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Blackpool Bounce Back

Following the recent retirement of Keith Leonard, the management of Derwent Brass turned to the well respected Musical Director and friend of the band John Davis to lead their assault on the 2018 British Open Spring Festival at the Blackpool Winter Gardens.

"I was so excited to be asked to take Derwent to this contest. Everyone welcomed me so warmly and were so kind, hard working and gracious in the effort we have all put in. I'm so thrilled with the result and so happy for the band as they transit into a new period of the band's story. 

John Davis - Kensington Concert - Derwent Brass - Guest MD

On a personal level it's been such a priviledge and an honour to have the opportunity to stand in front of (and with) such a wonderful group of people."  (John Davis)

The test piece selected for the Senior Trophy this year was 'A Kensington Concerto' by Eric Ball, originally written as the set work for the 1972 National Championships of Great Britain. The work bears the dedication, “To Olive Rose and that gay company of friends, now scattered, who in times past met annually in the Royal Albert Hall, London, on the occasion of the National Brass Band Championships”.

This dedication sums up the work completely; an elegiac remembrance of things past. At times mournful to lost friends and a work that exemplifies the latter composing years of Ball’s life. Eric Ball was aged 70, and although the brilliance of the passion in his music was now dampened somewhat by age, the embers still have a delightful warmth about them. The music is reflective of a simpler time in the composer’s life when pleasure was gained through good friends enjoying a shared passion for music making. Like the Albert Hall itself, 'A Kensington Concerto' has been troubled by age – the technical aspects holding little fear for quality players, but the musical shape being a totally different matter. 

It is that musical shape, style and richness of band sound that the adjudicator's highlighted throughout the band's performance resulting in a well deserved 2nd place and promotion back into in the Senior Cup. 

"I am delighted that the band have bounced straight back into the Senior Cup. It is no secret that we were absolutely astounded at last year's result resulting in our relegation, to the point that I wondered if there was genuine mistake in the administration! It now feels like justice has been done and in 2019 we will for sure be looking to contend once again for promotion into the Grand Shield.

A massive thanks to John for all the work he has done and for his stylish approach which clearly found favour in the box. Also thanks to Keith for his preliminary work in full band and sectional rehearsals and to all the players for their continued committment." (Chris Leonard, Band Manager)

A great interpretation; such a joy to hear the style and effortless conviction. A super sound. 

(Ryan Breen | Adjudicator)


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