October in the brass band world means one thing – the National Finals in London’s Royal Albert Hall – and this year Cory Band was defending its title from 2013. This year’s test-piece, Peter Meechan’s The Legend of King Arthur was the music panel’s choice and, as the title suggests, the music was full of dramatic writing in its retelling of one of the most famous stories in the UK. It had just about everything from pulling swords out of stones, singing, a lions roar and about 15 triangles played by the brass players.
As reigning champions expectations for the performance were high, and the Cory Band did not disappoint from the number 12 draw with a performance full of drama and atmosphere with notable solo contributions from euphonium Martyn Patterson, flugel Richard Davies, and Eb Bass Simon Howell.
The band’s performance resonated around the hall and received a standing ovation, as conductor Philip Harper was called back to the stage for a curtain call. However it was just pipped at the post into second place by good friends and rivals Black Dyke who drew last to play in the 20 strong field.
Special mention must got to Ailsa Russell who stepped up to play solo horn to allow tenor horn star Owen Farr some paternity leave while his wife Helen gave birth to their baby boy Sebastian. The Cory Band would also like to thank Lowenna Taylor, who slotted into the 1st horn seat for the contest.
Our congratulations go to all at Black Dyke, however rest assured we will be trying even harder to bring the Nationals crown back to the Rhondda in 2015.
1. Black Dyke (Prof. Nicholas Childs)
2. Cory (Philip Harper)
3. Brighouse & Rastrick (Prof. David King)