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Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Brass Band

Conductor: Dr Robert Childs
Regent Hall
Friday 22nd March

A good crowd gathered at Regent Hall for the annual visit of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Brass Band, directed by Dr Robert Childs - including a party of music students from Canada with their Salvation Army Bandmaster leader.

They opened in fine style with Shostakovich’s 'Festive Overture’,  before Hannah Plumridge, a member of Cory, delighted with an elegant reading of 'Song and Dance', well supported by the ensemble in Sparke’s rather quixotic writing.

It was announced afterwards that her performance was being assessed by the RWCMD Head of Brass, Roger Argente, sitting in the gallery. He would have been just as impressed as the audience.

Change of style

Ben Hollings' 'Memories of a Lost Boy' brought a change of style, with some excellent quiet playing and vocal contributions, whilst Danny Jones presented the euphonium solo 'Blaydon Races', played with a classy, light-hearted feel for Gordon Langford's arrangement.

Megan Jackson had been due to present the xylophone solo 'On the Track' but was unable to attend due to illness. Her understudy Arran Townsend not only filled her place in the section but also learnt the solo at two days notice, producing a fine performance.

Philip Harper's 'Kingdom of Dragons' is a cleverly realised portrait of various South Wales local authority locations; starting with the pageantry of 'Monmouthshire'. 'Blaenau Gwent' focussed on the area's industrial history and coal mining, with the rugby playing parklands of 'Torfaen' conjuring up in a pastoral setting before the final modern day metropolis sounds of ‘Newport' drew things to a close.

Megan Jackson had been due to present the xylophone solo 'On the Track' but was unable to attend due to illness. Her understudy Arran Townsend not only filled her place in the section but also learnt the solo at two days notice, producing a fine performance.

One but two

Bob Childs had promised an encore if there was sufficient applause - and there was plenty - resulting in not one but two.

The lovely harmonies of Gordon Langford were heard in his setting of 'All Through the Night', before Gareth Wood's lively take on 'Sospan Fach’ evoked memories of Wales' recent exploits on the rugby field.

It was an excellent programme well received by the knowledgeable audience.

Peter Bale

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