Miners’ Welfare Entertainment Contest – Newbridge Memorial Hall – 12/9/15

After taking home the slightly-backhanded-compliment-but-prize-none-the-less prize of “Best third section band that didn’t come in the prizes”, and with our very own soprano player, Pauline Morgan taking the “Best Soloist” prize and placing 5th (out of 9) Cross Keys Silver Band are taking on a new and unconventional approach of having the “Conductor’s Housemate’s Comments” for a change.

As an own choice contest, we performed for the masses and adjudicator of the day, John Winterflood, a programme entitled “A Dragon Sandwich” which will all be explained below. Maybe.

I hand you over to Ollie…


Returning to Cardiff is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while, mainly to see my new housemates for the first time in several months. The people you live with are supposed to be some of the people you know best, so one of my friend’s apparent snap decision to go steampunk greeted me as something of a surprise.

As it transpired, the waistcoat and cravat combo was in aid of the “South-Wales Miners’ Welfare Entertainment Contest” (all brass band contests have funny names as it turns out) where his band played a set called “The Dragon Sandwich”. I didn’t know miners liked cravats though, but I’m sure it was all for good reason.

When I woke him up, I discovered what has ensued that day in sunny Newbridge.d brass band competitions seem funny things, but I hear that the miners gave you some prizes, so you guys must have been pretty sick. I don’t know what “Best Unplaced Third Section Band” means, but it looks like a very nice trophy.

Dragons Rise – Matthew Hall

The big loud Dragon thing at the opening sounded like a lot of fun, the euphoniums were particularly cool in this, I didn’t think you guys could go that fast? It sounds a bit harder than all the other ones, but it was performed with a bit of gusto, which is a challenging thing to do on such a tricky piece. Benny says John Winterflood wasn’t so keen though, (Is he the chief miner?) But who cares? As I said, It sounded like a lot of fun (for the band and the audience).

Let Me Try Again – Simon Kerwin

I saw the video of “Let me Try Again” next, which was the performance that won the prize for “Best Soloist” well done Pauline (whoever you are).  I don’t really know what sopranos are when they’re not a singer or an old American crime drama, but I did like your sopranoing very much, and I’m sure all the miners loved it, (of course they did, because they gave you a nice rose-bowl for it). Benny says he might be getting a soprano, so I’m sure I’ll know what one is soon enough.

Strike Up The Band – Gershwin arr. Goff Richards

“Strike up the Band” falls a bit more on my territory, but I didn’t think brass bands did this sort of thing? Who cares, It was an exciting performance (Benny would be proud). Credit to all the drummers and tubas for playing the rhythm together too, It’s hard enough to keep everyone else going when there’s only one drummer and one bassist needing to play together!

Swedish Folk Song – Peter Graham

I liked the Swedish thing too, the tuning was pretty sweet compared to most brass sections, It was all really well controlled for a slow piece. The solo was pretty sweet too, It sounded like how a brass band sounds when I imagine a brass band, which I guess is a good thing. The tubas were also really good, I liked the big fat bass sound in the ending of this one.

The Dawn Will Come – Trevor Morris arr Ellis Davies

The end thing was pretty rad too, I don’t play Dragon Age but I have friends that do, and I thought it sounded really good played by a brass band. The compere’s notes say this was a world premiere of the arrangement, this does not strike me as a particularly brass bandy thing to do so kudos for giving it a go. Well done Ellis Davies, to produce this you must be a special variety of mental and I respect you for it – this was an awesome idea.

Well done everyone; although I don’t know very much about brass bands, I can now conclude for sure that a “Dragon Sandwich” is the very tastiest variety in the brass-band culinary pantheon.

I now have a little blue piece of paper and am being talked at about Burry Port.

What is this?

:- by Ollie

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