The band played on
Success was sweet for Levin and Districts Brass Band at the annual Brass Band Association of New Zealand National Championships held in Christchurch last week, as they returned home the winners. This was despite their principal cornet player falling ill, which had a big impact on what the band could play and possibly their medal haul. Nonetheless, the band gained two national titles in the Small Ensemble Section and Large Ensemble Section for C and D Grade Bands. Eighteen bands competed in this section. Conductor Colin Honey said he was thrilled with the results and very happy with the fine playing by his charges, who had put a lot of effort into rehearsals over the year. “Two cups will take pride of place in the bandroom over the next year. Levin Brass were the defending National Champions of the Large Ensemble from the last National Contest held in Hamilton in 2019. There was no contest in 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, with the Christchurch Contest postponed a full year,” he said. The trip to Christchurch was not without incident, said president Chris Craddock. “Principal cornet player David Miller fell ill and had to be admitted to Christchurch Hospital. That meant we had to withdraw three entries in the Small and Large Ensembles as well as the Duet, as David was a member of all these groups. “This also affected all full band events, with David unable to play, thus a quick rearrangement of the Solo Cornet line-up so that parts could be covered,” Honey said. “This may have impacted on the final results for the band.” He was pleased with the full band’s ‘middle of the field’ results, given the challenges the Solo Cornet line-up had with a missing player. The Street March is always a ‘highlight’ for the band, with Levin finishing third for ‘Music on the March’ and fourth overall for the street march in a field of 10 C Grade Bands. Drum Major Nigel Hewitt was impressed with the Band’s drill and powerful sound on the march. The best ‘on stage’ result for Levin was fifth in the ‘Own Choice’ Selection test piece, playing ‘Lake of the Moon’, which generated many fine comments from adjudicator Alan Spence, who began his brass band career with the Levin Band in the late 1960s. Craddock said it was a wonderful contest for Levin and Districts Brass, winning two national titles, and fine results from the Street March. Levin is proud to represent the district at national level and was thrilled with the support it received, with many attending the Pre-National Contest Concert prior to travelling to Christchurch. Once the flooding had receded and the road to Picton opened on Sunday, all members travelled home safely. Levin Brass is indebted to The Southern Trust for its major financial support, which assisted with travel and accommodation costs. Without this generous assistance the band would be unable to represent the district at these national and district events.