With the new year came the beginning of the regionals prepartion season for Regent Brass. Regent Brass played Eric Ball’s rhapsody High Peak. The prolific and legendary brass band composer Eric Ball wrote High Peak about a journey up a mountain, in 4 sections: Vision in which the climber views the high peak from the valley below, Aspiration, in which the climber decides to climb it and begins their preparations, Ascent in which the climber sets off, in high spirits and with the journey going smoothly until a storm hits and they struggle to continue up to the top, and Attainment in which the climber reaches the top, thankful and prayerful at first and then joyful and exuberant. It is, as the composer notes, not supposed to be taken literally as a journey up a mountain, but a metaphor for a spiritual journey.

The run-up to the regional contest was filled with extra rehearsals, sectionals, workshops another contest and even a concert. This included the SCABA Spring march and test piece contest in which the band achieved a 5th placed performance on the test piece and 4th place on the march for which they played Eric Ball’s Rosslyn. Soprano cornet player Peter Desmond also picked up the best soprano cornet prize!

In the week running up to the Areas contest, Regent and Regent Community Brass performed a short concert in the Chalk Farm Salvation Army. Regent Community played first, basing their set around Cornwall, including works by the Cornish composer Goff Richards and the 3rd section Areas test piece Corineus. Regent Brass followed with a set of Eric Ball’s music including High Peak, Rosslyn, September Fantasy featuring tenor horn soloist Neil Rossiter, a setting of Sullivan’s A Long Day Closes and ending with the tone poem Kingdom Triumphant.

The weekend of the contest came and Regent were drawn 6th to play at the contest. Our performance drew great praise from the British Bandsman: “A very strong performance that had everything. If story telling wins cups then this is nailed.” The band eagerly awaited results, which brought a 7th placed finish. A strong result to build on for future years left Regent one spot below what would be necessary for promotion, but sets the band up in the joint top spot going into next year in the grading table.

The band celebrated the performance with a well-deserved trip to the local pub and caught up with friends from other bands performing that day.