Saul Gibney nearly didn’t go to Nelson City Brass’s end of year dinner, but it’s just as well he did.
The solo cornetist, who has played brass instruments for 20 years, was awarded the Player of the Year.
“It was a really nice surprise,” says Saul, who first picked up the instrument as a young student in Nelson.
When he moved back to the city several years ago, he joined up with Nelson City Brass.
“What I enjoy about the band is that I have been lots of places with it, to contests and competitions and made lots of friends. It’s a real community. The band has been a family.”
Saul says the band has gone from strength to strength under the leadership of Nigel Weeks.
“It’s been a massive couple of years since Nigel came aboard,” Saul says.
It went from being in the ‘C-grade’ in competitions to winning it three months later. Then it won the competition again the following year. Then the band was promoted to ‘B-grade’ and almost won the competition there, as well.
“Nigel is just a great conductor and knows how to get the most out of people. It was one of the main reasons I re-joined the band.”
Saul says he loves the versatility of brass – playing everything from pop, jazz, orchestral and ska music.
“For people who haven’t heard a brass band before it really is a beautiful sound. It’s a lovely thing to listen to.”
And the people of Nelson will have several chances to do that with Nelson City Brass playing at the Lantern Festival on Saturday, Broadgreen Carols on Sunday, and will also be boarding a truck to play carols around the city leading up to Christmas.