Bodmin Town Band flew the flag for themselves and the rest of Cornwall in a brass band competition.  

The band’s committee and members decided to participate in the Wychavon Festival of Brass, an entertainments contest. 

The main reason for this choice is because it’s a different type of event to most competitions.  

Explaining the difference, musical director and conductor Colin Hudson said: “Usually there’s a set test piece for bands to perform at a ‘closed audition’. 

“Months are spent perfecting the test piece. Without seeing each band, the judges listen and select the band who plays the best. 

“At an entertainments contest, however, the band produces a 20-minute programme of music of their choice to showcase their standard. 

“Judging includes visuals and choreography as well as the choice of theme, compere and delivery. 

“Judges and bands in the competition are the audience.” 

Twenty bands in the championship section of the contest performed their programme. 

Bands enter this level only if they have earned their place as “champions”. 

Bodmin Town Band are champions. They have participated and won many competitions to earn that right.

The band is one of only a few championship bands in Cornwall and demonstrates a high level of playing. Colin said: “Bodmin Town Band is very fortunate to have fabulous musicians as committed members.” 

The championship band has entered the entertainments contest before, several years ago. It was a new endeavour for Colin, however. It has been a rapid learning curve, drawing out new skills for him.

Colin’s first task was to select a theme that reflects the band’s geographical location. He said it was not easy to create a cohesive musical theme for the programme. Inspiration came as he watched a documentary on the history of Cornwall where music from the Americas was played.

Selecting American music would have created a lot of interest but wouldn’t reflect the band’s roots. Colin decided to choose as the theme the Cornish mining diaspora. 

Colin spent over 50 hours putting together the music, a multi-media display and compere notes, and memorising scores for this one competition. 

Colin said: “The band has worked extremely hard on this and bought into the crazy ideas and the sentiment behind the contest programme.” 

He continued: “There are so many variables in the contest. You don’t fully know what the adjudicators are looking for and you don’t know the other bands’ programmes.” 

The whole band, 28 musicians, travelled to Evesham for the contest. 

The winning spot eluded the band on this occasion, but members thoroughly enjoyed the experience and plan to return next year.