Juniors blow away their rivals

GUNNEDAH Shire Band’s junior band has struck gold once again, winning the junior A-grade title at the National Australian Brass Championships in Brisbane at the weekend.

It is now the 12th time the juniors have won the title.

Solo members also handled themselves superbly in Brisbane at the weekend, with five of them winning solo titles and going on to compete in the Junior Champion of Champions title for their respective solo instruments.

One of them, Lachlan King, 17, also went on to win Junior Percussion Champion of Champions.

Winning the junior A-grade title was an even greater achievement than usual this year because there were up to nine new players in the band, Gunnedah Shire Band president Sue Winsor said.

“They lost half a dozen or more senior players last year, because once they turn 19 they can’t stay with the juniors,” Mrs Winsor said.

“The youngest is seven at the moment and the majority are around 12 years old, so they’ve done a wonderful job.”

To win the junior A-grade title, the band played a hymn piece, a test piece (a set piece chosen by the banding association), a song of their choice and then did a song during a stage march. 

The event was held at St Laurence’s College in South Brisbane.

Gunnedah Shire Band publicity officer Les Alker said the band had worked very hard to realise their achievements.

“I think this is a special moment – it’s almost as special as when they won the B-grade senior championship in Hobart in 2010,” Mr Alker said.

In the solo championships, Mr Alker’s daughter, Amy, 16, was named Australian National Junior Baritone Soloist Champion.

Ben Porter, 18, was named Australian National Junior Tenor Horn Soloist Champion, while Oscar King, 12, was named Australian National Junior Tuba Soloist Champion.

Lachlan King, 17, was named Australian National Junior Multi Percussion Champion and went on to also win Junior Percussion Champion of Champions.

Laura Heuston, 18, was named Australian National Flugel Horn Champion.

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