2018 has been a good year so far for Regent Brass.
The band’s Annual General Meeting was held in February, and a new management team for the band was elected. The band showed due appreciation to Ben Russell as the organisation’s outgoing chair, and welcomed Peter Yarde Martin to the role. In addition, a new band manager, Eldfrid Rongevaer, was also elected and she has already started to whip the organisation into shape!
All of this came just in time for the annual jaunt to Stevenage and the Regional Qualification to the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. Regent Brass have had some great results at this contest in recent times, and this year was no exception. Performing James Curnow’s ‘Brass Metamorphosis’ to an appreciative audience, the band earned a creditable 7th in a field of 16 bands. Coupled with previous results, this means that the band will be promoted back to the Championship Section in 2019.
The band were also delighted to play host to the Towers High School marching band whilst they were on tour in the UK earlier this year. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia the band were touring the UK and France. We had an enjoyable workshop with our new friends where we presented music to each other and also worked through some music selected by the band’s associate Musical Director, Stephen Maw.
May 17th saw the beginning of hopefully an established new tradition for Regent Brass, as we participated for the first time in the celebrations for the Norway National Day. The celebration was held at the Norwegian Sailors Church in Shoreditch. The band performed music from a selection of prominent Norwegian composers, and were also proud to include Grieg’s ‘Holberg Suite’ which has been re-arranged for Brass Band by our very own Philip Doe. In addition we played a number of patriotic Norwegian tunes and traditional marches. The event then moved to Southwark Park, where members could enjoy some Norwegian cuisine and the entertainment. Eldfrid Rongevaer was also interviewed by Norwegian television (in her native language!) and the band also featured on a news report on the event by BBC London News.
Regent were delighted to be able to perform once again at Westminster Abbey College Gardens in July, and this year the band had the honour of opening the concert series. Our resident Musical Director, Paul Archibald, was delighted to be playing Soprano cornet for the event, handing musical direction over to Stephen Maw. The band included some of our Norwegian repertoire in the concert, including Grieg’s ‘The Last Spring’ and the iconic ‘Valdres March’, and for brass officiandos, we also included the challenging ‘Kings Messenger’ by George Lloyd, which the band has been enjoying preparing.
The band have since been working with some new composers (some of whom are in residence… more on that very soon!) and are currently in the middle of our summer season of concerts in Queens Park, London, with our sister band, Regent Community Brass.
Later in the year, the band will be making a return to the Wychavon Festival of Brass where we will be competing for the opportunity to participate in the Spring Festival at Blackpool, and there are some more concerts in the pipeline too – so watch this space!