The Wind Brass and Ensembles section, which took place during the final week of this year’s Festival, saw some very high standard playing in the solo classes over the first two days. Some outstanding performances, particularly in the Recital and Brass Solo classes, especially impressed our adjudicator, clarinetist Ian Mitchell. Both the number and quality of the brass entrants was higher than for many years and the audience for the later brass classes on Wednesday was treated to a wonderful evening of brass playing which included trumpets, French horns, trombones and euphonium. We were lucky to have more jazz entries than previously, one of whom was the very deserving winner of our new jazz trophy with her very enjoyable performance of “Anthopology” on alto saxophone.
The final evening included ensembles varying widely in size (duets to a thirty strong orchestra) composition (harps, jazz band, concert bands, string orchestra, early music group, brass) and choice of repertoire (Elton John, Glen Miller, Dowland, Vivaldi, Schubert…) There really is a place for any number of and any combination of any instruments playing any type of music in this section and the variety and standard was excellent! Two of the groups which most impressed the adjudicator were less than a year old and one of these – Gordon’s School Jazz Ensemble – gained the top mark of the evening with an outstanding and highly polished performance. It was a pleasure to hear St Thomas of Canterbury and Bohunt Schools, both of whom were new to the Festival and performed so well and to hear regulars, Godalming Youth Band, maintaining their consistently excellent standard.
Liz Ball March 2019