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Tredegar Band

Conductor: Ian Porthouse
All Souls Church
Netherton
Saturday 18th November

Tredegar’s long trip north to compete at the Brass in Concert Championship was certainly made into an enjoyable weekend stay thanks to a superbly organised concert in MD Ian Porthouse’s banding homeland.

If there is a more enthusiastic (or effective) concert promoter than Parker Wilkinson, then hats off to them, as he ensured that the venue was packed with more full church pews than can be seen on ‘Songs of Praise’ on Sunday evening prime time television. They even had to find extras from the vestry for late comers.

Sneak preview

As welcomes go, the Welsh band could not have asked for anything more (the pre-concert meal seeing a few players undo a notch or two on their belts), so it was fitting that they displayed their full gamut of talents in return - including a sneak preview of the Brass in Concert programme that eventually saw them claim the Audience Prize at Sage Gateshead and fifth place overall. 

Dewi Griffiths, Ryan Richards, Ian Roberts, Danny Winder and Martyn Patterson were on classy form in their spotlight items, of ‘A Mis Abuelos’, ‘Autumn Leaves’, ‘La Califfa’, ‘Eyes of a Child’ and ‘Carmen Fantasy’, whilst the deliberately eclectic programme had something for everyone to enjoy.

Archive delve

The classic overture ‘The Arcadians’ (one that the MD revealed was a regular feature in his youthful principal cornet days with the local Flimby Saxhorn Band) was a sprightly delve into the archives, while in contrast, the first half closed with the premiere of the newly minted ‘Rainbow Connections’, by Daniel Hall which rounded off their BiC set the next day.

‘Calling All Workers’ certainly created a buzz of reminiscence amongst those of a certain BBC radio age, although it was the atmospheric ‘Ivory Ghosts’ by Gavin Higgins that perhaps made the greatest musical impression, with the subtle, textured sounds creating an engrossing sound palette.

‘Calling All Workers’ certainly created a buzz of reminiscence amongst those of a certain BBC radio age, although it was the atmospheric ‘Ivory Ghosts’ by Gavin Higgins that perhaps made the greatest musical impression, with the subtle, textured sounds creating an engrossing sound palette.

Generous response

A taste of Wales came with ‘All Through the Night’, with a rousing stop off point at 'McArthur Park' to close, although it was the generous response of the band to invite Parker Wilkinson to direct a thumping ‘Senator’ march and the encore of ‘The Lost Chord’ with the church organ pumped up to full volume that brought he audience to their feet at the end of a fine night of music making.

James Taylor 



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BA (hons), PGDip (RCM), ARCM, ALCM
Conductor, piano accompanist and educator