The sun eventually shone at the 89th annual West of England Bandsmen’s Festival held at Molinnis Park, Bugle on Saturday. Heavy ran leading up to the Festival had been a headache for organizers but just as the pasties were being delivered on Saturday morning the blue skies and sunshine appeared and would remain present until long after all the pasties had been eaten. (Adjudicator Philip Harper allegedly ate 4!)
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Cornish composer George Lloyd, his ‘English Heritage’ was chosen as the Test Piece for the Championship Section. The William Rimmer march ‘Royal Trophy’ was chosen as one of the pieces in the Second Section to mark the Centenary of the presentation of the Royal Trophy to the Festival by Edward Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall in 1913. The current Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall sent a message to say how disappointed he was that he was unable to attend as he is very interested in music and the contest in particular as it was his Great Uncle that had presented the trophy all those years ago. However, the programme carried a foreword from Prince Charles and he also presented a signed certificate to be awarded to the band that won the Royal Trophy.
A large crowd in the village greeted the bands as the traditional march through Bugle got underway at 10am and it was Okehampton Excelsior Silver that gained top marks from Deportment judge Gareth Roberts M.B.E thus winning the Sir Charles Cottier Cup. Bugle Silver were second and won the Hawke Challenge shield for their efforts.
The action at Molinnis Park got underway at 11am with the Fourth Section where the chosen Test Piece was ‘Petit Suite de Ballet’ (Eric Ball). With 180 marks it was Camborne Junior Contest that came out on top, winning the Boundy Brothers Challenge Cup plus £150 with Lostwithiel Town in second place with 178 marks and Okehampton Excelsior placed third (177). The Best Player award in this section was won by David Wilton (Euphonium, Camborne Junior Contest)
The three entries in the Third Section included Tadley Concert Brass from Hampshire making their debut at Bugle. Vizcaya by Gilbert Vinter was the chosen Test Piece and First prize (182 marks) was awarded to Heyl Town. They carried off the Imperial Tobacco Silver Cup plus £150. Second prize went to Camborne Junior Contest (179) with Tadley Concert Brass third (178). The R.J.R. Blindell Cup presented to the Best player was won by Adrian Allen (Cornet, Heyl Town)
Adjudicator Philip Harper got the chance to judge the Second Section bands playing his own piece ‘A Gallimaufry Suite’ next as Bodmin Town went head to head with another band making their debut at the Festival, Swindon Pegasus Brass from Wiltshire. It was the Cornish band that came out on top, walking away with The Violet Adams Memorial Trophy plus £250 while the Best Player award was won by Michelle Hudson (Flugel, Bodmin Town)
The Festival committee introduced the Training Section (10 minutes Own Choice) three years ago, not only to give young players valuable contesting experience but also to strengthen the link between young musicians and the Festival itself. The standard seems to be improving all the time with this year being no exception. The standout performance however came from Lanner Brass Academy with 180 marks prompting Philip Harper to write “Overall, a fantastic varied programme which you delivered with great style and confidence. Thank you!” Second Place was awarded to St Stythians (177) with Indian Queens (176) in third place. Daniel Matthews (Percussion, Lanner) was awarded The Monty Pearce Memorial Trophy for Best Player.
The Youth Section this year consisted of just the two entries and a straight match between St Austell and Mount Charles. Jeremy Taylor led Mount Charles to victory thus winning the E.J Williams Memorial Trophy for the winning conductor in the Youth Section. The Best Player award went to Megan Thomas (Euphonium, Mount Charles) while the Best Cornet Player award was won jointly by Jacob Griffiths and Matthew Jordan (St Austell)
Another Philip Harper piece ‘Kingdom of Dragons’ was chosen as the test for First Section bands where local band Bugle Silver were taking on Lanner and District and St Pinnock. With Matthew Rowe (Euphonium) winning the Best Player award it was Lanner that came out on top with 190 marks with Bugle Silver in second place (189) and St Pinnock (187) third.
There was a short interval before what promised to be an intriguing Championship Section with reigning champions St Dennis being joined by 2008 winners St Austell, Egham from Surrey and the recently formed Roche Brass making their first appearance at Bugle. Bands were to play the Philip Sparke arrangement of Sir Hubert Parrys ‘Jerusalem’ before tackling ‘English Heritage’ by George Lloyd and the order of play was drawn
1 – Egham
2 – St Austell
3 – St Dennis
4 – Roche Brass
It was probably always going to be a close run thing but it was St Austell (Melvin White) who walked away with the Royal Trophy after an excellent performance (192 marks) beating St Dennis into second (188) with Roche Brass taking third place (187).
Hannah Hawken (Cornet, St Austell) was judged to be the best player in the section thus winning the C.E. Welsh Trophy.
The date of next years contest is Saturday 21st June 2014 and Ian Porthouse has kindly agreed to adjudicate.