The GUS Band were crowned Midlands Regional Champions at the weekend and will go on to represent the region at the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall in October.
The ‘Nationals’, as it is often referred to, has been in existence in its current format since 1945 and is brass banding’s equivalent of the football league – split into five sections: Championship Section, and 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th sections, with eight regional qualifying heats staged up and down the UK involving some 600 bands.
GUS and Dr David Thornton certainly worked in harmony to produce “a stunning performance — so full of character and musicality — it really shone”, according to adjudicator Stephen Roberts.
Leigh Baker summed up his written observations by saying that it was a “most enjoyable” performance, “tight and detailed” and ending with a “glorious close”. It was a victory based on clear thinking, technical adroitness and lightness of musical touch.
The band’s professional conductor, Dr David Thornton commented “I’m thrilled to have started my work with the band with such a fantastic performance. The soloists all played with great authority, the control from the ensemble was never overcooked or forced, and they did exactly what I asked of them”. David also paid tribute to resident conductor Chris Bond who whose preparation work had been “invaluable”.
The band’s victory is particularly poignant as 2023 marks the band’s 90th anniversary; the band was originally formed in 1933 as the Munn and Felton Works Factory in Kettering.