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2019 Welsh Regional Championships
As it happened

All the action from the 2019 Welsh Regional Championships — As it happened.

Wales

Sunday 17, 16:22:53

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2019 Champion: Tredegar

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Tredegar gained a clean sweep of all the prizes on offer

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The winning conductor

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London bound for runner-up Northop

Result:

Championship Section:

Test Piece: Seascapes (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: David Hirst & Roger Webster

1. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)***
2. Northop Silver (John Doyle)*
3. Cory (Philip Harper)**
4. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) M1 (Garry Cutt)
5. Llwydcoed (Christopher Turner)
6. Ebbw Valley (Gareth Ritter)
7. Tongwynlais Temperance (Gareth Hann)

* Cory pre-qualified for the National Final
** Northop qualify for National Final
*** Tredegar qualify for National Final and gain the invitation to represent Wales at the 2020 European Championship.

Best Instrumentalist: Ian Roberts (soprano) — Tredegar
Best Cornet: Dewi Griffiths (Tredegar)
Best Basses: Tredegar


Wales

Sunday 17, 15:43:12

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Championship Section opinion and prediction...

Two contests in one here as expected; with the heavyweight battle between Cory and Tredegar and then the equally fascinating scrap for the third qualification place between Llywdcoed and Northop, with Ebbw Valley and City of Cardiff making up our top-six.

It could be Tredegar's day though, but by the closest of margins from Cory with Llwydcoed just pipping Northop for the podium qualification place.

1. Tredegar
2. Cory
3. Llwydcoed
4. Northop
5. Ebbw Valley
6. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith)


Wales

Sunday 17, 15:32:34

Championship Section:

7. Northop Silver (John Doyle)

An engaging, lyrically inspired take from John Doyle has put the north Wales challenger in with a real chance of getting to the Albert Hall.

Controlled and detailed to open, it built confidently, with a touch of hedonistic spirit to its climax before settling tenderly.

A few moments of unease in the Sarabande took a layer of varnish off the oily textures, but it still had a deep sniff of exotic lands in its miasma.

Got a touch fruity in place with a ripe tonality, but it has spirit by the pig-iron bucketful as it says on the poem. Great drive to the dramatic squall just hid the inner detail, but it was neatly done. The tiny chorale was fragile, but the close was all imperial pomposity to a great finish.

Right in the Albert Hall mix.


Wales

Sunday 17, 15:13:50

Championship Section:

6. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Garry Cutt)

Garry Cutt has stayed true to his lyrical reading of the score with Fairey and Hyde, although the end result may be the same. It's a real pity as the musical picture was so clearly defined in inspiration.

The opening bubbled with energy and drive, but the scrappy ensemble took the gloss off the finish. It had such a bold climax and a touching repose, but the pockmarks had already damaged the well laid out canvas.

A free flowing Sarabande was textured and coloured with definition too, but little elements just scruffed the surface of an exotic take.

The same frustrating story for the finale. Played with puffed pomp and noble intent, but snagged too often by minor, if obvious errors. Dramatic squall but untidy chorale led to the powerful close.


Wales

Sunday 17, 14:53:01

Championship Section:

5. Cory (Philip Harper)

As we have come to expect when challenged, Cory respond superbly with a performance of wonderful malleability.

The opening was brimming with energy and detail, pulsating to a visceral climax and such a tender repose — like a mother's stroke of a baby's head.

Meandering exoticism in the Sarabande — viscous, rich and oily. Luscious colours and textures imbued the music all the way to the very deliberate baritone ending.

A pumping sense of noble energy bubbled through the finale. This cut a swath through the troubled waters, arched with dark drama in a Shakesperian squall. The delicate picture of the chorale was just chipped before a waspish close of power sealed another performance of the highest class.


Wales

Sunday 17, 14:31:26

Championship Section:

4. Tongwynlais Temperance (Gareth Hann)

A hard working account from the 2013 champion — built on a well thought out approach from the MD who knew the obvious limitations to his band's ambitions.

Driven and purposeful to open, although the lack of technical detail was obvious. It built to a fine climax with a heady sense of style, before calmly coming to a close.

The central Sarabande flowed, but the colour palette wasn't richly mixed and the textures didn't quite coelesce. Some lovely touches in solo lines led to a mystic close.

A bold and pompous close — noble in style if a little clumsy in places with the technique. Came to a dramatic interlude and touching chorale, although the ending sounded a little tired.


Wales

Sunday 17, 14:14:32

Championship Section:

3. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)

Ian Porthouse and his band laid down an exceptional marker for their rivals beat, with a performance of so much character, imbued with layers of colour and texture through the dynamic range.

Wonderful detail, balance and clarity in the opening which leads to an immense climax and the tenderest of reposes.

The central section is a sumptuous delight — wonderfully crafted and aching with meandering exoticism. That was beautifully done.

The finale was a controlled tour de force: the technical detail brilliantly clear, the nobility of imperial measure. Hugely dramatic interlude and then such a touching moment of calm. The close rounded off a performance of the highest class.


Wales

Sunday 17, 13:52:00

Championship Section:

2. Ebbw Valley (Gareth Ritter)

A hard working, determined account from Ebbw Valley — one sensibly paced by the MD to bring the character out of the score.

The first section had detail and drive all the way through to the exciting and colourful climax, but the close just lost its cohesion and drifed somewhat.

A little monochrome in colour and some of the textural threads seemed separated, but the flow of Sarabande was so well maintained. Not quite the promise of the true exotic, but certainly in the right musically geographic area.

A bold and noble close — steaming ahead with detail and clarity. Some moments of unease in the more technical elements, but it had drama when required and finished with a flourish too.


Wales

Sunday 17, 13:32:18

Championship Section:

1. Llwydcoed (Christopher Turner)

An impressive, solidly portrayed marker laid down by Llwydcoed — boldly drawn and coloured, but not overblown.

There was detail and purpose building to excitment and passion in the opening section — aided by a well chosen pace by the MD. The repose was neatly shaped too.

Not quite the most exotic of climes in terms of texture in the Sarabande, but it flowed nicely and the balance of the band was focussed and warmly hued.

The finale was noble and rightly pompous with a genuine sense of cultured flow building to a dramatic interlude and touching chorale. Just got a little ragged to close and lost a little momentum, but this was such well constructed performance from the MD and delivered on by the players.


Wales

Sunday 17, 13:09:48

Draw:

Championship Section:

Test Piece: Seascapes (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: David Hirst & Roger Webster

1. Llwydcoed (Christopher Turner)
2. Ebbw Valley (Gareth Ritter)
3. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)
4. Tongwynlais Temperance (Gareth Hann)
5. Cory (Philip Harper)
6. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) M1 (Garry Cutt)
7. Northop Silver (John Doyle)


Wales

Sunday 17, 13:07:00

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2019 Champion: Gwaun Cae Gurwen

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Winning conductor Robert Burnett

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Best Soloist Daffyd Lewis and winning conductor Robert Burnett

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Cheltenham bound: Beaumaris

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Third place: Menai Bridge

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Roll of Honour award for Pedr Roberts

Result:

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: Stantonbury Festival (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Sarah Groarke-Booth & Sheona Wade

1. Gwaen Cae Gurwen (Robert Burnett)*
2. Seindorf Beaumaris (Scott Lloyd)*
3. Menai Bridge Porthaethwy (Chris Williams)
4. Buckley (Steve Pugh-Jones)
5. Cwmtawe (Wayne Pedrick)
6. Northop (Aled Williams)
7. Crosskeys Silver (Sion Rhys Jones)
8. Holywell (Chris Barnes)
9. Seindorf Arian yr Oakeley (Aled Williams)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

Best Instrumentalist: Daffyd Lewis (euphonium) — Gwaun Cae Gurwen


Wales

Sunday 17, 12:17:59

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Fourth Section opinion and prediction...

What a cracker this was. The standard was very good — and at the top it was excellent. All the bands captured the style and musicality thanks to the intelligent approach of the MDs. Some of the solo playing from younger players in particular was excellent.

Can't see past Beaumaris as the winner, but it's close for the other Cheltenham spot, with Menai Bridge just pipping Gwaun Cae Gurwen for us by a short head. Then it's Buckley, Crosskeys and Northop.

1. Beaumaris
2. Menai Bridge
3. Gwaun Cae Gurwen
4. Buckley
5. Crosskeys
6. Northop


Wales

Sunday 17, 12:11:57

Fourth Section:

A cracking contest is rounded off with a trio of fine shows — one of which you have to say must be the best Fourth Section rendition of the piece the Editor has heard this year.

It came from Beaumaris — splendidly delivered by every player around the stands and led with musical charisma by the MD. Bright but not overblown, detailed, secure and stylish.

The soloists were excellent and ensemble had depth and breadth. It wouldn't have been out of place in the Second Section this weekend. Super stuff.

Royal Buckley followed with an encouraging and spirited performance — again, well led by Aled Williams, who is developing some really good bands here. Lots to enjoy and engage the senses, despite the odd little clips and blips.

Crosskeys rounded things off with a purposeful account that had great musical style and spot on detail, but was just marred by some wayward tuning. If they could have just focussed that, it could have perhaps challenged for a Cheltenham spot.


Wales

Sunday 17, 11:34:42

Fourth Section:

After the disappointments of yesterday, Sunday is turning into a treat with another trio of highly enjoyable performances.

First up was the spirited Cwmtawe playing with brightness and brio. Just a few moments when the blips and blobs came in, but the MD set this out so well and the players responded in kind.

So too Northop, and also packed with youngsters. The MD set this out with musical thoughtfulness and it worked. Just the odd moments of unease, but a lovely warm sound and tasteful soloists.

Holywell followed with a performance cut from the same musical cloth and also aided by a fine, warm ensemble sound (someone has been doing some fine teaching work with young players in these parts).

Just the odd moments when it got a little scruffy and lost its cohesion, but lots to enjoy in an engaging show.


Wales

Sunday 17, 10:51:58

Fourth Section:

What a great start to the day here in Wrexham, with a trio of super performances of 'Stantonbury Festival'.

The maker was laid by Gwaun Cae Gurwen — and with just six cornet players and three tubas in the ranks. Understandably light in tonality, but so much confidence about the playing and so stylish too, all led with commendable common sense by the MD.

It was followed by a compact and neatly delivered account from Buckley — again, admirably led by the MD using his noggin. Super solo lines, just the moments of poor intonation robbed the musical picture.

The trio was rounded off with a mature, warmly balanced account from Menai Bridge — again led with clear understanding by the MD, with lots to enjoy with the depth of the balanced sound and the flowing sense of style.

Hopefully more to come...


Wales

Sunday 17, 09:49:31

Draw:

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: Stantonbury Festival (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Sarah Groarke-Booth & Sheona Wade

1. Gwaen Cae Gurwen (Robert Burnett)
2. Buckley (Steve Pugh-Jones)
3. Menai Bridge Porthaethwy (Chris Williams)
4. Cwmtawe (Wayne Pedrick)
5. Northop (Aled Williams)
6. Holywell (Chris Barnes)
7. Seindorf Beaumaris (Scott Lloyd)
8. Seindorf Arian yr Oakeley (Aled Williams)
9. Crosskeys Silver (Sion Rhys Jones)


Wales

Sunday 17, 09:11:58

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The architecture of the William Aston Hall puts band's under the microscope

Under the microscope in Wales today...

It was certainly an interesting contesting day in Wrexham — although to the surprise of many the standard wasn't anywhere near we have come to enjoy in recent years.

Hard to reason why, as despite the lack of numbers the quality is usually high in the lower sections. Perhaps it was the test pieces, but the judges remarks were admirably clear in their diplomatic language. It was a disappointing puzzle, so hopefully it will be a cracker today.

No complaints at all about the hall or the facilities — both of which are excellent, and the organisation has been the same.

To top it all the cameras are in today for a BBC Wales programme about banding in Wales — so keep an eye out for that in a couple of months time.


Wales

Saturday 16, 19:21:40

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2019 Champion: Goodwick

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Winning smiles

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Cheltenham bound for Burry Port

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Third prize for Pontardulais

Result:

First Section:

Test Piece: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter)
Adjudicators: Sheona Wade & Roger Webster

1. Goodwick (Matthew Jenkins)*
2. Burry Port Town (Ceri John)*
3. Pontardulais Town (Paul Jenkins)
4. Deiniolen (Lois Eifion)
5. Tylorstown (Gary Davies)
6. Lewis Merthyr (Craig Roberts)
7. BTM (Nigel Seaman)
8. Markham & District (Matt Rowe)
9. Llanrug (Brian Connolly)
10. Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd)
11. Abergavenny Borough (Sean O'Neill)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

Best Instrumentalist: Robbert Vos (euphonium) — Burry Port


Wales

Saturday 16, 18:47:05

First Section opinion and prediction...

Contrasting accounts to close from Deiniolen and Abergavenny Borough — cut from two very different pieces of musical cloth.

Deiniolen was bright, bubbling and as fizzy as bottle of champers — although it couldn't quite maintain its brilliance and brio. MD laid out her template with vigour and consistency, but the tempos were a little questionable. Got a tad ripe towards the end, but it made a mark.

A much more traditional take from Abergavenny — with tempos bang on the button. Some of the technical elements caused a bit of concern but the MD's musical approach drew the authentic Vinter through. Lots of merit in that one.

4BR Prediction:

Something of a mixed bag in terms of technical solidity and with some interesting interpretations — although none of the bonkers variety.

The mature sounds of Pontardulais and the engaging clarity of Goodwick give them the edge for us (with the MDs playing for each other's bands), whilst BTM, Markham, Tylorstown and Lewis Merthyr are close behind.

1. Pontardulais
2. Goodwick
3. BTM
4. Markham & District
5. Tylorstown
6. Lewis Merthyr


Wales

Saturday 16, 18:11:56

First Section:

Another trio of engaging accounts — two of which may well tax the duo in the box for possible Cheltenham qualification.

That was certainly the case with Goodwick — with a performance rich in common sense and well judged musicality. Just the odd moments of uncertainty, but the flow and the style of each of the movements was coherent and relative. Super sop gave a tasty topping.

A bit of a hard working hit and miss one from Ifton Colliery — never quite getting the Vinter under complete control. It wriggled free a few too many times for comfort, but the musical intent was there.

Pontardulais provide the judges with a mature, well controlled account to ponder. MD picks his tempos judiciously as well as the dynamics.

The odd smudge here and there, but this had a touch of richness to compliment the wit and thoughtfulness.


Wales

Saturday 16, 17:23:19

First Section:

Another trio of 'Vinteresque' takes — all slightly differing in their approach and quality, but all remaining just about faithful to the composer's clearly marked intentions.

Llanrug were full of drive and passion, if a little wonky and wayward in the execution; the tempos relevant and the dynamic always controlled. Just lost its cohesion in places and tired to the end, but a brave effort.

Markham & District were certainly full of confidence — right from the off in fact. Just got a little dynamically ripe in places and harsh in tonality, but it was determined, disciplined playing. Some lovely touches in the central section and despite the odd moment or two the finale was a bold and bravura in its bombast.

The most accurate reading to the score today from Gary Davies and Tylorstown. Perhaps in need of a little polish and refinement, but bravo sop and euph. There was a feel of real authenticity about that one — despite the occasional scruffiness.


Wales

Saturday 16, 16:34:01

First Section:

Three entertaining but very different takes on Vinter's test piece.

BTM benefitted greatly from a fine, lucid reading by Nigel Seaman — bright and bold to start in tempo, but with clarity and detail. The central section flowed gravely as required and the finale had wit as well as bombast. Not everything came off but it was a solid, persuasive show.

A much more considered tempo approach from Lewis Merthyr — and it just about works. What a pity the errors just crept in with a few nerves as this was so well laid out by the MD. Just lost its cohesion in places, but one to keep in mind.

Burry Port delivered enthusiasm and purpose — and again with a neatly constructed account from the MD driving it forward with lucid musicality. Not everything came off, but it was enjoyable and authentic Vinter music making.


Wales

Saturday 16, 15:40:54

Draw:

First Section:

Test Piece: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter)
Adjudicators: Sheona Wade & Roger Webster

1. BTM (Nigel Seaman)
2. Lewis Merthyr (Craig Roberts)
3. Burry Port Town (Ceri John)
4. Llanrug (Brian Connolly)
5. Markham & District (Matt Rowe)
6. Tylorstown (Gary Davies)
7. Goodwick (Matthew Jenkins)
8. Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd)
9. Pontardulais Town (Paul Jenkins)
10. Deiniolen (Lois Eifion)
11. Abergavenny Borough (Sean O'Neill)


Wales

Saturday 16, 15:09:31

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2019 Champion: Newport Borough

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Winning smiles

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Cheltenham bound for Royal Buckley

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Third plae for Penclawdd

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Best Instrumentalist: Seamus Gallagher of Newport Borough

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Best Percussion: Newport Borough

Result:

Second Section:

Saturday 16th March
Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Adjudicators: Sarah Groarke-Booth & David Hirst

1. Newport Borough (Robin Hackett)*
2. Royal Buckley Town (Keith Jones)*
3. Penclawdd (Tony Small)
4. Mid Rhondda (Alan Gibbs)
5. Ammanford Town Silver (Glyn Davies)
6. Newtown Silver (Steve Edwards)
7. Abertillery Town (Joshua Ruck)
8. Seindorf Arian Crwbin (Andrew Jones)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

Best Instrumentalist: Seamus Gallagher (Newport Borough)
Best Percussion: Newport Borough


Wales

Saturday 16, 14:12:39

Second Section opinion and prediction..

A variable contest in terms of quality was rounded off by a spirited Ammanford with an account that was the proverbial 4BR curate's egg. When it was good it had drama and a bit of spice, but on occassions it went a little too wonky.

Overall though it would appear to be a battle for the honours between the occasionally scruffy, but solidly delivered Newport Borough and the more exciting but at times frenetic Abertillery.

These two should have enough about them to repel the mature but wayward challenge of Mid Rhondda with the remaining top-six places up for grabs with Penclawdd leading Newtown and Royal Buckley for us...

1. Newport Borough
2. Abertillery
3. Mid Rhondda
4. Penclawdd
5. Newtown
6. Royal Buckley


Wales

Saturday 16, 13:38:40

Second Section:

Three somewhat variable accounts from Abertillery Town, Crwbin and Newtown — literally east, west and north of the musical core of Darrol Barry's enjoyable pastiche work.

Abertillery were exciting all right — but overdosed on Red Bull eye popping at times. It was frenetic. A pity that, as just an ampul less adrenaline would have made it compact and cohesive. Super solo lines just got lost in the action packed approach. Up there though if the judges want the thrills.

Slightly more tempered by Crwbin, with a few nerves playing their part in just taking the gloss off a well thought approach by Andrew 'Ghengis' Jones. Now that's a great name for a James Bond villain... Had its moments but a bit of a hotch-potch.

Much the same with Newtown — with one that started so well but fell away too often in places. A sonorous flugel was the pick of the soloists and the higher dynamic excitement was bravura stuff to close.


Wales

Saturday 16, 12:49:48

Second Section:

It's the turn of the Second Section bands to enjoy themselves on Darrol Barry's engaging 'Rise of the Phoenix' — and the first three certainly did that, although to varying degrees of success it must be said.

Royal Buckley offered plenty of verve and character, with a lovely flugel lead. It was the ensemble that just let them down a tad though — losing focus and cohesion, although it rallied for a bravura end.

So too Penclawdd — although the unforced error count was high at times. When it gelled it was full of drive and robust passion, with a fine sop and sweet cornet doing so well.

Newport Borough upped the ante — with a super account (and another excellent flugel). Had the odd moment when the cohesion was lost, but the suave solo cornet led the way and the finale was packed with plenty of 007 drama.


Wales

Saturday 16, 11:54:30

Draw:

Second Section:

Saturday 16th March
Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Adjudicators: Sarah Groarke-Booth & David Hirst

1. Royal Buckley Town (Keith Jones)
2. Penclawdd (Tony Small)
3. Newport Borough (Robin Hackett)
4. Abertillery Town (Joshua Ruck)
5. Seindorf Arian Crwbin (Andrew Jones)
6. Newtown Silver (Steve Edwards)
7. Mid Rhondda (Alan Gibbs)
8. Ammanford Town Silver (Glyn Davies)


Wales

Saturday 16, 11:51:04

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2019 Champion: Taff Vale

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Cheltenham bound for Usk

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Third place: Briton Ferry

Result:

Third Section:

Test Piece: First Suite in Eb (Gustav Holst arr. Sydney Herbert)
Adjudicators: Sheona Wade & Brian Rostron

1. Taff Vale (Gareth Ritter)*
2. Usk (James Jones)*
3. Briton Ferry Silver (Jeff Pearce)
4. RAF St Athan Voluntary (Alan Bourne)
5. Ynyshir (Gary Davies)

Best Instrumentalist: Nigel Stallard (soprano) — RAF St Athan

*Top two bands qualify for National final


Wales

Saturday 16, 11:04:51

Third Section opinion and prediction...

Told you it was a quick one — all done and dusted in an hour, with Taff Vale giving the type of confident, technically secure and musically coherent performance under Gareth Ritter that should win the title with something to spare.

Not perfect by any means, but lots of warm quality ensemble and neat solo touches. Super March to close should take them to Cheltenham with the silverware in their grasp.

4BR Prediction:

Not the hardest one to call you suspect for Brian Rostron and Sheona White in the box, with the question being who joins Taff Vale. Usk by a whisker for us ahead of Briton Ferry, Ynyshir and St Athan.

1. Taff Vale
2. Usk
3. Briton Ferry
4. Ynyshir
5. RAF St Athan


Wales

Saturday 16, 10:50:16

Third Section:

Another brace of fluid, brightly delivered performances of the Holst come from Ynyshir and Usk.

Garry Davies did a fine job with Ynyshir, a band liberally dotted with youngsters around the ranks — including plenty of his own! It's a neatly laid out account, full of energy and brio, and although the intonation just grated at times it was musical and confident.

A special mention to the young laddie on sop — what a fearless young tyro. Just the right attitude matey boy for the years ahead. Brill.

The former Fourth Section National Champion Usk recovered from a nervous start to grow in confidence and style. Just the occasional moment or two of unease, but the warm ensemble sound was balanced, especially in the bravura March.


Wales

Saturday 16, 10:25:26

Third Section:

As there are only five bands in this section we could be over pretty sharpish — especially as Briton Ferry Silver kicked off a full two minutes before the official start time. Perhaps they wanted to get home in time for the rugby...

They gave it a very decent effort too — full of brio and zest, although it took just a little time to settle with the intonation. Developed as it went along with a lovely noble feel to the final March.

They were followed by RAF St Athan, who also took a little bit of time to get over a bumpy start. Multi tasking Regional Secretary Phil Morris was spotted on the solo cornet bench doing his bit.

Not a bad one either — getting better as it went along with a fluid pace to all three movements and a bold finish to the March.


Wales

Saturday 16, 09:53:05

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Draw:

Third Section:

Test Piece: First Suite in Eb (Gustav Holst arr. Sydney Herbert)
Adjudicators: Sheona Wade & Brian Rostron

1. Briton Ferry Silver (Jeff Pearce)
2. RAF St Athan Voluntary (Alan Bourne)
3. Ynyshir (Gary Davies)
4. Usk (James Jones)
5. Taff Vale (Gareth Ritter)


Wales

Saturday 16, 09:12:10

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Welcome to Wrexham...

We have arrived at the William Aston Hall at the University of Wrexham and have been warmly welcomed by our colleagues from North Wales.

It's a very nice hall — built in the late 1950's early 1960's style — from the outside looking like one of those ICI new technology buildings you used to see on programmes about the exciting urban planning designs of new towns.

Inside it holds about 1200 people in comfortable, slightly banked seating, although the balcony area will not be used.

The acoustic is generous, although nowhere near as boomy as the Brangwyn Hall, whilst the adjudicators box has been placed neatly just the side of the central gap between the rows of seats about 60 feet from the stage.


Wales

Saturday 16, 04:17:24

Previews & Predictions



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