FOR the first time since 1985 the borough’s own Thurrock Marching Brass fielded a competitive marching band at a European Championships, where the young Lions would be outnumbered, outsized, and the clear underdogs for what turned out to be one of the most memorable European Championships for some time at the Parkstad Limburg Stadium in Kerkrade the Netherlands on Saturday 26 September 2015.
With six of the top 12 Junior Class marching bands in Europe making the championships, the young Lions of Thurrock Marching Brass were lying in sixth position prior to the competition start.
With an average age of just over 10 years, which was by far the lowest in the competition overall and with a huge and enthusiastic audience to cheer every one of them on in what was the largest setting and stadium they have performed in since re-launching in October 2010, there was an underlying excitement as they marched onto the field to perform their 2015 summer production called Leo. The show tells the story of small Lion Cubs living freely in the wild, getting captured, and then breaking free again using musical excerpts from Born to be Wild, Hakuna Matata, Born Free and the real foot-tapping clap-along finale, Happy.
The Drum Corps Europe hosts were incredibly supportive of the organisation, and wherever the young Lions went they were met with smiles and encouragement, and the professionalism and support they showed everyone back was well received. So much so that our new German friends from the Blue Diamonds Drum & Bugle Corps have started discussions for an exchange visit in the future.
This was the last competitive performance for the young Lions for this season, and they left everything they could on the field. They projected, they smiled, they performed their hearts out and at the end of their show they had many on their feet congratulating them for all their hard work and efforts.
During the retreat and scores ceremony for the final results of the Junior Class, the sheer size and number differences between our young Lions and the rest of the competition was clear to see as each set up alongside each other ready to hear the results. If you judged the outcome by that particular cover you would be forgiven for thinking that there was an uphill struggle for Thurrock Marching Brass to keep up to their competitive rivals on the day. Forgiven, but totally wrong, because when the scores were announced our little Lions moved up a slot and into fifth place overall on the day. What an amazing achievement by such a young group and what a reception from everyone at the stadium for that achievement. Fifth in Europe at the European Championships has really reaffirmed to the marching and performing arts world that Thurrock remains a force to be reckoned with. Age and size are not a limit to success, and Thurrock Marching Brass stole yet more hearts to prove that point in emphatic style. An incredible result and one that the borough, our members, and everyone involved at Thurrock Marching Brass can be truly proud of.
Speaking of the achievement, Chairman, Paul Morgan comments “This has been an incredible experience for these youngsters. With so many stories of young people causing trouble or falling off the rails that we read regularly in the daily papers and online, this is a story that flips that on its head and shows that with the right surroundings, guidance, love and attention, young people really can achieve massively rewarding goals. To make the top five at the DCE European Championships against so many odds was truly remarkable. I am incredibly proud. The entire staff base here at Thurrock Marching Brass are incredibly proud. Our supporters and helpers and all those we have interacted with on the continent are also incredibly proud of what these talented youngsters have achieved. I know that the borough will also embrace this achievement and look forward to many more opportunities to demonstrate that our youngsters are capable of so many good things and to entertaining audiences across the UK and elsewhere. What an incredible journey, and what an amazing conclusion to the season this has been. Thank you to everyone who has played an important part in its success, not least to our Assistant Corps Director, Cheryl Corcoran, all the Staff, the backroom staff looking after the wardrobes and other important parts of the production and all other helpers; but equally a huge thank you to all those we have entertained this season for your support and encouragement. The members thrive on that. Thank you all.”
Thurrock Marching Brass are proud to perform as much as they can within the community and you can keep up to date with all their engagements on our website below or by following their on Facebook.