MEMBERS of Wilton and District Band can blow their own trumpets, horns and trombones after they qualified for the National Brass Band Championship finals for the first time.

On September 22 the band will travel to the Centuar Arena in Cheltenham where they will compete against 23 others from across the country for the title of National Champions.

They qualified for the finals at the regional competition held in Torquay in March, and have been rehearsing hard for the competition under the guidance of musical director Colin Herbert.

For the finals, the band must perform a piece written by the young composer Jonathan Bates entitled A British Isles Suite.

The piece is in five movements and features music reflecting all parts of the country. It is the set piece and will be performed by all the bands in the competition.

Wilton and District Band was formed almost 50 years ago by Dennis Chalk and was developed from a small ensemble that used to rehearse in his front room.

It has a thriving youth section and performs at concerts, fetes, parties and church services throughout the year.

The 25 members of the competition band are currently competing in the fourth section nationally but they are hoping for promotion to section three after a string of recent successes.

“There is a really good feeling in the band; we are all very positive,” said band secretary Dave Topp.

“Everyone is very excited about reaching the national finals – it’s the first time for the band and it will be a tremendous experience.”

Highly regarded brass band conductor Derek Broadbent will be running a training weekend for the band ahead of the competition.

They are also planning to perform the competition test piece at their annual Proms concert, at Salisbury Methodist Church, St Edmund’s Church Street, on Saturday, September 8, starting at 7.30pm.

The concert will include a full programme of music featuring the Last Night of the Proms and guest mezzo soprano Nina Alupii-Morton.

The band is also keen to welcome new players of any age and ability and instruments can be provided.

They rehearse at Broad Chalke Village Hall on Sundays for juniors and Tuesdays for seniors.

More details can be obtained from Mr Topp on 07920 148615.