The Ipswich and Norwich Co-op Band is already celebrating 2008 being the band’s most successful ever in its 26-year history, and it’s only May. Following on from a fantastic fourth place at the Butlins Mineworkers Contest in January against bands from across the UK followed by a Second Place at the Regional Qualifier and an invitation to the National Finals in Harrogate (promoting the band to Championship status from 2009) the band has recently had further contest success. On Sunday 11th May the East Anglian Brass Band Association held its annual Spring Contest for member bands and, for the first time in its history, the Ipswich and Norwich Co-op Band were awarded first prize in both the hymn-tune and entertainments sections beating Championship opposition and taking the title of “Champion Band of East Anglia” by a clear three points. The band’s Solo Horn, Ruth Trown, was also presented with the award for “Best Tenor Horn” Comprising items by Philip Sparke, Peter Graham, Hubert Bath, Phil Harper and a fantastic “Children of Sanchez” performed by the band’s Flugel player Danny Wright adjudicator Steve Pritchard-Jones awarded the first place with comments such as “Very Stylistic” and “A Great Balanced Band Sound”. Of the winning performance Ian Burton, Band Manager and Solo Trombone, said “2008 is fast becoming the most successful in the band’s history. Having achieved 4th place at Butlins, 2nd at the Area qualifier and achieving promotion to the championship section it is pleasing to see that the form is continuing. To become “Champion Band of East Anglia” against our local rivals is a great feeling and is testimony to the work and commitment of the entire band and to the skill and preparation of our MD Robin Norman.” In addition to the contest success the Ipswich and Norwich Co-op Band are pleased to be able to announce three new signings in the shape of Adrian and Rachel Robinson on Cornet and Mike Thorn on Second Trombone. The band also has a new Second Horn in the shape of Kimberley Frewin who has moved from the Cornet bench. Of the new signings MD, Robin Norman, said “The band continues to strengthen and attract the cream of East Anglian Brass players. Adrian and Rachel both played with the band before moving up to Manchester and now they are back in the Ipswich area it is a pleasure to have them strengthening the Cornet line-up. Mike Thorn is a well-respected trombone player in the area and we are delighted to have him join the band full-time after the part he played in the East Anglian win. Finally a special thank-you mention should be made to Kim Frewin who has moved from Cornet to fill the second horn vacancy where she joins a formidable team in the shape of Danny Wright (Flugel), Ruth Trown (Solo Horn) and Christine Deighton (First Horn). This latest win and our new members can only continue the great work we have started this year and we are already starting to gel ahead of our trip to Harrogate in September. This also leaves us with just two vacancies, a back-row Cornet and a Percussionist - anyone interested are welcome to contact us.” Prior to the trip ‘North’ in September the band are looking forward to a busy Summer schedule with performances in St. James Park, Colchester, Kings Lynn, Ipswich and a concert weekend in Rye, Sussex. They are also proud to be able to announce a concert with guest vocalist Laura Wright, of the group “All Angels”, to be held at Norwich Cathedral in October.