A 'Symphony' that just didn't quite 'March' at the Midlands Area - Saturday 9th March 2019

The Staffordshire Band competed at the Midlands Area Brass Band Championship (First Section) - a competition it had won in 2018, on Saturday 9th March 2019 under new Conductor Craig Williams, with a performance of Gilbert Vinter's Test Piece - 'Symphony of Marches' at Bedworth Civic Hall.

Gilbert Vinter (4 May 1909 – 10 October 1969) was an English conductor and composer, most celebrated for his compositions for brass bands. He was born in Lincoln . As a youth, he was a chorister at Lincoln Cathedral and eventually became Head Chorister there. In 1930, he joined the BBC Military Band, where he did much of his early conducting. It was during that time that he also began to compose. During World War 2, Vinter played in the Central Band of the RAF and later led several other RAF bands. He was the first principal conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra, from 1952 to 1953.

In 1960, The Daily Herald newspaper and sponsors of brass band contests, commissioned Vinter to write his first major work for brass band, the result of which was Salute to Youth. Vinter wrote other works for brass band, including:

  • Challenging Brass (1966)
  • Variations on a Ninth (1964)
  • The Trumpets (1964)
  • Triumphant Rhapsody (1965)
  • Centenary March (1968)
  • Dover Coach (1964)
  • Portuguese Party (1965)
  • Symphony of Marches (1963)
  • John O'Gaunt (1967)
  • James Cook - Circumnavigator (1968)
  • Spectrum (1969)
  • Salute to Youth (1961)
  • Entertainments (1968 for Brass Band)
  • Lisbon Carnival (1965)
  • Simon Called Peter (1963)
  • Vizcaya (1967)

The pre-contest had gone quite well in overcoming the grave and suble difficulties of Gilbert Vinter's classic piece, with challenges throughout the Band and indeed for the Band's New Conductor, Craig Williams.

Come the day, the Band assembled in gale-swept Bulkington to prepare for the challenges ahead and spent the final rehearsal warming up for the competition on a completely different piece - obviously a cunning plan!

Drawn 10th out of 15 bands, the Band went onto the stage at about 1:45pm and delivered a spirited performance and awaited their fate...........

As it turned out the results did not reflect the aspirations of the Band.


First Section:

Test Piece: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter)
Adjudicators: Alan Morrison and John Winterflood

1. Enderby (Ryan Richards)*
2. Hucknall & Linby MC (Paul Whyley)*
3. Newstead Brass (Jim Davies)
4. Jackfield (David Maplestone)
5. Shirley (David Hirst)
6. Bedworth Brass (Wayne Ruston)
7. Kibworth (John Hudson)
8. Oddfellows Brass (Dave Hollings)
9. Harborough (Brad Turnbull)
10. Burbage (Buxton) (Steve Critchlow)
11. Staffordshire (Craig Williams)
12. Bilton Silver (Rugby) (David Stowell)
13. Shirebrook MW Unison (Jim Henson)
14. Carlton Brass (Gary Wyatt)
15. Leicestershire Co-op (Brendan Caddy)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

So that was that - lots of lessons to be learnt, that's for sure and hopefully a better result and performance at their next Contest in May, in 'sunny' Blackpool!

Good to see ex-players supporting the Band - Ade Odedina, Charlotte Rose and Russ Phillips - great to see them all!

Thanks to everyone concerned in helping the Band match last year's triumph, including St. John's Church in Walsall Wood, Forest Arts Centre in Walsall and Brownhills Methodist Church in Brownhills, and especially to Annie, Paul and Sarah for their massive musical input!


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For further information relating to the bands engagements or programmes please e-mail Information@thestaffordshireband.com