Following their recording of the 3rd and 4th Section Regional test pieces last year, the GUS Band were put through their paces again on Sunday 21st January when they took part in two workshops for conductors and players of bands who are going to be playing these pieces. Facilitated by the British Bandsman and sponsored by Barnes Coaches, over eighty delegates representing bands from afar afield as Northumberland to Cornwall attended the morning or afternoon sessions at the Kings Sutton Millennium Memorial Hall near Banbury, Oxfordshire.
The test piece to be played by 4th Section bands across the country will be Alan Fearnie’s Music of Jock Tamson, which was commissioned by the Scottish Brass Band Association in 2021. This was the focus of the morning workshop and the title of the music refers to a Scottish phrase, which can be interpreted as “we are all God’s children” or in this case, “music for everyone!”. The piece is in three movements: the first, “Nyay Fearties”, is based around a popular Scottish cartoon character, the second, “Inchkeith”, describes the picturesque island in the Firth of Forth while the title of the third is a shortened version of the toast, “Wha’s Like Us?”.
Chris Bond, the Band’s Musical Director, took the Band through some typical warm-up exercises including hymn tunes and a contest march, in this instance the Contestor, before focusing on the test piece. The band played through the test piece as a performance before zoning in on particular aspects that bands could focus on and demonstrating possible pitfalls when performing the piece.
The afternoon workshop concentrated on the 3rd Section test piece, which this year is Corineus by the GUS Band’s very own Chris Bond. Corineus was a medieval warrior and legend has it, the founder of Cornwall and the piece is based around his story. It begins with heraldic fanfares, while the middle section is slower and reflects on Corineus’s daughter’s longing for her husband who has eyes instead for a German princess. The final section portrays a battle and includes a reference to the Cornish national anthem, Trelawny.
The afternoon forum followed a similar format to the morning’s and each of the workshops ended with a question and answer session, with some great observations, concerns and queries raised by the delegates for Chris to answer and advise on. There were lots of appreciative comments from those attending and the GUS Band wishes all the bands in the 3rd and 4th section Regional contest this year the very best of luck.