Perth put on it’s very best weather for the 2013 national championships, which saw a very healthy turnout, despite the distance for many east-coast bands. The competition was tough in the A-Grade section, with last year’s champs, Brisbane Excelsior and the RASWA band, led by brass band legend Robert Childs looking like the favorites. The A-Grade section took place in Winthrop Hall at UWA, a stunning stone hall with a towering wooden ceiling.
For the Hymn, FYCB played “Mid all the Traffic”, an arrangement that had no bells, whistles or shiny things, just a pure and gorgeous melody with rich harmonic accompaniment. The final note filled the hall and all that was heard after was a release of air from performer and audience alike. From such a serene end, the first epic chord of the test piece, “Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” nearly blew the roof right off! It was a performance of soft and lyrical passages followed by furious and driving passages finally ending in a stunning chord that resembled the end of the hymn.
The street march, which was rehearsed for about as long as the course itself, once again received a great response from the crowd, and questionable looks from the adjudicators! Performing the 12 bar shuffle “Mardi Gras in New Orleans”, our ‘unique’ style of marching was in top form, featuring kazoos and a sung chorus, not to mention a dropped trombone slide (caught on film in HD!), one side drummer jumping in half way through (brushing one of the adjudicators), and a few players strutting like their uniform is in style (Got them moves like scragger)!
Back in Winthrop Hall, the venue was filled with eerie sounds from the percussion and a mysterious and powerful horn solo, followed immediately by a musical rendition of the bang. That’s right, it’s Sparke’s famous “Music of the Spheres”, a whirlwind of colossal explosions followed by deep emptiness, asteroids and shooting stars, a hommage to the tones of the universe finishing with an exciting outlook to the discovery of the unknown. The many solos and soli, designed to test the best in the business, were played excellently by our principal chairs. The march, “O.R.B” was played with absolute technical finesse, with a stunning cornet solo from our principal cornet Jamie Lawson.
Overall, Footscray placed 5th in the A-Grade section, a respectable result for a band made of almost all core players. Unexpectedly, Footscray placed 2nd in the stage march, a definite change of fortunes for that section!
Well done to all players for their commitment in striving to make top class music, and of course to Phillipa Edwards, our esteemed MD, for putting in so much work. The band is already working towards Brisbane in 2014, so look out A-Grade sections, next year is the year of the scragger!