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Brass Band Competition

    Bodmin Band at the Wychavon Contest
    Bodmin Band at the Wychavon Contest
    Redruth band, brass band, Cornwall
    Redruth Town Band 1983

    A Blast from the Past!

    Bodmin Town Band represented Bodmin and the whole of Cornwall in the Wychavon Brass Band Competition in November 2023. Their programme showcased our Cornish mining heritage


    Musical director and conductor Colin Hudson said: “Usually there’s a set test piece for bands to perform at a ‘closed audition’. Months are spent perfecting the test piece. Without seeing each band, the judges listen and select the band who plays the best. At an entertainments contest, however, the band produces a 20-minute programme of music of their choice to showcase their standard. Judging includes visuals and choreography as well as the choice of theme, compere and delivery. Judges and bands in the competition are the audience.”


    Imagine my surprise when Colin approached me after looking at this website, for help in providing some visual material for the choreography he had in mind. The band’s programme intended to showcase Cornwall’s mining prowess and ingenuity which saw the departure of many hundreds of thousands of mineworkers and their families worldwide in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The pieces of music Colin had selected to play represented the story of Cornwall’s ‘great migration.’ Quite apt really, for brass banding has been part of Cornish culture since the nineteenth century, and wherever the Cornish roamed, they took their love of brass bands with them.

    This was a real ‘blast from the past’ so to speak, for I am a former cornet player with Redruth Town Band. I started off in the junior band and played right through my teenage years with the senior band until I left to go to university. During that time, the band, under the energetic directorship of Leonard Adams, won the Second Section of the National Brass Band Regional Championships in 1982 playing Henry V by Vaughan Williams (God, that triple tonguing!). We then went up to the Championship Section to compete with our old rivals, Camborne, which was then conducted by Derek Greenwood. We were placed fourth in our very first brass band competition. I well remember endlessly practising the test pieces for those hard-fought competitions and marching up and down the rugby pitch at Redruth, rehearsing for the West of England Bandsmen’s Festival at Bugle which included a march as well as the test piece.

    In 1983 I was also fortunate to play in the Cornwall Youth Brass Band under the directorship of Albert Chappell. We entered and subsequently won the National Music for Youth competition at the Royal Festival Hall in London. This led to the band performing at the final night of the Schools Prom at the Royal Albert Hall later that year. I have never experienced a feeling like playing in the Royal Albert Hall. The acoustics are amazing. It’s hard to believe all that was 40 years ago!

    So as a former bandsman, I was more than happy to provide a selection of modern and historic images from my extensive archive for Bodmin Town Band’s visual slideshow for the brass band competition. Although they did not win on this occasion, they certainly sounded good, the presentation was grand, and they flew the flag well for our great little nation. Well Done!

    Check out their website at Bodmin Town Band

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