Bedworth Civic Hall.
Not the most iconic landmark in the UK, but it will hold special memories for every Forester now as we clinch promotion to the Championship following our fantastic performance at the Midlands Area Championships to secure a podium finish of 2nd
Drawn 9th, Foresters were the final band to perform in the first half. With the split and clip count running high as bands struggled to remain unscathed, the contest was still very much up for grabs.
We delivered a solid and musical rendition, drawing cheers and rapturous applause from the audience before we finished our final chord. There were excellent contributions from the soloists in the band, from sublime Soprano work from Andy Parker-Bates, fantastic Flugel from wife Helen to cracking Cornet from principal Steph Ayton. As the original piece is incredibly high for Euphonium, a lot of the tune falls into Tenor Horn territory. This is good news for Foresters, as Solo Horn Paul Speed-Andrews led the line beautifully. A very special mention has to go to Foresters Percussion team of Stephen, Ellie and Andy who delivered flawless playing from start to finish, impressing the audience and the adjudicators alike.
The pick of the bunch however goes to Solo Euphonium Ben Smith. With Brass Metamorphosis being a rewritten Euphonium Concerto, Ben was always going to feature heavily, but the maturity and musicality brought forward by this young player drew huge plaudits. Ben has performed consistently well over his time at Foresters and this latest performance is meaning he is making a name for himself within the Banding community.
There was also a bizarre appointment for principal Cornet Steph Ayton. Having performed with Foresters, Steph was approached by Shirebrook MW Unison Band, performing 10th, to play with the band. Under the rules and regulations concerning contests, any player that cannot play and no replacement can be signed in time triggers an unusual clause where the seat is filled by the equivalent player from the previous band. Shirebrook's principal Cornet unfortunately fell ill and was unable to play, so Steph was bound by the rules to then perform with Shirebrook. Shirebrook were eventually placed 11th, but having played the last note Conductor Colum O'Shea stood Steph up, still dressed in Foresters Concert wear, and she was roundly applauded by the band and audience for her very selfless act.
Along with winners Staffordshire, Foresters Brass will head to the National Finals alongside Enderby, who rounded off a strong podium from the First Section. We look forward to representing the Midlands later in the year at Cheltenham!
Well done to all bands at the Areas! Good luck goes to our friends at Thoresby, Ratby and Derwent whom all perform in the Championship today.
We have a busy diary for the remainder of this year, but I'm sure we can squeeze in a trip to the Finals! Keep an eye out for our Facebook posts and our entries on this website for more information.
After our victory last year, Foresters are promoted as of January 2019 to the Championship.