Tredegar Band

Conductor: Ian Porthouse
The Hawth, Crawley
Sunday 31st March

The newly crowned Welsh Champion rounded off a memorable March with a trip across the M4 to provide classy easy listening Sunday afternoon entertainment in Crawley.

The Area title success in Wrexham had been followed by their participation in the pro-European ‘People’s March’ in London, where they gave ‘on the hoof’ musical support to an audience reported to have topped a million. 

Let fly

Here it was a bit smaller (Crawley had voted ‘Out’), but there was still a generously warm welcome given after Ian Porthouse and his players let fly with the blazing ‘Phenomena Fanfare’. 

Not surprisingly what followed was a display of confident playing on neatly chosen, if somewhat familar repertoire - the wickedly paced ‘Le Corsair’ and free flowing ‘Dance of the Tumblers’ contrasting with the tempered lyricism of the touchingly played solo items from soprano cornet Ian Roberts and guest principal cornet Gwyn Owen. 

The acoustic also allowed them to show off the full range of their dynamics; from the delicate to the overtly muscular, all carefully packaged with a telling appreciation of style - especially in the flamboyant ‘Gypsy Dance’ and free flowing ‘Fugue’ from ‘Graduation Day’ that closed the first half.

The gem of an arrangement of Rutter’s ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ was a pool of calm reflection whilst ‘Shine as the Light’ and ‘Hora Staccato’ offered stylistic variance and a touch of bling.       

Equally bold

The second half was equally bold - from a thumping ‘Blackbird Special’ to a febrile ‘Folk Festival’, although individual quality still shone through with baritone and euph soloists Ben Stratford and Martyn Patterson on fine form.

The gem of an arrangement of Rutter’s ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ was a pool of calm reflection whilst ‘Shine as the Light’ and ‘Hora Staccato’ offered stylistic variance and a touch of bling.       

The ‘Heroic March’ from ‘Epic Symphony’ to close was a welcome piece of nostalgia that left the audience with something to hum in appreciation as they made their way home. 

Andrew Thomas 

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