Manx Concert Brass and Ramsey Town Band flew the Manx flag at the weekend as they competed in the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in Cheltenham.
Manx Concert Brass were placed 13th in the first section finals with their performance of St James’s – A New Beginning by Philip Harper.
Their section was won by Welsh band, Ebbw Valley Brass, whose principal cornet is former Manx Youth Band member Charlotte Hann.
Ramsey Town Band were placed fourth out of 20 in the fourth section finals with their performance of Saddleworth Festival Overture by Goff Richards.
Manx Concert Brass chairman Philip Shimmin said: ‘To both reach and compete in the National Finals of Great Britain requires a huge commitment from all involved on many levels.
‘We were pleased with our performance on Saturday and proud to represent the island and also happy that our friends at Ramsey Town Band were placed fourth in the fourth section.
‘As always there is no let-up and, less than 24 hours after returning to the island, we were back rehearsing for this weekend’s Last Night of the Proms which should be another super occasion.’
Manx Last Night of the Proms is one of the highlights of the island’s entertainment calendar. It takes place at the Gaiety Theatre on Saturday (September 23) from 7.30pm and promises party pieces, party poppers and patriotic flag waving.
It will include customary classics such as Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, Land of Hope and Glory, Johan Strauss’ Radetzky March, Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem and the ever-popular Fantasia on British Sea-Songs.
Professional West End performer, Damian Kneale is teaming up with Manx Concert Brass for the concert.
Damian has played many incredible leading roles over the years in the Gaiety Theatre, such as Princeton in Avenue Q (Shoestring Productions) Simon in Jesus Christ Superstar (Douglas Choral Union) Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard, Raoul in Phantom of the Opera and Bill Sykes in Oliver! (Taylorian Productions).
Having moved to London to pursue his career in musical theatre, Damian trained professionally at The London School of Musical Theatre. Following his graduation, Damian joined the professional UK/International cast of Cameron Mackintosh’s most iconic musical, Les Misérables for a 14-month tour of the UK and Ireland.
Phil said: ‘Damian is a talented and experienced performer and we are confident that he will deliver a memorable performance for our audience.’
Three-time Cleveland Medal winner, Paul Costain, had been due to perform too but has had to cancel as he continues to recover from knee surgery.
Ramsey Town Band musical director Robert Quane said: ‘We knew it had gone really well when we had finished the performance on stage and that’s the most important thing.
‘However, being given such an excellent placing was a just reward for the band, who were obviously delighted with the result, if not exhausted by an arduous schedule.’
The band returned to the island on Sunday, and after a short break, will begin preparations for their Gala Concert on Sunday, November 24.
Ramsey Town Band thanked all its supporters and local charities, trusts, businesses and the Isle of Man Arts Council who supported them financially for their attendance at the competition, as well as the Steam Packet.