The band had mixed feeling over this years test piece, Ex Terra Lucem composed by Johnathon Bates. Ex Terra Lucem is the Latin motto of St Helens & the music portrays that part of the country through the ages. The first movement ‘The Brigantes’ is about the Celtic tribe that inhabited the area in Pre-Roman times and is very dance like. The second movement, ‘St Elyns Chapel’ represents an ancient chapel & its bells. The music is very slow and spiritual in it’s make up. The final Movement is ‘From the Ground Light’ and this represents the St Helens industrial heritage, it is very mechanical is methodical in form ending in some huge chords, some discords!
As mentioned the band had mixed feelings over the piece, certainly it had very few technical challenges, but the actual challenge was putting the complex piece together & portraying the scenes that composer wrote the piece about.
Due to work commitments and holidays the first time the band assembled all together was on the contest stage, so preparations were not exactly ideal.
On the day Val had arranged a rehearsal venue which was great & soon we were on stage. We perhaps left our best performance in the band-room but we were reasonably happy coming off stage. The usual post-contest autopsy was carried out in the Bedworth Witherspoons but then it was results time.
I must admit that the two adjudicators, Ian Brownbill & Chris King gave the most depressing and demoralising summary for all the bands. They didn’t think anyone played well and basically both from the stage and in the individual band remarks gave no hint of encouragement to anyone. I’m sure all bands that had worked so hard for months really appreciated their negative words. Thanks guys, and sorry we all spoilt your day!
If the winning band didn’t please the pair, we certainly didn’t as they placed us 8th out of 10. Congratulations go to Hucknall & Linby and Rolls Royce Derby bands.
The one bright spot for us was that the composer, who was in the hall tweeted that he liked our performance especially the “Jazz” cornet solo played by Nick Swarbrick, he was the only player to play it in the required style. (Not noted by the adjudicators)
We were a little shocked and disappointed to be placed as low as 8th, but to quote a few clichés… “That’s Contesting”, “Onwards and upwards” and “There’s always next year”