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Report & Result: 2019 Welsh Brass Band League Cardiff

BTM enjoy a top and tail day of success in Cardiff, with section wins for Newport, Severn Tunnel and Gwaun Cae Gurwen.

BTM Band
  The BTM Learner Band certainly enjoyed their success in Cardiff

There were plenty of keenly fought battles on show in Cardiff on the weekend as the first leg of the 2019 Welsh Brass Band League series got underway at Willows High School.

It proved to be a memorable day for the BTM Band, as they not only claimed the First Section honours with a fine reprise of the Area set-work, Gilbert Vinter's 'Symphony of Marches' under MD Jeff Hutcherson, but their future generation BTM Learners claimed a Gold Award success in the Youth Section conducted by Lloyd Jones-Barnaby.

Although the overall number of competing bands was down this year with no Championship Section bands taking part, the organisers Kapitol Promotions will still have been encouraged by the response of those taking part and with the facilities on offer at the venue.

Good value BTM

According to adjudicator Paul Holland, BTM were good value for their clear cut victory over rivals Pontardulais Town who played 'Of Distant Memories', and third placed Markham & District who also chose to play the Vinter piece.

"There was a mix of well chosen and some over ambition on show," Paul told 4BR. "The winners were very good and played with marked confidence. There was plenty to enjoy in each performance, but it was a clear victory."

BTM's soprano player Clint Miller took the 'Best Soprano' award, with Chris Jenkins of Pontardulais winning the 'Best Instrumentalist' prize

Impressive Newport

Paul was also impressed by the playing of Newport Borough in the Second Section, as the Area champion carried on their good form with a comprehensive success under MD Robin Hackett.

They also reprised the Area set-work, 'Rise of the Phoenix' aided by their 'Best Trombone' section to secure victory from Mid Rhondda Thomas Coaches who played 'Royal Parks' and Crwbin who performed 'Symphonic Suite' by Leighton Lucas.

"There were some excellent choices that suited the band's strengths," Paul added. "The winners were very good, but it was good to hear the intelligent approaches of the other MDs with their bands."

Welcome return

There was a welcome return to the contest platform for Severn Tunnel in the Third Section as after missing out on an appearance at the Welsh Regional Championships in Wrexham they claimed the title under MD Gavin Clemons with a cultured rendition of 'The Day of the Lord'.

Another band that didn't make the trip north earlier in the year was runner-up as Upper Rhondda's, whose bold account of 'Oregon' meant that Regional Champion Taff Vale endured their first defeat on home soil as they reprised the Area set-work, 'First Suite in Eb'.

Fine form

In the Fourth Section, Area champion Gwaun Cae Gurwen continued its run of fine form under MD Robert Burnett as they produced a colorful account of 'Napoleon on the Alps' to secure victory from Cwmtawe who played 'Chorale & Variations'.

Adjudicator Dewi Griffiths was certainly impressed by the overall standard on show, as he told 4BR: "There was some really well chosen works and plenty of good playing in each section. It was encouraging to hear and shows that there is plenty of musical talent in these bands."

Earlier, BTM's brilliant 'Learners' showed just how well they are making musical progress as they secured a Gold Award from adjudicator Nigel Seaman in the Youth Section, whilst there were also excellent performances to enjoy from the Silver Award winners, Blaen-Aber Youth and Ebbw Valley Academy.

The winners were very good and played with marked confidence. There was plenty to enjoy in each performance, but it was a clear victoryadjudicator, Paul Holland

Results:
First Section:

Adjudicator: Paul Holland

1. BTM (Jeff Hutcherson)
2. Pontardulais Town (Paul Jenkins)
3. Markham & District (Matt Rowe)
4. Abergavenny Borough (Sean O'Neill)

Best Instrumentalist: Chris Jenkins (Pontardulais Town)
Best Soprano: Clint Miller (BTM)

Second Section:

Adjudicator: Paul Holland

1. Newport Borough (Robin Hackett)
2. Mid Rhondda Thomas Coaches (Alan Gibbs)
3. Crwbin (Andrew Jones)

Best Instrumentalist: Principal Cornet (Mid Rhondda Thomas Coaches)
Best Trombone Section: Newport Borough

Third Section:

Adjudicator: Dewi Griffiths

1. Severn Tunnel (Gavin Clemons)
2. Upper Rhondda (Graham Shepherd)
3. Taff Vale (Gareth Ritter)
4. RAF St Athan Voluntary (Alan Bourne)

Best Instrumentalist: Soprano (Severn Tunnel)
Best Euphonium: Severn Tunnel

Fourth Section:

Adjudicator: Dewi Griffiths

1. Gwaun Cae Gurwen (Robert Burnett)
2. Cwmtawe (Wayne Pedrick)

Best Instrumentalist: Solo cornet (Cwmtawe)
Youngest Player: Sion Lloyd (Cwmtawe)

Youth Section:

Adjudicator: Nigel Seaman

Gold Award:
BTM Learners (Lloyd Jones-Barnaby)

Silver Awards:
Blaen-Aber Youth (Lesley Taylor)
Ebbw Valley Academy (Bethan Cooke)

Best Instrumentalist: Solo Cornet (Ebbw Valley Academy)
Best Percussion Section: BTM Learners
Youngest Player: Olivia Pritchard (Ebbw Valley Academy)

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Howard J Evans

MA (Dist), Mus.B (hons), ARCM (hons), LRAM, LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, composer, arranger, tutor and pianist