A Dorset brass band, Verwood Concert Brass, beats world champions in Torquay finals after achieving its best result in its 153-year history.
There was no mistaking the collective joy shown by Verwood Concert Brass and its supporters when it gained third place at the West of England Brass Band Association regional finals in Torquay on 12 March.
Attended by 80 bands from across the region, the bandmaster, Mike Dunnings, explains the reason why third meant so much to Verwood Concert Brass: “Over the years the band has steadily improved and in doing so has gained promotion through the brass band structure. Last year we were promoted from the 1st Section to the top Championship Section where the competition is really tough. We came 9th then, out of 13 bands in that section. Not bad for our first year in the Championship but with the bottom two bands being demoted, we knew another result like that this year would see us slip back to the 1st Section.
“The challenge in the Championship Section is that all bands are excellent but some are more excellent than others. There are six bands, most with a long history of being a Championship band, conducted by highly renowned musical directors and who are ranked in the top 60 of the best brass bands in the world, with Flowers band being ranked 5th and who has won the contest for the last five consecutive years. Bear in mind Verwood Concert Brass is currently ranked 116th in the world.”
With the contest in two halves, these top bands vie for the top six finishing spots with the other bands striving to have done enough to avoid demotion for another year.
“The significance of what Verwood Concert Brass achieved in coming 3rd and the reason for the heartfelt celebrations then becomes apparent,” said Mike. “Not only did the result make history for this being the band’s best ever result in its 153 year existence, it meant that it had been placed higher than four of the top six bands including the 5th ranked band in the world, Flowers, who came 4th and two other bands ranked 33rd and 37th in the world. It also means the band remains in the Championship Section for at least another year.”
Mike concluded “Big thanks go to our musical director, Kevin Smith, who somehow manages to interpret all of those dots and markings on the musical score and marshals the players to produce the sound he wants and to all the players who were up to the task of delivering what was required of them under the pressure of a contest, to give a quality performance on par with the very best in the business.”
If you want to hear the band play then you wont have to wait long. Verwood Concert Brass has its Spring Concert on 1 April at The Hub, Verwood. Tickets £10 available from The Hub box office.