Blenheim National Contest – a recap

After a 4 year absence the SAINTS made a return to the national contesting stage to compete against eight other NZ bands and Darrebin from the West Island. Some members chose to fly, but most undertook the long (11 hour) journey by car or van on the Wednesday. Settling in, the Middle Park Motel was comfortable; challenging acoustics in our rehearsal venue were solved by the generosity of EBOP Brass in allowing us to share their church across the road.

Thursday: Sarah, Kerry, Jack, Logan and Keenan with Lee accompanying took part in the solo competitions. No-one (except Lee) was required to participate in Champion of Champions, but sterling performances all round.

Friday dawned fine and clear. The band marched 5 x 5 to a creditable 7th place behind Drum Major Matthew Dick. Light meals and resting saw a relaxed band reassemble for Draw 6 the Hymn (Reflections in Nature – Robert Redhead) and Test (39th Parallel – Peter Graham).

Saturday, Draw 7 the band played Philip Wilby’s Red Priest for the Own Choice Selection. Consistent judging over both sessions by Chief Adjudicator Russell Gray saw the band with a 7th overall placing. This was a good result, recognition of a worthy effort from such an inexperienced band.

Thanks are due to our out-of-towners – both professional and registered: Jamie Lawson (Footscray); the Invercargill contingent – Steve & Nina Gooding, Aaron Herman, Jack McKenzie and Matthew Dick; from the Wellington region – Erin Lee and Keenan Buchanan; from Christchurch – Dave Froom and  last but definitely not least ☺ Kerry Wood and Lee Martelli-Wood from Orcland.

Thanks also to van drivers Ian McCabe and Tony van Alphen, and Trish Gooding for assistance with victualling.
Special mention of course to the two Peters: the logistics whizz Pete McHenry without whom none of this would have been possible, and our conductor Peter Adams for his great personal and musical skills. PA is now taking a break from band to allow him to make best use of his University sabbatical. All the best Peter!

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