On Sunday 13th March Hucknall & Linby Mining Community Brass Band will make the annual trip to Bedworth to compete against a selection of other bands from the region at the Midlands Area Championships. While the competition is a familiar one, this will be the first time the band has competed here in the second section, the highest level that the band has reached in its short history, indicative of the continued regular progress being made. This new section will also mean a new venue, with the band performing at Bedworth Civic Hall for the first time.
This year’s set work is composed by the Musical Director of Cory Brass Band, Philip Harper and is entitled “The Mermaid of Zennor”. The composer writes:
“This piece is inspired by an old Cornish folk-tale set in the village of Zennor on the coast of Cornwall, the most South-Westerly county of England.
After a good day‘s catch from the local fishermen, the village-folk would gather in the church at the head of the coast road for a service of thanksgiving. In the choir at Evensong was a very handsome young man. Matthew Trewhella, who had the most beautiful voice. His singing attracted the attention of a mermaid swimming in Zennor Cove who listened, entranced, for many nights. One night, she decided to go to the church and, disguised in human clothes, she sat in the shadows at the back. Matthew’s exquisite voice caused her to sigh, at which point he noticed her for the first time and fell immediately in love. She knew that contact between merpeople and humans was forbidden, and so fled back to the shore with the congregation and Matthew in pursuit. Upon reaching the water, the mermaid turned and told him: “l cannot stay, I belong to the sea,” to which he replied: “Then I will come with you!” and they both vanished beneath the waves, never to be seen again.
To this day it is said that the sound of a sweet, faraway man’s voice can be heard from the sea on days of fair weather in Zennor.
The music is in three sections:
i. The Sea and Seafaring
The music rises and falls like the elemental swell of the waves, before the fishermen set sail and get to work on their boats at sea. They arrive home with a good catch.
ii. At the Church
The mermaid is portrayed by gentle, magical-sounding music, and the church choir is heard singing the hymn-tune Axbridge set to the words ‘Safe home, safe home in port’. The euphonium plays the role of Matthew Trewhella, rising above the band on a number of occasions.
iii. Return to the Waves
Matthew and the mermaid’s eyes meet in a moment of drama. The village-folk chase out of the church and back towards the beach and, after several musical flashbacks, the powerful music of the sea re-establishes itself above all else. As the waves subside, the euphonium’s sweet but distant voice can be heard for one last time.”
Although the band is in uncharted waters in the second section there will be plenty of familiar faces, with familiar third section rivals Rushden Town and Foss Dyke attending, as well as our friends at Long Eaton Silver Prize Band. The field comprises 12 bands with the top two qualifying for the National Finals in Cheltenham.
With 2 rehearsals to go until the big day the band are in confident mood, ready to make the step up to the second section.
As always we will be tweeting throughout the build up and during the day itself so make sure you follow us on twitter!
Midlands Area Championships – Second Section
Adjudicators: Gordon Higginbottom, Paul Norley
Venue: Bedworth Civic Hall
Piece: The Mermaid of Zennor – Philip Harper
Brackley & District
City of Coventry
Hucknall & Linby
Ibstock Brick Brass
Long Eaton Silver Prize Band