HMS Heron Band Add to the Trophy Cabinet
The Royal Naval Volunteer Bands Festival 2012 held this year at HMS Collingwood in Portsmouth secured two more trophies for the HMS Heron Prize Cabinet, against strong competition from nine other Bands in particular a dominant Dartmouth Band representing the Britannia Royal Naval College.
HMS Heron Volunteer Band came away with Best Drum Major, Kerry Edwards and the keenly fought The Bambara Trophy for the best Fleet Air Arm Band, against HMS Seahawk from Cornwall.
The Festival was set up to encourage Volunteer Bands to foster a spirit of 'friendly’ competition amongst themselves and provide an enjoyable musical occasion whilst improving musical standards. In all this year 10 Bands from across the country descended on the Maritime Warfare School at HMS Collingwood, from as far afield as Scotland in the North to Culdrose in the South West of the country were competing with bands from the traditional Naval bases of Pompey and Plymouth in addition to a Band from HMS Illustrious. They all gathered to compete for the 10 Trophies on offer over the busy weekend.
First off was the parade square where Heron Band produced a stunning performance that saw Kerry Edwards take the Kenneth Alford Trophy. Awarded to the Drum Major judged to be the most competent and smartest of all the competitors. Physical and general deportment of the Band, as well as accurate manoeuvring and positioning of the band were key elements to Heron’s success. Kerry said, “I am over the moon winning this year’s prize after so many years of trying. It’s been fantastic and I owe a lot to the rest of the Heron Band”.
Despite the Festival this year being held at HMS Collingwood rather than the traditional Portsmouth Guildhall, the lack of a public spectacle did not detract from the high level of musical ability on show. A packed Auditorium enjoyed a busy concert programme as part of the contest. Competing Bands played to an audience who knew their music. The well prepared event did credit to the organisers.
HMS Heron’s performances on the day were the culmination of many weeks hard work. Balancing existing band commitments and preparation for the Festival display. Heron‘s Band rehearses twice a week on Monday and Thursday evenings and even through the latter stages of festival preparation were able to maintain an average of one concert performance a week. By including the festival repertoire into the bands concert programmes every engagement was a practice for the big day and the hard work paid off.
Heron were placed third of out of ten with the judges seeming to appreciate the variety their concert programme included. Opening with a splendid arrangement of Bach’s Toccata they featured Phil Lambton and Marie Tighe in the Lakme Flower Duet. The concert concluded with the rip roaring trad jazz of Dixieland Jamboree.
“The Royal Naval Volunteer Band Festival has become a real focus for the year, putting the band’s performances under the microscope, but it is enjoyable and the rewards are great”. Said Colour Sergeant Tom Crane HMS Heron’s Band Master. “All the volunteers must be congratulated on their performances and thanked for their continued commitment to the Royal Naval Volunteer Band Association. These competitions are a reminder of how high the standards are in the Royal Navy”.
Heron also have the Fleet Air Arm bragging rights, by securing the Bambara Trophy which is awarded to the best FAA Band, over the HMS Seahawk Band from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.