The Brisbane Excelsior Band with its Musical Director Howard Taylor, made a clean sweep of the Australian National Band Championships for the second year in succession.
Saturday 15th April 2006 was a memorable moment in banding history when this well organised and historic community ensemble blitzed 17 of the best bands available from all around Australia and from as far away as New Zealand and Japan. The Windsor based Brisbane Excelsior Band left no open doors in three days of dramatic test matches in music and marching by winning all four sections.
The music adjudicator Mr. Gary Cutt from the United Kingdom (the home of brass bands) was delighted at the top class performance by the winning band. He was surprised to hear how much the standard had risen since his last tour in Australia as Musical Director of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band of the movie “Brassed Off” fame.
The four musical sections included a Hymn of each band’s choice, a set test piece – Enigma Variations by Philip Sparke, an own choice test piece and a stage march. The set test piece separated the men from the boys with the top three bands separated by only 3 points. The Brisbane Excelsior band lead the way from the two New Zealand bands who often make the trip across the ditch and take the trophy home. So it was down to the own choice selection and eighteen minutes and twelve thousand notes later the Brisbane Excelsior Band with a superb rendition of Music of Spheres had left the opposition and the audience in no doubt as to who was the 2006 Champion Band.
The win puts the band in a good position to challenge the best of the European bands at the All England International Masters competition in five weeks time. The band was invited to this world class competition after its inaugural Australian Championship win 12 months ago. Funding is still a problem but attitude and willingness to be the best will see the Brisbane Excelsior Band achieve its motto of “Onwards and Upwards”.
Over forty brass bands marched through the streets of Brisbane City on Saturday morning. For the 4th year in succession, Brisbane Excelsior became the best marching band in Australia, with Drum Major Rick Casagrande being awarded Champion Drum Major.
Windsor Brass XL in their first Nationals
Enormous accolades must be given to the enthusiastic efforts of Excelsior “Windsor Brass”. With Richard Madden as conductor, this was their first ever Nationals competition and to achieve a credible 5th place in B Grade was a wonderful achievement.
Four members also won individual national titles – Ross Moloney (Junior Baritone), Brent Hoy (Open Soprano Cornet), Imelda Moore (Open Tenor Horn) and Matthew McGeachin (both the Junior and Open Bass Trombone).
Simone Rebello with Adrian, Lachie and Bill
Brisbane Excelsior were also a featured band at the Gala Concert held on Sunday night in the presence of Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, Governor of Queensland. Dalewool Auckland Brass and Osaka Harmony Brass were other bands to play. Guest artist was the sensational Simone Rebello – percussionist extraordinaire from the United Kingdom.
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