The City of Chester Band is proud to report on success in the 2014 French Open Brass Band Championships, held in the beautiful old town of Amboise, on the banks of the River Loire.

Led to success by musical director Malcolm Peach, the band performed in three events: an indoor concert which included the third section set test-piece Episodes For Brass (by Gareth Churcher), a march contest held in the lee of the imposing Chateau royal d’Amboise, followed by a concert of light music, again held beneath the castle walls.

The outward journey by coach and channel ferry began at Wednesday midnight arriving in Amboise on Thursday evening; this included an alfresco march practice at a motorway service station on the A1 between Dunquerque and Paris and meeting heavy traffic in the Parisian Thursday evening rush-hour.

Soloists in the Band’s concerts included Kathryn Peover (euphonium), Paul Donoghue (cornet) and James Flynn (tenor trombone).

The band was made to feel very welcome throughout its stay in Amboise and met many friends in the banding world from England, France, Holland, Norway and Italy.

Prior to the day of competitions, the band rehearsed in the morning in a local college and in the afternoon visited the Closerie Chanteloup on the outskirts of Amboise, where the party was given an insight into vine cultivation and the fermentation and bottling processes, prior to sampling a variety of wines.

Before leaving Closerie Chanteloup, the band played a hymn tune and a march for the owners.

The day concluded with a visit to the gardens of Clos Lucé, once the home of Leonardo da Vinci, where the draw for order of play in the various sections was made.

A total of 11 bands competed in four sections.

The competition culminated in an evening concert presented by the Rotterdam-based Rijnmond Band at which the results were declared and trophies presented.