Our MD Nick Birch also plays trombone in the famous Foden's Band and he invited Nantwich Concert Band members to the final rehearsal night, as they prepared for the National Brass Band Championships, held at the Albert Hall on Saturday.
Although the rehearsal was in a school sports hall - not the Albert Hall, the quality of the sound the band made was breathtaking! They started, just like we do every rehearsal, with hymn tunes as a warm-up. The quality of the sound made the hairs stand up!
Like any rehearsal, conductor, the great Bramwell Tovey, worked on small bits of the piece, 'Gallery' by Howard Snell, getting every nuance right. It's a very challenging piece to play and the troms had some fiendishly difficult passages. Two things immediately struck me - the players only had to be told once of the changes he wanted - and when he stopped, they stopped, something Nick has constantly battled with us about! We learnt so much that evening and as a band we know how lucky we are that Nick brings to us all that experience from having played under famous conductors like Bram Tovey.
When they did the whole piece through for a final run at the end, I was blown away by the expressive quality of the interpretation. The slow movement ended on a dying note which just hung in the air like velvet. How DO you do that? The final movement nearly blew the roof off. Just imagine what it will sound like in the Albert Hall!
I was lucky enough to go and it was a night I will never forget. As a player, it was inspiring. I probably will never hear such good band playing ever again.
Nantwich Concert Band are VERY proud of you Nick.