An­tic­i­pa­tion gave way to ap­pre­ci­a­tion at this year’s Bri­tish Open

Cynon Valley - - NEWS -

IT was the big day in Birm­ing­ham when the 165th Bri­tish Brass Band Open Cham­pi­onships took place on Satur­day, Septem­ber 9, at the Sym­phony Hall.

The area around the hall was packed with peo­ple pa­tiently wait­ing to get to their seats as strict se­cu­rity pro­ceed­ings were in force. The gen­eral noise of this large crowd was strangely sub­dued.

The at­mos­phere in­side the hall just prior to the first band com­ing on stage is al­ways heavy with an­tic­i­pa­tion and there was a very low hub­bub of noise as some­what con­strained talk­ing is go­ing on.

The air was full of ten­sion and this year that ten­sion was height­ened as the au­di­ence had been sub­ject to a se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion and had to queue for some time be­fore gain­ing ac­cess to the hall.

Sud­denly the hall is deadly silent and all are look­ing at an empty stage. There has never been such an un­canny si­lence prior to a con­test. Ev­ery­one is tense with a mix­ture of ex­cite­ment, nerves and fear­ful pos­si­bil­i­ties as the re­cent Barcelona tragedy has been pushed to the front of their minds.

The un­easy si­lence gives way to al­most rap­tur­ous ap­plause as the au­di­ence thank­fully re­ceived the first band on stage and the whole at­mos­phere changed to one of re­lief.

All was for­got­ten as they set­tled down to await the first notes of the mu­sic to pierce the ex­pec­tant space of the Sym­phony Hall.

The first band was Flow­ers who are con­ducted by Welsh Eu­pho­nium vir­tu­oso David Childs who was mak­ing his first ap­pear­ance as a con­duc­tor at the Bri­tish Open.

There were no poor per­for­mances and there were some out­stand­ing per­for­mances, loudly ap­pre­ci­ated by the packed au­di­ence in the hall.

The favourites be­fore the con­test were Cory, the 2016 Open Cham­pi­ons, Grimethorpe Col­liery, Fo­dens, Brig­house and Ras­trick, Black Dyke and Fairey and the band from Switzer­land, Valaisia Brass Band, who were placed 2nd in the 2017 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships.

Through­out the com­pe­ti­tion var­i­ous bands were be­ing talked about as hav­ing given a win­ning per­for­mance, as is the usual sit­u­a­tion and it made for a very in­ter­est­ing day try­ing to sec­ond guess the de­ci­sion of the three judges, who were Paul Cosh, Stephen Roberts and Ray Farr, all three dis­tin­guished mu­si­cians. High on the list of pos­si­ble win­ners were Cory, Fo­dens, Black Dyke, Valaisia, Grimethorpe, Fairey and Brig­house & Ras­trick.

The good thing about this con­test was that ev­ery­one thor­oughly en­joyed play­ing and lis­ten­ing to this test piece called Fra­ter­nity, which was a de­scrip­tion of a ter­ri­ble min­ing tragedy in France in the early 1900s, as it dealt with all the hu­man emo­tions.

At the end of the con­test the judges con­ferred and the re­sults were an­nounced.

First to be crowned 2017 Bri­tish Open Cham­pion was Valaisia, the Cham­pion band of Switzer­land, 2nd was Whit­burn, Cham­pion band of Scot­land and 3rd was Cory, Cham­pion band of Wales.

The rest of the com­pet­ing bands were placed in the fol­low­ing or­der: 4th – Brig­house and Ras­trick; 5th – Fo­dens; 6th – Grimethorpe Col­liery; 7th – Carl­ton Main; 8th – Tre­de­gar; 9th – Des­ford; 10th – Ley­land; 11th – Fairey; 12th – Roth­well Tem­per­ance; 13th – Win­gates; 14th – Flow­ers; 15th – Mil­nrow; 16th – Co-op Funer­al­care; 17th – Black Dyke; 18th – Jaguar Land Rover.

Valaisia Brass Band, Cham­pion Band of Switzer­land and win­ners of the Bri­tish Open

Cory when they ap­peared at the Pal­la­dium The­atre, Lon­don, ear­lier this year

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