For some years now the band have celebrated everything Derwent Brass related with an Annual Dinner, Dance and Awards night. The black tie event is an important landmark in the band's calendar where the membership can sit back, relax and take stock of their achievements over the last 12 months alongside the membership's partners, guests, ex-members and VIPs.
This year the event had an added importance in celebrating 25 years of Derwent Brass. Whilst the band's roots can be traced back to the 19th century, the formation of Derwent Brass was in 1992 and since that time the band has gone from strength to strength and as of April 2017 is ranked No. 51 in the world (courtesy of BrassStats).
A highlight of the evening of course is to highlight those extra special members, or moments, which have stood out over the last 12 months as voted for by the membership and our Musical Director, Keith Leonard:
Firstly, the 'Player's Player of the Year' award for the member who's playing has stood out to those amongst the band went to our Principal Tuba - Ben Armstrong. This was not only for his superb band playing and section leadership, but also for his solo appearances at concerts last year.
Secondly, the 'Champagne Moment' award. This went (one again!) to Richard Bates, the band's Flugel Player for his award winning contribution to the band's performance of 'On The Shoulders Of Giants' at the LBBA Open Contest in November 2016. Richard was also awarded Best Soloist at the contest itself and the victory was certainly a highlight in our review of the last 12 months.
The last of the major awards was 'Bands Person of the Year' which went to Bass Trombone player Chris Clayton. Chris rejoined the band in 2015 following a sabbatical from playing and his last tenure with the band spanned an unbroken decade. Since coming back Chris quickly grew back into the logistics side of running the band and was appointed the band's Logistics Manager at this year's AGM. Leaving the detail aside, Chris regularly goes above and beyond to meet the demands of a modern-day Derwent Brass, balancing this with a hectic career and other commitments.
Alongside the major 3 awards are the all-important special awards and thanks. Most notably these went to Phil Neville for a continued extremely high level of rehearsal attendance and Rachel Beckett who, amongst other roles, plays the all-important one of our social secretary, organising the whole event which was a great success!
Derwent Brass is fortunate to be a successful and well-organised outfit, where it's members and their determination continue to be its greatest assets. Here's to another 25 year of Derbyshire's Premier Brass Band...