Newtongrange rounded off a highly successful year in which they also won the First Section Scottish Championship and Senior Trophy at the Spring Festival in Blackpool, by claiming the Scottish Challenge Shield in considerable style at Perth Concert Hall.
Under the baton of Lee Skipsey (who broke with his usual habit and used one for the occasion) they produced an outstanding performance of ‘Corpus Christi’ by Robert Redhead to take the Challenge Shield and £250 first prize.
All three judges placed the band first in their order of preference to enable Newtongrange to secure victory in emphatic fashion.
A well managed account of Philip Sparke’s former European Championship set work, ‘A London Overture’ gave Coalburn Silver second place with an impressive Unison Kinneil’s rendition of ‘Partita’ coming third to give them the prize as the highest placed Second Section band.
The trio of adjudicators Leigh Baker, Simone Rebello and John Boax were in almost complete unanimity with their independent personal preferences for all the bands, and were fulsome in their praise of the winners in their written remarks.
Simone Rebello stated that it was, ‘...A superb performance from this very accomplished band,’ whilst Joahn Boax added, ‘A very good band sound. Well controlled and rehearsed.’ Leigh Baker summed things up with his closing remark; ’The overall picture was oh so colourful.’
Understandably the winning conductor was still thrilled when he spoke to 4BR a few days after the victory.
"I think we nailed it! I’m so pleased for the band, as this year they have done everything and more that I have asked of them on the contest stage.
I really enjoy my trips north to conduct Newtongrange, and the choice of Robert Redhead’s work enabled the players to show off their musical style as well as their excellent musical ability."
Lee added that he is now looking forward to even greater challenges with the band in 2014 as they prepare for a return to the Championship Section.
"There is a great set up and I get a tremendous amount of support from the conducting team and players. 2014 and ‘St Magnus’ is going to be one heck of a challenge, but I’m sure we will do well.
I was only sorry that I was unable to join in the celebrations as I had to travel back to conduct City of Bradford for a concert on the same night that was great too, so overall it proved to be one of was the best weekends of the year."
Small but enjoyable
Unfortunately for the Scottish Brass Band Association two of the original seven bands withdrew leaving just five contenders to compete for the title in what proved to be a highly enjoyable contest.
I think we nailed it! I’m so pleased for the band, as this year they have done everything and more that I have asked of them on the contest stageMD, Lee Skipsey
Scottish Challenge Shield
Adjudicators: Leigh Baker, Simone Rebello, John Boax
Baker/Rebello/Boax = Total
1. Newtongrange (Lee Skipsey): 1/1/1 = 3
2. Coalburn (Gareth Bowman): 2/2/3 = 7
3. Unison Kinneil (Craig Anderson): 3/3/2 = 8
4. Johnstone Silver (Paul Kiernan): 4/4/4 = 12
5. Annan Town (David Shanks): 5/5/5 = 15
Withdrawn: Newmilns & Galston (Nigel Boddice)
Withdrawn: Bathgate (Andy Shaw)
Highest placed First Section Band: Newtongrange
Highest placed Second Section Band: Unison Kinniel