Bilton Silver is celebrating its second consecutive victory at the National Area Championships, another visit to the National Finals later this year and promotion to the 1st Section. Playing Edward Gregsons ‘The Plantagenets’, Bilton was scheduled 8th in the running order, immediately following local rivals, and newly promoted Daventry Brass.
Taking to the stage around midday, Bilton Silver accomplished an almost flawless performance which earned them 1st place out of the 12 bands competing.
Listen to a recording from the band and see if you agree with the judges.
This is what 4 Bars Rest had to say about our performance:
Although there are still three regional contests to come, it would take a brave fan of any band to suggest that the Second Section contenders in Wales, London or the North East will provide a more impressive winning performance than Bilton Silver (Rugby).
Under the direction of David Stowell, Bilton captured the dark menace and Machiavellian spirit of Edward Gregson’s, fearsome ‘The Plantagenets’ to a tee, to return to Cheltenham as one of the short priced favourites to go one better than last year and lift their own version of the British crown.
There was little doubt in the minds of judges Colin Hardy and Kevin Wadsworth that they had listened to a winning performance of the highest quality; describing it as ‘outstanding’, ‘full of character’ and ‘excellent music making’ on a day when they diplomatically revealed that the piece had proven to be an immense challenge for their committed rivals.
Bilton’s experienced MD, David Stowell couldn’t have been more pleased with his band’s performance either. “Simply delighted and very proud,” he told 4BR.
“They worked so hard for this contest and were determined to get back to Cheltenham after coming so close to winning last year. I asked them to tell a musical story full of colour and character—and they did just that. I can’t thank them enough.”
David also revealed that he didn’t really have any idea to how their rendition stacked up against rivals, let alone bands from other areas.
“I quite like to be left in isolation with performances, as it allows me to concentrate on my band and not worry about anyone else.
I’m sure others have played just as well, but I don’t think we could have played any better: It was an outstanding performance from my personal perspective.”
The contest itself did take some time to capture the imagination, with the early markers provided by sixth placed Avonbank Evesham from the number 1 draw and Ibstock Brick Brass who played number 3 to end fifth.
With bands struggling to overcome the difficult technical and musical demands of the set work, the contest seemed to be heading for a form of ‘last man standing’, before bold back to back accounts from Bakewell Silver and Daventry Brass conducted by Bob Stradling saw them end fourth and third respectively.
Then came Bilton’s superb performance, before Wigston delivered a coherently structured, confidently played account under Garry Sleath to secure their Cheltenham berth on a day when the Midlands title was captured by the most worthy of winners.