National success for band

April 04, 2018

Rick (left) and Pam Collings, with the Mitchell Shire Concert Band’s trophies from the National Band Championships held in Melbourne over the weekend.

The Mitchell Shire Concert Band achieved a podium finish on the weekend in its first competition since 2004.

Led by musical director Eric Andersen, the MSCB came in second place in the National Band Championships D-Grade division held in Melbourne.

The MSCB finished with a score of 555 points, just behind the winning Shepparton Woodwind and Brass Band, which scored 557 points, with Rose Bay High Concert Band rounding out the top three on 547 points.

MSCB treasurer and tuba player Rick Collings said Mr Andersen, who also directed the winning Shepparton team, had been a great influence on the band and deserved his success.

‘‘He’s a very talented fellow and very experienced,’’ Mr Collings said.

MSCB secretary and clarinet player Pam Collings said she couldn’t bear to watch any of the other bands perform because she knew it would make her too nervous.

‘‘Most of the band hasn’t actually competed in a competition before, so it was pretty nerve-racking,’’ she said.

‘‘It was very formal going into the actual auditorium where it was all set up ... and we probably had about 30 people watching us. But I think we all did pretty well in the end and got some good applause from the audience.’’

Each band played a hymn, a test piece, a march and a piece of their own choice, with the judges able to hear, but not see, who was playing.

Mrs Collings said while this arrangement adds to the fairness of the competition, it did nothing to help the nerves of band members left in silence after performing, waiting for the judges to respond.

‘‘You play your first piece and then you wait for a while feeling uncomfortable ... but apparently the longer you wait, the better it is, because in that case they’re generally making good comments,’’ she said

‘‘At the end of it, we’ll get a CD that will have our performance on it and the comments from the judges so we can take on board what they say and improve.

‘‘It was a lot of work to put it on. We started about October last year, because everybody had to be registered with the Victorian Band’s League ... and then Eric started inviting our guest players before Christmas and we had to have it all registered by the end of January — lots of paperwork.

‘‘We’re starting to write a history book in the second half of this year, and the plan is to devote a chapter to the Nationals and the road there.’’

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