1. (n.) A union of interests, purposes, or sympathies among members of a group; fellowship of responsibilities and interests
Solidarity is the cornerstone, the adhesive that binds the fabric of strong and successful organisations be they government, army, family, school, business or orchestra.
An organisation such as Brisbane Brass can be seen as all of these things and it is this cohesion and sense of joined purpose and drive that has seen our bands thrive and prosper through some difficult times of change and dislocation over the course of the last three years culminating in our most recent campaign to the 2011 National Band Championships in Adelaide over Easter.
This solidarity was perhaps no more evident than when the B Grade band took the stage on Good Friday for the Hymn and Test Piece to see in the audience a solid block of A Grade band members there to support them as they played a demanding composition into 2nd place.
From the stone colonial architecture of Adelaide to the strength of some performances to the brisk scampers between venues and the tedium of waiting for results the contest can be best described as a very solid Easter weekend. Numbers in A grade were down a bit from the usual fifteen or so but with nine bands and a healthy twelve in B Grade there was definitely solid competition in both grades.
Young Mr McKechie should be dubbed “Josh The Builder” due to his efforts in building and rebuilding a band that gained 4th place, the best B Grade result yet for Brisbane Brass 2 in a national competition. Josh’s plea for solidarity at our social function was made in all seriousness and it is to be hoped that the band that plays together, stays together.
Jon Christodoulides took the stage for the final time as Musical Director of Brisbane Brass and with a very sound 2nd in the Hymn and 3rd in the Test Piece, added a second successive 3rd place in A Grade Nationals to his solid record over three contests.
This band has had some tricky ups and downs in that period but the record speaks for itself and as in the case of the second band, being comprised mostly of very young players there are solid opportunities in the future for an ensemble that remains cohesive and plays and thinks as a unit.
Jon spoke openly at the post contest get together about his time with the band and alluded to some of the challenges he has faced and some of the difficult decisions that have been made for the greater good of the band as a whole.
Association President Cliff Nichols thanked Jon for his contribution and the bands are indeed fortunate to still have Jon's musicianship on Cornet or Percussion playing a part in the bands as they perform the other vital role of entertaining in parks for Brisbane City Council.
This is of course another side to the solidarity of the bands of Brisbane Brass in that the band that takes the stage is the band that gets into uniform and plays to the public in the parks on Sundays.
With legendary Drum Major Steve Lawrence unavailable, Noel Kingston hefted the mace and led the A and B Grade bands to 2nd and 4th places respectively in the Street March.
While the sum total strength of a band is so vital, that solidarity is further expressed by the individuals who put themselves forward and compete in solo events, in this case Brisbane Brass proffered ten competitors on the Thursday to play in the company of some of the nation’s finest musicians.
Last year’s Champion Of Champions Bill Barker seems to be on top of his game at present with a second successive Euphonium Championship with Josh McKechie only four points behind in a solid 4th place.
Similarly Luke Aaron cemented his position as an amateur musician of the highest calibre in following up his 2010 Qld Champion Of Champions with a sound Tenor Trombone win while Patrick McKechie blitzed the Junior Eb Cornet event and went on to compete bravely in the Open Eb in which Mitch Buckley gained 3rd place.
In other events 3rd places also went to Jennifer Campbell in the Baritone and to new member Matthew Kachel in the Junior Bass Trombone who then gained 4th in the Open event.
Dani Rich and Luke Stanley also represented Brisbane Brass on Flugelhorn and Tenor Trombone respectively while another new member Lauren Whitehead, although under the flags of other organisations, came 2nd on French Horn and played in a large field in the Tenor Horn contest.
All in all a sound and solid Yamaha Nationals for 2011 and hearty congratulations to Kew Band for their decisive A Grade win and also to Geelong West Brass Band for taking out the B Grade.