At St Laurence’s College South Brisbane a secondary education is delivered on many levels. From the Stephens Road car park entry, up the 61 steps all the way to the main quadrangle, down the clanging metal steps inside the Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre and back up and out to the playing field which is actually the roof of a multi-level car park, the 2014 Nationals certainly had its ups and downs.
And so it was that the musicians of Brisbane Brass ascended those stairs and rode the elevators to field bands in all levels, four open grades, of the contest.
The A Grade Band stepped up to the mark when Bill Barker’s baton came down and got down to business on the street when Steve Lawrence’s mace went up. All this action yielded 4th place on stage and a win in the Street March resulting in the highest Aggregate points total. In the good old days this would have meant a contest win. On the way to this terrific result Brisbane Brass managed to outpoint the eventual winners in the Hymn and Test and that is something to jump up and down about.
Once again the people noted their preferences down and posted their votes up to bring Brisbane Brass the popularity award for a second time.
Brisbane Brass 2 have been extraordinarily diligent in turning up and sitting down twice a week since February and really putting their heads down in the last weeks to move up the placings to a 2nd in the Hymn and 3rd in the Own Choice for 4th place in B Grade to cheer up Josh McKechie in his best National result yet. Things are certainly on the up and up for Mr McK.
Speaking of looking up; the fairly tall Kerry Thomas deserves special mention for his stunning composition "Relentless Advance" played by the band as their Own Choice selection. Kerry’s prizewinning work "Heroic Overture" was performed twice in the contest as the Junior A Grade Test Piece. Please keep on thinking ‘em up and writing ‘em down Kerry!
Since their maiden victory in C Grade at last year’s Queensland Championships Brisbane Brass 3 may have been a bit caught up with expectations but were brought down to earth with a 9th place in this meet. Phil Ryan is anything but downcast however as he has been there and done that many times and has a band in transition with a solid future and the only direction to go is up. It was an uplifting Street March for Trish Allan with a close win rewarding the band for all those practices down in the car park off Billabong Street.
“Up and at ‘em” was the call for the fledging Brisbane Brass 4 and it was on for young and old with members ranging in age from 11 to 91. There was no holding this band down as they looked up at the sea of supporters in the McElligott Theatre and gave their all for Elena Katahanas. A 4th place after some seasoned campaigners was fantastic and strongly upheld the decision made to form a fourth band.
Up to the marshalling, down to the warm up, up to the foyer, down to the stage, up to the photos, down to the cases room and up to the food vans and so it went over and over through the Easter weekend. All this messing about with gravity ensured plenty of aerobic exercise and a memorable contest.
A big Thank You is due to all the Q.B.A. organisers and volunteers for setting up a splendid time and getting the whole event down pat.