It’s Jingle all the Way at the Band's Christmas Concert
Children singing, youth band playing, senior band swaying, compere amusing; all mixed together beautifully to provide a Yule Tide treat for an appreciative audience at the bands annual Christmas Concert at the Borough Theatre on 17th December. Overall the band was joined on stage by some 60 children, infecting us all with their excitement and enthusiastic music making. If there was anyone left without Christmas cheer after that, then "Bah Humbug!"
For a second year the Band invited the Gilwern School Choir to share the stage and they “wowed” the audience with a musical tale of the Christmas story followed by rousing wishes of a Merry Christmas giving everyone in the auditorium very happy smiling faces.
More children took the stage as the bands beginners gave us “Jingle Bells” followed by the 38 strong junior band (plus adult learners) who lifted festive spirits with their Christmas melodies.
The Senior Band was led by resident conductor, Lana Tingay and delivered a programme mixed with traditional, folk and modern Christmas pieces to the obvious delight of the audience. Not one for letting audiences adopt a passive role in the music, Lana had the audience swaying and rocking and bouncing to the fast beats of the Snow Waltz, Shneewalzer.
The entire two hours of merry music making was knitted together superbly by a good friend of the band; raconteur and compere, David Hayward.
19th December 2011
The Band is pleased to announce that, following her splendid performance in recent contests, Diane has happily agreed to retake the position she held for several years as Principal Cornet. Diane is one of a handful of members who have served the band for over 40 years, starting at a very young age. She has always played the cornet and has been the cornerstone of the section for many years.
Diane has delighted the entire band by accepting the position with many of us believing she is back where she belongs. Musical Director, Craig Roberts, is thrilled at the news saying "the Band will benefit enormously from having such a dependable and capable player as Diane to lead it".
4th December 2011
4th Place at Blaenavon secures the title for Abergavenny
At the SEWBBA contest in Blaenavon yesterday (19th November) the band achieved a creditable 4th place (from 8 competing bands) just one point behind 3rd placed Tylorstown Band. This was enough for the band to lift the Wales Championship Section title for 2011 jointly with Tylorstown. The magnificent Trophy will be shared between the bands.
Under the baton of MD Craig Roberts, the band chose to play Peter Grahams “The Essence of Time” and scored 186 points from adjudicator Ian Brownbill.
The adjudication highlighted some good playing overall with some areas the band could improve upon. The contest saw the debut on Soprano Cornet of youngster, Evan Roberts who stepped up to the mark at short notice to give a very sound performance of this difficult part. Also making his first contest appearance for the band was 2nd Euphonium player Mike Amplett who gave new principal Euphonium, Christian Dullea, excellent support. There was also praise for Principal Cornet, Diane Mogford, for her solo performance.
Band Chairman, Andrew Richards, comments “We enjoyed the performance and although there were a few slips it was one where the whole band excelled. We are very grateful for the help we received from our guest players and I congratulate Evan and Mike on their debuts. Winning the Welsh Title is a magnificent achievement. Our MD, Craig Roberts, is thrilled for the band and we all thank him for the hard work he has put into getting the band to this level”.
20th November 2011
R.I.P. Ken Hayward
The Band is sad to learn of the death of one of our longest serving members and a real bandsman. Ken Hayward passed away on Saturday 12th November and will be sadly missed by us all.
Ken was a life member of the Band and one of our Trustees. Together with his wife, Mair, he worked hard to ensure the success of the Band. Both were particularly keen to see the youngsters develop encouraging son, David, to take up playing. Mair was band secretary for many years and Ken was a committee member and player. He is remembered for playing cornet, horn and tuba in his time but can also stir memories of when he led the Band on parade bearing the mace with immaculate precision together with his pristine white gauntlets. For many years, after he packed away his mouthpiece for good, he became compere for the Band’s many concerts drawing upon his “bumper fun book” of jokes to amuse audiences and make the players on stage cringe. It is nice to know that Ken’s “bumper fun book” has been passed on to son David who also comperes for the band from time to time.
Ken also served the wider band movement through the South East Wales Brass Band Association and officiated at many contests both as a contest controller and compere. He was a former President of the South East Wales Brass Band Association and Chairman of the British Federation of Brass Bands and was also awarded life membership of the SEWBBA for his dedication and long service to banding.
Ken’s granddaughter plays and his great grandson has also joined the Junior Band. That is a legacy for banding that spans four generations and is a fitting tribute to Ken - a true bandsman.
He died peacefully at Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny on Saturday 12th November. He was 83.
Our thoughts are with all of Ken’s loved ones at this sad time.
14th November 2011
Christian Dullea our new Principal Euphonium
The Band is pleased to announce that 18 year old Christian Dullea has been appointed the Bands Principal Euphonium. Christian joined the band in March 2009 as 2nd Euphonium to Jason Harris. He then supported Heather McDown who took over from Jason Last year and finally made an outsatnding contribution to the bands performance of "The Essence of Time" in the recent West Wales Brass Band Association Contest at Burry Port, when he took on the Principal role for the day.
Christian is able to demonstrate superb technical ability as well as a mature approach to his musical performances. He is a very reliable and committed bandsman and all the members of the band congratulate him on this much deserved accolade.
19th October 2011
Burry Port contest
The Essence of Time (P.Graham) was the band's own choice test piece for this weekends West Wales Brass Band Association contest held in Burry Port. Despite a difficult run up to the competition with MD, Craig Roberts and several band players away in Crete until two days before contest day, the Band achieved a creditable 4th place out of the seven competing entries. Remarkably, the last time the band played this piece was also in Burry Port in 2005 under the baton of Alun F Williams and we were awarded 4th place on that day.
The band was very positive about its performance and received many accolades from members of the audience and supporters of the band. However, adjudicator, C.Brian Buckley, criticised the band for an inconsistent performance which had problems with balance, rhythm and detail. He awarded 186 points.
The Band congratulates 18yr old Christian Dullea who stepped up to the mark as Principal Euphonium for the day. Since joining the junior band, Christian has developed into a robust 2nd Euphonium for the senior band. Following the return to the USA of former Principal Euphonium, Heather McDown, the band has been impressed with the maturity of Christian in occupying the end seat and delivering excellent perfomances as a solo instrumentalist. Band Chairman, Andrew Richards commented " the Band was confident that Christian would give an excellent performance in this demanding test piece and he didn't let us dow. We are all very proud of him".
Full results of the Championship section are:-
1. Burry Port Town (M. Thorne) – 192
2. Pontardulais Town (P. Jenkins) – 191
3. Tylorstown (G. Davies) – 189
4. Abergavenny Borough (C. Roberts) – 186
5. Markham & District (A. Morton) – 185
6 . RAF St Athan (A. Bourne) – 184
7. Rogerstone (J. Jones) – 182
9th October 2011
Happy 80th Eric
Family, friends and members of the band joined together to wish Eric Powell happy 80th birthday at a surprise party on 17th September. It was a very emotional evening as many players were taught by Eric from a very early age and wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to him for giving them such a wonderful gift of music and friendship.
It was shortly after the near disastrous fire of 1962 that Eric Powell was invited to join Abergavenny Borough Band as tutor to the emerging youth section. Under Eric's guidance the youth band grew in popularity until in 1964, on the death of bandmaster Bryn Kirby, he was asked to take over the baton of the senior band.
Band Chairman, Andrew Richards, comments "when you consider just how many young people have been taught by Eric over the years you soon come to realise what an immeasurable gift he has passed on to so many. It is an incredible achievement involving many hours of personal dedication and a devotion to banding. I started with Eric when I was nine, over 40yrs ago and am still playing and passing on this knowledge to my 8yr old son. The band members can't thank him enough for what he has given us over the years"
Happy Birthday Eric
22nd Sept 2011
Emma Havard joins the Elite
Former Abergavenny Horn player, Emma Havard, has joined the world famous Cory Band. She played for Abergavenny Borough band from the age of 8 under the tutelage of bandmaster Eric Powel. Emma says she is very grateful for the support given by the Band and Eric who started her on the Cornet and made her learn all her scales!
Emma joined the Cory Band during the summer and has already performed in concerts in Switzerland, the Wales Millennium Centre, St Davids Hall and the British Open in Birmingham where Cory took the title. She will be playing at the National Finals on 15th Oct at the Royal Albert Hall.
16th September 2011
Congratulations to Phil and Richard
At the Bands annual dinner, members voted Principal Trombone and Band Treasurer Philip Bull, Bandsman of the year. This is in recognition of his constant hard work on behalf of the band. Band Chairman Andrew Richards comments "Phil is one of the corner stones of the band, always reliable and nothing is too much trouble for him. This award is indeed very much deserved and we all congratulate Phil and thank him for his hard work".
Richard Ward was voted young bandsperson of the year. Richard, son of Eb bass player Steve, plays 3rd cornet for the Band and has progressed to the senior band from the Juniors. He is always there for us and has developed his skills to become a solid backrow cornet player. Well done Richard and congratulations from all the band.
16th September 2011
Band gains 36 places in 4 Bars Rest Rankings
At the end of May the Band jumped an impressive 36 places in the World rankings according to 4BarsRest. This means Abergavenny are now ranked 132 of the 200 world bands included in the table. Taking Wales alone the Band is now 15th out of the 24 Welsh bands.
Band Chairman, Andrew Richards, comments " This is very rewarding for the bands hard work in rebuilding its confidence and composure. The excellent performance taking us to first place in the Championship Section at Ebbw Vale last month bares this out and we look forward to building on this with MD Craig Roberts during the next contest season".
Please click here for the 4BarsRest rankings
5th June 2011
On Thursday 1st June 2011 the band was privileged to perform the opening concert of the St Mary’s Festival of the Arts. Musical Director, Craig Roberts, selected a programme filled with musical contrast including “Big Band” sounds, solemnity, American spirituals and the more traditional band music. Pop and cartoon music were added by the excellent Junior Band. The band rose to the occasion with a performance worthy of its standing as a championship band having recently won the SE Wales Championship contest at Ebbw Vale.
Soloists, Gen Philp (principal Cornet) and Heather McDown (Principal Euphonium) demonstrated technical and musical command of their chosen solo’s, Jubilance and Sparta respectively.
The second half was started by the junior band under their tutor, Lana Tingay (who is also the senior band’s resident conductor) who played a variety of pieces including YMCA, Scooby Do and The Muppet Show.
Changing formation in the second half the senior band delivered its “Big Band” selection of Opus One, L’il Darlin and Trumpet Blues and Cantabile.
The Band was joined by guest vocalist, Tom Mogford. Tom has been associated with the band for many years having been a member of the junior band. Now in the sixth form, Tom has concentrated of singing and stage performance.
The concert ended with the delightful “Lucern Song” . Based on a traditional Swiss theme the band enjoyed making fun of the Eb Tuba player who has been trying all night to assume centre stage and play a solo. Eventually, as players leave the stage one by one he is left alone and realises his dream. The Eb tuba soloist, Jeremy Rugman, wowed the audience with his virtuosi cadenza playing and comedic antics until the band rejoined him for the final bars.
The evening’s entertainment was introduced and smoothly compered throughout by a regular guest of the Band on stage, former trombonist David Hayward.
Craig comments " It was a very challenging programme and the band rose to it. This was a team effort and that's what's good about Abergavenny Band - it's a good team with a good team ethos"
Click here to read the St Mary’s Arts Festival Blog.
4th June 2011
The band is pleased to announce a double appointment at the helm.
After success at the Ebbw Vale Contest in May, Craig Roberts has accepted the band's invitation to become its new Musical Director. Craig has brought a new work ethic to the band and players have responded to the challenge by lifting their level of performance. All players are enjoying playing under Craig's vibrant style of Musical Direction and look forward to a long and rewarding partnership. Click here for Craig's biography
Also appointed to the position of Resident Conductor is the Band's respected junior band tutor, Lana Tingay. Lana can draw on many years experience conducting senior bands and is held in high regard by all members of the band.
This team approach to the musical leadership of the band will ensure continuity and strength in the preparation for a busy concert and competition diary.
28th May 2011
Guest conductor, Craig Roberts, took the band to a first prize in the Championship section at Ebbw Vale on 7th May. Playing own choice test piece, Trittico, the band demonstrated a return to confident playing after previous disappointments in Swansea and Porthcawl. Adujudicator, Jim Davies, complimented the band for its performance and congratulated Craig for a well controlled rendition of the chosen test piece. He also congratulated the band for a confident performance, praising the various sections of the band and individual excellence.
Band Chairman, Andrew Richards, commented " the band has really enjoyed Craig's approach and has responded well to his rehearsal style with some dedicated hard work and renewed confidence. This is a much needed result and will re-motivate everyone to build on what the band has achieved. Congratulations to Craig and all the players".
Craig will be taking the band to its next engagement which is the opening concert for the St Mary's Festival of Arts on 2nd June in St Mary's Church, Abergavenny.
8th May 2011
Band and MD part company
The Band and Musical Director, Dave Griffiths have decided to part company. Dave brought an exceptional level of musical expertise to the role, taking the band to third prize in his first contest at Ammanford. However, the necessary chemistry for band and MD to gel never really developed and it was decided that it was probably in the best interest of both parties if they called it a day. The band wishes Dave and family well for the future.
We now seek to appoint a new Musical Director and interested parties are invited to submit an enqiry via the contact form (click here). All enquiries will be treated with the strictest confidence.
30th March 2011
Saturday 19th March saw the annual Welsh regional championships hosted by the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. The band has worked extremely hard in the run up to the event rehearsing the exciting test piece, Le Carnival Romain (Hector Berlioz arr. Frank Wright). Despite player shortages in the Cornet and Tuba sections, adjudicator on the day, C. Brian Buckley, congratulated the band on a well balanced and exciting performance, a credit to the hard work of Musical Director, Dave Griffiths. However, it wasn't to be our day and the band was placed 7th out of the 10 competing bands. First place was awarded to Pontardulais Band and second to City of Cardiff and both will represent Wales an the National Finals in Cheltenham later in the year.
Band Chairman, Andrew Richards, comments " I really enjoyed the day but the Bands best performance of the test piece was left in the rehearsal room. Never the less, I have to mention the extraordinary effort and commitment of the young players on Rep, 2nd and 3rd Cornets. Evan Roberts, Emily Humphries and Richard Ward showed exceptional application and focus to play such a difficult piece with out the support of the vacant cornet positions. Well done"
20th March 2011
Saturday 19th February saw the Band attending the 2011 Welsh Open Contest in the Pavillion, Porthcawl. Playing a varied programme the band was drawn to follow on stage Wales giant and British Open Champion Band, Tredegar. This was always going to be a hard act to follow and with several guest players helping out, the band delivered a creditable performance against stiff opposition. However, adjudicator Derek Broadbent heard too many blemishes and ensemble problems, and marked the band down to 11th place accordingly. He was pleased with the solo performances, however, but these were not enough to redeem an overall dissapointing 20 minutes on stage for the band. Band Chairman, Andrew Richards remarked "we knew this was going to be a difficult afternoon for the band, especially as we are trying to rebuild and fill some vacancies. We have always been a resillient outfit and look forward to preparing for the regional contest in Swansea next month".
24th February 2011
The band is holding an open rehearsal at Glangrwyney Village Hall on February 17th at 7:30pm as part of its preparation for the next contest in Porthcawl on February 19th. Members of the public as well as band supporters and familiy members are welcome to join the band and its Musical Director, Dave Griffiths as he prepares the band for the rigours of competition.
There is no charge for entry and people are free to come and go throughout the evening. The band will be rehearsing a varied entertainments programme which will be in the form of a mini-concert.
Andrew Richards, band chairman, says "this will be an exciting evening for the band and a chance for local people to see the band at its best. We all hope for an excellent turnout for what will be an entertaining evening of music".
The village of Glangrwyney is on the A40 between Abergavenny and Brecon.
3rd February 2011
Emily does the double!
The Band is proud of its second cornet palyer, Emily Humphries, who has passed auditions for the National Youth Brass Band of Wales and for the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. Emily, 15 years old, has been with the Band for some 7 years and is a hard working, committed and valued band member. Keeping up the family traditions of the band, Emily is daughter of our Soprano player June and her husband, Howard who is the bands photographer.
All the band members congratulate Emily on this marvellous achievemt...well done!
20th January 2011
Thank you for your support
The band has had a very successful Christmas period fundraising throughout the Abergavenny area. Despite several days lost to the bad weather, this important time of the year saw the band raise substantial funds from carol playing and concerts. Band Chairman, Andrew Richards comments " this is a vital part of our annual fundraising calendar and money raised during Christmas will ensure sustainability throughout 2011. The Band wishes to thanks all the people of the town and surrounding area for such tremendous support again this year".
The band starts rehearsals in eanest on January 4th in preparation for another busy year of contesting and concerts. We would be particularly pleased to see new players especially on cornet or Tuba. Please go to our enquiry page (click here) if you would like to join us.
3rd January 2011