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Tredegar Band

Conductor: Ian Porthouse
UniBrass Championship Gala Concert
Theatr Bryn Terfel
Bangor University
Saturday 2nd February

The unique competitive atmosphere at the UniBrass Championships is certainly something to savour. 

A mix of enthusiasm, pride, passion, talent and a liberal intake of beverages of different kinds, it’s never anything less than brilliantly friendly, inclusive and occasionally ever so slightly raucous.

Student habits

And so it was with this concert from Tredegar Band under Ian Porthouse; one that either rounded off a long but enjoyable day for those who had made the trip to Bangor University, or kick-started an even longer, and even more enjoyable night according to differing student habits. 

Ian had earlier led the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire into second place at the UniBrass Trophy, so had a good idea of what type of music would tickle the fancy of an audience ready to be entertained. They didn’t disappoint. 

The mixture was showcase easy listening fayre - the opening ‘Phonemena Fanfare’ followed by a frisky rendition of ‘Le Corsaire’ played with a substantive touch of serious panache. 

Dewi Griffiths was the pick of a set of high-class soloists with a piercing rendition of ‘Le Virgen de Macarena’, although he was also hard pushed by soprano player Ian Roberts, euphonium Martyn Patterson and tenor horn Ross Dunne when they took their turn to step up to the plate.

The mixture was showcase easy listening fayre - the opening ‘Phonemena Fanfare’ followed by a frisky rendition of ‘Le Corsaire’ played with a substantive touch of serious panache. 

Bette Midler

The flashy ensemble technique displayed on ‘Gypsy Dance’, ‘Hora Staccato’ and ‘Dance of the Tumblers’ contrasted with the lyricism of ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’, and the suave cornet/flugel duet of ‘The Wind beneath My Wings’ featuring Dewi and Danny Winder on their best Bette Midler form.

‘Blackbird Special’, the ‘Fugue’ from ‘Graduation Day’ were polished segues of style – whilst following the ‘Heroic March’ from Percy Fletcher’s ‘Epic Symphony’ with the bombast madness of ‘MacArthur Park’ summed up the UniBrass weekend to a tee.

Tredegar got home at around 4.00am the following morning - many others you suspect, much, much later… 

Ian Hughes 

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