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Issue 6066

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Fountain City reflects on Cory contest delight

Tuesday 13 October, 2020

Few bands can claim to have tasted victory in a brass band contest over the past few months – but celebrations were in order for Fountain City Brass Band from Kansas City, Missouri, recently after it triumphed in Cory Band’s online championship.

The band came out on top in a strong field of Championship Section contenders during the popular recent event, as reported in last week’s British Bandsman, with its Rocky-themed programme. Band members didn’t need much persuading when it came to getting involved.

Lee Harrelson, artistic and executive director of Fountain City Brass Band told British Bandsman: “It was a lot of fun to put together the Rocky programme and we were really pleased with how it turned out. Within five minutes of the Cory Band's post that it was going to host the competition, I had a handful of band members send me the link. We had already done a few of the distance banding videos and the band enjoyed working on them. We thought it sounded like a format that would play to our band’s strengths, so it was a no brainer to enter.

“Like most driven people and bands, during this time of uncertainty, we are looking for something to work towards. This contest was perfect for that. It wasn't the same as being in the room with each other, but it was a nice reminder of what we have to look forward to on the other side of the pandemic.”

Anyone who has been involved in distance banding videos over the past few months will agree that they are time-consuming activities which take a considerable amount of preparation and commitment from all involved, not least those involved in production and editing. In Fountain City’s case, it was a team effort, with musical director Joe Parisi, Lee Harrelson, cornetist Patrick Oliverio and trombone player Evan Drumm helping bring the content together. When it came to the day itself, the event may not have involved many of the usual aspects of contesting – but the nerves were still present.

Lee continued: “When the contest was on, we had a band Zoom watch party. It was fantastic to virtually hang-out with the band and listen to all of the other entries. Outside of those of us that worked on the video, our band had not seen the finished product. We wanted it to be a surprise.

“One of the funniest things that happened during our watch party that we talked about was the closer we got to our performance the more nervous we got. We knew it made no sense to be experiencing nerves in this format, but they were certainly there; classically conditioned I guess. More understandably, it was the same at the awards ceremony. We were elated to be named the winners and are very thankful to Phil Harper, Ali Woodman and all of the team at the Cory Band for providing us this wonderful opportunity.”