Playing in the National Concert Band Festival

So, after weeks of rehearsing, mastering difficult rhythms and getting tricky passages under our fingers, BADCB headed off to take part in the National Concert Band Festival (NCBF) regional event in Cheltenham, on Sunday 26 November.

Band members on the coach

On our way to Cheltenham

The band hasn’t taken part in NCBF for two years now so it was a new experience for many! Other than a few independent travellers, the rest of us travelled to Cheltenham by coach; the break for coffee being a good opportunity to chat to people that sit on opposite sides of the room at rehearsals!

Cheltenham was a new venue to us for the regionals and was somewhat smaller and a different set up than we had imagined. Having heard some youth/school bands perform, it was BDCB’s turn to warm up and perform. Our programme was:

  • Skyrider by Paul Hart
  • Great Gate of Kiev by Mussorgsky
  • East Coast Pictures – New York by Nigel Hess

Performing to the best of our ability, we did ourselves proud and played probably better than we have played those pieces before. As the final piece finished, I know I breathed a sigh of relief that things had gone so well! During the performance, NCBF have one adjudicator writing notes and the other recording verbal comments over the top of our performance… there is no hiding and having people critique individual, sectional and ensemble playing is never very comfortable for anyone but the approach this year of having the adjudicator address the band in front of the audience was particularly exposing (I’m not sure any of us liked that part!).

There was then some hanging around, listening to other bands until results and awards were given at 7pm. That’s when we were awarded a SILVER award which, given how well we had played, I think most people were a little deflated about. Nevertheless, we had some positive comments from our supporters (thanks to those friends/family who travelled to Cheltenham to see us) and from other musicians who have seen us perform in previous years at NCBF. So, lots to be proud of and comments/thoughts to take on board and build on for future performances… which is the whole point of us doing the festival!

Well done to everyone at BADCB for their performance and particular thanks to our new members who joined us with only weeks to learn the music; to our tuba deps and of course our principal conductor, Dimitri.

And life after NCBF… we’re now turning our focus to Christmas busking, our mulled wine and mince pie performance at a local care home, and all our plans for 2018 which includes our Welsh tour in October.

By Sue on clarinet