West of England Bandmen’s Festival (Bugle Band Contest) 2023 Report

Players and spectators alike were greeted with glorious weather as they arrived at Molinnis Park on Saturday for the 97th annual West of England Bandsmen’s Festival.

The Championship Section saw a straight fight between Bodmin Town under Simon Badge and reigning champions St Dennis led by Darren Hawken. The test was Peter Graham’s ‘The Essence of Time’ and it was St Dennis that impressed adjudicator Steve Sykes most with their performance earning 192 marks whilst also sweeping the board winning all of  the individual awards. Incidentally, the contest organisers had dedicated the second piece in this section, ‘Prelude on Lavenham’ (Geoffrey Nobes), to the memory of former Treasurer David Jane who had passed away suddenly in September.

First Section honours were taken by Lanner and District Silver under David Johnson for their performance of ‘Ballet for Band’ (Joseph Horowitz) with their Steve Thomas (Euphonium) scooping the Best Player award.

Disappointingly there was just one entry in the Second Section but Mount Charles (Jeremy Taylor) earned praise from Mr Sykes for their excellent performance of ‘Hollywood!’ as he spoke on stage at the results ceremony.

Verwood Town (Kevin Smith) took top honours in the Third Section with their Solo Cornet player Steve Rowland taking the individual prize for Best Player.

A resurgent Bugle Silver won a thoroughly entertaining Fourth Section under Mark Phillips for their performance of Paul Lovatt Cooper’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ beating Lostwithiel Town into second place. The individual award in this section went to Bugle Flugel player Leanne Osborne.

St Dennis complimented their Royal Trophy win by also taking victory in the Youth Section beating St Austell Youth (Anna Minear) into second place by a single point with their Lia Teague taking the Best Cornet Player prize. Ten year old Neythan Powell Jones (Baritone) from St Austell impressed Mr Sykes with his solo performance of ‘Maid of Mourne Shore’ and took the Best Player Prize.

The Bugle committee along with the family of the late David Jane introduced two new awards this year as a mark of respect to David who had been a tireless worker for the contest as well as representing his beloved Bugle Silver Band.

Full results at www.buglebandcontest.co.uk

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