UWCSEA Dover's Symphonic Brass Band wins Second Place at UK Whit (Virtual) Brass Band Competition
8 July 2021
By Basant, UWCSEA Dover Symphonic Brass Band
In May 2021, the UWCSEA Dover's Symphonic Brass Band took part in the UK Whit Friday (Virtual) Brass Band Competition and competed in the Youth Section. Held by Fodens Band UK, bands of all levels from Youth to Championship sections performed a march for an adjudicator. The team won second place in the Youth Section!
The band shared their love of music-making with the worldwide brass band community and this experience has been a marvellous one for the students. This incredible achievement would not have been possible without the support of all the brass teachers and parents who worked collaboratively with the students! Basant, a member of the team shares with us his experience and the hardwork put into preparing for the competition.
I (Basant) remember seeing ‘Beginner Band’ on the activities list in Grade 3, and agreeing to join it, not knowing what it was. Little did I know just how significant of a decision this was in bringing me where I am today.
Since then, I have spent so many hours practicing and performing with the various brass bands in the school, through which I have met and gotten closer to my fellow musicians.
Recently, the bands have taken a huge hit logistically from COVID-19. We couldn’t practice together at all during Circuit Breaker last year; instead, we were forced to record our parts individually in our homes, which were then combined into the final video. This was a difficult task at first (much like writing this article!), with many recordings coming with their fair share of imperfections. However, as Mr. Hill (our conductor) always says, “Practice makes progress,” and we were eventually able to bring together a string of performances, despite being kilometres apart.
For most of this school year, thankfully, we have been able to practice together. While preparing for the performance we submitted to Whit Friday, we were able to practice in groups of 8, then 10. Rehearsals with fewer people are actually very fun, as you are able to talk to the people around you more in between playing. With that said, though, we do long for the day when we can play as a full band again.
Recording day was surprisingly concise, especially given how much time we had spent preparing for this day. We all came into school, went into individual practise rooms, and used our own devices to record. The process was extremely simple - get in, record until you’re happy, then get out (and get our videos approved!).
To be honest, this experience didn’t really feel like a competition to us. Instead, we viewed it as an opportunity to perform and celebrate our improvement this year - a year when we’ve had to adhere to strict restrictions. It was very cool to see that we had won second place in the youth section though. It also enabled us to listen to more experienced players from bands that many of us look up to.
What the brass bands have taught us is to go for any opportunity that comes our way, from joining the beginner band in the first place to progressing into a more advanced band. If you want to join an activity, do it! Not just a music activity, anything! What is there to lose?
Congratulations to each member of this talented team! If you'd like to hear the band's performance again please click here: bit.ly/3c7ucFe