Sunday, at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, was the culmination of intense preparation by Paul and the band for the Northwest Area Regional Qualifiers for the National Brass Band Championships. After a period of several years in the First Section, this year Freckleton Band played in the Championship Section against some of the finest bands in the country. The test piece was a huge challenge for us and every band at the contest (Cambridge Variations by Philip Sparke) and stretched every player tremendously. The result saw the band placed eleventh which was a fair reflection of the performance and not unexpected, however, it was a huge achievement for us to qualify for the contest last year and to be able to compete against the “big boys”. For many in the band, this was the first time that they had played at this level and Freckleton Band acquitted itself very well putting on a performance of merit. A great experience which will serve the band well in moving forward.