You would normally imagine that a brass band would only really celebrate when they get prizes in a contest! But this was not the case for The Wigston Band this March when they took part in the Area contest in Bedworth. Here is why we were so excited!

Way back in September we learned that this year’s test piece was Essay by Edward Gregson. Although it didn’t seen like much of a test to begin with, having not a great deal to do in some of the parts, the test piece very early on began to teach us not to judge a piece by the number of semiquavers within it! Essay is a test piece consisting of three varied movements, each with literary ideas within them. For instance movement one is entitled ‘Dialogue’ and features a conversation between all of the instruments, moving the them back and forth around the band. The second movement, ’Soliloquy’ has a more poignant and tranquil mood dedicated to the memory of Gilbert Vinter and featuring all of the main soloists with the sombre theme. Finally, the third movement, ‘Epigram’, provides much rhythmic contrasts and aims to provide an exciting conclusion to the piece.

So, following the Christmas excitement, we settled into a schedule of rehearsals on Essay, with the hope of putting in a good performance in March. As always, banding is never always straightforward with people leaving or being busy and having to find replacements. We were lucky to warmly welcome back Matt on soprano, Jenny on 2nd cornet, Mandy on 3rd cornet and Lee on Bb bass. As well as this we said hello to Will and Lauren on the back row and Chris on trombone. These players certainly helped to strengthen our line up and we hope they will continue following our Area success!

In the run up to the contest, the rehearsals went well and the band soon settled in to the demands of the piece before the big day finally arrived on the 12th March. Banding website had initially filled us with a sense of dread by placing us within the second section during their Area preview, making us believe that we had been learning the wrong piece for the previous few months. In addition to that, hadn’t even predicted that we would get a good placing in this lower section! But we decided to go and prove them wrong and show them that we are more than capable to be in the first section!

And that is exactly what we did! On stage the band put in a solid performance with very few errors to detract from all of the hard work we had put in. All members played well, with special mention being given to Alison Harding who did a super job on principal cornet and nailed her top C!

During the adjudicators speech prior to the results, all bands were told that they had found it really easy to order the bands, with the top 6 bands clearly standing out from all of the rest. The Wigston Band were hopeful but didn’t expect to come anywhere, so when we found that the adjudicators had in fact placed us as 6th we were overjoyed! This was especially enhanced when we realised that we were one of the top placed bands from Leicestershire! As well as this, we had also beaten bands who had just been relegated from the Championship section and who had hoped to win in the First Section.

So, on the 12th of March, The Wigston Band proved that not only are they are a worthy First Section band, we can produce performances that will contradict any previews and predictions of others! Even though we hadn’t won, nothing would stop us from celebrating our banding achievement and the great team work we displayed.