Three Bands at the Regional Finals
Competing against the regions top brass at the weekend The Wantage Band, Wantage B Band and Academy Brass were hoping to bring home some silverware, and a chance to perform at the National finals held later in the year. The regional finals, held in Stevenage, are a chance to show off all the hard work that goes into rehearsing a test piece for a national competition.
First to play were our ‘B’ band on the Saturday, conducted by Danny Dullforce – coming 7th out of 14 in the 2nd section, a good result. Next were Academy Brass on Sunday in the 4th section; they came 10th out of 18, their highest position and a big improvement on last year – with the added satisfaction of beating all the other Oxfordshire 4th section bands (Abbey Brass, Witney and Bletchington)!
Finally, our ‘A’ band, playing in the Championship section and hoping for a repeat trip to the Albert Hall, were disappointed to be placed 9th/12 – however audience and indeed adjudicators were pleased with the performance; and highlight of the weekend was that the ‘A’ band solo euphonium, Sam Wyne, won the award for outstanding euphonium player of the Championship section.
Starter Group Blow Parents Away
Most of them had never performed in public before. Many of them had only been playing their instruments for a few weeks.
But on Friday, this ragtag mob of silver band starters joined an all-day workshop which ended with them performing their first ever concert – and it blew the audience away.
The session was held by Wantage Silver Band at its band hall in Tugwell Field.
For the past month, the band has been going into schools and running trial sessions to see if children might be interested in joining up full-time.
Deputy band master Sam Wyne, who led the session, said: "It was so successful.
"We couldn't believe how much progress they made in one day".
The children played cornets, tenor horns, baritones, euphoniums, tubas and trombones.
Karen England, whose seven-year-old daughter Lucy-Jane conquered the cornet, posted on Facebook afterwards: "Wow! Well done kids, you were amazing.
"Thank you so much to Sam and Sara and everyone at Wantage Silver Band, Lucy-Jane had such a great time.
"I was worried we'd need earplugs for the performance but that couldn't have been further from the truth."
Ten-year-old Lily Yates, who goes to Stockham School, played the baritone and said: "I had the best day ever - I didn't realise it was going to be so much fun."
Our Lady's Abingdon pupil Ronit Chakraborty, nine, played the cornet and added: "I was very good, I really enjoyed it.
Roger Exceeds All Expectations
St Bartholomew's School, Newbury was the location for Roger Webster's amazing performance. Not surprising there was a full hall. It resounded to the audience's applause, having sat spellbound listening to Roger and then to the Wantage Band, conducted by Craig Patterson. Roger played items such as "Carnival of Venice" and "Ave Maria". The Band in turn echoed Roger's dexterity playing "West Side Story" and "When Thunder Calls" among others.
A joint item of Mexican Holiday was brilliant, an evening of excellence without any doubt. Roger was absolutely breathtaking, In fact earlier in the day Roger had held a Masterclass in the WSB Band Hall, which, of course, proved really popular. Many band members were given the oppurturnity to perform a piece of their choice and receive an expert critique from the master himself.
Thanks to everyone who helped make it such a perfect evening, and, of course to Roger.
Competing against the country's top bands including Cory, Black Dyke, Brighouse and Rastrick, The Wantage Band and Craig travelled to London to the Royal Albert Hall for the Finals, for the second time in as many years. On the day of the contest many of the band's supporters travelled by coach to watch them perform.
The standard of all the bands was, as expected, extremely high and The Wantage Band came a very creditable 18th. Many congratulations to Rose Hancock who won the Youngest Player Award.