Hello to everyone reading, I’m Jack Bewley, the band’s ‘Principal’ 2nd Baritone player, with another update on the lead-up to our immense journey to the British Open, a trip that is building our anxiety and excitement with every practice. With only a fortnight to go, practices have been intensifying here in Wellington. Having been in the band for around six months, I certainly feel the nerves about performing on the same stage as bands like Cory, Black Dyke and Grimethorpe, let alone having to compete against them. However, the band is still looking forward to the opportunity, regardless of the result. In fact, our principal bass trombone and natural gas provider Patrick Di Somma said that he’s “absolutely fizzing mate. I’m revelling in it.”
The band was lucky enough to rehearse in the Michael Fowler Centre on Wednesday night, to try and get the feel of playing in a proper concert hall. Apart from the obvious practice of the notes, we’ve also been trying to mentally prepare for a performance on the stage in Symphony Hall, something that will be a different experience to any contest we’ve competed at.
Amongst the practicing though, the band has been carefully following the Rio Olympics. With good reason though; before this week’s band weekend, we welcomed back two of our athletes from the Games – Byron Newton and Matt Stein. There was some drama in their event, the men’s artistic gymnastics, with their acrobatics bringing them gold and silver. The floor routine had been an interesting event; while Matt had opted for accompaniment by former gold medallist Riki McDonnell, Byron took a risk and performed with no music, something he told interviewers was a key aspect of his acrobatics. A scandal had rocked the event earlier in the week, with an allegation that Byron had been using performance enhancing drugs, however, the sample from his water key came back clean. Ultimately, the judges felt that Byron had been “more present” in his performance and he won the gold, with a valiant effort from Matt giving him the silver.
Obviously, practices have to be serious and concentrated most of the time, but our rehearsals, overall, have been lightened by the excitement. We’re very much looking forward to our pre-tour concert next week and the travels ahead.
Thanks for reading, Jack “Russell” Bewley.