The first ever appearance of the Band at the British Open; the most competitive and prestigious contest of the banding calendar was a historic and momentous experience for everyone associated with Beaumaris Band.
Playing the extremely difficult new set work ‘Electra' by Martin Ellerby, the Band gave a fantastic performance from the dreaded no.1 draw - the third time this year the band have been drawn to compete in the opening slot.
The technical challenges of the first movement were competently overcome, followed by another expertly crafted slow movement by Musical Director, Gwyn Evans, highlighting some sublime soloist and duet work from Gavin Saynor, Bethan Evans, Owen Davies, Wil Marston, Jos Harris, Glenn Van Looy, Sarah Kingman, Paul Hughes, Nick Hughes, Bronwen Evans and Chris Williams.
Despite great confidence within the band following the performance, as well as many of the pundits in the audience and the bar feeling that Beaumaris could very well return home with a prize in the top 10, there was great disappointment when the results were announced and the band placed 13th.
This is still a creditable result, but one which was met with some shock and disappointment, with the general feeling being that the no.1 draw was a negative factor in the overall results.
And so, a few weeks later, it was on to the Royal Albert Hall and the second successive appearance for the Band at the National Championships of Great Britain.
Unfortunately, after weeks of hard work and hours of rehearsals-the band returned from this year's prestigious competition a little disheartened to say the least.
The test piece was Ravel’s beautiful but extremely difficult composition, Daphnis & Chloe, arranged by Howard Snell.
The piece was originally written for an orchestra and the challenge was to create the sounds intended by the composer, but also, to stay true to our brass band musical roots.
This time, the draw was more favourable and after hearing that the band were drawn at no.9 of 20 bands, the players had plenty of time to relax and gather their thoughts before the performance.
Some enjoyed a little retail therapy, while others relaxed in the hotel lounge with copious amounts of tea and coffee.
The performance went well and Gwyn appeared to be enjoying himself once again on stage as the music took hold and individual praise should be given to the three main soloists of the day: Bari Gwilliam, Bronwen Evans and Chris Williams, who performed exceptionally and added something special to the overall performance.
Feeling relatively relaxed after coming off stage, the players were hopeful of a top 10 placing once again this year. But on announcement of the results, there was a gasp of disbelief on hearing that Black Dyke Band were placed 9th. This didn’t look good and that feeling was justified when Beaumaris was placed 11th .
The players were more disappointed than usual but it’s now time to move on and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead in 2013.
Beaumaris Band’s presence at the National Finals of Great Britain for the past two years has been a very special time in the history of the Band and has given everyone confidence in their ability to hopefully perform there once again in the not too distant future.