Another Butlins Win for Eccles

January 17th 2018

A weekend full of brass bands at Butlins. In the middle of an ice-cold January. Perhaps not the first place you had in mind for a relaxing getaway! But for Eccles Borough Band, they certainly did have “first” in mind. The band’s performance of “Renaissance” by Peter Graham led them to victory – beating a whopping twenty-three other bands in the First Section.

A day in the life at Butlins…

After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, the band began their rehearsal on the Saturday morning at 8am. This allowed Eccles’ dedicated Musical Director, Mareika Gray, to do some fine tuning before the draw. As they were drawn seventeenth, the band had some time on their hands to prepare for the contest ahead. Some players grabbed some food. Other players had a nap. Either way, it stood them in good stead for their upcoming performance.

As Eccles Borough Band were herded from backstage, to the registration point, and then finally to the stage itself, the players were eagerly anticipating the thrill of performing to the audience sat before them at Butlins’ very own live music venue, “Reds”. During the final flourishes of the test piece, the band knew they had played a blinder – however this was reinforced by the standing ovation from the listeners.

A few tipples later, it was time for the results ceremony. As the official persons announced each section in turn – in true Butlin’s fashion, with dance music playing in the background – the band excitedly waited. But as soon as Eccles Borough Band were announced as the First Section winners, they cheered, whooped, and brought the house down. Val Davies and Gary Hamer, both of whom put so much effort into supporting Eccles, went to collect the trophy and banner from the stage.

The band certainly celebrated in style, although it would be safe to say there were some sore heads come Sunday morning.

Previous success

Eccles Borough Band started competing at Butlins Mineworkers Festival eleven years ago when they were in the Fourth Section and since then, they have entered the contest nine times. Seven of those times have been podium finishes, and four of which the band have now won. Having conducted Eccles Borough Band for eight years, Mareika Gray has said, “I am so delighted with how far the band have come, and the hard work the players have put in. It has certainly paid off.”

Currently, the band are working on the test piece “Brass Metamorphosis” by James Curnow for the upcoming North West Area competition on 25th February 2018.

Continued support

The band would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their ongoing support. Whether you are a player, listener, conductor, or general advocator of the band – we appreciate everything you do to keep this historical band alive. If you haven’t already signed up, there is a new 100 Club to help raise money for the band (and you can raise some money for yourself too whilst you’re there!). It’s only £5 per month, with the chance to win some fantastic prizes. More details can be found here

Iwan Fox from 4barsrest speaks to Jonathan Fairman and Gary Hamer after the Butlins Contest.