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May 1, 2011

With the exception of a couple of individual entrants from interstate bands, the State Band Championships held on the Gold Coast was as thoroughly Queensland focused as a bunch of blokes running around a paddock knocking other blokes over.


Brisbane Brass provided a significant presence in the contest, fielding four of the fifteen competing bands and 24 of the approximately 60 soloists and plenty of podium finishes were attained on stage.


In a wind affected Street March National Champion Drum Major Steve Lawrence led both Brisbane Brass and Brisbane Brass 2 each gaining 2nd place in their respective grades, sensibly leading BB2 without hats, into a one point second place before Steve himself was awarded the Parade of Bands State Champion Drum Major in addition to his national title.


Jess Baker celebrated her nineteenth birthday by leading Brisbane Brass 3 in her first contest as Drum Major and although the band only came 3rd a lot of fun was had by this bunch of big and little people especially in the snake turn in front of a large audience.


In the Arts Centre players felt a bit isolated on stage but were assured that the sound was well received out in the audience and in the adjudicator's enclosure.


Brisbane Brass won the A Grade with relative ease but had to play very well for Jon Christodoulides bringing about his first contest win as Musical Director.


After a commentary slip up identified the bands an unfazed Peter Adams gave a most generous address which would have let second placed Capricornia Silver Band return to Rockhampton well pleased with the effort required to get to the contest.


Josh McKechie's persistence with Brisbane Brass 2 paid off this weekend with a third placing which possibly masks their points win in the Test Piece and 2nd place in the Hymn. Congratulations are due Windsor Brass and Toowoomba Municipal No 1 for leading B Grade in a very close finish.


Brisbane Brass 3 have lost some key members and picked up a number of new youngsters since their last competition but played to their strengths for Australian Euphonium Champion Bill Barker. For two days the members were happy with their announced 2nd place due to their strong performance of "The Dark Side Of The Moon" but a scoring error was uncovered by QBA officials and the band were relegated to 3rd a single point behind Sunnybank Brass No.2 with Maryborough Excelsior City Band a 22 point winner in D Grade.


Brisbane Brass Juniors demonstrated their versatility with a six piece set on the Sunday with Megan Harmston and Sascha Kelly wielding the baton and as the only band in the grade won of course but received an encouraging chat from Mr Adams who had the forethought to move out of the box in order to watch the performance.


Solo and Ensemble events were held all day long on Monday in the funky Basement and on the main stage where in the evening with the Tenor Trombone prize under his belt, Luke "Stardust" Aaron took out the Champion Of Champions award.


Several state titles were awarded to Brisbane Brass representatives among them being Greg Aitken on Bass Tuba, Soprano Cornet Mitch Buckley following his Hobart disappointment, Dani Rich just out pointing Shannan Lawrence on Flugel Horn and Matthew Brennan with three wins in Open Percussion.


Megan Harmston fell victim to another points bungle in the Tenor Horn after initially being awarded first place. This kind of error can be very hurtful to players who have just given their all in performance and are experiencing the emotional high of a win.


Josh McKechie and Jennifer Campbell gained third places in the Euphonium and Baritone events while Allison Marsh and Acacia Cuthbertson were placed 2nd and 3rd in the difficult Bb Cornet contest. In the Open Duet Jennifer and Sascha's Baritones just out pointed Dani Rich with Chris Canning on Cornet.


In the Junior events Patrick McKechie dominated the U19 with a 3rd for Selena Rassmussen while Alex Cuthbertson had a clear win in the U16 event and Athena Eckart-Watts came 2nd in the U14.


It has been a busy year so far for the bands of Brisbane Brass still "living out of a suitcase" and the Queen's Birthday weekend achievements are a very sound follow up to the solid performances just over two months ago in Hobart.


Well done ! Have a couple of weeks off except of course for those members who are fronting up to march in the Big, Bold & Brassy happening in the CBD on Saturday 19th June.

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