Securing their position as the Hunter’s Premier Brass Band, Waratah Brass won top honors in their section in both the East Coast of Australia Band Championships and the Festival of the Bands competitions held at Newcastle City Hall on Sunday June 10, 2012.
Early Sunday morning, the band competed in the Brass Section 1 (A & B Grade) against local bands Toronto Brass and CNL Brass. Waratah Brass performed extremely well with adjudicator Robert Bedwell awarding the band a near-perfect score of 49/50 points for their performance of the Sacred Item “I Know Thou Art Mine” and 96/100 points for their Own Choice selection “Journey Into Freedom”.
The band kicked off the afternoon’s “Festival of the Bands” entertainment competition with Bass Trombone player Andrew Hocquard leading the band’s meandering entry to the stage and serenading the expectant audience with a mellifluous solo introduction to Swiss Air. The band followed up this fanciful opening with a virtuoso performance of the trombone solo “The Blue Bells of Scotland” by soloist Hannah Gibbons. Hannah’s wonderful performance and superb talent were appreciated by both the large audience and the adjudicators alike.
Next up, the band and their expert percussionist David Kimpton gave a rousingly entertaining performance of Russky Percussky. The piece required David to run (yes run!) about on the stage from timpani to glockenspiel, tubular bells to xylophone and even to the Chinese gong. David, a born performer, even managed to entertain the enraptured audience with some Cossack-style dancing in the few moments he had spare!
Wrapping up the performance in grandiose fashion, the band played An American Trilogy – a medly of American civil war era tunes.
At the completion of competition, Musical Director Steven English proudly accepted the first place trophies for both the contest and concert sections of the competition from Newcastle Lord Mayor John Tate.