Black Dyke Wins!
Today Daniel and I made it an early Saturday morning. Meaning, we were up by 8. Showered and fed by 9:30. And out the door for the National Brass Band Championships of the United Kingdom. We had no idea what we were in for.
When we get to Royal Albert Hall (just a quick 5 minute walk from the Crofton), we found our 9th row seats on the arena floor. Daniel went and bought us a program (such a clever way to squeeze another 4 GBP out of us). We wouldn’t had bought a program, but there was really no other way of knowing what band was performing. They assign numbers to the bands before the competition starts; the judges sit inside a curtain box and turn on a green light bulb when it’s time for the band to start. There were 20 bands. Playing the same piece. The piece grew on me, to say the least.
We were a very captive audience for a high school chemistry teacher. He plays trombone in a band that wasn’t part of the championship division. Anyways, he had all sorts of stories for us.
We heard 10 bands before intermission. That’s about 3 hours worth. Same piece. Sitting there. Listening. Deciding which ones you like and don’t like. Clearly we loved Black Dyke, Foden’s, and Cory. They all went basically back to back. They were also clearly much better than some of the other groups.
At intermission, we went to the concession stand. It was very lame. So lame. I will spell lame thusly to get my point across: l-a-m-e. Lame. They had chips, nuts, coffee, tea, and wine. Clearly not food for hungry people. Daniel and I split a bag of honey roasted cashews and peanuts and went back to our seats.
We listened to one more band, then the next group wasn’t supposed to be very good, so we went back to the Crofton for lunch. At 3 in the afternoon.
We listened to a few more bands before Cory gave a concert while the judges were deciding who won. The concert was fabulous! YouTube David Childs, he’s an awesome euphonium player with the Cory Band. Her Royal Majesty’s Marine Corps Herald Trumpets also performed during the awards ceremony. Not as fabulous as our own U.S. Herald Trumpets, but still pretty fun.
The audience was stunned that Cory didn’t win. All the air was sucked in when they were announced as being third. Foden’s got 2nd and Black Dyke won.
Tomorrow is the International Strong Man Competition!
So much culture, action-packed into one weekend package!
Oh, and we tried naan today. It’s basically an Indian tortilla. Every culture has a tortilla, as you know. Take it or leave it. I plan on making a nutella sandwich out of the plain naan. Or a ham sandwich. Mmm, German ham and swiss. Or emmental, whichever you prefer.
Err, I want to go shopping! I fell in love with Esprit. Anyone wanting to support my shopping habit is more than welcome.