On Thursday May 31st we set off from the bandroom at 6am for the long journey to Amboise, France to participate in the 24th French Open Championships.
After a day of rehearsal and rest, that included a visit to Da Vinci’s house and garden in Amboise we were all up nice and early on Saturday June 2nd to compete in 3 contests through the course of the day.
First up was the indoor contest at Amboise’s beautiful theatre, a 25min programme incorporating a set piece. Our set started with ShinDig by Dan Price, an energetic opener that certainly gets everyone in the mood. Second up we played Blessed Assurance, a trombone solo that was superbly played by our Solo Trombone player Joseph Atkinson. Then on to the set-piece, this year was Little Suite for Brass, a lovely 3-movement piece that tests the bands ability across a number of styles and techniques. Finally we closed with Highland Cathedral, an atmospheric piece that truly lends itself to the bands strengths in particular the percussion section we had with us this year.
After a quick dash around town the the Chateau square we played in the march contest, marching up and down the main street to the jazzy tones of Mr Blue Sky and performing March – Praise on the contest stand. Then after a long wait we took to the contest stage where we performed a superhero inspired programme including music from the Avengers series of films, Guardians of the Galaxy and Superman. These contests were outside and we were certainly hindered by the immense heat but we were proud of our efforts and the feedback from the spectators was positive and rewarding.
During the evening gala concert, given this yeah by Carlton Main Frickley, we found out the results. As it is an open contest for the march and entertainments outside we knew our chances were slim and the championship sections bands took those prizes as expected However for the theatre contest we were awarded 2nd place behind Regent Brass from London.
We had a great time in Amboise as always and look forward to going back again soon to participate once again. Thank you to Options Coaches who transported 40 of us and gear there and back and to the players that stepped in to help us out over there.
We were contacted once we got home by someone who saw our entertainments programme and they have shared these photographs with us.