Members from the Abraham Darby Specialist School for the Performing Arts, Madeley, Telford returned to their school base on Sunday evening after having completed a long weekend of travelling to both Glasgow and Manchester after participating in two prestigious national events. The long weekend started on Friday when the School’s Showband and Jazz Band left in the early hours of the morning to commence the long journey to Scotland for the National Festival of the National Concert Band Festival, which this year was held at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. The Showband were awarded a National Gold Award in the School Wind Band Festival after their performance of Philip Sparke’s Hymn of the Highlands which saw them receiving a standing ovation from the audience. Indeed the Showband were delighted and honoured with the presence in the audience of the composer himself who after their performance commented that the performance was stunning and tremendous with the band extracting from the piece all the colours and scenes that the composer had intended within the piece. This National Gold Award represented the seventh consecutive award that the Showband had achieved. Earlier in the day the School’s Jazz Band were also awarded a National Silver Award in the School’s Big Band Festival, which was the top award given in this particular class. After returning after midnight on Saturday the School’s Senior Brass Band then returned to School on Sunday morning to prepare for the fairly shorter trip to Manchester to compete in the School’s Section of the National Youth Brass Band Championships, which was held at the Royal Northern College of Music, where they competed against their closest rivals Smithills School from Bolton who narrowly pipped them into First place, with both bands receiving much merited Gold Awards. Simon Platford, the School’s Director of Performing Arts said “that he was extremely proud of all the band members in achieving these two Gold awards and Silver at these two important events, and that these prizes were particularly special following the long distances that we have travelled this weekend and is well merited. I was also especially proud of the Showband’s performance on Saturday which yet again was one of the best performances that I have ever been involved with in my time at the school.