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Issue 6103

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The brass band time capsule - Sheona Wade

Wednesday 30 June, 2021

In an exciting new series, Martyn Ramsay examines some of the major moments in banding history.

This week, he turns the clock back to 2004 and some very special performances from what was then the Yorkshire Building Society Band at the European Brass Band Championships in Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall.

 

“It fell apart in the middle. It literally just stopped. I thought, ‘Oh my God, we really can’t play this piece!”, said Sheona Wade when reflecting on the very first performance that the Yorkshire Building Society Band gave of Kenneth Downie’s St Magnus, at a concert in Harrogate in late April 2004. It happened during the fiendishly fragmented letter T, just before the Allegro vivace and the charge towards the finale.

“We knew then what could potentially happen so we fixed it.”

Fix it they did and, later that week, the band delivered a performance that is still talked about to this day.

Contesting hat-tricks are the stuff of banding legend, the kind of run – most notably at the Europeans or at the Royal Albert Hall – that gives more weight to the concept of ‘eras’ than does intermittent success. By 2004 YBS, powered by the driving force of Professor David King, was heading for a double hat-trick of six European titles in succession and for Sheona, it was a short trip home to Scotland with the chance to perform in front of family and friends at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, a return that would be both thrilling and poignant.

“It was the last time my dad saw me play at a contest before he passed. Music of the Spheres, of all the pieces to see me play. He was just my biggest fan ever.”

 

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