Not even gale force winds and torrential rain could dampen Camborne's spirits as the Cornish band took victory to seal a hat-trick of wins at the recent 73rd SWBBA Annual Championships.
And although severe weather warnings forced a hasty redrafting of the timetable, and the Rugby World Cup Final saw the first few bands play to a sparse audience, the excellent organisation and a series of fine performances meant that the excitement and atmosphere soon built.
Best till last
The best was left until last, as Camborne, under Kevin McKenzie, took their third consecutive title with a resounding performance of Phillip Sparke's 'Harmony Music'.
Demonstrating lyrical solo lines and a triumphant band sound it was the standout performance in an entertaining Open Section as they repelled the bold 'Year of the Dragon' challenge of Roche Brass with Chalford in third with their exciting rendition of 'Sinfonietta No 1'.
Adjudicator Chris Binns (who was joined by Derek Greenwood), later told 4BR that selecting Camborne had been a straightforward decision: "The playing was of a very high standard and we had been splitting hairs with a number of bands, but ultimately there was a clear winner."
In response MD Kevin McKenzie added that he was "very pleased with a win on what is a very hard piece"and revealed this choice had been made with one eye on the Regional Championships back in the same venue next March.
"The Area test-piece ('A Tale as Yet Untold') is also a Sparke piece, featuring cadenzas for the same three soloists, so it was a good test on the same stage we will be playing on."
Overall it proved to be an excellent afternoon for the listener, with six different test pieces chosen, a fact which both adjudicators raised on the stage.
Behind the podium finishers there was much to enjoy with the performances of Helston Town Band ('Brass Triumphant'), SW Comms ('Force of Destiny') and Soundhouse Brass ('Cry of the Mountain').
Taking a clear victory in the Second Section was Sidmouth Town, as the West of England Area champion carried on the form that claimed a podium finish at the National Finals in Cheltenham by giving a dramatic reading of the set-work, Wilfred Heaton's 'Celestial Prospect' under MD Adrian Harvey.
It enabled the Devon band to beat of the determined challenge of rivals Porthleven Town Band and Shrewton Silver Band.
It was a busy day for Porthleven, who also claimed victory in a tightly fought Third Section from South Molton and St Stythians.
Chosen to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Gilbert Vinter's death his rarely heard work, 'Simon called Peter' was performed excellently by the three bands. Adjudicators Chris Binns and Derek Greenwood later confirmed that, similar to the Open Section — the winners clear.
Derek was also full of praise for the Fourth Section, commenting that there had not been a wide gap between the Fourth and the Third with five musical readings of Phillip Sparke's 'A Malvern Suite'.
In the end it was the number 1 marker from Bideford under Mark Durham that beat off the well directed challenge of rivals St Breward with Saltash Town rounding off the top three. The band's tuba team also took the 'Best Bass Section' award.
There were also good performances from Okehampton and especially Soundhouse Brass Academy who only started rehearsals eight weeks prior to the contest.
Hope for the future
Some of the most enjoyable highlights of the day came in the Youth and Training Band Sections.
Despite being the only entrant, the 30 youngsters of Bodmin Youth Band gave a tremendous performance of 'A Hazelmere Suite' that wouldn't have sounded out of place in the higher sections to show that the Cornish band has an enviable supply of playing talent on tap.
The band's talented soprano player Jodie Bragg claimed the 'Best Instrumentalist' award.
Meanwhile, the Training Section featured film music, new music and old classics, with over 60 players across three bands all enjoying the contest day experience. Soundhouse Brass Training took the honours, but South Molton Training and Hatherleigh & Northlew Training were not far behind.
Association spokesperson and Vice-Chairman John Woods commended all bands for helping keep the day to schedule.
Thanks were also extended by John on behalf of the Association to Sue Oldfield, contest controller for the festival, and Keith Anderson, who recently joined the team and undertook all planning with Riviera centre and competing bands.
Keith ensured that the early morning rugby fans were kept up to date with two large TV screens installed so that events in Japan were not missed.
The playing was of a very high standard and we had been splitting hairs with a number of bands, but ultimately there was a clear winnerChampionship Section adjudicators
1. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
2. Roche Brass (David Johnson)
3. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
4. Helston Town (Kevin Johns)
5. SW Comms (Sam Hairsine)
6. Soundhouse Brass (Lee Clayson)
Best Cornet Player: Camborne Town
Highest Placed First Section Band: Roche Brass
1. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
2. Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)
3. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)
Best Instrumentalist: Soprano from Sidmouth Town
1. Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)
2. South Molton (Gilbert Taylor)
3. St Stythians (James Burns)
Best Horn Section: St Stythians
Fourth & Ungraded Section:
1. Bideford Town (Mark Durham)
2. St Breward Silver (Tom Howard)
3. Saltash Town (Ross Farr-Semmens)
4. Okehampton Excelsior (N/K)
5. Soundhouse Brass Academy (N/K)
Highest Placed Ungraded Band: St Breward
Best Bass Section: Bideford
1. Bodmin Youth
Best Instrumentalist: Jodie Bragg (soprano) — Bodmin Youth
1. Soundhouse Brass Training
2. South Molton Training
3. Hatherleigh & Northlew Training
Best Instrumentalist: Solo Cornet (South Molton)