Castle Hill concert bands take out NSW Band Championship

CASTLE Hill concert bands took out the top prizes at the NSW Band Championships over the weekend in Penrith.

The Castle Hill RSL Youth Wind Orchestra and their senior counterparts, the North West Wind Ensemble, won the Junior A Grade and Open A Grade Concert Band titles, respectively.

Speaking on accepting the Open A Grade title, musical director James Brice said he was proud of the band's performance.

"I was welled up with tears at our performance today. It was absolutely fantastic," Mr Brice said. "Probably the finest performance I have heard from our band in years."

For the state championships, each band is required to play three pieces: a test piece, a hymn and an own choice.

The YWO scored a commanding 240 out of a possible 250 and got 99 out of 100 for their test piece Twist by Australian composer Jodie Blackshaw.

What made the performance even more special was that the composer was in the audience to witness the performance of her work.

YWO President Fiona Day said all of the hard work the band has put in over the last couple of months in preparation has really paid off.

"I am so proud of James and our young musicians as their dedication and hard work has been deservedly rewarded with the Junior A Grade State Championship title."

The North West Wind Ensemble scored 241 for their performance, the highest score out of any band competing in the championships over the weekend.

The YWO has more than 60 members, ranging in age from 12 to 19, and the North West Wind Ensemble has many graduating YWO members.

This isn't the first bit of success the concert bands have enjoyed.

Over the past 10 years, the two Castle Hill bands have accumulated a combined 18 state championships.

Bolstered on by their win over the weekends, both bands are setting their sights on the national championships, which will be held in Sydney next Easter.

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