New for 2007

Midlands Regional 2007 “Carnival” time as Phoenix celebrate hat-trick! And so the streak goes on! 4th section winners 2003, 3rd section winners 2005 and now 2nd section winners 2007! – bring on 2008! Seriously though, months of hard work paid off as Phoenix were crowned the Midland Regional Area Second Section Champion Band at Burton in March. Helen Perkin's Carnival presented us with a real musical challenge, all about sound and style – one which suited us to the ground. We put in a confident performance on stage, led by great work from Jo and Lisa in the second movement especially. Captain Geoff and “Team Trombone” had a good day, and Colin and the basses gave us a good foundation. Even the percussion was described by Simone Rebello as “effective”. Thanks to Dai for his months of encouragement and hard work, and well done to the band! Harrogate here we come – again!

May 2007 The last few months have seen momentous achievements by the band, but none more so than our appearance at the European Brass Band Championships. Having received an invitation in April from the BFBB to compete, the race was on to represent England in the B-Section to the best of our abilities. We had to perform a 30 minute own choice program of music that included the challenging European test piece “The Drop” by Simon Dobson (pictured). The last time the band had performed work by this composer, we were winning the Midlands 4 th section title with “Lydian Pictures”.
Our program was completed with “Prelude on Tallis”, “The Lark in the Clear Air”, “Mid All The Traffic” and “Shine as the Light”. Confidence was high given our regionals title, and we weren't going to let negative press get us down. Whether certain web sites agreed with our inclusion, or were using us to attack the BFBB, the point was we had been specifically chosen, and who is ever going to turn down the chance to play at Symphony Hall for their country?
On the day itself excitement was at fever pitch, and the feeling of walking out on stage to a rapturous welcome will stay with us forever – four years ago we were in the 4 th section, so you have to make the most of these things! Dai was delighted with our performance, and I'm sure the whole band would agree that Emma's performance in her solo was mesmerising – the audience reaction seemed to confirm it! Special congratulations to our young horn trio for not being overawed by it all, and thanks to Rich Snape for standing in for Carl.
A fantastic day was topped off by a second place finish – an incredible result, and thanks for the reception Birmingham , it was a fantastic feeling to have that recognition and to rub shoulders with the “big boys” of the brass band world, Dobson himself told us that he thought we had put in a “fantastic” performance of his work. I don't think it really sank in until we were announced as “International award winning” at a concert a few days later. Back to reality I suppose, but thanks to the whole band, Dai and the supporters for the memories of that day. Go Team Phoenix !!!!

Summer Season 2007
The summer started with the Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival.
Luckily we avoided the rain and played to a packed audience on the Saturday afternoon. It was a fantastic day, we made many new friends and the band gave a great performance, combining some music from our European Championships program and some new music we premiered in preparation for the Wychavon contest. Throw in a bit of choreography and it turned out to be a top performance On a serious note the festival raised £2000 for the Severn Hospice, and the band were proud to be a part of that.

Throughout the summer we have been busy in the local parks, entertaining the local community. There have been many memorable moments – Louise under the stage in Wolverhampton, Louise's inability to play Floral Dance, all accompanied by resident photographer John as he snapped the band for our new profile pages. John's hard work on the web site was also rewarded as our new site was awarded “Web site of the Month (July 2007) by leading brass band web site

Finally a big thank you to Geoff, who's annual BBQ raised funds for the band. He was an excellent host and hopefully our out-of-tune renditions of “Happy Birthday” didn't spoil the moment! Jacket potato anyone?

The next few months are the busiest of the year – the National Finals, Pontins and more but please come along and see the band at the Wychavon Entertainment Festival on Sunday 16 th September in the Public Hall, Evesham.

August 2007
As we approach the National Finals, the summer has seen new and old faces in the band room. We welcomed back Andy, Esther & Lauren who helped out on some park concerts and it is always great to have them back. Also helping out over the busy period was the ever talented Jay on Bb Bass. We thank him for his efforts and value his friendship to the band.
New Signings
The band has signed 3 players over the Summer. Joining the cornet section are Neil Fishbourne and Emily Weaver.
Neil, former principal cornet of The Stourport Band will boost the front row as he sits 2nd man down. The bands conductor, Dave Maplestone
said ‘We are very fortunate to have another strong player join the team and he fits in well with the other members of the section'. He will make his
contest debut with the band at the Wychavon Festival of Brass.
The 2nd signing is Emily, a pupil of Soprano cornet player Jo. She is a talented player, who has just passed her grade 8 with distinction.
Phoenix is the first brass band she has played with and is enjoying it, she hopes to continue her new found banding career with the band.
Len Hazlehurst is the bands last signing who will join the bass section on Eb. Len is a very accomplished player who has played under
the baton of Dave many times before with Banks's Brewery Band and Stourport.
At this stage, the band would like to thank Colin, the bands principal Eb Bass, who has moved onto Bb to cover Ben Parkes.
Ben is unable to participate in the finals as due to some very untimely activities, their first child is due that weekend!!
We welcome them all to Team Phoenix.

Wychavon September 2007 We took part in the Wychavon Festival of Brass contest on Sunday 16th of September at Evesham. This festival was almost written off this year but the organizers did a wonderful job in getting sponsorship to ensure its future. We were in the second section held in the public hall in the town square; not the best acoustics in the world. We played last band and were thrilled to get first place with a very welcome prize of £750, this will be useful towards our expenses in visiting Harrogate for the nationals next week. Our percussionist, Dave Jenks took the prize for best percussion, even after knocking over the Tam Tam in one of our best pieces, if the adjudicator noticed this he didn't allow it to mar our performance. We might also have received the prize for best soloist, except for the fact it was in a duet. We are now working flat out in preparation for the finals at Harrogate next sunday 30th September.


September 30th It was a long day at the National Finals in Harrogate, we had a rehearsal at 11.30am anticipating the draw at 2.00pm; we were drawn number 13 (unlucky for some). We didn't actually go on stage until about 8.00pm but we didn't have to wait long to find that we were placed 3rd. This was an excellent result for us bearing in mind that band was only formed a few years ago. We now look forward to next year in the first section.
On the Saturday night we had a band dinner where our MD David Maplestone was asked to select and present the annual awards; Our percussionist Dave Jenks was awarded Bandsman of the Year for his outstanding work throughout the year. 3rd cornet Dan Organ was awarded Player of the Year, a just reward for the progress he has made since moving from horn to cornet earlier this year. Congratulations to Dave and Dan, keep up the good work.


Leamington Contest Sunday November 24th
With the heavy program of work leading up to the nationals, and a couple of concerts afterwards we had a short break from band.
This left us with just four rehearsals to work up a new test piece; we chose Tam "O" Shanters ride as some of the band had played it a
few years ago, we weren't even able to get a rehearsal room on the day for a warm up. We were pleased with our performance but like
everyone else we felt we could have done better so we were very pleased to be awarded 2nd place, this now means we have been in the
first three at every contest this year. With two important concerts to come this year, we are looking forward now to next year in the first section.
We give sincere thanks to our MD David Maplestone, "Dai" for his boundless enthusiasm and drive in getting where we are this year.

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