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Winter in America is Hot

July 25, 2013

It’s Nambour time again and instead of hot dusty October it is a lovely midwinter Maroochy day at the RSL when Brisbane Brass 3, like an old romantic ballad rediscovered, leap out of the ‘70s and into C Grade with a set of favourites that the ebullient Phil Ryan knows inside out and has persuaded the Band to take as their own.


A 3rd place after strong bands such as Toowoomba Municipal #2 and our hosts Sunshine Brass in the first contest outing since promotion is worth writing home about but it isn’t the 70’s and people don’t really write home anymore but the news would have hit Facebook within seconds of the results announcement.


Endless winter, volcanic summer, orcs from the south and a plethora of sharks with their heads screwed on were the order of the afternoon as Jamie Kennedy’s hilarious madcap climatic commentary guided Brisbane Brass 2 through all kinds of weather in one day. Lovely umbrella work from State Euphonium Champion James Blackford rounded out a very well played and cheerful set that earned the Most Entertaining Band prize.


Since travelling to Toowoomba in May for an afternoon concert with the local #1 band Josh McKechie’s troupe have been very tight in both rehearsal attendance and execution of their repertoire and were only one point off dominating the B Grade section of the program.

Sunnybank Brass’ local premiere of the Philip Sparke arrangement of the “Skyfall” theme may just have helped boost their points with respected adjudicator Peter Luff. Watch for a flurry of bands eager to add the Adele hit to their playlists.


As the only band playing off scratch Brisbane Brass was odds on to dominate the afternoon section and they did not disappoint. Bill Barker sampled the American songbook while avoiding the blatantly obvious with a set of ‘B Sides’ and standards that called on all the strengths of intonation, rhythm and syncopation that the seasoned and young musicians under his baton can demonstrate so well when called upon to show their best side.


Featured were Phil replicating a Piccolo solo in Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever”, Mitch and Luke as a bit of an ‘Arnie and Danny’ duo with Herbert L. Clarke’s “Cousins” and a sublime “Georgia” from Tristan who could have been channelling Arturo Sandoval had we not known what this young player is capable of any day of the week.


Although there is no doubt that it is ‘game on’ for the bands, Nambour Maroochy is always a good natured contest and the fellowship is as strong as the competition is fierce.

Whilst the Brisbane Brass treasury department enjoys banking prize money it would be so much more entertaining to see another A Grade band or two turn up to show the loyal audience at this friendly meet the very best of brass band music in a concert contest format.

Many thanks as always to Sunshine Brass and also Maroochy RSL and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.


Footnote: Brisbane Brass are performing in the BCC Bands in Parks program on Sunday 28th July at 2:00 PM in Captain John Burke Park Kangaroo Point and the concert is titled ‘Star Spangled Brass’ so it is a safe bet that some of the Maroochydore program will see the light of day again.

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