Welsh Regional Championships – Llandudno
As Llandudno basked in the warm spring sunshine, brass bands from all over wales descended on Venue Cymru for the annual regional championships on 15th and 16th March. It was to be adjudicator David Reed’s last event as a Brass Band judge before retiring from the role.
He said what we all felt in his comments at the end of the 1st section contest; that the test piece was no technical challenge but really tested bands musical ability and quiet playing prowess.
He placed our performance 8th out of the nine contenders on the day and his adjudicators remarks seem to bear out his comments on stage; that we tackled the challenges well giving a “workmanlike performance”, praising the quiet playing but wishing we had given the piece “more expression and musical shape”. 4Barsrest tended to agree commenting that ours was “a performance that grew in stature, but it seemed a little off the pace today”.
Band Chairman, Andrew Richards, commented “we probably left the best performance in the rehearsal room, but never the less I think we rose to the occasion and met most of the challenges presented by the test piece. Expression and musicality are very subjective areas but I’d agree, we could have performed better on this aspect of the music”.
Test Piece: 'Cry of the Mountain' - Howard Lorriman
Adjudicator: David Read MBE
1. Llwydcoed (David Childs)
2. Goodwick (Matthew Jenkins)
3. Lewis Merthyr (Gavin Pritchard)
4. Markham (Gareth Pritchard)
5. Pontardulais (Paul Jenkins)
6. Rogerstone (Jeff Hutcherson)
7. Deiniolen (Lois Eifion)
8. Abergavenny Borough (Craig Roberts)
9. Llanrug (Paul Hughes)
Best Instrumentalist: Matthew Fletcher (euphonium) - Pontardulais
17th March 2014
Band Annual General Meeting
Friday 21st March at 7:30pm in the band room. Prospect Road, Abergavenny. NP7 5DU
Silverware at the Welsh Open
Band wins the Eifion W Rogers Trophy and £300 – Best 1st Section Band
The recent spell of extremely bad weather abated to allow bands to compete at the Welsh Open Entertainments Contest on Porthcawl today (15th February 2014). The band selected an exciting programme, an eclectic mix of musical styles, opening with some Latin rhythms in Los Hermanos De Bop. Louise Russell then featured as our Flugel Horn Soloist in the second piece, Faith. by George Michael arranged by Cory MD Philip Harper. Louise was roundly congratulated by adjudicator, Stan Lippeatt for some fine Flugel Horn playing.
The next work was from the pen of that most quintessentially English of writers, Ralph Vaughan Williams and his first ever film score as the band played the beautiful and moving Prelude 49th Parallel. Changing styles completely the band then entered the realm of the famous Russian dancers in the fast and furious Cossack Wedding Dance, before concluding with a toe tapping rendition of Bill Whelan’s “Riverdance”
Adjudicator, Stan Lippeatt, praised the soloists throughout the performance and congratulated the band on some exciting playing and a good choice of music for an entertaining programme.
MD, Craig Roberts commented that the band delivered a confident and well rehearsed performance. He added that the adjudication was very fair and there were no real problems of balance and intonation which was very positive. The band now has to concentrate on the Welsh Regional contest in Llandudno in March.
15th February 2014
Silver for the Youth Band
Well done to all our young players in the Youth Band who travelled to Ross-on-Wye on February 2nd to take part in the Gloucester Brass Band Association Entertainments Championships. Winning a silver award for their performance was a great reward for all their hard work in the weeks before the contest.
Opening with Souza’s Liberty Bell March the youngsters followed with two pieces more fitting for a Welsh Band; Delilah and the Welsh traditional air “Suo Gan”. The Proclaimers “500 Miles” then had the audience stomping away before the solo cornets played the beautiful love song “The Rose”. More hand-clapping for the final piece “Amarillo” delighted the packed auditorium.
Adjudicator, Ian Porthouse, congratulated the youngsters on their beautiful and tuneful playing and MD Lana Tingay on her choice of programme that suited the band very well.
5th February 2014
A mix of concerts and contests is planned for 2014 which will keep the band very busy throughout the year ahead.
The local contesting round commences on February 15th in Porthcawl with the Welsh Open Entertainments Championships closely followed by Welsh Regional Championships, Venue Cymru, Llandudno on 15th March. Preparations are already well advanced for this trip and players are working hard to polish the test piece for the day, Cry of the Mountain. May 17th will see the band in Ebbw Vale for the South East Wales Brass Band Association Championships. The penultimate contest of the year will take us to Fishguard overnight on October 4th for the West Wales Brass Band Association Championships before closing the contest season with a visit to Blaenavon in November.
The band is pleased to be supporting Hospice of the Valleys on March 1st for a St David's Day Concert with Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir and soprano Elizabeth Tiley at Ebbw Fawr Primary School Hall. The School Hall at Ebbw Fawr Primary is a fantastic venue for this type of concert and this will be the first of its kind there. With a St David’s Day theme running throughout, the choir, the band and Elizabeth are going to sound fantastic with those acoustics and we’ll be raising money for the Hospice in the process. All money raised will go towards the charity’s ongoing work supporting those who have life-limiting illnesses in Blaenau Gwent. Tickets are £5 concession £4 and can be purchased from the Hospice office - 01495 717277. For more details visit www.hospiceofthevalleys.org.uk
Of course, this year marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the centenary of the start of the 1st world war. A special evening concert is planned for June 7th - D-Day 70 with Abergavenny Youth Band, Senior Band and Choristers from St Mary’s Priory, Abergavenny. Continuing with the commemoration there will be a spectacular parade through the town on Saturday June 28th led by the senior band.
As winners of the prestigious W.S Gwynne Williams award in 2013, we will again be participating in the Ty Cerdd conference on Sunday June 8th. Joining in the Cymanfa Ganu, the band will be performing arrangements of 10 traditional Welsh hymns together with a massed mixed choir on the Glanfa stage of the Wales Millennium Centre, together with two or three stand-alone band items with a Welsh basis. The band and choir items will be conducted by Dr Alwyn Humphreys MBE http://www.morristonorpheus.com/conductor-emeritus and the band by our MD Craig Roberts. In an added element it has been confirmed that the event will be recorded by the BBC for broadcast on BBC Radio Cymru.
In late July, the senior band flies to Baden-Württemberg, as guests of the Stadtkapelle Nürtingen, for the 18th 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 2,000 people attend the event which also features the 50 strong Stadtkapelle Nürtingen and the Ehingen Donau Pipe Bands.
5th January 2014