Hi all. Kieran Smith here taking the baton for the next leg of the Wellington Brass blog as we march closer and closer to the pinnacle event in brass banding, the British Open.
I have been fortunate enough to be a member of the Wellington Brass Band since 2012, and am currently the band’s Principal Repiano cornetist. Having recently moved from the front row to the back row I was looking forward to a period of being further away (physically) from the scrutiny of our esteemed maestro. Oh how wrong I was. After an intense couple of months in the training shed, I can now confirm that my name is etched firmly near the top of David Bremner’s hit list, alongside Principal Trombone Mark Davey and back-row stalwart (read battler) Tom Baker. While some may view being on the hit list as a burden, it is a position that I cherish and a weight that sits comfortably across my broad shoulders.
The band continues to cross items off our pre-departure checklist, including the farewell concert. The farewell concert provided us the perfect platform to showcase the fruits of our labour and to thank all of our supporters, without whom our British Open challenge would have been virtually impossible. Peter Graham’s work and British Open test piece, The Triumph of Time, was the concert centrepiece, but given the plethora of talent we have in our ranks it was a no brainer to feature a number of soloists in the concert programme. Sharing the stage with such a talented group of musicians is a real thrill and justification for spending hours and hours locked away in the practice room.
Following the concert there was a presentation of ties to the Open contesting band and long serving members. The presentation was spearheaded by band manager and Chief Morale Officer (“CMO”), Leighton Roberts, and has skyrocketed band spirits to an unprecedented level. Members donned the ties post function, including one Patrick Di Somma, who presented a front in stark contrast to his usual homeless get up. The ties are an acknowledgement of the hard work members have put in and the transformation the band has made from a B-grade bottom-feeder to quadruple A-grade champions taking on the world one band contest at a time.
As the weekend draws to a close, it is slowly dawning on me that this time next week we will be on British soil gearing up to take on the world’s best at their own game. And to quote Jack Bewley – “I’m absolutely fizzing mate!”.