Thrapston Town Band is celebrating its 165th year in style, by qualifying for the National Finals of the Brass Band Championships in Cheltenham later this year.
On Saturday, March 4, the Midlands Regional Brass Band Championship (Fourth Section) was held at The Cube in Corby, Northamptonshire. 15 bands took part, with all bands playing the same “test piece” – Hungerford Town, by Darrol Barry.
The contest is judged “blind” by two independent adjudicators who sit in a “tent” in the auditorium – purely judging each band on their sound and musicianship.
The standard was high, with some great performances. But Thrapston’s interpretation of the piece shone through, and they were placed 1st by the judges in the Fourth Section competition.
Although it’s an old band (considered to be the oldest brass band in Northamptonshire), they haven’t entered competitions for many years. In fact, they only re-joined contesting in 2020, placing 13th. There was no contest in 2021 (due to Covid), then in 2022 they came a highly credible 3rd place, and obviously topped it all this year by being crowned Fourth Section Champion Band.
In fact, the success doesn’t stop there! Thrapston’s steady improvement across the 3 contests has meant that in January 2024, they will be promoted to the next tier of brass banding – known as the Third Section.
Band Chairman, Rob Johnson said, “To win this year’s competition, qualify for the National Finals, and gain promotion is an incredible achievement for the band. It’s testament to the skill, hard work and dedication of every single one of our players that we have achieved this.
“Three years ago, when we decided to start contesting again, our objective was to improve both as players, and as a band – and do our very best to represent ourselves and the town of Thrapston as well as we could. And it’s fair to say that we’ve exceeded all our expectations.
“So, it’s really important to recognise the incredible impact our Musical Director, Nathan Waterman, has had on our success. The band simply wouldn’t have achieved this without his skills, knowledge and leadership, for which we’re all very grateful.”
The band’s Musical Director, Nathan Waterman added, “I’m so pleased for the band to be crowned Midland Area Champions 2023 and to gain promotion to the 3rd section. It’s an amazing achievement. We have worked very hard to improve over the last few years, and it is extremely satisfying to have this recognition. I can’t wait for us to represent the Midlands at the National Finals in September”.
At its heart, Thrapston Town Band is a community band. They provide lessons to children (and adults), which also includes free use of an instrument. In fact, several of the current band members started as “learners” at Thrapston, including their MD, Nathan, who went on to achieve success playing at the highest level in brass banding, the Championship Section.
Before all the excitement of the National Finals in September, Thrapston Town Band have a busy schedule of concerts and events to perform in the coming months, throughout Northamptonshire and beyond.
But it’s fair to say that everyone in the band is already getting excited at the prospect of representing the Midlands in Cheltenham later this year.
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