in the top 6 at contests, to enter and progress through the British Open Spring Festival, and get the band to the Royal Albert Hall – objectives that seemed almost impossible at the time.
Now, the record speaks for itself - out of Tom’s 22 contests with the band, 18 of those have seen the band in the top 6 places, 14 in the top 3, and 8 victories! Some of many highlights include winning consecutive First Section regionals in 2013 and 2014, becoming First Section National Champions in 2014 and being promoted to the Championship Section for the first time, winning the British Open Senior Trophy in 2016 and the Senior Cup in 2017, qualifying for the National Finals in 2017 and performing at the Royal Albert Hall for the first time, and competing in the British Open Grand Shield for the first time in 2018. Aside from contesting, Tom has led the band through our first foreign tour - performing the Gala Concert at the Lithuanian National Championships in Palanga in 2018, and our first CD recording – with ‘Tales from the West Country’ being released in 2018.
Most importantly however, Tom has helped form the band into a close-knit circle of friends who thoroughly enjoy music making together, and strive for musical excellence at the highest level. Tom says: “I don’t have the words to describe what everyone who has passed through this band means to me. It’s been a constant in my life of true happiness… thank you for the wonderful gift and know that I’ll never experience anything quite like this again”.
In our band curry this week, we presented Tom with a framed photo of him conducting the band at the Royal Albert Hall atop a list of his contest achievements with the band – a true testament to his success. We also presented him with a ‘Filton Concert Brass’ beanie hat (though if there ever was anyone that didn’t need something to keep their head warm..!).
Tom, from all of us here at Filton, past and present, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you have done for us – the music, the contests, the concerts, friendship, and many, many laughs! We wish you all the best in your new adventure, and are sure we’ll meet again soon!
Over the coming days/weeks we will be sharing some of our highlights together – so keep an eye out!
While the performance contained moments of brilliance and some very fine individual playing from soloists, not everything came off as planned on stage - as is the nature of live music performance at times.
The band did however attract some favourable comments from the online pundits. 4barsrest.com stated "A performance painted in bold and often darkly majestic tones by Filton. Not without blemishes but portrayed with abundant emotion", while Brass Band World Magazine opined "Plenty to enjoy from Filton on Fraternity. It wasn't without fragilities at times but the music was portrayed with bold drama and tones of darkly hued majesty". Unfortunately the performance on this occasion did not find favour with the adjudicators and the band was placed 17th, which means relegation to the Senior Cup in 2020.
This is not all bad news however, as we have fond memories of the Senior Cup, which the band won on it's first attempt in 2017. We shall look forward to attempted to repeat this feat next year!
Thank you for all the positive comments from pundits and audience members alike, to the players for all their weeks of hard work, and to our wonderful MD Tom Davoren.
"There was also something of a musical revelation from Filton. Tom Davoren's poetic approach, dynamically light and delicately phrased impressed many (4BR included)"
The contest proved hard fought however, with the band eventually being placed third - only just missing out on qualification for the National Finals in London. According to the adjudicators it was extremely close between 2nd and 3rd, so despite not qualifying this year the band remain very proud indeed of their performance and the improvements they have made. The band would like to extend our congratulations to our friends at Flowers and Aldbourne bands for the 1st and 2nd spots!
The band's next contest appearance will be at the prestigious British Open Grand Shield on the 18th May at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, performing Thierry Deleruyelle's famous Fraternity - the former European Championships and British Open set work.
Performing excellently from the number 14 draw, the band reprised its successful Wychavon Festival of Brass programme from 2018. Opening with the driving rhythms of Joel Collier's Thy Matchless King, euphonium soloist Anthony Smith then followed with an outstanding rendition of Finale from Rituals by Tom Davoren. Geoffry Nobes' Prelude on Quem Pastores provided a moment of tranquillity, before the tongue-in-cheek fun of Queen's Bring Back That Leroy Brown. Lastly, Benjamin Tubb's Variations on Danse Macabre brought the programme to a thunderous close.
This proved more than enough to impress Philip Harper, who in his pre-results speech stated that there was a "clear winner" that had won by a "long, long way". Separate entertainment adjudicator Sarah Hayward concurred, awarding the band the 'Best Entertainment' prize.
A huge thank you must go to everyone in the band for all the hard work, MD Tom Davoren, and all who supported us on the day. Congratulations also to all the other prize winners!
The band will now continue working hard over the next few weeks ahead of the West of England Regional Championship in Torquay on the 10th March.
Thy Matchless King (Joel Collier), Finale from Rituals (Tom Davoren) - featuring solo euphonium Anthony Smith, Prelude on Quem Pastores (Geoffrey Nobes), Bring Back that Leroy Brown (Queen), and Danse Macabre Variations (Benjamin Tubb).
Playing from the number 17 draw, the hard work paid dividends and the band performed excellently, receiving a warm reception from the audience and impressed adjudicator Michael Fowles sufficiently to claim a title that had continuously eluded the band in the past. A special congratulations must go to solo euphonium Anthony Smith, who was awarded the very well deserved 'Best Soloist' accolade (you can listen to his performance below - mobile devices please click here).
The band would like to extend our sincere thanks to Russell Gray, not only a consummate musician, but a really great guy, and to Tom Davoren for helping prepare the programme in advance of Russell's arrival with his usual care and dedication. Congratulations also to our friends in Aldbourne and City of Cardiff bands on the podium places, and to the Wychavon organisers for running such an excellent contest.
Described by the judges as giving "something extra", adjudicator Paul Holland stated in his written remarks that it was "…a terrific performance, expertly directed". Meanwhile, John Doyle, (who played in major role in getting the work commissioned from composer Peter Meechan for Leyland Band in 2013), said "I feel this piece was written for you not Leyland!! Thank you so much for an outstanding and musical show. I have goosebumps."
Read the full 4barsrest.com report here!
Following our qualification for the National Finals at the West of England Regionals, the band could not be more delighted with how the year is progressing. Thank you to all for the messages of support. Next stop - the Royal Albert Hall!
contest in the brass band movement. The band's commanding victory will see them promoted to the Senior Trophy competition, where they will be only a single qualification place away from the famous Grand Shield contest and competing against some of the most historic names in brass banding.
cornet, Ali Robbins - repiano cornet, Tim Malpass - flugel horn, Stewart Crawford - tenor horn, Phil James - baritone, Anthony Smith - euphonium (who was awarded the prize of best soloist in the contest), Andrew Norman - trombone and the bass section of the band, Paul Sidney, Gareth Jones, Jon Daw and Tom Fox.
Filton Concert Brass would like to congratulate Goodwick Brass, Oldham (Lees) Band and Backfield (Alcock Reisen) Band on their fellow qualification after achieving a top four result.
Filton Concert Brass are delighted to announce their first win in the 'top section' of banding, being crowned Welsh Open Champions for 2016 at the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl. Giving a reprise of it's 'Fusion' programme from the Wychavon Festival of Brass the band invited international euphonium soloist Glenn Van Looy to lead their performance, with Musical Director Tom Davoren already engaged to conduct his home town band of Burry Port.
On his experience with Filton Glenn gave the following quote to the popular brass band news website www.4barsrest.com:"I'm so pleased to have been able to help Filton to this victory. Tom Davoren made sure the band was in great shape before I arrived on Monday, and then the players responded to everything I asked of them all week. They are a fantastic bunch of people - and I can't thank them enough."
The band certainly enjoyed Glenn's friendship, musical experience and exciting approach, and are already looking forward to working with him again in the future. Special conratulations must go to the band's flugel horn soloist, Tim Malpas, who was justly awarded the best soloist award for another gripping performance of 'South Loop'. Filton Concert Brass would like to congratulate all of the participating bands and the organisers of the Welsh Open contest on a fantastic event.