National Concert Bands Festival 2011
This a creative piece of writing by Gregor Moffat who is in Secondary 4 and attended the National Concert Bands Festival Last Year with his school and won Gold. Gregor attends the Kip McGrath Livingston Education Centre.
By Gregor Moffat
With rock’n’roll pounding in our hearts as the last notes were played; the calm before the storm. Then the huge roar of applause washed over us, like a alpha male lion signalling the pride. A wave of relief washed over us as we bowed and calmly walked off the stage. The thoughts in our minds were that we had just done something for the first time and did it tremendously. The National Concert Band Festival’s Final, 2011.
Early Saturday morning, dragging myself out of bed. Reasons being that we were the first to perform in The Royal Academy of Music and Drama for the NCBF Finals. Slugging our way towards our bus, and grasping the rail as we clambered onto the bus. As I climbed lazily up onto the bus, I heard a symphony of yawns and snores. Some people were up all night either too excited or just getting the final most practice before it was time to retreat to their comfort and cosy beds, ready to face the performance of our lives.
When we arrived , there was a rainbow of uniforms, as this prestigious competition attracts the best from all over the U.K., even such bands closer to home – such as James Young High School – who were competing in the same category as us. It was like The Football World Cup Finals, but this was a competition of only winners and there were no losers at the end of the day. Seeing so many bands got me just a bit hot under the collar, but kept my cool, holding a poker face.
Now, after passing through the crammed lobby, like the stairwell at Baker Street Station at 8:37 on a Monday morning, we arrived at our rehearsal room. We, percussionist, threw our stick bags and music and rushed off towards the stage to get set up for our performance. There was a ten minute time limit we had to get the percussion gear set up.
We walked out onto the stage, the huge rush of emotions hit me like a freight train, the shaking of my hands and legs, a bit like jelly. Even just standing in the hall there was a large presence I could feel. The adjudicators were sitting in their seats, like kings and queens looking for entertainment from their jesters. Just a quick glance, was like staring down a charging bull. We finally finished setting up. The rest of the band shyly walked out, firstly the brass with big sounds silenced, for now. Then came the tutee fruity woodwind, and finally our conductor, Camille Mason. Suddenly we heard the announcer introduce our band and Miss Mason, so I immediately turned my attention to Miss Mason, waiting for the timing to begin. I started to get tunnel vision, like a red arrow preparing to make the performance of their life. Then we began.
With rock’n’roll pounding in our hearts as the last notes were played, the a calm before the storm. Then the huge roar of applause washed over us, like a alpha male lion signalling the pride. A wave of relief washed over us as we bowed and calmly walked off the stage. The thoughts in our minds were that we had just done something for the first and did it tremendously. We were then herded off to get a band photo. Irritably we had to wait a while to find out the results. The time crawled by tick, tick, ticking away like a metronome. We, percussionists, began drumming on our laps; not on our instruments. Time was stuck in slow motion as some of the band went off to watch other bands, wondering ‘did we do it better’ and ‘wow, they are good’.
Twelve o’clock eventually came around and we all lit up like fireflies in the night. We rushed to the lobby where the awards were to be handed out. We hadn’t been quick enough to get a seat as it was like an ocean of heads bobbing up and down. There was a delay, which kept on getting bigger and bigger until the time cam and the feeling of relief at the time had came. Suddenly it went quite, like a graveyard at night.
One after another, the awards were handed out, and a roar of cheers followed not far behind. Then it was us. We fell silent and the unbearable weight of anticipation was so strong, then ‘West Calder Junior Band receives a …. gold award’, and we went berserk, unleashing the emotions that had built up inside. I turned to my right and gave my friend a big high five.
At the end of the school year, the schools’ award ceremony was coming up and we were told that our NCBF award was going to be presented to two of the band members but we hadn’t been told who they were. A few weeks before the award ceremony, at our rehearsal Miss Mason announced that Nic Stevenson and myself were to collect the award. We gladly accepted, we were overjoyed by her picking us when there were plenty other people who deserved to receive it, on behalf of the band.
It was the evening of the award ceremony, there was a feeling of excitement and happiness, watching others receive their awards, and then it was the bands award. Nic and myself walked up onto the stage calmly shaking the hand of Karen Geoghegan – former West Calder pupil – and she gave us the award; then walk back to our seats.
Now that I have moved up to the Senior Band, I am hoping that Miss Mason will encourage another Junior Band to go to the Finals and achieve better. This year I am going with the Senior Band to London to perform at The NCBF Finals in The Royal Academy. I have not got over what we achieved that fateful day.