A Bit of a Royal Do!
The Band played for Royalty on 13th December as HRH, the Prince of Wales visited the offices of The Abergavenny Chronicle at the start of a day of engagements in Wales. During his visit he met Abergavenny Chronicle staff as well as the paper’s owner Sir Ray Tindle and representatives of other newspapers in Tindle Newspapers’ Welsh division.
But it was our resident conductor, Lana Tingay, who offered the Prince the chance to conduct the band as it played Christmas Carols outside the Chronicle Office, an offer he politely declined. Shaking Lana’s hand he thanked her and the band for playing so well and cheering everyone up on such a cold damp day.
14th December 2013
Childs Play with Abergavenny
The first Christmas Concert of the year (December 10th) saw the band join with the Cardiff County & the Vale of Glamorgan Wind Orchestra in a concert at the Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral.
This magnificent venue provided a fitting backdrop to a great evening of music from the Orchestra and the Band. The Orchestra started the entertainment with a superb programme that included Sleigh Ride, New World Dances, Ukrainian Bell Carol and Excerpts from Echoes of the East.
The band then took to the stage with its own repertoire. “And the Band Played On” was followed by a beautiful Horn Solo from Rhiannon Griffiths entitled “Demelza” before the band raised the tempo with a furious “Welsh Clog Dance from Day of the Dragon”.
But the highlight of the evening for us was to accompany world renowned Euphonium player, David Childs, as he played three solo items; the haunting “Carrickfergus” followed with amazing virtuosity as David played “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms” and “The Hot Canary”.
The Band concluded its programme with the “Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov” before both band and orchestra joined together to get the audience singing and clapping along to “Christmas Festival Overture” and, of-course, “Jingle Bells”.
It was great privilege for the Band to share the stage with so many extremely talented musicians from the Orchestra, and to accompany our good friend, David Childs’ mesmeric euphonium playing.
11th December 2013
Childs Play at Abergavenny
It was a night like any other night in the Band Room on Friday 29th November, except we were expecting world famous Euphonium player David Childs to join us for a rehearsal as we prepare for the forthcoming concert with him in Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral of St David on 10th December.
I suppose when you think of it, the family plays a big part in banding, so it should have been no surprise really, when David walked through the door with his dad, Bob Childs, close behind. Not only did the band have the pleasure of accompanying some magnificent euphonium playing from the maestro as David played “Hot Canary”, “Believe Me if Al Those Endearing Young Charms”, “O Holy Night” and “Carrickfergus”, but Bob joined in by taking the rehearsal and then playing euphonium as well. The atmosphere was electric, the playing superb and the excitement in the band tangible.
One rehearsal we will never forget. Thank you Bob and David.
2nd December 2013
Busy Weekend in Blaenavon and Cardiff
The band competed in the final contest of 2013 this Saturday (23rd November) when it performed Tallis Variations by Philip Sparke at the Blaenavon Workmen’s Hall. In a line up eight championship section bands that included BTM, City of Cardiff, Markham, Lydbrook, Burry Port, Pontardulais and Tylorstown, the band delivered an excellent performance of its own choice test piece to come in 5th place.
On this occasion the band was once again led by Chris Turner who was very pleased with both the band playing and soloist’s performances. He described the band as “hard working” adding that it had been a real pleasure bringing the performance to such a level and that 5th was a very good result.
The contest was adjudicated by Paul Holland and Derek Broadbent. They described the bands performance as confident and stylish with good contrasts, complementing the various soloists who featured in the piece.
1st Burry Port
2nd City of Cardiff
The following day (Sunday) saw the band travel to Cardiff to participate in the “Band Cymru” competition. Organised by S4C, this is an exciting new competition for brass, wind and jazz bands with a first prize of £10,000. This will be a unique opportunity for television audiences to enjoy the very best in Welsh bands, performing an entertaining programme to the highest standard of presentation.
22nd November 2013
Band in the prizes
A trip to Burry Port on Saturday 5th October proved worthwhile for the band as it played a superb rendition of Trittico to take third prize. In a line up of six bands the winning performance came from Tylorstown followed by Burry Port in second place.
This was the first time for renown cornetist, Chris Turner, to take the band as MD Craig Roberts relinquished the baton to take the 2nd Euphonium seat for the day. Chris confessed to being a little apprehensive when asked to take the band a week before the competition. Concerned that he only had a week to put a contest performance together Chris commented "I needn't have worried, the welcome and dedication shown by the band assured a great performance on the day...third feels like 1st". He added " the soloists were fantastic and each member gave his all. A big thanks also to Craig Roberts for his magnanimous decision to pick up the Euphonium for the good of the band".
Adjudicator, John Doyle, praised every section of the band in his assessment and stated that ours was "one of the best readings of the day and a spot on choice of piece for the band".
Full results of the championship section:
1. Tylorstown (Gary Davies) - 195
2. Burry Port (Nigel Seaman) - 192
3. Abergavenny Borough (Chris Turner) - 191
4. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Gareth Ritter) - 190
5. Markham & District (Gareth Pritchard) - 188
6. Pontardulais (Paul Jenkins) - 187
6th October 2013
Abergavenny Musicians Play for President
Between August 20 and 26 a group of musicians from Abergavenny headed East to perform in the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine for events marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the city in 1943
Performing under the banner of Symphonic Brass Wales, the band members played alongside hundreds of other musicians from Russia, Moldova, Turkey and all across Ukraine, for an audience of thousands, as well as live for a nationwide audience on Ukrainian television.
The bands' first performance took place in the presence of President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, Veterans of the Second World War and additional VIP guests. The band then also performed in an massed open event for the general public in Freedom Square, and gave a stand alone concert performance for the Vice Mayor and residents of the Chervonozavodsky region.
The group enjoyed a wonderful visit and hope to return to Kharkiv again in the very near future. Abergavenny look forward to making further international appearances within 2014 and beyond.
29th August 2013
Y-Fenni 10 piece - A Summer of Ensembles
It's been a busy summer of ensemble activity for members of the Abergavenny Borough Band.
In addition to full senior and junior band summer performances in and around Abergavenny, in late July, a quintet from the senior band flew to Baden-Württemberg, Germany with Symphonic Brass Wales, as guests of the Stadtkapelle Nürtingen, for the 17th annual Nürtingen Tattoo.
Each year the Nürtingen Tattoo takes the form of a large-scale open air performance held on specially constructed lit stages in front of the City Hall. Over 1000 people attended the event which also featuring the 50 strong Stadtkapelle Nürtingen and the Ehingen Donau Pipe Band. Great friendships were formed and is firmly hoped that the full Abergavenny Band will be able to feature in a future Nürtingen Tattoo.
In mid August, a ten piece ensemble from Abergavenny Band was then invited to perform in the Brecon Jazz Fringe Festival. The ensemble proved very popular with both the large audience and venue, and as a result have already been engaged to return to perform again in 2014.
To complete the summer's adventures, in late August a group of musicians from the band will also soon be heading east to the Ukraine, as guests of the Department of Culture of the Kharkiv Region. The group will again perform with Symphonic Brass Wales in a large-scale international event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Kharkov in 1943.
The ensemble concept of this summer has been so successful for Abergavenny that the capacity is to be retained and "Y Fenni 10" will be available for small scale engagements from hereon in
To book the ensemble, or full band, for your function or event, please click here
St Mary's Priory to the rescue
Saturday 15th June was to be the second concert for the Band in the beautiful grounds of Abergavenny's Norman Castle. Last year we were proud to perform at the Castle on the day the Olympic Torch was relayed through the town and this was a precursor to the excitement of our visit to the Olympic park to play on the Olympic stage with West End star Peter Karrie the following September.
However, although the evening remained dry, there was substantial rainfall during the day making the Castle unsuitable for the concert and this was compounded by a persistent strong wind which meant playing would be almost impossible. We were extremely grateful to the Church for accommodating the concert at the last minute and, indeed, the venue proved an appropriate setting for some great classical music from the band and the Ravensburg Youth Symphony Orchestra both of whom were encouraged by the enthusiastic responses from the many people in the audience.
Musical Director, Craig Roberts, congratulated the Band on an excellent performance and the successful evening was a welcome morale booster for the players. Band Chairman, Andrew Richards, thanked Harald Hepner, Musical Director of the Jugendsinfonieorchester Ravensburg for the orchestras magnificent contribution to a great evening of music.
Discussions with the Church are underway to establish a regular Autumn Proms concert at the Priory. Keep watching the website for developments.
17th June 2013
Ebbw Vale Blues
A bad day at the office for the band at the South East Wales Brass Band Association contest at Ebbw Vale on 18th May. Playing John Golland's "Sounds" as its own choice test piece the band suffered from poor control of dynamics, rhythm and ensemble playing to finish in 6th place. In a line up of six bands that included Tylorstown, Burry Port, Cardiff, Markham and Pondardulais, adjudicator Ian Porthouse stated that he was looking for good ensemble playing and detail in the performances at the contest.
He picked out several areas of the Bands playing that fell short of championship quality and stated that our overall performance needed more thought to balance in louder dynamics and allow the detail to come through the score.
Musical Director, Craig Roberts commented that the band gave "a mixed performance of a difficult piece..but well done to all"
1st Burry Port 194 pts
2nd City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) 193 pts
3rd Tylorstown 192 pts
4th Pontardulais 190 pts
5th Markham & District 189 pts
6th Abergavenny Borough 188 pts
19th May 2013
Abergavenny Borough Band in conjunction with the Ravensburg Youth Symphony Orchestra presents its second open air concert in the majestic grounds of Abergavenny Castle on 15th June at 5pm. This builds on last years highly successful event which was organised to celebrate the arrival of the 2012 Olympic Torch in Abergavenny.
The Castle provides an impressive back drop to such a musical concert and the audience is invited to bring along a picnic and take full advantage of the beautiful grounds. The concert programme will feature brass and orchestral classics culminating in a spectacular arrangement of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.
Tickets available from Borough Theatre Box Office(01873 850805)
at £10 each (£8 concessions).
15th June 5:00pm start.
To find out more about Abergavenny Castle, click here
Double Cellebration for Lana & Lizzie
There was great joy and merriment when Band stalwart, Lana Tingay and her daughter Lizzie celebrated their joint birthdays with a party at Blaenavon's Workingmens Institute on Saturday (20th April). It was Lana's 50th and Lizzie's 18th both within a day of eachother so they marked the occasion by inviting over a hundred friends to celebrate with them.
It was great to see so many people of all ages, many from the world of banding, enjoying the evening together.
24th April 2013
Band AGM "with a touch of sadness"
Friday 22nd March saw the Bands AGM held at the Bandroom in Prospect road, Abergavenny. Reports from the Chairman and Musical Director congratulated the band on its ahievements in 2012 and for the sucess of both Youth and Senior Bands. Chairman, Andrew Richards, said how proud he is to be part of such adynamic and vibrant organisation that represents the town so well and what a privilege it is to play alongside such excellent musicians.
Musicel Director, Craig Roberts, encouraged all to continue their sterling hard work & level of commitment, and where possible to raise it, be that with attendance, preparation or playing standard.
Band Treasurer, Philip Bull reported on the audited accounts and stated that although the band had broken even in 2012, there was no room for complacancy as there can be no doubt, our costs will continue to rise. It was stresed how important our own fundraising activities were going to be in 2013.
On a sad note, long time band secretary Gareth Havard, decided to stand down from the role after almost 10 years service. He commented that it had been a pleasure to have been able to support the band and for him and his wife, Sharon, to have put alittle something back into an organisation that has given so much to both of their daughters. The Band Chairman congratulated both for their exemplary service and dedication to the band. He also comented that this may be the time for Gareth to take up the challenge of playing the BBb Tuba...we await his response!
23rd March 2013
Bobath Cymru 21st Anniversary Concert
On Sunday afternoon, 17th March at St Davids Hall, Cardiff, the Band was proud to participate in the Bobath Cymru 21st Anniversary Concert. The afternoon was packed with entertainment from Sarah Lark, Katy Treharne, Peter Karrie, Lukasz Biela, Mike Doyle and Zervas & Pepper. Also on stage were youngsters from the Debbie Chapman Dancers, Welsh Folk Dancing from Dawnswyr Nant Garw, the Pukka Potential Theatre School, the Liberty Big Band and youngsters from Cor Casnewydd.
The Band played several pieces with the massed male voice choirs of Bridgend, Llantrisant and the Cardiff Arms Park. The entire concert was hosted by celebreties from the stage, radio and TV; Roy Noble, Arfon Haines Davies, Connie Fisher, Lucy & Rhodri Owen and Margaret Williams.
This was a very entertaining afternoon which was in aid of a very worthwhile charity that provides therapies for children with cerebral palsy. It was an honour and pleasure to have contibuted to the cause. For more information about Bobath therapy please visit their website by clicking here.
23rd March 2012
W S Gwynne Williams Award
Abergavenny Borough Band have been awarded the prestigious W.S. Gwynn Williams Award by Music Centre Wales - Ty Cerdd, for their achievements throughout 2011/12.
The award is each year presented to the musical organisation which has, in the view of the Tŷ Cerdd Executive, displayed both a strong commitment to Welsh music and made an outstanding contribution to its community.
Candidates for the award are nominated by members of the public and the winning citation this year paid tribute to the exciting programming that is a feature of the band’s concerts, where much emphasis has been given to new Welsh music. This, combined with the splendid community work which the band does, together with its strong commitment to its youth band of 40 members, were the deciding factors in Tŷ Cerdd’s decision to make the award.
During 2011 Abergavenny were named SEWBBA and overall joint Welsh Brass Band League Champions. 2012 then saw them perform in concert at Abergavenny Castle, BBC Hoddinott Hall, the Wales Millennium Centre, the Millennium Stadium, the Dora Stouzker Hall of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, the Brangwyn Hall, St David's Hall, the Senedd and the Olympic Park, London. During this period the band has also worked with leading artists including Paul Mealor, David Childs, Peter Karrie, Mike Doyle, Sarah Lark, Katy Treharne, the Jugendsinfonieorchester Ravensburg and a number of leading male & mixed choirs.
The announcement of the award to Abergavenny was made by Tŷ Cerdd Director Gwyn L. Williams at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea in March. Band Chairman comented that "this is indeed a fitting tribute to everyone in the Band who has contributed so much to its success and high profile in recent years".
The official presentation, together with a cheque for £1000, was made to Musical Director Craig Roberts and Band Chairman Andrew Richards at the Wales Millennium Centre on Monday April 8 by Ty Cerdd Chairman Dr Lyn Davies and Pedr Roberts, Vice-Chairman.
Click here for the Ty Cerdd website.
22nd March 2013
Dissapointment at Swansea
The band played well at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall at the Welsh Regional Brass Band Championships. But despite an excellent performance adjudicator, Kevin Wadsworth could only place the band in 5th place stating that our performance of Brass Triumphant had much to commend it.
However, he was less than complimentary about the playing of the third movement and the band would agree that, in places, the ensemble was too loud and made life difficult for our soloists.
Musical Director, Craig Roberts, commented that we gave a very strong performance and was pleased with the overall commitment of the band.
The full results were
1. Tylorstown, (Gary Davies)
2. Penclawdd, (Tony Small)
3. Llwydcoed, (Nigel Seaman)
4. Llanrug, (Paul Hughes)
5. Abergavenny Borough, (Craig Roberts)
6. Markham, (Gareth Pritchard)
7. Deiniolen, (Gavin Saynor)
8. Lewis Merthyr, (Gareth Pritchard)
9. Rogerstone, (Adrian Morton)
22nd March 2013
Welcome Back David
The Band is pleased to welcome David Childs back to the band room for a pre-Regional Contest rehearsal on the test piece, Brass Triumphant on Tuesday 12th March, 7:30pm. The Band will compete for the 1st Section Welsh title at the Brangwyn Hall on Saturday 16th March.
British euphonium soloist David Childs was born in the mining village of Grimethorpe in 1981, to a family whose name had been synonymous with brass for the last two generations. His grandfather John was a well-respected euphonium player from the Welsh Valleys who inspired his sons, Robert & Nicholas to take up euphonium. Robert began teaching his son David from an early age and in recent years David has emerged as one of the finest brass soloists of his generation.
The last time David conducted the band it was for the same contest in 2002 when he took us to first place on the test piece Royal Parks. Band Chairman, Andrew Richards remembers it well, “it was a great day for the band and David. Taking the first prize on his conducting debut at the age of 21 was a formidable achievement. We are all looking forward to seeing him again and hope some of that magic still rubs off".
11th March 2013
St Davids Day Cellebration
The band enjoyed the magnificent venue of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff when it played to cellebrate St Davids day on 2nd March. The National Museum of Wales (Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru) invited voluntary groups and ensembles from across Wales to perform at its St David's Day weekend of events alongside performers from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Welsh National Opera.
The Youth and Senior Band performed in the busy foyer of the Museum with visitors stopping to enjoy the free concert.
The Youth Band, under the leadership of Lana Tingay opened the concert with a 30 minute programme of popular music playing to a packed audience. The busy foyer provided a magnificent back drop for the occasion and the band concluded with "Tradgedy" (Bee Gees) and were joined by the bands dancing troup the "Lanarettes"
The Senior band then took to the stage and played its varried programme taking advantage of the astounding resonance offered by the foyer. Again, as visitors to the Museum wandered around the exhibits the sound of the band provided a superb background to their tour.
Band Musical Director, Craig Roberts commented, "This was a great day out for the Youth and Senior bands today who both played superbly well"
Band Chairman, Andrew Richards said, " this has been a great opportunity to show off the Youth and Senior bands in a magnificent venue in our Capital City. We are very grateful to the Museum for inviting us to join in the St Davids Day cellebrations".
We are all now looking forward to the Welsh Regional Contest in Swansea's Brangwyn Hall on 16th March and there will be a great deal of hard work on the test piece between now and then.
3rd March 2013
Bobath 21st Anniversary Gala Concert
The Band is pleased to announce that it will be performing at this prestigious charity concert at St Davids Hall, Cardiff on Sunday 17th March at 3pm.
Celebrating Bobath's 21st birthday with a festival of music from Phantom, Les Miserables as well as comedy and dancing, this variety concert has something for everyone. Sharing the stage with the Band and Massed Choir will be a wonderful variety of acts including baritone, Lucasz Biela, comedian Mike Doyle, from the West End Peter Karrie, Sarah Lark and Katy Treharne. Californian folk from Zervas & Pepper, dancing from the renown Dawnswyr Nant Garw and the Debbie Chapman Dancers. The concert will feature music from Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and much much more. Hosts include Arfon Haines-Davies, Connie Fisher, Angharad Mair, Roy Noble and Margaret Williams.
Bobath Children's Therapy Centre Wales provides specialist physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy to over 450 children from across Wales who have cerebral palsy. Each year Bobath needs to raise over £900,000 to run the Centre. Money raised from this special concert will help make a huge difference to children from across Wales who have cerebral palsy.
The Band is thrilled to paricipate in this event and to offer its services for such a worthy cause. We are also looking forward to performing once again with our good friend Peter Karie who shared the stage with us at the Olympic Park last year.
Click here to go to the St Davids Hall website for further details and to and book tickets
"An excellent performance and a very good band" were the words spoken by adjudicator Dr Graham Jones MBE, as he handed the trophy for the best overall band on the day to band Chairman, Andrew Richards on Sunday 3rd February. Both Junior and Senior band made the short journey to Ross-on-Wye for the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association's annual entertainments contest and both gave superb performances to secure honours.
The Junior Band, directed by Lana Tingay, played popular pieces by the Beetles and Bee Gees as well as the Wallace & Gromit theme and the Robbie Williams number Let Me Entertain You. Twelve year old Solo Cornet player, Erin Shorey gave a confident performance of Yesterday and the band was commended by the adjudicator as it achieved the Silver Award for the day.
The Senior Band took the stage later in the day and played an eclectic programme that included a traditional march, The British Legion, And the Band Played On, The Fairy Garden, A Spin Through Moscow and Boris Godunov. Principal cornet player, Diane Mogford, gave a superb performance of the cornet solo Glorious Ventures, winning the best soloist prize for the day.
The band also won best 1st Section Band, Best Band Overall and the winning conductor’s prize bringing home a grand total of four trophies to adorn the prize cabinet in the band room.
Band Chairman, Andrew Richards, commented “this has been a marvellous day for the band and is a good reward for all our hard work preparing for this contest. We have a busy few weeks ahead now, raising the standard even higher ready for the Welsh Open Entertainment Contest in Porthcawl on Feb 16th”.
Website editor 3rd February 2013
The Band is looking forward to participating in the Mayor of Abergavenny’s charity concert on 1st February in aid of St Anne’s Hospice and local charities. The concert will held in St Mary’s Priory Church and feature the Synergy Choir, the Air Training Corps Band, and the North Monmouthshire Youth Wind Band.
Tickets are available from the Town Council Office or from the Town Mayor by ringing 07944 623184 and cost £6 (£4 concessions).
23rd January 2013
Mayors reception for the Band
Samantha Dodd, Mayor of Abergavenny together with the Mayoress, Margaret Dodd and several town councillors, hosted a reception for the band in the Mayors Chambers on 14th January. Attended by members of the Senior and Youth bands the Mayor congratulated everyone for a successful year in 2012 and thanked the Band for the tremendous way it represented the town at the many venues and events throughout the year. She was also pleased to welcome so many youngsters from the band to her chambers and wished all good luck for the forthcoming contests in February.
Chairman, Andrew Richards, said the Band was very proud of its association with the town and had enjoyed a very exciting and successful year in 2012. Thanking the Mayor for hosting a reception in the bands honour, he said the band is looking forward to performing at her charity concert at St Marys Priory on February 1st. Andrew also commented on how important the youth band is to the future of the Borough Band and how proud we all are of the juniors.
The Mayor also took the opportunity to wish Junior Band member, Daniel Richards, a happy 10th birthday.
14th January 2013
Our youngsters - a great start to 2013
Eight of our youth brass band start the year by participating in the Greater Gwent Intermediate and Youth Brass Band Course. Attending intensive three day training at Croesyceiliog Comprehensive School, the cousre culminated in an afternoon concert at Christchurch Centre, Newport on Saturday 5th January.
Tutors on the course included our own Lana Tingay, Matthew Routley who is currently BBb tuba player for Black Dyke and David Powell who teaches Percussion. Both Matthew and David are former Abergavenny youth and senior band members. The course was organised by the Gwent Music Support Service.
The Greater Gwent Intermediate Youth Band was conducted by Derek Williams who plays for Tredegar Band. Attending from Abergavenny were Henry and Benedict Allman, Daniel Richards and Erin Shorey. Erin was awarded a prize for best bandsperson on the intermediate course. Their programme included music by Stuart Johnson, Jock McKenzie, Gary Young and Alan Fernie and also some movements from Pictures at an Exhibition arranged by Rob Hume.
The Greater Gwent Youth Band was conducted by Philip Harper who is the current Musical Director of the Cory Band. Attending from Abergavenny were Richard Ward, Evan and Anna Roberts and Elizabeth Tingay. Their programme included music arranged by Leigh Baker, Bruce Broughton, Sandy Smith and Philip Harper and also included original works by Goff Richards and the two major works, Tintagel by Denis Wright and The Red Machine by Peter Graham.
The Band would like to congratulate our young players on an amazing performance and thank the Gwent Music Support Service staff for their hard work during the course this week.
5th January 2013