Term 2’s always a busy one for us and this year lived up to tradition.
January started with a return to rehearsals and a number of socials including a trip to the Royal Bengal, the Music Centre Ball, a society social to POP! and a board games night in which several new BrassSoc-themed board games made an appearance.
Main Band also travelled to Durham for the annual Tri-Uni concert with Leeds and Durham University Brass Bands. It was held in the Great Hall in Durham Castle – a magnificent 13th century palatial hall built for the Bishop of Durham. The concert was as successful as ever, culminating in a massed bands performance with over 70 players of John Williams’ ‘Olympic Fanfare and Theme’, ‘Can You Dig It’ (Iron Man III Main Titles) and Pablo Beltran Ruiz’s ‘Sway’.
The start of February brought Unibrass 2020. After an early start we travelled to Bangor to perform a retro video games themed set.
We opened with Jan Van Der Roost’s march Mercury set to a background of Space Invaders. Following this, Joe Morgan featured as a cornet soloist in Adam Taylor’s dramatic arrangement of Sia’s version of California Dreamin’ with a Street Fighter themed background featuring members of the society as the fighters. Slowing things down, our penultimate piece was Stephen Bradnum’s arrangement of The Irish Blessing. To end our set we played another Adam Taylor arrangement. This time it was Russian traditional song Korobeiniki, better known as A-Type from the tetris games.
We came 9th out of 10 in the trophy section. This is a testament to the extremely high standard in the Unibrass contest which has been consistently rising year-on-year. Our performance was certainly one to be proud of. After the results ceremony, we wasted no time heading out to enjoy the nightlife of Bangor and the Unibrass official social.
Later in February ran a session in collaboration with Warwick Outreach teaching the basics of playing brass instruments to a group of year 8 and 9 students from backgrounds underrepresented in higher education. Our beginners brass coordinators put together the session which culminated in a group performance of Hot Cross Buns.
Also in February, socials included attending The Real Ale Festival and a bowling trip with Wind Orchestra. Late in the month, we held the AGM in which we elected the new executive committee.
On the 1st March, Symphonic Brass joined forces with DrumSoc, performing a film music concert featuring soloist singer Sophie Holmes. The concert featured music ranging from Kung Fu Panda II to Skyfall to Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra. The evening seamlessly transitioned between joint pieces, drumsoc pieces, brass dectet pieces and brass quintet pieces. The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance and showed off the really high level of musicianship that exists in our societies.
The following Sunday, Main Band played Christopher Bond’s Neverland at the 4th Section Midlands Areas Contest, coming 14th. We really enjoyed preparing the Peter Pan themed piece with each of its 3 movements’ strong characters. The composer was in attendance and tweeted of our performance that the final movement “swaggered like Captain Hook himself”.
The term nearly over, on Wednesday of week 10, our Beginners Brass coordinators curated a free concert in the ensemble room showing off the hard work of Beginners Brass and Intermediates Brass this year. It was an enjoyable performance and really highlighted the success of the Beginners’ Brass programme this year.
With term 3 being taught and examined remotely, it is unlikely that the society’s bands will be able to rehearse until the next academic year. Nonetheless, we’re keeping in touch with each other, thanks to our social secretary’s organising of regular online socials. We also have some exciting musical projects that we are looking forward to sharing with you.
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