Our Rehearsal Nights

The Band rehearses from 18:30 - 20:00hrs every Tuesday


 

Happy New Year to all our members, friends and supporters

The Band is looking forward to an exciting new decade of performances and social activities. We are pleased to welcome new players from our youth band into the senior band for the new year. They acquitted themselves well at the annual Christmas concert last December, and we all look forward to watching them develop their playing skills as we prepare for the years diary of concerts and contests.

New players are always welcome in the band and should you wish to come to a rehearsal we'd be very pleased to meet you.

12th January 2020

 


 

Despite the challenges, 2020 ended with what was, under the circumstances, a successful and joyful Christmas season. The year started a positive injection of community spirit and an inspiring and energising result at the Regional Contest in Swansea. No one foresaw the difficulties to come.

February

Regional Finals - Swansea 29th February.

What a day! Abergavenny went to Swansea determined to give their all and they most certainly did.

The Great Hall, Swansea University

With 10 players under 16 and 3 out of 4 of the front row aged 19 and under, Abergavenny fulfilled the promise shown in the hard work and dedication of their band room preparation. They came 5th out of 10 behind 4 worthy bands with a performance that belied the age and inexperience of the majority of their players. The self belief, confidence and understanding of the music instilled in them by the example of our experienced and able seniors but most especially due to the expertise, inspiration and hard work of our MD paid dividends.

March

March 6th - Annual Dinner and Awards Evening

Abergavenny's players and their families enjoyed a convivial evening at the Cricket Club in Abergavenny at their Annual Awards' Evening.

There was much fun and laughter as the band looked back on 2019 and celebrated the achievements of its players and the band's close knit determination throughout the year all of which has contributed to the happy, enthusiast group that is Abergavenny Borough Band. This was all echoed in our President's, Mr Chris Woodhouse, speech where he went on to applaud the results of last Saturday's Welsh Regional Contest where the band confidently took to the stage with 14 players 19 and under, 10 of whom were under 16 and came a more than creditable 5th in a field of 10.

Lana Tingay, whose musicality and enthusiasm had inspired the band to this great achievement, was honoured with the player's award of Band Person of 2019. Lana Tingay & Chris Woodhouse Ted Rawlings, solo euphonium, who ably occupies the end seat with quiet determination received the player's Young Band Person of 2019.

Percussion

The MD's Award for Best Section went to Percussion, 3 now quite seasoned youngsters, Hyrum Ward, Zac Johnson, Zak Roynon- Griffiths joined by our librarian, Fiona Evans who have developed and progressed immeasurably, both individually and as a team over the past year.

 

Best Player

The MD's Award for Player of the Year went to Zak Roynon- Griffith who despite his youth has been with the band for many years honing his craft. This past year Zak has shown just how far he has come with his mature and adult dedication. and his musical progression.

 

Ray Hill Award

The Ray Hill Memorial Award for young players was awarded jointly to Zac Johnson, percussion and James Herbert, baritone, in recognition of their progress and contribution to the band.  An extra presentation was made to 5 of our under 16s, Tomos Allen, Harry Collet, Josh Llanos, Ethan Stockham and Alice Williams who made their Regional Contest debut at Swansea.

A long service award was made to Steve Ward for 32 years of music and friendship to the band, fittingly made by Andrew Richards whose own association with the band is somewhat in excess of 50 years.

March 8th saw the departure of our principal percussionist, Zak Roynon-Griffiths who had accepted a position in Llwydcoed Brass Band.  Sad though we were to see him go the move was a fantastic opportunity for Zak to continue his development in a nurturing environment Fourteen year old Zak has been a member of the band for seven years and has grown into an accomplished player.

There was little else of cheer for the rest of the month.  The Annual Dinner proved to be the last time in 2020 that the full band were able to be together.  The following week our Chairman and MD decided that it was prudent to suspend rehearsals in the face of growing concern over the Coronavirus outbreak.

April - September

The Blorenge

April started with the cancellation of what would have been Gwent Charity Brass's 21st tour to Menorca. All of GCB's players are also members of the band and the disappointment in being unable to take part in Easter celebrations home or away was keenly felt. The band posted on Abergavenny Voice's FaceBook page a recording of Lana playing the Hallelujah Chorus, echoing over the Blorenge in the hope that it might give some comfort and inspiration to the people of Abergavenny. The recording also featured in the Easter Services in Menorca.

During these months the band continued with a 'virtual existence'. Whatsapp groups, Messenger and Zoom all playing their part.  Lana took a particular interest in the well being of our youngsters, the chairman produced a series of 'interesting/entertaining' Happy Birthday messages and committee meetings were held courtesy of Zoom.

Two of our younger members, not to be outdone, produced a virtuoso performance for Ethan Stockham's birthday on two specially tuned watering cans. Well done Harry and Ella.

Watering Cans

 

Meanwhile in Tredegar, Andrew Richards, our longest serving player looked forward to a well earned retirement from his position as Finance Director of the Hospice of the Valleys.

Three Amigo's

Now with more time to relax and enjoy his Brass playing his developing multi-personality disorder proved an ideal answer to lockdown blues.

 

 

Friday, May 8, 2020

VE Day celebrations.  Sadly none of the planned nationwide events were able to go ahead but a socially distanced ceremony did take place at the Cenotaph in Abergavenny. In normal times the band would have attended in full force but they were ably represented by Jon Mudd.

May 21st

It was with great sadness that the band heard that Myra, mother of our Musical Director, Lana Tingay, passed away after a bravely fought battle with cancer and also Covid-19.

Throughout the many years the Tingay family have been associated with Abergavenny Band, Myra has been an avid supporter and friend to all. She accompanied the band to Menorca in 2010 and attended many concerts and events. Myra was able to spend the evening thoroughly enjoying the band awards evening on March 6th and watch with pride as Lana received the award of Player of the Year.

Activities resume on a small scale

As the Welsh regulations changed the group were able to take advantage of the light and shelter of the barn.

As Autumn beckoned and the days shortened and there seemed little chance of the band getting together in any appreciable numbers the regulations changed.  After much deliberation to find a suitable venue that would fulfil the restrictions imposed by social distancing and playing in such a location that would not attract an audience our President suggested the Stand in the Abergavenny Thursdays Ground. No sooner said than done and after a quick once over by the Prossers and Richard Shorey the venue was booked and organisation put in process.

Music on the Terraces

The stand had the great advantage that while being open on three sides it offered protection and light and more than enough space for social distancing.

Abergavenny Thursday's were extremely helpful and with the support of Jonathan Bowden who was able to conduct in Lana's absence rehearsals went ahead to the delight of the players and many locals who were able to hear the music drifting over their gardens.  Sadly after getting things going the Prossers were unable to attend because of a local lockdown in their area. Richard and Fiona took over and as expected everything ran smoothly.

The return to rehearsals proved to be short-lived as tighter restrictions returned county by county.

October

During the first few weeks of October Lana spent a solitary existence in the Band room on 'Operation Library'.   By the time she had finished a lot of coffee had been consumed, there were gaps on the shelves and a mountain of paper for recycling.  Lana had achieved what had seemed an impossible task, slimmed down every folder and removed vast amounts of unreadable and superfluous material.

Stage 2 will have to wait until restrictions ease and the band can invest time and money in improving the shelf storage and folder system

November

Sadly the band were unable to fulfil the most important event in their diary, Remembrance Day. However, we were all at the Cenotaph in Abergavenny in spirit and honoured to be represented there once again by Jonathan Mudd who played The Last Post and laid a wreath on our behalf. Well done Jonathan and many thanks to Abergavenny Royal British Legion for their organisation.

Lana recorded the Last Post which was used virtually both here and by our friends in Menorca.

December

Christmas loomed and with it a determination to spread some seasonal cheer within the limits of Covid regulations. Then we discovered that our street licences for carol playing were no longer valid. With encouragement from our President and an events organiser for the council we approached MCC with a view to gaining licences within the current guideline.  After much form filing, the drafting of an Events Plan and Risk Assessments we got the go ahead for groups of a maximum of 6 to play in Abergavenny Town Centre. With Lana organising the groups to give as many people as possible an opportunity to play six players had their first, cold and wet (despite the loan of a small gazebo from the council) outing on the 5th December.

A decision was quickly made to invest in a weatherproof Gazebo large enough for social distancing in time for the next week and for future events. This purchase has long been talked about but proved its worth in one short month.

Carol playing went ahead on the 12th and 19th but with the situation starting to deteriorate it was decided wise to cancel the final performance on the 22nd.

The carols were enjoyed immensely by players and passers-by. The band's and Abergavenny Voice's FaceBook pages were overwhelmed with encouraging comments.

Money collected on all three days is being donated to three local charities Mind Monmouthshire, Community Support Monmouthshire - (Alzheimers Society) and Operation Gateway Relief.

Avenue Road Nursing Home

The gazebo more than proved it worth when some of our youngsters supported by a few senior players played carols in appalling weather conditions in the grounds of Avenue Road to the great delight of residents and staff.

Virtually speaking Hospice of the Valleys

One of the highlights of the Christmas season for the Youth Band for a number of years has been the Hospice of the Valleys Light up a Light celebration, This is usually held at Ebbw Vale Festival Park.  This year the service was hosted online and a small group of our youngsters were able to record carols to contribute to the event on behalf of the Youth Band.

On the 2nd December a group of the band's senior players recorded carols at the Hospice of the Valleys headquarters in Ebbw Vale which were then streamed to the Hospice's Centres.

Carols under the Arch

In recent years Carols under the Arch has become a fulfilling and enjoyable event for the band. The Christmas carol service, now in its fifth year, usually sees people come together in Abersychan for a festive evening full of live performances and a service from Pastor John from Noddfa Church.

Underneath The Arches

Not unexpectedly this also become a virtual event but one that was filmed at the usual location on 1st December.  Each participating group was filmed at separate times with a small group playing Christmas carols but without the usual audience participation. Nevertheless the spirit of the occasion shone through, it was first broadcast on 20th December and can be viewed at  https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=443670323705679&ref=watch_permalink

And there's More

The band's recording of seasonal music were heard both locally and further afield. In particular Abergavenny's carols formed an integral part of services held in the Santa Margarita Church in Es Castell, Menorca.

 

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