ANOTHER NATIONAL MUSIC FOR YOUTH FESTIVAL SUCCESS FOR ABRAHAM DARBY, MADELEY, TELFORD Members from the Abraham Darby Specialist School for the Performing Arts, Madeley, Telford have returned from Birmingham with a double of National Festival Awards. All five senior bands participated in the National Festival – Showband, Jazz Band, Senior Brass Band, Senior Woodwind and Brass Group and the School were successful in two of the categories. On Thursday the Senior Brass Band were awarded the Highly Commended Award in the School’s National Brass Band Festival; hot on the heels of Smithills Senior Brass Band who were awarded the Outstanding Performance Award. Then on Friday the School’s Showband achieved their fourth consecutive Outstanding Performance Award and their 5th in 6 years when they played the awesome and atmospheric ‘Impressions of Japan’ by James Barnes to a capacity audience in the Symphony Hall. The school’s Showband were greeted with a standing ovation after their award winning performance, which also received glowing praise from the adjudicators. During the adjudication the Chair of the adjudicator’s panel, Colin Touchin, said “that the standard of this year’s School Wind Band Section was the highest they had ever witnessed and the panel were astounded by the very high quality of musicianship and professionalism that was evident within these single school bands that had participated.” In the specific comments in relation to the Showband he said “that the performance was at a level that did not just provide the audience with a performance but something that moved them from within. He also paid tribute to the undoubted amount of hours the band had put into its preparation, with all members in total unity and cohesion – he also said that the chosen piece was the perfect piece to be played in Symphony Hall, which is the best concert venue in Europe” Simon Platford said “that this particular performance is probably the band’s finest in the time I have been associated with it. I am completely overwhelmed by the fantastic achievement of all the members of the Showband, particularly when the average age of the band was taken into account. This is far younger than lots of the other bands which have a greater proportion of older pupils within their bands”. The Showband after performing in the School’s End of Academic Year Concert on Tuesday evening will then leave early on Thursday morning to participate in the World Music Contest in Kerkrade Holland, where they hope to retain the Gold Medal achieved four years ago in 2001.