Sucess at Manx Music Festival


Manx Youth Band and Manx Concert Brass came out on top at the 116th Manx Music Festival at the Villa Marina Royal Hall last weekend.

The week long festival got underway on Friday afternoon with the “Up to Year 6” solo class, which was won by Emma Smith, who was awarded 91 points. Next up was the solo class for “Years 7 and 8” which was won by another Manx Youth Band player, Georgia Foxton with 93 points.

Saturday morning commenced with the “Years 9 and 10” solo class, which saw some excellent performances from Manx Youth Band players, including 1st prize going to Eb Bass player, Tim Payne, with 92 points. In the first of the brass group classes, Manx Youth Band B won the “up to Year 10” ensemble prize with 88 points, whilst Manx Youth Band C came a creditable 2nd in the quartet class, also with 88 points.

On Saturday evening, groups from Manx Concert Brass won the “Open” ensemble and quartet classes, with a wining mark of 92 points in both.

The brass bands returned to the Villa Marina Royal Hall on Sunday afternoon with the first class seeing the bands play an “own choice” test piece. Winning the class with a tremendous 95 points was Manx Concert Brass playing Eric Ball’s “Sunset Rhapsody”, with a performance that adjudicator, Derek Southcott praised for “sending shivers down his spine… a good way!”
Amazingly, this was the 30th consecutive year that the Nelson Cup, awarded for this class, has been won by the Manx Youth Band, Manx Concert Brass, or a combined group of players from both bands, with all performances having being led by Musical Director, Ian Clague MBE.

The Manx Youth Band were awarded 89 points and a fantastic 2nd place, with their rendition of Edward Gregson’s “Variations on Laudate Dominum”.

The evening classes were combined, with the bands playing their “own choice” march and hymn tune, before a twenty minute entertainment programme.

Manx Concert Brass were awarded the trophy for the best march, with “Ravenswood” being awarded 94 points, whilst 96 points for their hymn tune “St Clements” gave a combined total score of 190 points.

The Manx Youth Band took to the stage first, opening their programme with “Fanfare for an Occasion”, followed by the challenging main theme from “1492: Conquest of Paradise”. Cornet soloist, Breesha Quirk, expertly played a beautiful arrangement of Misty, which was followed by their penultimate piece, “Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair, featuring the band’s Principal Cornet, Peter Smith. There was a rousing end to the programme with a lively arrangement of “new York, New York”, which earned the band 87 points and a creditable 4th place to round off their long weekend.

When Manx Concert Brass took to the stage, they opened their programme with Phillip Sparke’s original composition for brass band, Concert Prelude. The band’s Assistant Principal Cornet then played an enchanting solo called “Song”, which was written by Peter Meechan for Fodens Band Principal Cornet, Mark Wilkinson. A note perfect performance saw James awarded the George Ridgeway Trophy for the best soloist.

For their penultimate piece, the band featured three trombone playing nuns; Stephen Maddocks, Andrew Dawson & Mark Crellin, joined by Lynsey Kneen on Flugel Horn, for the lively “I Will Follow Him” from hit 1992 movie, Sister Act. To finish, the band took their audience back to ancient Rome, with the final movement of Ottorino Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” depicting the triumphant Roman army’s march along the Appian Way. The band were awarded a fantastic 96 marks to win the class.

The adjudicator, Derek Southcott, congratulated all the competing bands on the quality of their playing and gave praise where praise was due in his final address, giving rise to frequent bouts of applause and cheering.

The bands’ Musical Director, Ian Clague MBE, uncharacteristically rendered speechless for a while after the results, modestly attributed their overwhelming success to the dedication and support of the players and their families.