As we left Beaumaris at seven o'clock in the morning, there wasn't much noise to be heard on the Beaumaris Youth Band bus.
Most of the young players were trying to catch up on some sleep as we drove down to mid Wales for the Newtown March & Hymn contest. This is the first time the present Youth Band have competed outside of the North Wales Rally and as the competition was open to Second Section bands, they were competing against some of Wales' more experienced bands.
Under the tireless leadership of Nick Hughes, the senior band's principal cornet player, the Youth Band have been working extremely hard. And bearing in mind that the competition was taking place on the last Sunday of the Urdd Eisteddfod and in the middle of the exam season, you have to give the youth players a lot of credit for their commitment and dedication.
As well as competing against senior bands for the first time, it was also the first time this group of players would be judged on their marching for the first time. I doubt many of the players could spell deportment let alone know what it actually meant, and with a decent crowd turning out to watch the marches, there was some nervousness in finding music and tying ties.
The march was ... well, let's say that there was "room for improvement"!
But on the band stand in the park their performance on the Hymn and the March was excellent as was reflected in the adjudication. Beaumaris Youth Band collected the third prize behind Llanrug, who are about to step up to the First Section and Newtown Silver Band, who play in the Second Section.
And as well as the third prize, the band's principal cornet player, Pippa Scourse, collected the soloist prize. ￼￼In the afternoon, following the announcement of all the results, each of the bands put on a concert in the band stand with hundreds of people turning out to listen.
As we got on the bus for the journey home, it's fair to say that everybody- be they players or parents - were already looking forward to the next contest!