Sunday February 24th saw every almost every adult brass band based in Lancashire and Greater Manchester head over to Blackpool Winter Gardens for the annual North West Area Brass Band Championships and we at Eagley were no exception!
Having been promoted to the Second Section just a year ago, the band could have been forgiven for having fairly low expectations of the outcome of the 2019 Areas, but in typical CJW fashion, we prepared as if we were going to win the contest – and our performance on the day certainly justified our MD’s unwavering beliefs!
Very happily for all Second Section bands this year, our section contest was held in the magnificent and iconic Opera House, the same venue within the Winter Gardens complex as the mighty Championship Section which would follow on from ours. With an excellent draw of No.11 from within the seventeen competing bands, Eagley took to the stage in thoroughly well prepared, confident and surprisingly relaxed mood and we delivered one of our best ever performances at the Areas, confirmed and evidenced by a number of excellent recordings which surfaced after we had played.
Our excellent rendition from start to finish of the late Darrol Barry’s “Rise of The Phoenix” had everyone in the band full of the highest expectation when it came to the results ceremony, with the internet site Four Bars Rest placing Eagley in second; Runners-Up of the 2019 Second Section and not only qualifiers for the National Brass Band Finals in Cheltenham later in the year but, as a result, promoted to the First Section only fourteen months after being a Third Section band with almost all the same players. As results were announced from the stage, and knowing that everyone in the band could not have played any better either individually or collectively, Eagley were read out in Fourth Place, sadly not runners-up as had been predicted in the light of our outstanding performance. Clearly our excellent performance was one which could, on another day, have found favour with the adjudicators and without doubt won the contest or finished anywhere in the top few bands. However, to be placed fourth in the section was an excellent outcome, only spoiled in that it was the top three placed bands which were to qualify for the National Finals, so our placing was tantalisingly close to that additional achievement as well as being promoted to the First Section from next year had we finished in third place or higher.
Click here to see photos from Blackpool