Praise for Lucy as band takes third place in Preston

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IN a tightly-fought contest that brought out the best in all nine competitors, Brighouse and Rastrick Band took third place at the English National Championships in Preston at the weekend.

Black Dyke took first place for the second time in the contest’s history with Foden’s Band coming in second place.

Band secretary Mike Hanson said the band, led by Prof David King, had played very well on the day and was ‘slightly disappointed’ not to have come higher than third place. “We were up against the best bands in the country and the standard of playing was very high, both in the set piece ‘Elgar Variations’ by Martin Ellerby and in the band’s own choice ‘Concerto Grosso’ by Derek Bourgeois which was very demanding but exciting to listen to.

“We were particularly pleased that our flugel player Lucy Murphy was singled out for praise by the adjudicators.”

After the contest on Saturday, B & R was in action at a concert to close Central Methodist Church’s Flower Festival and it has now begun rehearsals with the folk group The Unthanks for a series of concerts this summer.

The first concert in the spectacular surroundings of Durham Cathedral will be on July 8 as part of the Brass 2011 festival. The collaboration is expected to see the Mercury-nominated Tyneside band and B & R incorporating new pieces with arrangements of traditional and original songs. B & R’s resident conductor and musical director Sandy Smith has been working on the arrangements.

B & R and The Unthanks will perform again at the Barbican in London on July 16 and there will be four more performances in September including one at Leeds Town Hall in September.

Singer Rachel Unthank said: “It is a privilege to be involved with the Durham Brass Festival and to be playing with musicians of the calibre of Brighouse and Rastrick Band.”