Christmas countdown commences
Academy concert kickstarts festive seasonThe band’s busy December programme has begun and it commenced with its annual Tongwynlais Music Academy Christmas concert. The band, directed by guest conductor Nigel Seaman, joined the students of the Academy its partnership with Create! Music Education.
The talented students of the academy performed solos on woodwind, brass and percussion as well as vocal soloists and were joined by the Academy Wind Ensemble.
The band performed items from its 2023 programme and festive favourites finishing a memorable evening with Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Overture.
Band Chairman Andy Robbins said, “The partnership with Create! to establish a music academy in our purpose built rehearsal facilities is now in its seventh year and has seen many young people catch what we hope will be a lifelong love for music. The quality of the tuition students receive can be seen in their individual music grade achievements but best heard in their individual and collective performances.”
The band will now be commencing its carolling fundraising where the generosity of so many people will help sustain the rehearsal facilities that house the band and the academy.
To learn more about all the opportunities for one-to-one music tuition in a range of instruments as well as voice and music theory visit Tongwynlais Music Academy for more information.
christmas Partnership continues!
After a busy year of contests, parades and concerts the band now turns its thoughts to Christmas. Our seasonal celebrations will include a concert with the Tongwynlais Music Academy, a number of local caroling stands as well as our annual Christmas concert supporting the Newport Philharmonic Choir.
The concert is been a regular feature of the band’s festive programme and has been enhanced in recent years with the full band performing two concert sets as well as joint items with the choir and audience.
Band Manager Iestyn Davies said, “We have supported this event for a number of years providing a small ensemble to accompany the congregational carols. Last year, with the choir moving the venue to the wonderful surroundings of Saints Julius and Aaron Church we were pleased to take a full band to contribute our own items to the programme.”
The concert is held in support of Parkinsons UK Wales and will raise funds for the important cause and its work in Newport.
Tickets for this event are £12 and can be purchased ahead by contacting the choir via 07851 423264 or through the band. Tickets will also be available on the night.
New trustees appointed
Members set out new governence rolesThe Tongwynlais Temperance Band has appointed new trustees and in recognition of their service and support to the band has appointed three new life members.
As required by the band’s constitution trustees hold office for five years and this year’s AGM required new appointments to be made. Stepping into the role are Shoko Doherty, Darren Thomas, Lee Elliott and Georgie Evans. They will join Andy Robins the current chairman who was re-elected unanimously by the band.
Andy commented, “With three of the trustees also serving as offices holders and two independent members drawn from the band, we have a firm foundation to secure the good governance of the charity, which underpins the bands artistic and educational mission.”
Also reappointed to their roles as Band Manager and Musical Director were Iestyn Davies and Owen Farr. Speaking after the meeting and as the band recommenced its rehearsal schedule ahead of a busy autumn Iestyn said, “It’s a genuine privilege as well as a labour of love to be elected as Band Manager and to continue to work in collaboration with Owen as MD.”
Andy added, “There was never any doubt that we would seek to reappoint Owen given his hard work, enthusiasm and support for the band over the last nine months. We are glad he has agreed to accept, and it is a sign of our ongoing commitment to build an organisation that enables all members to fulfil their potential and together aspire to the highest standards of music making.”
In recognition of the support the band has received from former trustees, committee menbers and volunteers, the band was also pleased to appoint Jenny Jones, Peter Fitzjohn and Gordon Hann as life members.
The band returns to rehearsals for its appearance at the Wychavon Festival of Brass in October and a series of concerts and local engagements during the autumn period.
Forgotten to return something to the band?
It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we mean to do the right thing or just simply forget to give something back. Whether it’s a uniform, a mute, a tie or maybe the odd piece of music … even an instrument, if it belongs to the band can you please return it?
We promise we wont hold it against you and if you pop into one of our rehearsals you might even get a cup of Ange’s northern tea.
All joking aside, the band has worked hard over the years to provide uniform, equipment and instruments through fundraising and charitable giving. So if you get something that doesn't belong to you, or your band, please can we have it back?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we promise, ‘no questions asked!’
Composer in Residence
Gareth Trott joins band for first residencyAs many bands entered their down season composer Gareth Trott has commenced his first introductory residency with the Tongwynlais Temperance Band. Working alongside Musical Director Owen Farr, Gareth has commenced work with the band this summer, to set the scene for their latest collaboration.
MD and Composer in Residence had previously worked together on the band’s Gatsby inspired 2023 programme. With Owen contributing a new arrangement of the Louis Prima Sing, Sing, Sing, Gareth’s arrangements of contemporary pop and film music created an homage to the great American novel to feature soloists across the band.
Owen Farr commented on the initial residency said, “Gareth’s work has been both inventive and engaging. It allowed us to co-create new material, whilst curating existing repertoire into a themed programme.”
The programme, shared with the Staines Band, where Gareth is their resident conductor, will continue to feature in the band’s repertoire for the remainder of the year. It is the new possibilities that exciting the band and composer however.
Gareth, a musician with the British Army, shared with the band his inspiration for the work ahead saying. “I’m looking forward to exploring the creative possibilities and getting to know the unique qualities of the band as it develops over time. This is very much about a collaborative processes and something for the long term.”
Welcome to Cardiff
Opportunities for students coming to the capitalThe Tongwynlais Temperance Band has a small number of positions available to students coming to Cardiff this September. Over the years, we've provided a brass banding home from home to students studying at the local universities as well as the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Band Manager Iestyn Davies said, "Participating in the fiercely contested Welsh Championship section, the Ton Band provides a welcoming environment in which to continue playing or to support ongoing studies in music."
Rehearsal nights are Monday and Thursday and current vacancies exist in the cornet section and the band would also welcome enquiries from suitably qualified trombone players. The band is based in Llandaf North and within easy reach from the main student areas of the city.
For more information please email email@example.com
Notice of Annual general meeting
Monday 4th September 7:00pmThe Trustees and Officers of the charity have agreed the date of the AGM.
The meeting will elect and appoint new trustees and also its officers and management committee. Members will also be asked to approve the charity's annual report for 2022/23.
For further information or to attend please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memories of a Fellow Musician
Band recalls one of the many lives cut short by conflictThis Sunday the Tongwynlais Temperance Band took its place alongside the residents of Whitchurch as the community gathered together for the rededication of the village war memorial.
Among the many names carved into the granite on, one stands out and that’s the name of Musician Richard G Fice. Aged only twenty-two, he was one of the eleven musicians murdered in the atrocity at the Royal Marines Deal Barracks at 8.22am on 22nd September 1989.
Richard was originally from Whitchurch and played in the South Glamorgan Youth Band a place where many Tongwynlais players learned to play and his name is listed on the memorial alongside those who gave their lives in the conflicts of the twentieth century.
Recalling the thirtieth anniversary of the attack, the band’s Euphonium player, and BBC journalist Andrew Gourlay, reflected on Richard’s life, interview his parents who to this day maintain a strong link with brass banding supporting the young players who participate in the South Glamorgan Youth Band.
You can hear the interview with Andrew Gourlay Soundcloud here and read about the Richard Fice Awarded presented to young players in Cardiff and Vale on ther BBC Website here
The band is grateful for the invitation to participate in the service and for the opportunity to be part of the life of its local community.
Tongwynlais Temperance Band will join local community in rededicationThis coming Sunday, the band will be joining the community of Whitchurch and Llandaf North in a service to rededicate the memorial to all those who served and lost their lives in war and conflict. The band is proud to serve its community during the annual service of remembrance and is pleased to be able to support this important event.
The band will provide a short programme of music prior to the service and will company the hymns during the rededication.
Band Chairman Andy Robins said, “Parades, services and event such as this are as much of our banding DNA as competitions and concerts. I many ways I would say they are much more important than a performance.”
With a history dating back to 1888, the band is very aware that many of its former players would have served in numerous conflicts, in particular the Great War and the Second World War. The band’s choice of music prior to the service will reflect the need to recommit to peace and global harmony whilst reflecting the proud heritage and sacrifice of all those who have served in the armed forces.
Summer bandstand season
Great reception for the band's park concertsThe sight and sound of a brass band in the park is synonymous with the British summer. Less familar is the warm and fine weather that has drawn large audiences to sit in the shade and take in the experience of live music performance.
The band has been pleased to support the Tredegar Town Council at the Bedwellty Park and most recently the Waterloo Tea Rooms in Newport's Belle Vue Park.
The series of concerts will continue this week as the band makes its way to the Pershore Summer Festival of Brass performing in the historic surroundings of the Abbey and prior to that at the Angel Hotel. Following which the band will return to Belle Vue Park on Sunday 23rd July.
Band Manager Iestyn Davies said, "We appreciate the work of so many people to maintaion these important facilities and open spaces. The band is grateful for the opportunity to return once again to Pershore Festival and to perform to so many people over the summer months."
A season of outdoor concerts and events
Listen to the sounds of brass band on the summer airAfter a series of contest performances the band's attention now turns to a series of summer concerts and events.
Performing at local bandstands and at festivals provide an opportunity for the band to take its music to new audiences whilst enjoying the summer weather and some great venues.
The programme commences on Sunday 11th June at Bedwellty House and Park Tredegar before moving to Belle Vue Park in Newport on Sunday 25th June and Sunday 23rd July.
The band is also pleased to announce that it will be returning to the ever popular Pershore Midsummer Brass festival. Held in the
picteresque and quintissential townthat lends its name the band will perform at the Angel Hotel, and then make its way to the nearby Abbey. Performances are at 4:00pm and 6:15pm.
Concerts at the parks are free to the enter and an all day ticket to enjoy 20 bands at the Midsummer festival are £10 and available from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/316978540347
To Blackpool and Back Again
Spring Festival performance the latest step in the band rebuilding projectThe Tongwynlais Temperance Band has made its way to Blackpool and back again for the 2023 British Open Spring Festival. Competing in the Senior Trophy competition the band finished in fifth place from a field of 21 bands. In a performance of the test piece The Accursed Huntsman, the adjudicators and brass band website 4barsrest, praised the intelligent interpretation of the score to reveal a compelling retelling of the cursed nobleman dammed for daring to hunt on the Sabbath.
The band’s Musical Director Own Farr, commenting after the performance, praised the band’s work ethic adding, “The band has developed well over the last five months and come a long way in a short space of time.”
The band was pleased to welcome new players making their debut. Joining the band on back bench cornet was Ianto Williams, a Masters Student and conductor of the Cardiff University Brass Band and George Fearnley on tenor horn who will be joining the band full time in September. Adding to the foundations of the band Paul Baxter has joined on BBb. On Euphonium, the team was pleased to welcome back Ruth Mellor.
Welsh Regional Championship Update
Band visits the Red Priest in annual battle of Wales’ top bands
The Tongwynlais Temperance band has ensured its Championship Section status at the hotly contested Welsh Regional Championship. The contest held at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall presents one of the firmest challenges to any aspiring band with a place at the Royal Albert Hall up for grabs as well as the National honours to represent Wales.
Performing the set test, Phillip Wilby’s challenging Red Priest, the band continued its rebuilding with growing confidence under the direction of its recently appointed MD and Professional Conductor Owen Farr.
The band sends its congratulations to the winners, Tredegar Town who will represent Wales at the Royal Albert Hall alongside the Cory Band and also at the 2024 European Brass Band Championships in Palanga. Rehearsals continue on the next challenge and the Spring Festival in Blackpool in early May.