After winning the regionals back in March, the band spent the summer preparing for the National Finals down in Cheltenham this last weekend. After weeks and weeks of work on the evocative piece that is Penlee by Simon Dobson; a piece which tells the story of the 1981 lifeboat disaster, Hucknall came home a very happy bunch indeed securing a 4th place.
Hucknall & Linby were up against the top 2 and 3 from all the different regions across England, Scotland and Wales and they fought off most of the competition and were presented with a certificate and a 4th place at their first ever finals appearance. But, the cheery bunch did not go empty handed in the trophy department as their Principal Cornet, Emma Walton, won the soloist prize for best Cornet solo within the piece and she brought home a trophy of her very own.
Up bright and early on Sunday morning (after arriving the night before) the band arrived at the rehearsal venue only to be informed that they had been drawn last and weren’t on until later in the afternoon, many groans and moans echoed round the room but a morning spent at Starbucks and a chilled rehearsal soon calmed everyone down.
The band moved on to the venue (The Centaur at Cheltenham racecourse) where they spent some time checking out the trade stalls and the room where they would be playing in.
Registration came and went and before the band knew it they were sitting on stage to a fairly packed audience eagerly waiting for their performance (so that the adjudicators could get on with announcing the results) but what they received was (courtesy of www.4barsrest.com):
“Hucknall open with real confidence and musical precision. The drama unfolds with real darkness but this is great playing – so confident and well thought out from the middle. Principal Cornet, Emma Walton is in sublime form today – this is top notch cornet work.
All the chaos and drama is portrayed without the tempos and dynamics being overdone – real quality playing and a wonderful spine tingling close.
Overall: Well Hucknall has put themselves in the frame right with that account for sure.
Star player: Emma Walton on cornet was outstanding today, different class.”
The band came off stage leaving audiences with tears in their eyes (and most of the players) before dashing through photos and getting back to the room in time for the results.
Hucknall and Linby are now enjoying a well deserved hiatus before starting work again on Leicester Contest and the rest of the forthcoming contest and concert season (including the oh-so-busy Christmas period!).