After many months of hard practising, on Sunday 8th March 2020, we performed at the Midlands regional contest of the National Brass Band Championships. It was staged at Kenilworth School, and along with 20 other bands, we performed the 4th Section test piece “Neverland”, by Christopher Bond.

The piece itself is based on the tales of Peter Pan. It’s a lovely piece of music (10 minutes long!), and all the band really enjoyed playing it, and rose to the challenge. Rehearsing was tough – we lived and breathed the piece for months. Alongside our twice-weekly rehearsals, we also rehearsed some weekends too. It was hard work, but great fun.

On the day itself, the band met early for a final rehearsal, before moving on to the venue itself. We drew 7th, so had to wait a little bit for our turn, The nerves rose, and before we knew it, we were on stage! After, let’s say, a nervy and shaky start, we soon found our stride, and delivered a lovely performance. We got some great feedback through the day, and at one point, an online brass band magazine had us predicted in the top 6. But, unfortunately for us, they weren’t the actual adjudicators, who finally placed us 13th out of 21, which leaves us ranked 11th in the Midlands area.

All-in-all, the band are extremely happy with this, and it holds us in great stead for the future. In fact, we can’t wait for next year’s contest now!

Here’s some of the feedback we got through the day, including some encouraging comments from the composer himself:

(Christopher Bond on Twitter, composer of “Neverland”):  Band #7 in the Midlands is Thrapston Band under Nathan Waterman. This is a well-prepared performance with good control and focus. The louder dynamics are all kept under control, with good individual contributions around the stands. Percussion always effective!

(4BarsRest website): Thrapston have a slight stutter to start the piece, with the band not starting entirely together, but once bar 11 hits it does flow nicely. Very nice percussion work. Soloists from all bands so far have all been brilliant, and the soloist from Thrapston is no different, well done! The band sound isn’t huge, but it is well balanced, with nothing overblown. A very good performance, with a very low error count, but I just feel they needed something extra to help stand out today.

(British Bandsman on Twitter): MID Fourth – 7. Thrapston Band produce a performance which was full of control and poise, but did it just lack a bit of that Tinkerbell sparkle? You can’t fault the MD for keeping his band under control though, with a solid account from start to finish.