2012: A Year in Pictures

With the end of 2012 fast approaching, have a look back at a fantastic year for this small village band from deepest Norfolk…

You can click on any photo to view more from that album.

January

In January, preparations began in earnest for the London & Southern Counties Regional heat of the National Brass Band Championships, entering the competition again after a year’s break.

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March

After three months of solid, intense rehearsal, on 17th March we headed for Hertfordshire and the Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre for the contest. We were delighted with our 2nd place result which meant we qualified for the National Finals in September.

There wasn’t much time for celebration however, as we were heading home the same day and starting rehearsals for our next contest soon after…!

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May

May saw us once again entering the EABBA Spring Contest held at St Andrew’s Hall in Norwich. We came away with a 3rd place finish, which considering we were up against 1st and 3rd section bands, both with higher rankings is a very decent result.

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June

In June we embarked on the summer programme of engagements with both our Jubilee Concert (held in the beautiful St Nicholas’ Church in North Walsham) and a slightly damp outing at Waterloo Park in Norwich.

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July

We were invited to play at the beautiful setting of Salhouse Broad in July to celebrate the return to the broads of the 100 year old Wherry Yacht Norada after a 6 year restoration. The day concluded with a rather apt photocall; Wherry on the wherry!

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We also performed our annual summer concert at the New Victory Hall, Neatishead accompanied by the usual barbecued fayre!

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August

August saw us say goodbye to our former Musical Director, Kevin Hegarty. Although he had left us earlier in the year, this was the first opportunity we had to say goodbye. Our chairman Jim presented him with an engraved goblet and thanked him for a memorable 2 years with the band.

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We also returned to Salhouse Broad, this time to help celebrate the end of the annual Raft Race in aid of bereaved children’s charity Nelson’s Journey and conservation projects at the broad.

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September

As the Olympic Games were drawing to a close, we held a concert celebrating all things British at St Mary’s Church, Stalham which included all the old favourite Last Night of the Proms music and our debut performance of the National Finals test piece; A British Isles Suite…

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Much of the summer was spent rehearsing the test piece ahead of our trip to Cheltenham, with rehearsals going on right up until 10pm on the night before the 7am departure!

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September 22nd was a momentous day in the band’s short history, as we were crowned National 4th Section Champions of Great Britain. We were the only band in all five sections from Norfolk and Suffolk to qualify for this year’s National Finals and as far as we are aware we are the only band from Norfolk ever to win a National Championship title in any section.

It was an incredible weekend with its fair share of drama as we found out our Repiano Cornet player Ashley wasn’t on the list to play. However all came good in the end and we were ecstatic with the result, if a little less happy with our sore heads in the morning.

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After the National Finals weekend, we were back to work preparing for the Norwich Beer Festival but still found time for a little self indulgence at the end of a dreary September evening…

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November

Always a popular engagement with the band, we returned once again to the annual CAMRA Norwich Beer Festival to entertain the punters, ending with a rousing selection of Queen hits.

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December

In December carol playing season started in earnest as returned to our old haunt at Roys of Wroxham each weekend along with Tesco branches at Stalham and for the first time Sprowston.

Carol playing is a vital annual source of income for the band and in 2012 we raised over £2900 which is astonishing! To add to that fantastic total, Roys donated a further £1000 to the band through the Making a Difference Locally scheme, for which we were immensely grateful.

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This year saw the band host its very own Christmas Carol Concert for the first time at the New Victory Hall which was a resounding success. There was even a special guest appearance from a distant relative of Kirsty MacColl…

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Our final concert of the year was the annual RAFA Christmas Concert, now in its ninth year. The night ended with our Principal Cornet James Higham being awarded the John Barry Shield for Bandsman of the Year and Alan Bromley on 2nd Cornet crowned the newly-introduced “Most Improved Player” award.

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We rounded the year off in style with a black-tie dinner dance at the Scarborough Hill County Inn, North Walsham. A fine night was had by all, Gangnam Style and all…

Dinner dance photo to follow… Possibly.

As you can see, 2012 has been an incredible year with many firsts but while also continuing to do what our audiences have come to know, expect and love: a traditional but dynamic brass band made up of a group of hugely talented, friendly and dedicated people.

There’s one thing we know will happen for sure in 2013: promotion from the 4th to the 3rd section effective on 1st January. As for the rest of the year… watch this space!

Posted on 25th December 2012 at 9:00am


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