Well, it's that time again when we all look back over the last year and reflect on our achievements and look forward to what 2018 might bring.
2017 started with our regular January trip to the Butlin's Mineworkers Championship in Skegness. Despite rave reviews from the adjudicator, we were pipped to the title by German band, Bavarian Youth Brass.
Next up was the British Open held once again at Preston Guild Hall. We maintained our grip on this title, winning for the 6th year in a row!
Moving on to Blackpool, we once again took part in the Action Medical Research Entertainment Championship with a set themed around the classic musical, 'West Side Story'. We put on a fantastic show with magnificent costumes and pulled out all the stops with a stage set the west end would be proud of. Our Principal Euphonium player, Jimmy Blay, scooped the Best Euphonium prize and we also won the overall music prize however, despite that, the adjudicators didn't think our combined music and entertainment performance warranted the top prize.
The National Championships is the premier contest for youth bands in the UK and we went into the event having won the title for the previous 3 years. Performing the set-piece, Simon Dobson's 'Penlee', the hymn tune 'Abide With Me' and 'Amazonia' from 'Windows of the World', we retained the title again! Not only did we receive a Gold award for the quality of our playing, but Georgia Bryan won the Best Instrumentalist award for her magnificent flugel playing throughout. A fantastic achievement for the whole band coming 28 years to the day that the band was formed.
Following 2016's victory at the National Championships, we were once again asked to represent Great Britain at the European Youth Contest, this year held in Ostend, Belgium. Performing Peter Graham's classic set work 'Dimensions', we were on our best form with outstanding contributions from all members of the band. Our programme was rounded off with the hymn tune 'Abide with Me', William Himes's 'Jubilance', Peter Graham's 'Amazonia', from his 'Windows of the World' suite, and the final movement of Edward Gregson's ever-popular 'Dances and Arias' suite. Extra congratulations must go to Thomas Fountain whose stunning performance of 'Jubilance' won the Best Instrumentalist prize. On this occasion, we finished just one point behind Young Brass Band Willebroek, making us runners up at the European Youth Contest 3 years in a row meaning we are one of the most consistent youth bands to participate in this contest. Congratulations must go to our friends at Elland Silver Band who won the Development Section.
In August, our annual tour took us to Austria. The usual mix of practice sessions, outdoors concerts and visits to local attractions combined to make what must be seen as one of the best tours yet for the band, complete with the benefit of some amazing scenery. The tour was made a bit more special by our performance at the Menin Gate on the way to Austria, an occasion that will live long in the memory for all that were there. The annual tour is always a watershed for the band with a number of senior players leaving the band to go onto employment or further education - we wish this year's leavers well in their future pursuits.
Throughout the summer and autumn, the band performed a number of indoor and outdoor concerts and rounded off the year with the regular trip to Market Harborough Golf Club to help them celebrate Christmas.
Did you know…
Youth Brass 2000 has won the British Open 6 times in a row and the British Nationals 4 times in a row!
What will 2018 bring?
2018 looks likes being another exciting year for the band with our Open and National titles to defend. We will also be looking to reclaim the Butlin's title at Skegness in just 3 weeks' time! Sadly, the Blackpool entertainment contest has been cancelled next year due to a significant reduction in entries, but we hope this returns in 2019. We will once again represent Great Britain at the European Youth Contest, this time in Utrecht, Holland. We also have a couple of exciting invitations in 2018 that we will tell you about in the new year - suffice to say, they are very special!!
All that remains is to wish everyone connected with the band - players, committee, parents and friends - and all our supporters, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
Youth Brass 2000