St Dennis Band took top honours last weekend at the 92nd West of England Bandsmens Festival with a performance described by adjudicator Michael Fowles as an incredibly musical performance which grasped the composers intentions of the piece.
The set test piece was the extremely popular “Variations on a Ninth” by Gilbert Vinter which showcased the bands rounded sound and slylistic soloists whilst allowing Musical Director Darren Hawken to musically shape the piece to provide the required character of each variation. The Band were awarded 1st place in the Championship section, receiving the Royal Trophy. This victory marked the 30th Royal Trophy win for the band since 1920.
The band also won the onstage march performance of O.R.B which was full of clarity and swagger! Kimberly Bazeley (Solo Euphonium) and Sarah Whitehead (Solo Horn) received individual soloist awards for their fine contributions to the performances, whilst Solo Baritone Terry Sleeman was awarded Best Player following his elegant and effortless cadenza.
As winners of the contest, St Dennis Band brought the 2016 contest to a close at 8pm in “The Square” performing Cornish Hymn “Great Soul”, “Deep Harmony” and March “Park Head” which was composed for the band by former Musical Director John Brush who sadly passed away earlier this year.
Musical Director Darren Hawken commented “I’m very proud of the players for playing so well, both musically and with a mature understanding of Vinter. It really was an authentic and classic Vinter performance and our determination and hard work paid off. The sharp and exquisite playing of the march ORB really set us on our way leaving no one in doubt that the band was playing magnificently well from the outset. Detailed, shaped and meticulous musicality adopting a full rich band tone really rewarded us on Saturday. 2016 has so far been a hugely successful contesting season with the band in golden form. We will do all we can to continue this trend at the National Finals representing Cornwall and I’m quietly optimistic that a big result there can cap a memorable year for us all at St Dennis Band.”
The St Dennis Youth Band gave an excellent performance of test piece “English Folk Songs Suite” by Ralph Vaughan Williams showing huge progression over the last 12 months under the Baton of Youth Band Musical Director Rachael Sargent. Principal Cornet Holly Sargent was awarded the prize for Best Cornet Player in the section. The Youth Band marched down to the contest field playing their signature march “Our Junior Band” which was composed for them by John Brush.