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Oh for the Month of May

June 7, 2013

Well that was the month that was in the Brisbane Brass world. With April bringing a short rest for the A Grade band following the Perth Nationals Contest and all the attendant preparation there was still work to do with a regular Train Day gig for the 3rd band and a prestigious Newstead House performance before everybody fronted up in the CBD to contribute to ANZAC Day with the 1st and 2nd bands going around and then an all-encompassing “super band” providing a big sound on the annual march.

On to May then and a month that might well have belonged to Brisbane Brass 2. The band kicked off the season with their regular community performance contribution to the Three Saints Festival at Wooloowin. The hard work of extra rehearsals really paid off with an impressive performance in a joint concert with Toowoomba Municipal Band at USQ. With a few guns from A Grade on 2nd and 3rd seats a show that opened with Kerry Thomas’ scintillating “Heroic Overture” followed by some heroic ensemble and solo work and closed with a pounding “The Dark Side Of The Moon” showed the strength of this band on a good day.

On a less heroic note but just as vital to making music as well as we can, the night preceding this outing saw the first of hopefully many Brisbane Brass Soirees during which members perform upcoming solo tests, recital pieces, duet and ensemble compositions or something just for fun. Performers from all four bands played to a small supportive audience of members and family and shared a tasty supper.

May passed and the first day of June found all the soloists out in the big world of serious competition at the Qld State Solo/Ensemble Championships. On the day Brisbane Brass provided 27 entrants from all four bands resulting in seven wins, eight seconds and three third places. The rest all performed very solidly and the sole performer from BB4 acquitted himself well in a big high scoring field in the U 14 AOI.

Wait a minute! What is all this talk about four bands and BB4? Not talk folks; it is all true at last. After 32 years of steady growth Brisbane Brass is taking another leap forward with the establishment of a fourth open grade band.

During the past decade, predominately under the baton of Bill Barker, Brisbane Brass 3 has enjoyed contest successes at State and Regional levels with runner up positions on a National scale. Guided by Jon Christo and Josh McKechie, Brisbane Brass 2 has been established firmly in B Grade since 2006 and a space of opportunity had become apparent between the 2nd and 3rd bands.

Since settling into the Everton Park auditorium and hall the Brisbane Brass management have been able to look closely at the bands and carefully consider the future of the lower grade and feeder/beginner bands. A decision was made to regroup and regrade the core of our D & Junior grade bands and establish our very own C Grade band under the baton of esteemed musician and educator Phil Ryan. It is early days yet and there are oppurtunities for motivated players of all ages to get involved in the revitalised Brisbane Brass 3. It looks like being quite a ride!

So on to Brisbane Brass 4 and new beginnings. This is a brand new band and is to be led by up and coming Horn player and teacher Elena Katahanus with the equally talented Lauren Whitehead in a backup role. At present rehearsals are being boosted by helpful members of the more senior bands but the aim is to have a full band ready, able and willing to compete in D Grade at the State Championships in October.

Here is a great chance for learners and casual musicians young and older to get involved with another class act that is part of the greater Brisbane Brass family. Three of the longest serving members of the association can be found in this new band with Cliff Nichols, John Wilson and Wilf Nott jointly providing over 220 years of brass band experience to the group. D Grade is no walk in the park as the repertoire promotes learning and improvement but there is room for fun out of the spotlight glare that can sometimes take over in the higher levels.

So come along all and sundry big and small and join this eager band on Thursday nights from 6:30 – 8:00 and stay for a drink and chat.

Finally, for a great many brass players and supporters, this upcoming Queen’s Birthday weekend will be first for many years with no regional contest to participate in.

This is a great pity on all fronts so let’s all use the time to learn some new pieces and practise a little harder and get to the Nambour Maroochy contest full of music and ready to go!

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