Reading enjoy historic first place win

The Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band enjoyed a somewhat historic day on Saturday last when it entered the unregistered section of the Oxfordshire & District Brass Band Association’s Winter Contest under the baton of David Ruel.

This marked the end of a 35-year absence from a local association brass band contest. Records show that the band last competed at Reading Contest in 1984 on the third section test piece ‘Sunset Rhapsody’ by Eric Ball with then conductor Ted Watkins.

Adjudicator Phillip Littlemore awarded the band first place for its performance of ‘St. Andrew’s Variations’ by Alan Fernie.

Some very good work throughout. Well done.

phillip Littlemore, Adjudicator

Phillip also presented a further award to the band’s principal euphonium player Michael Fowkes who was named ‘Best Instrumentalist’.

Looking forward, the band will be preparing a new repertoire of concert music for ‘Reading Festival of Brass’ which will be held at the ‘Michael Malnick Centre’ at Leighton Park School in Reading on Sunday 5th May with special guests Saint Sebastian Wokingham and Tadley Concert Brass Bands.

The player line-up who all contributed to this historic success under the baton of their Musical Director David Ruel are listed as follows:

Soprano Cornet

Matthew Ruel

Solo Cornets

Jack Porter, Meg Hope, Rebecca Devaney, Gaynor Popplestone

Back Row Cornets

Graham Netherton, Ella Smith, Oliver Williamson, Philip Edwards


Nigel Winter

Tenor Horns

Cheryl Heppenstall, Paul Barker, Jacqueline Ruel


Michael Fowkes, Julia Bonewell


Robin Welch, James Hope


Chris Urwin, Mark Hawkins

EEb Bass

Keith Manning, David Holmes, Graham Dearman

BBb Bass

Thomas Gowers, Phillip Vanstone


Tim Lain, Philip Davey