Aldbourne Band blows them away at the French Open - playing against a Swiss entry
No, not that French Open. The Aldbourne Band was certainly not playing on clay. This was the 20th French Open Brass Band contest at Amboise - 'The City of Kings' - in the Loire Valley.
Under Joshua Ruck, their new Musical Director, the Aldbourne Band was placed second in the March section of the competition and fourth overall against an international entry that included many well known bands.
Among the competition's highlights were solos from Paul Bilkey in Flowerdale, Ian Keene with On with the Motley, and the brilliant performance of the whole band for The Torch Bearer – known by all as an extremely testing piece.
It was the first time the Band had entered this international contest and they entertained the French crowds alongside other prestigious bands including the StavangerBand from Norway, Ensemble de Cuivres from Switzerland and the French contender Le Brass-Band Nord Pas-de-Calais.
It is several years since the Band played overseas and they made new friendships and links with other brass players from around the world.
Chairman James Sheppard said, “This is a great opportunity to show-case our gifted and talented players and gives our new Musical Director the chance to take the Band to a new arena.”
“We were very pleased with our result at the British Open Qualifiers in Blackpool in May, retaining our place in the Grand Shield. Amboise is a beautiful town with friendly and welcoming people. We enjoyed good company, great food and wine and of course, fantastic music. There were many youth bands there too and it was encouraging to see the European commitment to Brass. ”
The Band will be playing some of their competition numbers on Sunday, June 14 at the first of the annual series of open air Pond Concerts, in Aldbourne. It starts at 7.15pm. The Pond Concerts are free with 'donations in the bucket' to help fund the costs of running the Band. If the weather is wet it will be held in St Michael's Church.