On Saturday 20th October at The Royal Albert Hall in London, the National Brass Band Championships were held which featured the top 20 brass bands from around the UK. The chosen test piece was a fiendishly difficult arrangement by Howard Snell of the Maurice Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe. Despite excellent performances throughout the day by a total of 20 bands, the winner with a unanimous verdict by the judges was Foden's Band from Sandbach, Cheshire. Whilst this win on such a challenging piece is a huge achievement it is made more remarkable that Foden's in September lifted the coveted British Open Shield and thereby have achieved the "double". Although Foden's Band has been consistently in the top 10 bands for over a century the last time the band did the double was back in 1910. Such is the rarity that a band can win arguablely the two most difficult contests in the banding calender. Back in 1910 it was William Halliwell who conducted on Acis and Galatea by Handel arr. C. Godfrey and Gems of Schubert, W. Rimmer however this years pieces are much more challenging with a new work by Dr. Martin Ellerby "Electra" for the British Open and Howard Snells masterful arrangement of the second suite of Maurice Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe.
Foden's professional conductor Allan Withington steered the band to victory and has a proven track record of winning major contests having notched up his 7th Nationals title. The trumpet player who lives in Norway was delighted with the win and although having only been appointed the bands' professional for little over a year have finally gelled into a prize winning combination. The additional bonus went to the band's soprano cornet player Richard Poole who was awarded the best instrumentalist award for what is regarded as one of the most difficult parts of Howard Snell's arrangement.