The Brass Band League series returned to Strabane's Alley Theatre with their annual Spring Festival contest as guests of the North West Music Festival.
Sheona White adjudicated the performances of 11 bands, and whilst there were fewer bands than usual there was still a great deal of quality on show with a number of excellent performances.
The Championship Section saw a closely fought battle between five bands, with defending champion 1st Old Boys conducted by Stephen Cairns giving an outstanding rendition of Etienne Crausaz's 'Sinfonietta No. 3' to claim the honours and the Rothman Trophy for the fourth consecutive year. Downshire Brass came runner-up, with Strabane Brass Band in third.
In addition 1st Old Boys left for home with the 'Best Percussion' Shield and the Denis Gillespie Memorial Cup for 'Best Trombones'. Solo euphonium Alan Haworth took home the Harry Gault Memorial Trophy as 'Best Soloist'. Laganvale's soprano player Mark Ruddock claimed the Peter Arthur Trophy as 'Best Soprano'.
The contest day started with the Second Section where Wellington Memorial produced a super performance of 'Variations on Laudate Dominum'.
However, it was Roughan Silver under Stephen Crooks who eventually claimed the honours and the Founders Cup. Their solo euphonium, Alan Corry bagged the Ross Aiken Memorial Trophy as 'Best Soloist' with their horn section adding the Jonathon Carroll Memorial Trophy to complete their haul.
Runner-up was CWA Brass with Comber Silver Band just a point behind in third.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the day was the performance of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School Band who gave a fabulous rendition of Malcolm Arnold's 'Little Suite for Brass' despite being the sole entrant in their section.
However, Sheona ensured that they received the utmost attention and assessment on their performance as she met up with them after they had played.
Band of the Year
The contest also saw the award of the Band of the Year titles for 2018/19.
The Fourth Section trophy went to PoyntzPass Silver, with Wellington Memorial Silver taking the Third Section honours.
Roughan Silver was crowned Second Section champion with Laganvale (Metal Technology) Band taking the Championship Section trophy and the Haughton Cup as overall Band of the Year.
A Laganvale spokesperson told 4BR: "We are delighted to be awarded the Brass Band League's prestigious 'Band of the Year' title and Championship Section Band of the Year awards.
This is another great achievement for the band and we have been making steady progress over the last few years under the leadership of Stephen Crooks and now, Keith Anderson. We are now looking forward to competing in the Senior Trophy in Blackpool in May where we hope to continue our great run of results."
The Brass Band League took the opportunity to thank Tommy Barr of the North West Music Festival and the staff at the Alley Theatre, Strabane for their hospitality and assistance in running a very successful day.
The Championship Section saw a closely fought battle between five bands, with defending champion 1st Old Boys conducted by Stephen Cairns claiming the honours and the Rothman Trophy for the fourth consecutive year4BR
Adjudicator: Sheona White
1. 1st Old Boys Silver Band (Stephen Cairns) — 94
2. Downshire Brass (Michael Alcorn) — 92
3. Strabane Brass Band (Charles Fyffe) — 91
4. Laganvale (Metal Technology) Band (Keith Anderson) — 89
5. Third Carrickfergus Band (Brian Connolly) — 87
Best Soloist: Alan Haworth
Best Percussion: 1st Old Boys Silver
Best Trombone Section: 1st Old Boys Silver
Winning Conductor: Stephen Cairns
1. Roughan Silver Band (Stephen Crooks) — 90
2. CWA Brass (Gary Proctor) — 88
3. Comber Silver Band (Wesley Thompson) — 87
4. Ballyduff Silver Band (William Hill) — 83
5. Wellington Memorial Silver Band (David Hawthorne) — 82
Best Soloist: Alan Corry
Best Horn Section: Roughan Silver
Winning Conductor: Stephen Crooks
1. Enniskillen Royal Grammar School
Best Trombone Section: Enniskillen Royal Grammar School