Gunnedah Shire Band has come out on top once again.
The reigning junior A grade champions have just returned from the 2018 Yamaha Australian National Band Championships in Melbourne where they competed in the on-stage section.
The band has now been named champion 15 times, scoring 81 points out of 100 for its hymn, 183 points out of 200 for its test pieced, 182 points out of 200 for its own choice, and 82 points out of 100 for the stage march, for a total of 528 points.
“The band played well. We had a lot younger players in new seats and there would be half a dozen for who it would have been their first competition,” band master Laurence Rowe said.
“With the number of newcomers, I thought the band’s performance was very good.”
Once again, the band was guided by musical director Anthony Rowe.
“Few people have that ability, and he’s got it,” Laurence Rowe said.
“The town’s very lucky they have someone with that talent out in front.”
About 20 members also competed in the solo sections “from cornet through to tuba”.
“All of them played well and we had some success,” Mr Rowe said.
Amity Cleal won the junior cornet section (under 19 years of age) with 97 points and Annerley Fitzsimmons placed third with 94 points.
Highschooler Josh Green won the junior baritone section with 92 points. He also competed in the open baritone section.
“It was good to see him get it and he’s about 15, so he’s still got another few years in the section,” Mr Rowe said.
Primary school student Mary Grant scored 88 points in junior tenor horn and placed third with a concertina by Luigi Boccherini.
“The piece for her was very technically demanding,” Mr Rowe said.
Maja Heath won open flugel horn and was praised by the adjudicator Luisa Trewartha who wrote the piece she performed – Flugel Horn Concerta.
“She’s very musical, very impressive,” Mr Rowe said.
“The adjudicator who wrote the piece was very complimentary of her playing; the high degree of musicianship and attention to dynamic detail.”
In the junior low tuba section, Patrick Grant placed second with 92 points and Oscar King placed third with 89 points. Oscar also placed third in open low tuba with 96 points.
“It’s good for the band when you have two players capable of playing to that standard,” Mr Rowe said.
“They have a lovely sound.”
Youngsters Georgie Hogeveen and Sebastian Rowe did not place but “will be much better” for the experience, according to Mr Rowe.
“I think competitions are always a very important part of developing our band,” Mr Rowe said.
“If we don’t do it, we don’t give goals to our players and we find the progress will slow. The fact that we managed to get a band to the competition and play solos is a long-term benefit to the band.
“I’m very pleased with the results and we’ll be working hard to build a band for the state championships in Penrith later in the year.”
The band master said it takes a massive effort to get to nationals each year and he was thankful for all the volunteers.
“It wouldn’t be possible without that work that goes on, so we’re very lucky we get that level of support,” he said.
“We get good support from our town so we’ve got to support as much of that as we can,” Mr Rowe said.
“A lot of the more serious ones who go to the state championships will use [the eisteddfod] as a trial run.
“It’s one thing I’ve noticed is that when the eisteddfod is before state, they always seem more relaxed, knowing they can already perform the piece in front of an adjudicator and audience.”