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Bands are blowing their own trumpets
BRASS bands in Swindon have enjoyed unprecedented success at this year’s regional championships.
With two bands – Swindon Pegasus and Swindon Brass – qualifying for the National Brass Band Championship finals, hopes are high the town will soon have at least one champion.
Both bands play in Upper Stratton but entered separate sections at the regionals in Torquay at the weekend.
Swindon Pegasus entered the second section and finished top of their group, ahead of 16 other bands.
“We’re so pleased we’ve made it into the final,” said Hayley Ferris, concert secretary for Pegasus. “We’ve put in lots of work. When we finished playing we knew we’d done well but couldn’t believe it when we finished top.”
All the bands in the section had to play the same tune.
It was a challenging piece but the performance of Pegasus was described as well organised and clearly conceived by judges.
The band were quick to praise conductor Graeme Lewis for helping the band to qualify.
Graeme took over after the previous conductor, Mike Lock, died in June last year following a short battle with cancer.
“When he took over we were really down. He picked up our spirits and has helped us to get to get this far,” said Hayley.
Swindon Brass entered the fourth section and placed third out of 21 other bands, earning an invitation to the final.
“We’ve entered the competition for the past eight years and this is the first time we’ve made it,” said Rachel Workman, who plays the euphonium, similar to a mini tuba.
“We’ve had lots of extra rehearsals to make sure we were ready.
“We’re grateful to our musical director Francis Cowley who has helped us to fulfil our potential.”
Rachael is also hoping that this success will encourage others to join a brass band. There are currently between 25 and 30 members but it is hoped this will now increase.
“We’ve been struggling for numbers in recent years, especially with not being that successful. Hopefully now people will see we’ve made the final we can get new people to join.”
Swindon Brass rehearses every Monday and Thursday at 8pm in the band room opposite the Crown Inn in Stratton. Anyone who is interested in joining is welcome to come along.
The final for the bands takes place on September 22 at The Centaur in Cheltenham.