This year’s Sydney Band Festival was held over two days, an indication of the increasing popularity of the event – particularly in light of the demise of the Yamaha Band Festival with the closing of Dicksons Music in Chatswood. This would also explain the higher attendance of north shore schools at this year’s event.
The Senior Concert Band were first cab off the rank on Saturday morning. It was lovely to see some familiar faces in the canteen and something of the beautiful winter morning seemed to rub off in our playing. In spite of some key absences the band sounded complete and garnered many positive comments, particularly in reference to the quality of tone and sound given the relatively modest size of our ensemble.It was a happy coincidence to have Simon Thew as our adjudicator, given his involvement at our workshops, the most recent of which had been the preceding Monday. As always the commentary was illuminating, informed and very helpful and it was fantastic to come away with a gold medal.
The following day was freezing! In spite of this, attendance was very good and the overall focus and behaviour of the three groups involved was great. While not achieving the heights of the previous day, all the groups were fairly received and deserved their silver awards.
Overall, we should feel very proud of our students and their efforts. In the following rehearsals and debriefing we spoke of our desire to play in the more challenging events at the Festival. Currently, we are limited by our lack of practise on the band material. While I feel very pleased with the increased focus and attention in our rehearsals, this isn’t translating into practise at home. Every member of the ensembles should be practising at least three to four times a week. Given that, I am sure we could achieve great things in the more demanding categories of the competition next year, and give some of the larger private school and selective school ensembles a run for their money too!