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2012 Midland Regionals Performance

For Derwent Brass, 2012 is a very important year in terms of celebrating 20 years of this successful enterprise. Therefore it was vital for the band to maintain their strong foothold within the daunting realms of the Championship Section at the Midland Regional Championships, held in Bedworth 11th March.

As we know, this group like to push themselves and the boundaries of normal brass banding and so whilst many bands at the competition had been rehearsing the set work 'Devil and the Deep Blue Sea' solid for weeks, if not months, Derwent had been busy working on and performing their commissioned work, funded by the PRS for Music Foundation 'Episdoes, Occurences and Interludes' which recieved critical acclaim following the premiere in Derby on February 25th.

With a clearly busy work schedule the band did manage to include a full days session on the new work with the composer Paul McGhee and his partner Lucy Pankhurst (both fantastic composers and instrumentalists) which propelled the members standard of playing, in addition to a couple of evenings early in their preparaiton on the test piece with friend of the band Garry Cutt - conductor of the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band.

Not all his positive on the run up to their Midlands Regional attack though, as early in the year the band find out their Solo Baritone player 'Adrian Drewitt' is unable to play due to being taken ill with Bells Palsy - as luck would have it, the piece starts with a Baritone Solo which usually would mean 'points in the bag' with Adrian's reputable high standard! Wishing Adrian the best for his recovery, the band lent on the good nature of ex-member Steve Levitt to take Rob's seat on Euphonium whilst Rob moved down to cover in for Adrian on Baritone. The band never expected Adrian to be able to play for some months and so the daunting task of trying to fulfil his position for the inevitable future began. Adrian, the true bandsman however, refused to let this episode of ill health get the better of him and immediately began his series of 'back to basics' techniques of lip training and flexibility all of which was encouraged by his GP. Perhaps the NHS should consider investing in brass tuition for recovering of this disabling illness as without exaggeration Adrian returned to the bandroom no more than two rehearsals before the big day! Rob kindly stepped down to let his colleague retake his seat and then on the day an absolutely incredible performance by Adrian on stage for which he is to be congratulated.

"Derwent's music making was individual. Wistful Dana music caught the ear..." British Bandsman

The entire band played well, however in addition to Adrian, some terrific solo work from both Pam Davis on Flugel Horn and Graham Johnson has to be credited.

"A performance of extremes from Derwent in Bedworth. ....Inspired" 4barsrest.com

On contest day, the band did themselves proud with an interesting performane awarding them 6th, but did find favour in the hall for a placing perhaps one or even two positions higher. This sees the band remain firmly established in the Championship Section which is the target they set themselves. The courage of Adrian specifically, coupled with the great and consistent nature of Derwent Brass, and their musical director once again brings itself to the fore - an unsponsored band, with one good rehearsal a week and the same band - player for player - will be on stage throughout the year; somewhat of a rarity in modern day brass banding, especially at this level.

"The conductor let the music build naturally in a well-engineered performance. He clearly knows the strengths and weaknesses of his band very well, to the point where, in the slow music, he let the quartets and quintets play unconducted - just listening and responding to each other. It worked a treat."

British Bandsman, Synopsis on the Midland Regional Championships

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