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Two Victories in One Weekend

Published in General on 2014-12-17 by A W Parker Drybrook

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The A.W.Parker (Drybrook) Band have ended their long 2014 contest season on a historic high by winning both the Wessex Open Brass Band Association Championships and the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association contests on the same weekend.

Having attended the Wessex Open last year and having thoroughly enjoyed the experience of competing against bands from higher sections, the band were keen to make their mark on the contest this year. Opting to play John McCabe’s classic test piece, ‘Cloudcatcher Fells’, which was written for the Championship Section National Finals in 1985, it proved to be an inspired choice for the band, as they were crowned overall Wessex Open Champions, beating off many higher ranked bands. In a performance described on stage by the adjudicator, Paul Holland, as being “a clear two points ahead” the band were delighted that the hard work and effort behind this all came to fruition.

Along with the title of Overall Wessex Champions, the band scooped awards for the highest placed 2nd section band of the day and the highest placed lower section performance of a march (Kenneth Alford’s, ‘Army of the Nile’). The bands bass section (Nigel Galliot, Andy Shepherd, Tom James and Hayley Hymans) took the award for the best bass section of the day, whilst there was also an award for the bands musical director, Joshua Ruck, who took the award for the best musical interpretation of the day.

Joshua commented, “The band really did pull out all the stops for this one and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. To have beaten off such stiff opposition in this stage of the bands development period is beyond what I had anticipated to have achieved in just our 2nd year together.”

The following day, the band competed closer to home at the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association Contest, held this year in Ross. Following a reprise of ‘Cloudcatcher Fells’ and ‘Army of the Nile’, this time in a competition made up of 3rd and 2nd section bands, the band once again walked away with the award for the best performance of a test piece. The band were just beaten to the finish line in the march category by fellow forest band, Cinderford who took the award for the best performance of a march – our congratulations to them. As with the previous day, the band also picked up numerous special awards. The bands soprano cornet player, Tom King took home an individual award as the best soloist of the section, as did the bands flugel horn player, Steve Ruck, who took home the award as the best flugel horn player of the day. The bass section once again took home the award for the best bass section of the day and, not to be outdone, the horn section (Andrew Jones; Deb Galliot and Tracy Lashford) took away the award for the best horn section of the day.

The band is now full swing into the festive season as they relax and reflect on a memorable year. The band now look forward to taking further strides forward as they set their sights on the 2nd Section Regional Championships in March. For more information, and to follow the band progress, please visit their website at

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