National award for Neatishead-based Norfolk Wherry Brass band

Neatishead-based Norfolk Wherry Brass has hit a high note after being crowned national champions.

The band and musical director Andy Craze travelled to Cheltenham Racecourse to take part in the 4th Section of the National Brass Band Championships.

They were among 23 bands who all all qualified in the top three in their regional finals which took place throughout the United Kingdom in March.

They all played a new piece of music written by 17 year old Jonathan Bates especially for the contest. The piece, in five movements, was called A British Isles Suite and is a musical exploration of poetry from around the British Isles.

Tension was building as the decisions of the two adjudicators, Mike Kilroy and Colin Hardy, were awaited.

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Wherry were announced as Section Champions, were the only band in all five sections from Norfolk and Suffolk to qualify for this year's National Finals and as far as they are aware are the only band from Norfolk ever to win a championship title in any section.

With the title came the award of the National Challenge Trophy for the band, the NCC Trophy for the band's contest secretary Yvonne Owers, and a framed music stand banner depicting the success. A cheque for �1,000 will also help towards the cost of the trip and promotion to the 3rd section. Leigh Sharpe, principal cornet player, was also awarded the trophy for the best instrumentalist in the contest, capping an enjoyable, successful and historic week end for the band.

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