Gunnedah Shire Band performed exceptionally well under the talented direction of conductor, Anthony Rowe, coming away with a convincing win in the Open B Grade section at the NSW State Band Championships in Penrith.

Performing at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre last Saturday, the youthful musicians were met with solid competition from Canberra Brass and Parramatta City Brass Bands throughout the one-day competition.

The band was awarded first place with a score of 44 out of a possible 50 for their hymn ‘Nicea’ arranged by William Himes. The adjudicator Mark Ford thoroughly enjoyed the band’s performance of their sacred item stating that he would “rather not be talking and adjudicating, but rather sitting and listening to their outstanding performance”.

The band’s test piece ‘Lions of Legend’ by Thierry Deleruyelle was outstanding, scoring 93 out of a possible 100 with the band again securing first place. The adjudicator appreciated the band’s interpretation of the selected test piece commenting on their ‘exceptional playing’ which he said was ‘so detailed that he just enjoyed listening’.

The adjudicator’s remarks at the conclusion of the performance included ‘wonderful work, a sensational performance with great balance and intonation and tonal qualities across the band’.

Live streaming representative Tim commented: “I hope the microphones were able to pick up that amazing quality performance. The quality of that sound is knocking right on the door of A Grade – and ‘oh my goodness’ loyal viewers, did you just hear that? That band is one of the most exciting bands in the whole country”.

The final piece ‘Between the Moon and Mexico’ by Phillip Sparke was awarded 92 points and first place by adjudicator Mark Ford who commented ‘a great sound from the band’ and ‘overall a very good performance of a very difficult piece’. He gave the band some great feedback on things to work on for next time.

Conductor Anthony Rowe also received a special mention from the adjudicator who was most impressed by the “attention to detail within the band’s performance and the overall balance and quality of the band’s sound, particularly in the louder parts”.

Publicity officer Sarah Smith said the work Anthony Rowe puts into the development of the band as a whole is outstanding and accounts for the band’s continued success at this level of competition.

“Anthony dedicated many hours to not only rehearse the band but also to developing the playing of individuals,” she said.

“The band rehearsed five hours per week together and attended four two-day weekend rehearsals preparing for the contest.

“Special mention must also go to the dedication of band master Laurence Rowe who commits many hours teaching our young and upcoming players in his spare time,” Sarah said.

“The band could not achieve such high standards without the support of its wonderful committee members who dedicated many hours to not only fundraising to support the band financially but also spent valuable time preparing meals for band members on workshop weekends.”

Laurence Rowe also had high praise for his son Anthony and his ability to engage the young players and pass on his knowledge.

“His dedication and talent are commendable, and the young players will do anything for him,” he said.

“The youngest player at the championships was just 12 and many others were in their teens. We have lost many good players over the last 10 years as they move on to university or jobs in the city and it is good to see them still playing with other bands.

“The parents also deserve thanks for their commitment to fund-raising and bringing their young players to practice weekends.”

After a hectic few days of fundraising on a canteen at AgQuip, the band travelled to Sydney staying on the Friday night with a final rehearsal that evening to polish their performances before travelling to Penrith on Saturday to compete.

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