Band reaches nationals

Sidmouth Town Band celebrating their latest successes

Sidmouth Town Band celebrating their latest successes - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Town Band has once again proved it can deliver the goods after achieving the highest-ever contest placing in its 153-year history.

Performers scooped second prize in the second section at the West of England Regional Championships on Sunday – qualifying them for the nationals and securing their promotion to the first section, for the first time ever.

Both will serve to further the reputation of Sidmouth across the region and will make the band stronger than ever.

But the successes add to its fundraising demands – it is already in the midst of a £500,000 campaign to buy the United Reformed Church for its new HQ.

Sunday’s competition pitted the band against 16 others from across Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Cornwall.

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Each played a test piece, a new work by Philip Harper called The Mermaid of Zennor, which portrayed the legendary tale of the love of a fisherman and a mermaid in the Cornish fishing village of Zennor.

As the story unfolded, the challenge of the music was to capture the mood of the sea, the romance of the couple, and the drama of their dramatic escape together.

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Musical director Adrian Harvey - who was commended for an ‘exceptional bit of work’ - said: “The band had rehearsed hard and outside of its small band room for the last five weeks, which was necessary for it to develop the balance and tone required for this dynamically complex piece of music.”

This year is once again shaping up to be a busy and varied one for the band. The performers will soon be called upon to accompany Good Friday’s hot cross buns handout, before their summer season of concerts starts on Sunday, May 29.

They will also be taking part in the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations in June and will again be performing at their Last Night of the Proms on August 20 - this year with a celebrity compere, who will be announced shortly.

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