Wessex Winter Contest – November 2016

After our successful plunder of silverware in the autumn at Crawley, we set off to invade and plunder Bournemouth to see whether our performance of “The Saga of Haakon the Good” by Philip Sparke would reap a similar reward at the annual Wessex Winter Competition!

It did!

For those of who who are wondering who Haakon the Good was, the Wikipedia link below may help.  Yes, he did exist, along with Eric Bloodaxe, his half-brother.


The contest is held at The Life Centre in Winton and bands can play their own choice of music together with a March piece.  Many of the bands in the local area take part and the contest is always a good opportunity to catch up with friends in other bands.

Our chosen march was “Goldcrest”, a Salvation Army march by James Anderson which features the chorus “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart”.  Most bands will play the music.  But we are Otterbourne Brass, conducted by Melvin White.  So we decided to sing, much to the startled delight of the audience and adjudicator.

We were placed 3rd for our march – evidently our singing needs to improve!

But our performance of “Haakon” was again of the highest quality and saw us place 2nd overall, the winners being Verwood Concert Brass to whom we send our congratulations.  As a result , we were the highest placed band in the first section, beating many of our local rivals in the process.

Congratulations also to Graham Jones who added the Best Euphonium prize to his earlier success at Crawley, and to our principal cornet, Sonja Charters, who deservedly secured the Best Cornet award.

We have had some memorable times rehearsing and performing “Haakon” this autumn/winter.  It is clearly a piece that the band enjoyed and, more importantly, has found favour with audiences and adjudicators alike.  Hopefully it will not be long before we can give it another airing but in the meantime, we had a busy Christmas to look forward to.

Article by Ian Austin