Christmas Concert completes 2016
The Band rounded off a year of mixed fortunes with an exciting Christmas Concert held at the St Mary’s Priory Church in Abergavenny on Saturday 17th December. Sadly in 2016 we said farewell to former MD Alun F Williams, but welcomed our new Musical Director, Sean O’Neil to complete our contesting year and conduct his first concert this Christmas.
The large audience was joined by the Mayor and Mayoress of Abergavenny, Councillor Chris Woodhouse and wife Sheila, who were treated to a traditional Christmas programme with specially featured items from the bands prize winning soloists and sections.
Best Soloist at the South East Wales Brass Band Associations Merthyr Contest in November, Principal Euphomium Aled Daniels, gave a delightful rendition of “Merry Christmas Darlin’ by Richard Carpenter.
Solo Cornet players, Diane Mogford (best Soloist in Octobers Fishguard Contest) Karla Howe and Ethan Hall demonstrated virtuosity in their performance of the spectacular “Trumpets Wild” before the Horn section (awarded best section at the Cheltenham contest in November) got in on the act. The Horns, Deborah Bull, Zoe Alexander, Elizabeth Tingay and Erin Shorey moved everyone into “swing” mode with another foot tapping number, “Reet Petite”.
The concert also featured the stars of our organisation, the Youth Band under the direction of Mr Colin Roberts. As well as leading the community carol singing the youngsters gave us “Flashdance”, “Eye of the Tiger” and “Happy” all of which were excellently performed and appreciated by the audience.
To steal the show though, we relied on the angelic voice of 4 years old Mya Roynon-Griffiths who "wowed" everyone in the Church with her solo performance of "Twinkle Twinkle". Mya was also a participant in our recent Youth Masterclass when she joined in with her tambourine.
An excellent evening, admirably compered by Lana Tingay was concluded with the not so traditional brass band arrangement of Noddy Holder’s (yes, that’s right.... of Slade fame) “Merry Christmas Everybody”
With only two more town carolling sessions left before Christmas, our concert brings 2016 to a close for the band. We are all looking forward to 2017 with confidence and optimism and will work hard with Sean to build on the successes this year has brought.
18th December 2016
It’s Official, Sean is the new MD
After three successful contests and many rehearsals with Sean O’Neil at the helm, the band unanimously approved the appointment of Sean as its new Musical Director. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role built up from a distinguished playing career and senior educational roles. In 2006, Sean was appointed a Senior Brass Tutor with Gwent Music Service, Head of Brass in 2013 and is presently Head of Brass and Winds with Gwent Music.
Sean commented that he is delighted to be offered the position of MD and looks forward to a very long and prosperous future working with the players of the band. The Band is thrilled that he has taken up the position and have thoroughly enjoyed working with Sean over the last few months. Band Chairman, Terry Prosser, stated that the last three contests have provided a great foundation on which the Band and Sean can build. Sean has brought a renewed confidence to our playing and we look forward to a positive future working with Sean.
The band is currently preparing for the annual Christmas concert with Sean.
9th December 2016
Band Builds on Success
Following a successful visit to Cheltenham on 20th November, the band took itself to Merthyr Tydfil on 26th for the final contest of 2016. Here, all bands played a set test piece and for section one this was to be Malcolm Arnolds Fantasy for Brass Band. In a competition that saw eight bands demonstrate a range of competence and some who struggled with the complexities of the challenging music, our guest MD, Sean O’Neil, showed how well the band had prepared for this contest. In rehearsals the week following the Cheltenham contest, Sean took the band to another level and was able to add polish to the already accomplished playing by the band.
The result of all Sean’s hard work and the dedication of the players who delivered an inspirational rendition of this famous test piece, was a magnificent 2nd prize for the band and a well deserved “best instrumentalist” award for Principal Euphonium, Aled Daniels.
Sean commented on the result; “ There was only one point separating us from 1st place which shows how close a contest it was. However, there was clear air between the band and the rest of the field on what was undoubtedly felt to be a most demanding test piece. This shows how far the band has progressed in such a short time and everyone can be very proud of their achievements. Top three placing in the last three contests, soloist and section prizes, are really confidence building for 2017”.
With the Band riding high on a string of excellent contest results, we are all looking forward to the Christmas playing season and our concert on 17th December. This all bodes well for the next contest, the Welsh Regional Championships at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall in March.
Sean added that he was delighted for all the band members and proud to share in their success. There will, no doubt, be much to look forward to.
27th November 2016
Girl Power at Cheltenham
Sunday November 20th saw the band compete in the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association contest at the All Saints Academy in Cheltenham. In an own choice competition the band opened their programme with the rousing march Mephistopheles followed by its own choice of test piece, Malcolm Arnolds Fantasy for Brass Band. The adjudicator, David Thornton, complimented the band for it ensemble describing the playing as “virtuosic” and also congratulating outstanding soloist contributions to the performance. Under the direction of guest MD, Sean O’Neil, the band was delighted to achieve 2nd prize for the test piece and 3rd place for the March.
The successes of the day were topped off nicely by our own “Girl Power” horn section, Deb Bull, Lizzy Tingay, Zoe Alexander and Erin Shorey, who were awarded “best horn section” of the day. Well done girls.
21st November 2016
Abergavenny Honours the Fallen
Sunday 14th November saw the annual Remembrance Day Parade took place at the war memorial in Frogmore Street. The parade was led by the Band who welcomed the addition of several players from the youth band on their first marching experience. Many of the towns clubs and societies were well represented, as were the towns Civic Dignitaries.
Once again the Band was proud to participate in the ceremony and congratulates principal cornet player, Diane Mogford, on a faultless Last Post and Reveille.
Well done everyone who took part......”We Will Remember Them”.
15th November 2016
Masterclass a great success
The band hosted its first youth masterclass on 5th and 6th November for the young players of the area. The weekend was led by music teacher, Lana Tingay who was joined by musicians from the world famous champion band, Tredegar. The weekend comprised a series of youth development master classes for young people of all abilities, benefiting young people in the area by sharing music making, developing social skills, gaining confidence and new experiences.
Almost 50 youngsters of all abilities received expert coaching over the two days, culminating in a concert by the “Buzzers & Blowers” Sunday lunchtime and one from the youth band in the evening. Funded by Ty Cerdd, the Masterclass gave youngsters the rare opportunity of rehearsing alongside expert players from Tredegar band and the discipline of preparing and performing a concert programme to a live audience.
The band is grateful to Joy Dando, the head teacher of Victoria Primary School, Abersychan for the use of the school, and to Steve Barnet (percussion),Matt White (Euphonium), Steffan Jones (Tuba), Hannah Drage (Horn), Brendan Caddy (Cornet) and Josh Herman (Trombone) who gave the youngsters expert musical tuition all weekend.
Lana Tingay thanked all who helped run the sessions and congratulated the children for their concentration, attentiveness and for working so hard and giving such excellent performances at the concerts. The concerts included music from the movies, Grease and One-Direction.
Band Chairman, Terry Prosser, thanked Lana for all her hard work in putting the weekend course together, everyone who helped and particularly the players from Tredegar Band for giving the youngsters such a memorable musical experience.
8th November 2016
The band held its annual dinner on 5th November at the Llanwenarth Arms Hotel. Band Chairman, Terry Prosser, welcomed everyone and especially our special guests, Abergavenny Town Mayor Cllr. Chris Woodhouse and his wife Sheila, and band president Alun Griffiths and his wife Pauline.
In his address Terry congratulated the band on its success during the year and thanks all for their dedication and hard work. He drew attention to the latest contest result at Fishguard, a well deserved third place, and congratulated Principal Cornet player, Diane Mogford on winning the best Soloist award.
Abergavenny Town Mayor, Chris Woodhouse thanked the band on behalf of the Town and Council for representing Abergavenny so well for many years. He said how the town was very proud of all we do and congratulated the band for encouraging so many young people to participate in music.
The evening then moved on to the awards and taking both the “most improved player” and “young player of the year” prises was the bands young percussionist, Zac Roynon-Griffiths. The members award of “bandsperson of the year” went to principal cornet player, Diane Mogford.
7th November 2016
A FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG BRASS PLAYERS
Hosted by Abergavenny Borough Youth Brass Band and funded by Ty Cerdd, we are pleased to invite young players under 18 years old from the area to a weekend master class with tutors from the world famous championship winning Tredegar Town Band. This will culminate in a Musical Extravaganza on the Sunday evening featuring students from the course
This event will occur on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th November, from 10am till 4pm both days. The Sunday concert will be from 4pm till 5pm. And the whole thing, including admission to the concert is FREE OF CHARGE!
A special short course for beginners will run on the Sunday morning only, starting at 10am and finishing with a short concert from 11.45 to 12.oo.
The venue is Victoria Primary School, Lower Harpers Road, Abersychan, NP4 8PW. We suggest that attendees bring packed lunches and drinks on both days.
Anybody interested in attending, please contact Lana Tingay via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Abergavenny youth band members please confirm attendance by text to Colin.
Lots to celebrate in Fishguard
Three wedding anniversaries, a third prize and best soloist. The Band has had worse days!
The West Wales Brass Band Association Festival Contest on 1st October saw the Band travel to Fishguard for a very enjoyable overnight stay at the Sea View Hotel, a trip that has become something of a tradition for the band at this time of the year.
Celebrations were in order as the band played the magnificent “Triumphant Rhapsody” by Gilbert Vinter in the 1st section of the competition and enjoyed 3rd prize from the five competing bands on the day. As MD, Alun F Williams and his wife were enjoying a well earned holiday, the Band was privileged to have the services of Sean O’Neill to prepare and conduct the band in the contest.
Sean commented after the contest: “I am delighted for the band, their result in Fishguard was richly deserved for all their hard work and effort over the past few weeks and hopefully will stand them in very good stead for the rest of this seasons upcoming contests. The adjudicator’s comments were extremely positive and it was so gratifying to see so many different sections of the band complemented on their performance. All the soloists played with great confidence, musical style and commitment. Diane did a brilliant cadenza and I am especially delighted she won the soloist award. It was a huge test piece for many of the less experienced players in the band but they gave their all and really got involved throughout the rehearsal schedule and I hope learned not to worry about making a mistake. Rehearsals and the band room is where we can experiment and try different techniques and find out how far we can push ourselves. I felt extremely confident that the band would do justice to Gilbert Vinter's wonderful "Triumphant Rhapsody" and to themselves. Nerves are for the faint hearted.... Abergavenny band have big and brave hearts, no need to worry about nerves, the instruments speak for themselves! As Mike Kilroy suggests, keep listening to each other and build on the "team sound" You have the abilty, just believe in it and keep enjoying your music making!
It was a great privilege to be invited to conduct the Band in Fishguard and I enjoyed their overwhelming friendship in rehearsal and their dedicated commitment to the work and performance. A really heart warming experience. Bravo Aber!”
Also a cause for celebration were the three band couples who were enjoying their wedding anniversaries. Life member, Andrew Richards and wife Diane’s anniversary was the preceding Tuesday but on the day itself were the anniversaries of Soprano player Dave Bateman and wife Karen, and Flugel player (for the day) Lana Tingay and husband, Eb Bass player Jonathan.
All in all, a great weekend of enjoyment and merriment for the band members who partied in to wee small hours.
3rd October 2016
Lana Tingay “weighs a pie” at the Llangynidr show
In the heart of the Brecon Beacons - the Llangynidr Show is a great day out for everyone and how better to spend your bank holiday Sunday than to sit and enjoy the performance of the band in the show ground and performance marquee.
Apart from one heavy shower the day benefited from great weather which attracted the crowds. The Band was delighted to feature at the event alongside agricultural, horticultural and craft competitions, cookery demonstrations, sheep shearing and family activities.
The band played nearly three hours of music to an enthusiastic audience which appreciated the eclectic mix of programme chosen by MD, Alun F Williams (who is also principal “Whistler” for the Beatles number “Ticket to Ride”). Several superb soloists received the accolade of the crowds including Ian Howe on Trombone, Diane Mogford principal cornet, and a consummately professional rendition of “Over the Rainbow” from the Solo Horn player for the day, Lana Tingay which brought the “tent down”!!
All in all, a great show, great day and great performance from the band.
31st August 2016
A thrilling Eisteddfod performance!
As the Eisteddfod comes to Abergavenny the band was delighted to perform a concert on stage at the Llwfan y Maes to a very appreciative audience.
On Sunday 30th July we were invited to play for the Eisteddfod crowds as the local band and enjoyed a fine day which helped to encourage visitors to come and hear us. As some players are away on their annual holiday this time of year, the band is very grateful to the deputies who joined us from other bands.
As well as some concert favourites such as “Breezin’ Down Broadway” and “Bandology”, Musical Director, Alun F Williams, included “Men of Harlech”, the exciting “Sospan Fach” and the evocative Welsh folk song “Ar Hyd Y Nos” in the programme.
The Band thoroughly enjoyed the experience and is proud to have been involved in this years Eisteddfod.
1st August 2016
Band Braves the Weather
A damp and dismal afternoon greeted the band as it paid the annual visit to Bedwellty Park in Tredegar on Sunday 17th July. Never the less the crowds turned out to give us their support as we delivered our 2hr concert. Always a well-supported event, the summer concerts in the Bandstand are a regular feature of park life and are promoted and sponsored by the Tredegar Town Council.
17th July 2016
Band plays for HRH’s 90th
On Sunday 12th June 2016, The Mall in St. James’ Park, London, will host its largest ever street party to celebrate The Queen’s 90th birthday and her patronage of over 600 charities and organisations.
There will also be festivities taking place in parks, streets and gardens throughout the UK and across the Commonwealth. The Queen's 90th birthday is on April 21, and while this will not be the main focus of the celebrations, there will still be an opportunity to see the Queen for hardy royal-watchers.
The band will be joining in with the festivities on two occasions; Saturday April 23rd in St Marys Church, Abergavenny when we will join with the Priory Choir for a celebration concert, and Sunday June 12th in Ebbw Vale (1pm to 4pm) when we will share Hospice of the Valleys street party with Cwm and Ebbw Vale male voice choirs. Official celebrations will climax on Sunday, June 12th when the Mall in London will be transformed into a giant street party for The Patron's Lunch, with 10,000 guests eating a picnic lunch and being entertained by street performers and circus acts. Hospice of the Valleys is organising its own street party at its premises in Festival Drive Ebbw Vale and the band and choirs will join together to provide the entertainment. There will also be a contingent of 10 welsh Guardsmen present and the public are invited to come in fancy dress as their favourite "Royal".
A weekend of events to celebrate the Queen's birthday and, unofficially, the Duke of Edinburgh's 95th birthday, will start on June 10th with a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral. The congregation will be made up of invited guests only, but the service will be televised. June 10 is also the Duke of Edinburgh's 95th birthday, but he has specified that he does not want any public celebration of the date.
Saturday, June 11 is the date of this year's Trooping the Colour, the official annual celebration of the Queen's birthday. Otherwise known as The Queen's Birthday Parade, it is a chance for the Queen to inspect soldiers from the Household Division. It takes place on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall, and is televised live by the BBC from 10am.
8th April 2016
New spirit on show at Swansea
The band showed its contesting intentions at the Welsh Regional Championships in Swansea on 19th March. After weeks of hard work from the players and dedication from MD Alun F Williams, the bands first contest performance of the year was described as exciting by adjudicator, Paul Holland and one of the most detailed performances of the day by Dr Robert Childs.
Missing out on the prizes by one place, the band came 4th but the performance laid solid foundations for the busy contest and concert schedule ahead of us in 2016. MD Alun F Willams thanked everyone for working so hard to produce a very detailed and committed performance of Philip Harper’s The Mermaid of Zennor. He said “It was not an easy piece to perform as there were different tempi, time signatures and lots of detail to adhere to, but the band gave a very confident and consistent performance and this is what we were looking for”.
Following the Easter nreak the Band is busy once again rehearsing hard and planning out the music for the next five weeks, the band is developing and progressing very well.
Mayors Charity Concert
The Band was proud to support the Mayor of Abergavenny's charity appeal with an outstanding performance at the fundraising concert held in the Borough Theatre on 6th February. Raising funds for Velindre Hospital and the Wales Air Ambulance, councillor Maureen Powell brought together the choir from Llanfoist Fawr Junior School, soloists from King Henry VII school and the band to delight a near capacity audience.
Under the direction of Musical Director Alun F Williams, the band opened its account with the exciting "Fanfare and Flourishes" before a traditional overture, "The Impresario" and the evocative "In Perfect Peace". An outstanding performance of "Misty" from Flugel Horn soloist, Zoe Alexander was the highlight of the first half and the band took the concert into the interval with Tchaikovsky's "Excerpts from the Little Russian". Welsh music started the second half with the march "Castell Coch", "All Through the Night" and "Sosban Fach". and the band finished the concert with "Pure Imagination" and "Born Free". For an encore the audience clapped along to the "Floral Dance", our tribute to the late Sir Terry Wogan.
Llanfoist Fawr school choir thrilled the audience with renditions of "When It’s a Sunny Day", "Wade in the Water" and "Thank you For the Music". Their final spot included pieces from Aladin before a superb rendition of "Consider Yourself" from the musical Oliver. King Henry VIII School soloists Amelia Francis and Ben Baker gave excellent performances of selected songs from the shows.
MD, Alun F Williams thanked all band members and soloists for another excellent performance on the concert stage and congratulated the Llanfoist Fawr School Choir, King Henry VIII School soloists Amelia Francis, Ben Baker and accompanist Jennifer Rhys-Davies, and compere Lana Tingay for their superb contribution to the evenings programme.
The Band now looks forward to preparing for the Welsh Area Regional Contest in Swansea in March and a concert with the St Mary's Priory Church Choir at St Mary's Priory Church, Abergavenny on Saturday 23rd April.
7th February 2016
First Competition of the year
The Band is delighted to be participating in the successful Band Cymru competition organised by S4C. This is an exciting and thrilling competition for brass, wind and jazz bands and is a unique opportunity for television audiences to enjoy the very best in Welsh bands.
Participating bands have to perform an entertaining programme to the highest standard of presentation. The competition is organised by Rondo and the semi-final rounds and the final will be broadcast on S4C.
Our first audition will be in Cardiff on 10th January and if successful we will join 11 bands from across Wales to appear at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre in April.
The final will be held at the Parc & Dare Theatre, Treorci on Sunday May 22nd 2016 and the overall winner will receive a prize of
The band has been rehearsing hard for the contest over the Christmas period under the direction of MD, Alun F Williams. Alun has been delighted with the way the band has responded to the challenge and has raised its performance. He says “everyone has shown great commitment and we are all looking forward to the experience”
10th January 2016
Thanks to Abergavenny people
The Band would like to thank the townsfolk of Abergavenny for their tremendous support over the Christmas period. A very successful Christmas concert was reinforced by the generosity of peoples donations to the band when we played carols in the town centre and at Waitrose Supermarket.
Overall, 2015 has been a year of change for the band and we are now set up ready for the year ahead which promises to be very busy and exciting. We all look forward to the new challenges the band faces with renewed dedication. Our new Musical Director, Alun F Williams, and Youth Band MD, lana Tingay, have both worked hard to prepare the band for the future and there is still much to be achieved.
As we hang up the Christmas hats until next years concert, the Band wishes all its supporters and friends a very happy new year.
30th December 2015