4BarsRest : Report & Results: 2013 West Wales Festival of Brass


The contest sun continues to shine on Tylorstown, Llwydcoed, Goodwick, City of Cardiff M2, Ebbw Valley, Goodwick Youth and BTM Juniors in Burry Port.

The sun was still shining on Welsh banding on the weekend, as 33 rivals battled it out in the second leg of the 2013 Welsh League Championship at a warm and welcoming West Wales Festival of Brass in Burry Port.

The home town band provided the excellent logistical support on what was a very well run event—from home made refreshments and contest stewarding to an excellent programme and on-line twitter updates.


Following the recent Welsh success ands at Birmingham and Cheltenham, the competitors also played out their performances to a backdrop of the famous British Open Gold Shield and the three National Championship trophies won by Tylorstown, Goodwick and Ebbw Valley.

It was no wonder that adjudicator John Doyle remarked to the packed audience crammed into the overheated Memorial Hall that he wanted to know what the Welsh put in the local brass band water supply.

All three National champions were on prize winning form, with reprises of their Cheltenham performances to take the honours in their respective sections, whilst the next generation of potential title winning Welsh bands was on display in the excellent Ensemble and Youth Section features.

Championship Section:

It was a supremely confident National First Section champion Tylorstown who showed that they are already champing at the bit to tackle the top flight heavyweights at the Area contest in Llandudno next year, by claiming the Championship Section title.

A reprise of ‘Fanfare & Love Songs’, which gave them their success in Cheltenham, saw Gary Davies lead his band to a clear three point winning margin over the home town favourites.

It meant that despite both Gareth John and Jane Thomas winning the individual instrumental awards (the latter the first winner of the Haydn Stredwick ‘Best Soprano’ trophy) for their fine contributions to the performance of ‘Rococo Variations’, Burry Port could not make it seven Welsh League victories in a row.

With an encouraging debut by former Cory cornet payer Chris Turner in leading Abergavenny Borough into third place on the well chosen ‘Trittico’, the destination of the huge Welsh League Trophy is now set to be played out at an exciting final contest of the year in Blaenavon next month.

First Section:

There should be a much more clear cut crowning of a First Section champion, after Llwydcoed claimed the Mary Barnett Memorial Trophy and £200 first prize with a well worked rendition of Edward Gregson’s ‘Essay’.

Former Tredegar solo euphonium player Darren Morris showed he has lost none of his superb lyrical qualities in claiming the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award, as MD Nigel Seaman led his band to a two point victory over rivals Lewis Merthyr.

Their impressive performance of ‘Triumphant Rhapsody’ pushed the winners close, with a well worked rendition of ‘Royal Parks’ by RAF St Athan in third.

Second Section:

There was no mistaking the quality of Goodwick’s winning performance in the Second Section, as the recently crowned National Champion gave an outstanding reprise of ‘Purcell Variations’ under MD Matthew Jenkins that was in a class of its own.

Later, adjudicator John Doyle was amazed that the standard of performance from a band with so many young players in its ranks, and remarked that it would have more than held its own in any First Section national competition.

He did however remark that other bands needed to look a little more closely at some of the basics of good contest playing.

Not surprisingly, Goodwick claimed the Joe C Pearce Memorial Trophy by a clear four point winning margin ahead of another encouraging performance from Parc & Dare, who followed up their recent Welsh Miners Welfare Entertainment contest success with a solid rendition of ‘Mountain Views’.

Third place went to another famous banding name on the up, as Gwaun Cae Gurwen showed their emerging potential helped by an outstanding personal contribution to ‘Portrait of a City’ by ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award winner Nia Griffiths on soprano.

Third Section:

There was a tough battle to see who would claim the advantage before the final contest of the year in the Third Section, as City of Cardiff (Melingriffth) 2 delivered a fine reprise account of ‘Purcell Variations’ to claim the Alltwen & Pontardawe CWS Trophy.

Under the direction of Gareth Ritter, and helped by the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award winning contribution of Eb tuba Richard Killen, they managed to repel the strong challenge of a resurgent Abertillery & District, who produced a fine account of ‘Valerius Variations’.

There was another encouraging performance from a band that is making a welcome return to the contest scene as Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda ended third, playing ‘Triptych’.

The result now sets the section up for an exciting battle at Blaenavon, with at least four bands in the hunt for the Welsh League title.

Fourth Section:

It looks as if Ebbw Valley will also have to make even more room in their bulging trophy cabinet, after the National Champion claimed the hefty Welfare Hall Challenge Cup and £200 first prize, with another outstanding performance of ‘A Malvern Suite’, directed by Gareth Ritter.

Once again it was helped by an excellent ‘Best Instrumentalist’ contribution from principal cornet Nanette Jones, as Ebbw Valley won by a clear two point margin from rival Pontypool Brass.

Their fine reprise of their Cheltenham set work, ‘Penlee’ pushed the eventual winner all the way to the line, with a well characterised performance of the classic ‘Four Little Maids’ by Usk in third

With two wins under their belt so far in the series, Ebbw Valley are now odds on favourites to claim the overall title later this year.

Youth Sections:

One of the highlights of the day was the excellent playing on show in the Junior and Youth Sections, which continues to provide an excellent opportunity for emerging ensembles to perform with the encouragement of some adult help and learners.

Kirsty Davies led the fledgling talents of BTM Juniors in a smashing set that included solid renditions of ‘Mini March’, ‘Ground Bass’, ‘Chorale’, ‘Pop Rock’ and ‘Gospel Rock’, to take well deserved Gold Award in the Junior Ensemble class.

Meanwhile, in the Youth Section there was an immensely impressive performance from the next generation of talented players at Goodwick, with their youth band picking up a Gold Award under Luke Jenkins.

The high energy set of ‘African Funk’, ‘Young Amadeus’, the trombone trio ‘Sister Act’ and ‘Gyspey Party’ saw them also gain a standing ovation from the audience and be presented with their prize by former Welsh rugby star and current Welsh forward’s coach Robin MacBride, whose own children are currently learning to play with Crwbin Youth Band.

Silver Awards went to excellent performances from BTM Next Generation and City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) M3 with a Bronze Award to the cracking starters at Crwbin.


Championship Section:
Adjudicator: John Doyle

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

Best Instrumentalist: Gareth John (Eb tuba) – Burry Port
Best Soprano: Jane Thomas (Burry Port)

First Section:
Adjudicator: John Doyle

1. Llwydcoed (Nigel Seaman) – 187
2. Lewis Merthyr (Gareth Pritchard) – 185
3. RAF St Athan (Alan Bourne) – 184

Best Instrumentalist: Darren Morris (euphonium) – Llwydcoed

Second Section:
Adjudicator: John Doyle

1. Goodwick (Matthew Jenkins) – 190
2. Parc & Dare (Andrew Jones) – 186
3. Gwaun Cae Gurwen (Malcolm Read) – 184
4. Crwbin (Colin Hogg) – 183
5. Briton Ferry (Dr Christian Jenkins) – 182
6. Ynyshir (Gary Davies) – 181
7. Ammnford Town (Glyn Davies) – 180
8. Crosskeys (Keri Bowden) – 178

Best Instrumentalist: Nia Griffiths (soprano) – Gwaun Cae Gurwen

Third Section:
Adjudicator: Tom Davoren

1. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) M2 (Gareth Ritter)- 186
2. Abertillery & District (Dean Evans) – 184
3. Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda (Alan F Gibbs) – 181
4. Upper Rhondda (Gareth Robinson) – 180
5. Oakdale (Mike Davies)—178
6. Ystradgynlais Public (Alex Parker) – 177
7. Ogmore Valley (Alice Jones) – 176

Best Instrumentalist: Richard Killen (Eb tuba) – City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) M2

Fourth Section:
Adjudicator: Tom Davoren

1. Ebbw Valley (Gareth Ritter) – 184
2. Pontypool Brass (Owen Farr) – 182
3. Usk Brass (Jeff Jones) – 179
4. Newport Borough (Robin Hackett) – 178

Best Instrumentalist: Nanette Jones (cornet) – Ebbw Valley

Junior Section:
Adjudicator: Robert Samuel

Gold Award:
Goodwick Youth (Luke Jenkins)

Silver Awards:
BTM New Generation (Mark Hutcherson)
City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) 3 (Carol Flannary-Davies)

Bronze Award:
Crwbin (Catrin Jones)

Junior Ensemble:
Adjudicator: Robert Samuel

Gold Award:
BTM Junior (Kristy Davies)

via 4barsrest.com | eMagazine UK http://www.4barsrest.com/news/detail.asp?id=17607

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