They say the only thing you should hear on a Rolls Royce is the tick of the clock on the dashboard.
However, you could have bet your bottom dollar that the Managing Director sat in his office at the company headquarters 53 miles away in Derby on Saturday afternoon heard the scream of delight that accompanied the announcement that their band had become Third Section Midland Area Champions.
Rolls Royce (Derby) has been sponsored by the famous car/aviation engine maker since 1935, and rehearses in the company's leisure centre complex. Over the years they have enjoyed varying degrees of success — from coming runner-up at the Third Section National Finals in 1967 to winning the recent Leicestershire BBA Contest late last year.
In the past decade under the baton of Graham Cardwell they have also become a highly respected contesting outfit, but as he told 4BR, victory still came as a bit of a shock as they beat the stern challenge of 17 challengers on Dan Price's 'Darkwood' set-work to claim their first Area title and return to the National Finals for the first time since 1991.
"It was a thrilling experience," he said. "It was such a good performance from everyone around the stands that when we came off we knew we had played really well. It's up to the judges then, but we couldn't have done anything more. The result still came as a surprise though."
Thankfully for Graham, the experienced men in the box, David Hirst and Derek Renshaw, were of the same mind, and placed then ahead of the band that had given them a fine marker off the number 1 draw in Ifton Colliery led by Scott Lloyd.
"It was good to read the remarks as it showed that our hard work and approach was noted and appreciated," Graham added. "We have a very steady team and I think it showed on the day. It's really an ensemble concert work — a real band piece. I enjoyed rehearsing it and the band enjoyed playing it, so as we are thinking of doing a CD in the near future we should consider putting it on!"
Caught the ear
Joining Rolls Royce (Derby) and Ifton Colliery in Cheltenham in September will be Shirland Welfare conducted by Lynden Cooper, who also caught the ear of the men in the box to pip the remaining top-six finishers of Wellington (Telford), Cubbington Silver and Stourport on Severn.
'Darkwood' has been an enjoyable test of technique and character this year around the country with the impish mischievousness of the opening, 'The Boggart' and the lyrical 'The House on the Hill', through to the optimistic joyfulness of 'Blackley Village'.
And although the quiet opening caused a number of problems, the judges were very clear in their pre-results remarks about what they were also looking for in terms of contest basics allied to more nuanced attempts at style and characterisation: Few complaints then from bands about where they eventually ended up in the results table.
Each of the 18 bands brought something of musical merit from the score, although some stylish performances that caught the ears of listeners in the hall didn't resonate in the box as the day wore on as the age old questions of consistency were brought to bear.
However, the judges certainly found great merit from the off in Ifton's bold performance, whilst it was very nearly matched for them a little later by Shirland Welfare.
Solid, well led efforts from Stourport on Severn, Cubbington and Wellington all eventually just fell short of the judge's mark, before Rolls Royce (Derby) gave them just what they were looking for — and the MD back at the company HQ checked the clock on his desk to see if it had started making a long awaited contest winning noise.
I enjoyed rehearsing it and the band enjoyed playing it, so as we are thinking of doing a CD in the near future we should consider putting it on!MD, Graham Cardwell
Test Piece:'Darkwood' (Dan Price)
Adjudicators: David Hirst and Derek Renshaw
1. Rolls Royce (Derby) (Graham Cardwell)*
2. Ifton Colliery (Scott Robert Lloyd)*
3. Shirland Welfare (Lynden Cooper)*
4. Wellington (Telford) (Mark Parry)
5. Cubbington Silver (Mark Philips)
6. Stourport-on-Severn (Oliver Wilson)
7. Matlock (Geoff Hawley)
8. Towcester Studio (Neil Brownless)
9. Trentham Brass (Mike Caveney)
10. Arrow Valley Brass (Andy Culshaw)
11. (Resdev) Market Rasen (David Dernley
12. Audley Brass (Tom Hancock)
13. Brackley & District (Mark Probert)
14. Long Eaton Silver Prize (Sharon Stansfield)
15. Stamford Brass (Robert Prew)
16. Amington (Malcolm Read)
17. Melton (Graham Sutton)
18. City of Birmingham (Ben Hewlett-Davies)
*Top three bands qualify for National Final at Cheltenham