.
Congratulations all round to the band on a confident, solid and winning performance. This win gives the band an invitation to the National Finals which will be held in Cheltenham in September 2022.