Regent Brass continued a busy contest season last weekend when we participated in a brand new event. ‘ConsTest’ is a brand new competition for brass bands held at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire of Music, and was the brainchild of final year student Mikey Foley-Hall. The aim of the event was to offer the wonderful performance venue available at the Conservatoire to brass bands and to hold an Open Adjudication contest for bands of mixed abilities to show their skills in a more relaxed and informal setting than we see at most contests.

Alan in action on stage at ConsTest

A new competition, as far as Regent are concerned, means new music and on this occasion we gave our UK premiere of our Flugel player Freddie Meyer’s wonderful ‘Imagined Dances’. Based on the music of John Dowland with a number of Freddie’s own ideas, the band gave the world premiere of this work at Kerkrade, Holland during the World Music Competition last July, but ConsTest gave us the opportunity to perform the work in full, for a UK audience, for the very first time.

The band enjoyed their performance – albeit from a very early draw – and from the moment we arrived at the Conservatoire, through warm up, rehearsal, registration and the stage we felt well looked after and cared for by the team of volunteers running the event. The performance itself was enthusiastically received by the audience but less so by the adjudicators, who placed us 9th in a field of 14 bands (one of which had to withdraw due to transport issues). However, Regent were predicted a better result than that by others in the hall and, according to 4BarsRest, our performance was ‘the most intriguing of the day’ and that despite the result, ‘we would like to hear the music again’.

In response to the result and remarks, Regent’s MD, Alan Duguid, was keen to emphasise the comments received rather than the result. He mentioned that ‘Regent is once again daring to go in a different direction, more towards modern music and premieres, as well as more challenging works.’

Regent would like to express their sincere thanks to Mikey Foley-Hall and all those involved in the ConsTest event. The event was planned as a final project for Mikey as he concludes his time at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, but we very much hope that with the momentum he and his team have created with this successful day, a new regular event in the annual brass band calendar might have been conceived in the West Midlands.