Sunday 20th October 2019 was another historic day for the Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band. It saw the band enter the Oxfordshire & District Brass Band Association’s Entertainment Contest, not as an ungraded band, but as a band registered nationally in the fourth section.
However, it was somewhat of an emotional day as it was at this venue, the Marlborough School in Woodstock, where the band played in February earlier this year at the Association’s Winter Contest, unknowingly for the last time, under the baton of its late Musical Director David Ruel.
The band’s entertainment programme was presented by Chloe Sheppard and conducted by Matthew Ruel, son of David who led the band to another prize winning performance which opened on the march ‘The Call of the Brave’ by the Danish composer Jacob Vilhelm Larsen.
Following this, the band introduced its first soloist in Jack Porter – the band’s principal cornet player. Jack chose to play a relatively new arrangement and addition to the brass band repertoire, a song composed by Brian May and which also featured the band’s flugelhorn player Nigel Winter.
Adjudicator Duncan Beckley commented:
Good opening, and the soloist plays with style. ‘A’ – good; ‘B’ – good; ‘D’ to ‘E’ – good; ‘E’ – good band accompaniment; ‘F’ – well done flugel.Duncan Beckley
Adjudicator Gordon Eddison added:
So nice to see a soloist playing with no music or stand – very effective and persuasive.GORDON EDDISON
A march, a rock song, followed by a folk song written by the singer-songwriter Archie Fisher entitled ‘The Witch of the Westmerlands’. Arranged by Philip Harper this descriptive and emotive arrangement featured Michael Fowkes on baritone.
Adjudicator Duncan Beckley remarked:
Good atmospheric opening; 2nd bar of ‘A’ – well done baritone; B – good horns; ‘C’ – well done solo cornet; 4 before ‘D’ – well done flugel and solo horn; ‘E’ – lovely band sound; ‘F’ is well handled throughout; Last 3 bars a touch untuneful; but a good close.duncan beckley
Building to a rousing finale the band closed its entertainment programme with the climatic conclusion from Edward Gregson’s ‘Variations on Laudate Dominum’.
The Result (Section ‘B’)
The band’s efforts in the rehearsal room and delivery on the contest stage saw Duncan Beckley award first prize for music to the Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band.
|1||Reading Spring Gardens (4)||Matthew Ruel||11||188|
|2||Olney Brass (3)||Kevin Nicholls||7||186|
|3||Hemel Hempstead (4)||Paul Fothergill||10||184|
|4||Witney Town (4)||Chris Barker||12||182|
|5||Great Western Youth (4)||Ben Halstead||2||179|
|6||Shipston Town (4)||Howard Gibbs||8||178|
|7||Chinnor Training (4)||Alison Andrews||3||176|
|8||Coventry Festival (4)||Allan Wheelhouse||6||174|
|9||Yarnton (U)||Guy James||9||172|
|10||Watford (4)||Ian Graves||1||171|
|11||City of Oxford Training (U)||Catherine Westbury-Cook||5||168|
|12||Moulton 77 (4)||Kevin Spencer||4||166|
The Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band proudly carry the title of current Oxfordshire & District Brass Band Association Winter Contest (Unregistered Section) and Entertainment Contest (Lower Sections) champions.
Thank you to all competing bands, the organisers and of course our audience for an enjoyable day of brass band music making.
The Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band now looks forward to performing ‘In Concert’ in our rehearsal home of Christ Church, Woodley on Saturday 9th November at 7:30pm. For tickets please telephone box office on 01189 414920 or visit www.readingband.com/tickets
The player line-up whose efforts all contributed to this historic success under the baton of Matthew Ruel are listed as follows:
Jack Porter, Jenni Hall, Rebecca Devaney, Graham Netherton
Back Row Cornets
Megan Hope, Ella Smith, Philip Edwards, Oliver Williamson
Cheryl Heppenstall, Jacqueline Ruel, Emma Scicluna
Euphoniums & Baritones
Robin Welch, Michael Fowkes, Louise Lloyd, Julia Bonewell
Chris Newton, Mark Hawkins, Nigel Allery
Adam Steele, Theo Leach
Thomas Gowers, David Holmes
Jake Perrett, Eleanor Pearson, Philip Davey