SCABA Entertainment Contest 2016

This weekend saw us arrive at our annual trip to the SCABA entertainment contest in The Hawth, Crawley. This is a great opportunity for the band as we get another outing in a contest setting and the chance to get some new repertoire under our belts!

After last weekend’s successful concert we knew that our set was a force to be reckoned with, starting with Sykes’s Firedance to get our blood pumping. After that, our lovely flugel player, Amelia Young, took to the stage to melt the hearts of the audience and the adjudicator, Michael Fowles, by playing ‘Eyes of a Child’- off by heart! Her “quality flugel sound” (quote from our remarks!) not only blew everyone away but also earned Otterbourne the Best Soloist prize, a fantastic and well deserved achievement!

However, this was not the only prize we walked away with on Sunday. Our concert march, ‘Emblem of Unity’, was a fantastic choice from Melvin and meant that we could prove ourselves as a band- which led to us being awarded Best March as well!

If you didn’t think that was entertaining enough we took it up a notch by featuring two fantastic trombone players. Nick West and Susan White are an indomitable force and they certainly proved it with an arrangement of Herbert L Clarke’s duet, ‘Cousins’. Starting off their duet on tenor trombone they then moved to euphonium, over to alto trombone and back to tenor to finish. All in the space of 3 minutes! To quote Mr Fowles again, it was “impressive stuff!”. We are not a band that like to leave without a bang and so the finale to Dean Jones’s ‘Glorifico Aeternum’ became our ending to the set. It was a great way to finish off and left the band smiling from ear to ear.

Although we were pipped to the post for first place by Verwood band- who also played fantastically, we were very happy with our performance and it has put us in high spirits for the summer season! Another huge thank you to Melvin for bringing us a fantastic set, it pushed us to work even harder and play even better. SCABA was a great opportunity for us to show off our lovely soloists and the band had a fun day as well!

Make sure that you come and see us on June 12th or July 3rd in Otterbourne Village Hall for what is going to be another great performance!

Article by Sophie Hart

WEBBA Regional Championships 2016

This weekend saw all at Otterbourne Brass in high spirits and excited to set off on our annual trip to Torquay, where we were to compete at the West of England Brass Band Regional Contest held at the Riviera Centre.

After many weeks of hard work in the rehearsal room with planned sectional work and many hours practising just one set test piece, Essay by Edward Gregson, we had finally reached the main event.

Some of the band travelled down on the Friday and made a long weekend of it, others travelling on the Saturday and arriving just in time for our penultimate rehearsal which went really well and we were rewarded with an early finish.

We followed the rehearsal with a fantastic band meal at the Aztec Bistro where we could all relax with good food and great company. A good opportunity for us all to bond socially which of course helps our teamwork in the bandroom.

Sunday morning – and back to work. Our final rehearsal and just enough time for us to work on our tuning and mentally prepare before we found out our draw for the afternoons’ proceedings. We were drawn 5th out of 15 bands in our section which meant that we didn’t have to rush to the venue, but also didn’t have too much time to hang around before it was time for our last and most important performance of this great piece.

The band played really well on stage and we were pleased with the massive progress we had made over the last few months. We received lots of positive comments from the audience and now we just had to await the adjudicators decision.

Unfortunately, we were disappointed to come away with a 10th place, especially as the adjudicators reports were both very positive. However, this could not take away from the huge sense of achievement that the band felt and we will now return to the rehearsal room to prepare for our next engagement, our Spring Concert on the 8th May in Chandlers Ford, with renewed determination and refreshed motivation to continue our progress and ready to come back fighting for our next visit to Torquay in 2017.

Article by Sonja Charters

Oxford & District BBA Winter Contest – 28/02/2016

Otterbourne Brass participated in the Oxford & District Brass Band Association Winter Contest on Sunday 28th February. The Band under MD Melvin White took this opportunity to play out Essay by Edward Gregson ahead of their performance at the National Brass Band Championships Regional Contest in Torquay on 13th March. We came 3rd out of 11 Bands and are now looking forward to Torquay following a further 2 weeks of rehearsals.

The Band can next be heard in concert on Sunday 8th May at Chandlers Ford Methodist Church at 2.30pm.

Article by Sarah Arnold


WEBBA Regional Championships 2015

Well it’s that time of year again. Next weekend (14 & 15 March), 80 bands will be looking forward to competing in 5 sections over 2 days on the English Riviera. Otterbourne Brass will once again be led by Gareth Pritchard. The band will be competing in the 1st section and will play “A London Overture” by Philip Sparke.

The band is rehearsing hard and very much looking forward  to giving a good account of themselves.

Wessex Winter Contest – 01/12/2012

On a sunny but chilly winter’s day, Otterbourne Brass travelled to Weymouth to compete in the Wessex winter contest. Under the baton of Chris Davies the band played Kaleidoscope by Philip Sparke, winning the 2nd section with it’s performance.

Special thanks must go to Neil Brownless, who has recently relocated to Northampton, Becky Cooper, one of our horn players, for helping out on tuned percussion and Ralph Johnson for agreeing to perform with us at the last moment.

The Band is now busy preparing for next weekend’s 3 Christmas concerts and looking forward to competing in the 1st section in 2013.

National Finals – Cheltenham 2012

Otterbourne Brass played in the 2nd Section of the National Finals on Saturday 22nd of September, which were held at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse. The test piece was Brahm’s ‘Academic Festival Overture’ arranged for brass band by Denis Wright. Our conductor on the day was Gareth Pritchard.

The Band worked hard rehearsing the piece with Gareth travelling from his home in South Wales 2 or 3 times a week to take rehearsals. We enjoyed working with Gareth again and would like to thank him for all his hard work in preparing the Band for the contest.

The Band was drawn to play 14th out of 17 bands and we played to a fairly full and appreciative audience. The Band played well and Gareth was very pleased with our performance.

When the results were announced we were somewhat disappointed to have been placed 14th but we received many favourable comments regarding our performance from other bandsmen and eminent figures from the Brass Band world.

The Band were sad to say goodbye to 3 players during the weekend – Neil Brownless (Trombone) is moving back to Northampton after completing his degree at Portsmouth University, Patrick Coppins (Eb Bass) is concentrating on his studies and last but by no means least Linda Beck (Eb Bass) is retiring from playing. We wish them all well for the future and hope to see them again sometime soon.

We would also like to welcome Sarah Urch (cornet), Graham Jones (Euphonium) and Viv Jones (Trombone although he played percussion!) to the Band and hope they enjoyed their debut contest as members of the Band.

The Band is now hard at work rehearsing for their Proms concert on Sunday 21st October at Thornden Hall, Chandlers Ford.

Click here to hear our live performance of Academic Festival Overture.

SCABA Entertainment Contest – 20/05/2012

On Sunday 20th May, Otterbourne Brass participated in the SCABA Entertainment Contest held at The Hawth, Crawley. The Band played in the ‘A’ section, competing against bands from higher sections Nationally. The adjudicator, Dr. Robert Childs, awarded the band 3rd place and also a tropy for the best march. The Band was once again conducted by Gareth Pritchard.

The programme began with the march ‘Semper Fidelis’, followed by our solo feature ‘Concert Variations’, which was superbly played on Trombone by Neil Brownless. ‘Out in Front’ by Goff Richards followed, before the pace slowed and we featured our Flugel player Nicky Robins in ‘A Gaelic Blessing’. The programme concluded with a Ray Farr arrangement of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and The Royal Hunt of the Sun by Martin Ellerby.