SNOW WHITE AND THE NATIONAL FRENZY It was a fine summer’s day when the famous conductor for the Forest Brass Band, recently promoted to the championship section, Snow White opened the windows of her cottage, letting the light flood in. It was mid October and the Championship Finals were on the doorstep. This conductor was nervous, not only was this their first year in the championship section, but she’d never conducted at this level before. Her stomach was full of butterflies running amok. It was Friday evening, and Forest Brass’s last rehearsal before their long journey to the Albert Hall. Their piece, “The Very Hard Piece”, composed by James McFadyen had only turned up 2 weeks before, and as the title suggests, is very hard, and is the hardest piece Miss White has ever conducted. Desperately trying to cover her nerves when reading the 17/16 time signatures. Bandmaster and Flugel Horn Extraordinaire appeared to be feeling the strain too, even his “Hush up”s and “Will you just shut your goddam’ mouth”s didn’t have the same impact. His voice was quivering and his new technique for vibrato questionable. Doc wasn’t feeling too well. On the contrary, the band’s rather amiable Solo horn player, Happy, was generally bobbing along. His constant smiles and inability to cry meant that he was the band’s optimist, and deep in his soul he felt that he had to be strong, for him, but for the band. It was 8pm, and the band (bar one percussionist, who was infamously late) were ready to start on “The Very Hard Piece”. Who writes this rubbish? thought Snow White to herself. “No no no no no!” cried the most annoying member in the band. “You’re doing it all wrong, you should have a clearer downbeat, and less on the outward flicks”, continued Grumpy, apparently the world’s greatest euphonium player. “Well if you’re going to pick on me,” retorted Miss. S. White, “I’ll pick on you. Not once have you played that cadenza right, your tone’s terrible, and quite franky,” Grumpy’s eyes began to water. “you’re a real liability.” In a flash, the solo euphonium seat was vacant, but not for long, as Grumpy returned, apologised, and miraculously improved his tone! It was Saturday afternoon, and the time on Snow White’s watch read half past 4. They would be on the stage in 2 minutes. There was a gentle tap on Snow White’s shoulders. It was the usher. “Right Guys” said Snow White triumphantly, “Lets show ‘em what us Forest folk are made of”. She quietened Dopey, the dumb, yet adorable Eb Bass player before he had a chance to embarrass himself. The light turned green, and the baton fell. Snow White glanced around the band, it appears that Happy wasn’t the only person to be smiling, even Grumpy had a little smirk, and in a funny sort of way she was glad that he hadn’t left, she rather admired his stubbornness. She cut off the band. The start of the 2nd movement, and Bashful, the principle cornet’s large solo. Miss Snow crossed her fingers, as did the band, letting out a sigh of relief when he hit that top E (that the composer believed anyone could get!). Suddenly, his cheeks paled, and he looked relatively normal, however this only last another few seconds, as he dropped his mute and went all bashful again. It was the final section of the piece, and as Snow White cued the trombones led by Sneezy to rasp away (as all good trombones do) she noticed that the percussionist Sleepy’s music flying away towards the exit. “OH NO” she thought however, she looked at the score noticing that there was only 1 last cymbal crash, surely he could remember that. He did, and the piece came to a crashing close. With an eruption of applause, the adjudicator had an easy time deciding the winner. “And with 198points, and my sheer delight, I pronounce the winners to be …. ……. FOREST BRASS BAND, conducted by Miss Snow White.” And they lived happily ever after.