With the beginning of the season came a new staff members in Louise ‘Scooby Lou’ Sudbury, who joined the Brass staff. Following on from the best year the corps had seen, 1999 was the year that would test the corps staying power. As with many things in life, it is hard to get to the top, but even harder to stay there. Black Knights had a point to prove.
The musical selection was from the stage version of ‘Titanic’, along with part of the main theme from the Blockbuster Movie. The Cadets show was also based on Titanic, however their selection was from the Movie soundtrack.
DCUK’s rules changed this year, allowing each corps to march 3 people over the age of 25. This ruling enabled the corps to utilise staff members Mark Brewster and Andy ‘Fluff’ Field on Baritone and Steve Clarke on Tenors. (All three of whom were in their thirties, one with a 2 year old daughter and another with an expectant wife who was due 2 weeks before finals.). They each worked very hard to learn the new techniques, and the more challenging music that BK was attempting. All three did superbly and impressed everyone, including themselves.
At the first show, the corps ended 3rd behind Cadence and Senators, and this was where they were to stay throughout the first half of the season. When the corps came out again second half, the show changes were all well received, and the show flowed from beginning to end. They ended up on top of the pile at the first competition second half (Tottenham), beating Cadence and Senators into joint second place. The same result came through at the A Class prelims show, with a clear top three. BK, Senators and Cadence, then Concord and Kidsgrove Scouts in 4th and 5th place.
Finals day came, and the corps had prepared well for the event. The prelims performance was the best of the season, with some truly electrifying moments. The result, 4th place, behind Cadence in first, Kidsgrove who jumped to second spot and Senators. The top five were all within a point of each other. Anything could have happened.
The evening performance was brilliant and every member performed to his or her best standards and beyond. The corps, which was known at that time for its strong Guard presence retained the high Colourguard trophy. Many suspected that Black Knights would get the Bronze position, however they remained in 4th spot being overtaken by Concord.
This was still a great year for the corps, but one that was perhaps marred by some internal problems. For the members who would be staff, it was a massive learning curve, and the opportunity would soon come for them to take their chance to make a difference.