Hade Edge Band: Nationals Diary 2002
by Simon Wood
Following their winning performance at Torquay and becoming 2nd
Section National Champions of Great Britain, MD Simon Wood took
the time to write for 4BarsRest his diary of events building up
to a performance that we noted for its tightness in the ensemble
and boldness in attack
Edgar Dickinson & Simon Wood
2nd Section National Champions of Great Britain 2002
With that I shut up and let Simon continue...
Bradford - The Area results are announced. We are Yorkshire Champions.
There was no question this time, I told the band, we would be National
The test piece arrived and we loved it, there was a buzz round
the band immediately. Motivating this band is not a problem.
Three weeks to go - Most sectionals are complete and we rehearse
every night, climax on Sunday. Rehearsals are really good and after
the Sunday rehearsal I can’t believe how well it’s going.
Some people tell me to stop saying we’re going to win, but
I know it, and it doesn’t stop me being as hard as ever with
Two weeks to go - We take it easy. We rehearse Tuesday, Thursday,
Friday and Sunday. One person misses on Thursday, one on Sunday.
At this stage I record a performance of the piece every night and
I realise there are four main problems. Speed of first and third
movement, Flugel intonation at the beginning and Euphs breathing
all over the place!! I would like to conduct the first movement
in two but it drags and the third movement needs to keep moving-
my problem. But the mood is good and there are still no doubts.
One week to go - I’m at church on Sunday morning and they
all pray for the band, for a safe journey and for the wonderful
friendship the band enjoys. That’s good.
Our plans to rehearse at a big church on Tuesday are scuppered,
we can only go on Wednesday- our night off!! At the end of the Monday
rehearsal I tell the band that we wont have a night off and no one
moans. Band sergeant, Matt, says “Great, let’s keep
it going.” I’m getting excited but we still can’t
get the flugel sharp enough at the beginning so we try cutting down
an old shank. Doesn’t work. An old mouthpiece will go in further
so we try that - it’s better.
We rehearse at the church on Wednesday and a friend of mine comes
to listen. Dave Shutter, MD of Tintwistle band. After a run through
my deputy conducts and we sit at the back listening and discussing
balance etc. The band are sat in a V shape and this is working well,
they sound great, our 15 year old rep player is beginning to get
nervous about his solo in the final movement but plays it well.
The banter is now flying and we have a great rehearsal. No one has
missed yet this week.
On Thursday, most things are working well. Norman Law, conductor
of local rivals, Silkstone, comes to lend an ear. He suggests playing
the third movement much faster, in two, and the band like it but
I think it’s too fast. I find it difficult to stick to my
own plans but I do. Norman takes some of the rehearsal and the band
enjoy it, he picks up on some good points and at the end of the
practice I run the piece. Wow. I’ve never heard the band as
good. Another full rehearsal, no one has missed yet this week.
Friday - We begin our long journey, the rehearsal at the Hotel
is tired but good and we sing long into the night, long into the
It goes all wrong. We are scheduled to rehearse twice, at 9.30 am
then at 8pm. The first rehearsal is terrible, Flugel player is still
half asleep and I pounce. Euponiums breathe together and I nearly
explode. At 10.45am we stop. I go and listen to some of section
three and realise that the adjudicators box is too close to the
stage for our v formation, we will have to soften it. At six we
all go for curry but the restaurant can’t cope so we are late
for the rehearsal. This time it’s different. This is good.
We run the piece and do lots of flexibility exercises and I spin
the rehearsal out as long as I can. But before I can say anything
there are speeches, presents, gifts, medals and the room is packed
with friends and supporters, the atmosphere is electric and I cry
when they give me a gift. I tell the band it’s the best prepared
I’ve ever been for a contest and no one can take away those
full rehearsals and all the hard work. People have some banter with
me for crying, but I’m not the only one and I’m not
bothered. We are all friends. We could all go home now and it would
have been worth it.
6.30am breakfast. Short rehearsal at Torquay football club till
we get the draw at 9.20 am. 15th. Excellent. The day drags but we
get there in the end. On stage I feel calm. There are some split
notes and some untidiness and as we come off we all feel flat, but
as we look back we slowly realise it was really quite good.
In no time we are the Champions. Everyone is crying, this means
so much to us all. Our sponsor, 80 year old Edgar Dickinson is with
us, and it seems fitting that we win when he is here. The days at
Hade Edge are exciting, great fun and precious, long may they continue.
© Simon Wood