Yes it was a bright bright bright sunshiny day at Maroochydore on Sunday. However the banding fraternity were all deep inside the Maroochy RSL’s classy cabaret lounge competing in the 42nd Festival Of Brass and only caught glimpses of the clear blue sky as we crossed the road from the warm up room to the venue.
No matter however as Maroochy RSL is a spacious, comfortable, relaxing venue with good sound qualities not to mention the food and drink facilities downstairs and handy free parking across the road.
An interesting change in the running of the Sunshine Brass presented contest this year had C, D and Junior Grades competing together with handicap points and a separate after lunch section for the three B Grade bands attending.
Another refreshing difference was the open adjudication whereby highly respected brass band stalwart Greg Aitken was able to assess each band’s presentation, attitude and enjoyment of their performance.
For Toowoomba Municipal No 2 it was sunshine all the way off scratch in C Grade with an astounding 93 points giving a clear win in the morning over recently promoted Maryborough XLCR City.
Brisbane Brass 3 and Juniors played up to their current strengths to Bill Barker’s satisfaction and though both bands finished in the back half of the morning pack, Brisbane Brass Juniors had their day in the sunshine as for the second year in a row were one position above the bottom of the contest, this year easily out pointing the lowest placed C Grade outfit.
At lunchtime “Mr. Brisbane Brass” Ken Jeffrey was presented with a special achievement award by QBA President Annette Ries in recognition of his decades of service to not only his own association but also the entire brass band network. This was a sudden and complete surprise for Ken who, never one to blow his own trumpet accepted the award with his customary good grace and a positive message for the future.
The afternoon session saw three very different high quality and entertaining sets from the B Grade bands with a tight points finish bringing in Brisbane Brass 2 in 2nd ahead of Toowoomba Municipal No 1 and behind Surfers Paradise who last year, under the banding equivalent of the Duckworth - Lewis points system actually tied for 8th place with Brisbane Brass 3.
Comparison of results can become an interesting and time consuming study but to paraphrase Greg Aitken’s summing up; “Them’s the points Sunshine”.
Just another two points would have brought a very welcome win for Josh McKechie who has done a remarkable job in the last twelve months of rebuilding Brisbane Brass 2 into a cohesive, competitive and above all musical ensemble. The major highlights of their performance were definitely the exposed Soprano Cornet work of Patrick McKechie in their opening number and the fluid Tenor Horn sound of veteran Rex Gredig with their commitment evident in the fact that both solos were thoroughly memorised.
To cap off the day there was a special prize for most entertaining performance of the contest and the worthy winners ..... Sunshine Brass !