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Tredegar Band

Conductor: Ian Porthouse
Theatre Hafren
Newtown
Sunday 4th November

Excellent promotion work allied to a snug acoustic and a warm welcome from a knowledgeable audience has made Theatre Hafren in Newtown in mid-Wales something of a hot spot of brass band support over the years.

The latest top-level outfit to be featured in the twice yearly concerts was Tredegar, who made their way from the top of the Heads of the Valleys via the market towns of Brecon and Llandrindod Wells to provide a Sunday afternoon of high quality entertainment led by MD Ian Porthouse.

Wonderful bombast

Solid, slick and polished, they provided their usual eclectic panoply of repertoire – from the bold opening of Jacob Larsen’s ‘Phenomena Fanfare’ and the gumdrop delights of ‘Hora Staccato’ and ‘Gypsy Dance’ played with buzz saw sharpness, to the ludicrously wonderful bombast of ‘MacArthur Park’ to close.

In between there was a waspish ‘Le Corsair' delivered with Gallic swagger, whilst dollops of nostalgia, like sugary tasting Sunday dinner puddings, came with the marches ‘Calling All Workers’ and ‘Imperial Echoes’ and a hot-foot ‘Dance of the Tumblers’

The band’s high profile connection to the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service was highlighted by the inclusion of the soprano solo ‘Legacy’, passionately delivered by soloist Ian Roberts.

In between there was a waspish ‘Le Corsair' delivered with Gallic swagger, whilst dollops of nostalgia, like sugary tasting Sunday dinner puddings, came with the marches ‘Calling All Workers’ and ‘Imperial Echoes’ and a hot-foot ‘Dance of the Tumblers’.

Further tender timbres were shown with the refined treatment of a superb arrangement of Rutter’s delicate ‘The Lord Bless and Keep You’ and the layered intensity of ‘Shine As the Light’ that closed the first half.

Voltage shock

An old stomper favourite of ‘Blackbird Special’ sent a voltage shock to open second, whilst principal cornet Dewi Griffiths set a high bar challenge of suave excellence with ‘Georgia on My Mind’ - one met in contrasting kind by tenor horn Ross Dunne’s virtuosic ‘Finale’ from Haydn’s ‘Cello Concerto’, Ben Stratford with the evocative baritone solo ‘Hebridean Lullaby’ and a sumptuous Danny Winder on flugel with ‘Eyes of a Child’.

Both band and audience would have made their journeys home well satisfied by their Sunday afternoon trip to an arts venue that continues to promote brass banding in the best way possible.

Marie Thomas 

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