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Report & Result: 2018 Band Cymru — Fourth Semi-Final

As show of musical bravery sees Tongwynlais Temperance win a closely fought semi-final of the Band Cymru competition.

Band Cymru
  Toingwynlais Temperance won the fourth semi final of the 2018 Band Cymru competition.

Musical 'bravery' played a significant part in securing Tongwynlais Temperance victory in the fourth semi-final of the Band Cymru television competition.

Directed by Matthew Rowe, it was their desire according to judge Wyn Davies to aim "for a very high standard" on a traditionally framed entertainment set that saw them through against rivals Cardiff University Jazz Society Big Band and Burry Port Band.

Not guaranteed

However, it was Welsh opera conductor Wyn Davies that summed up their performance by stating that there was "one reason" for their victory — "bravery", as "...they aimed for a very high level" of performance throughout.

Good impact

As the band celebrated on stage, conductor Matthew Rowe said that he was "delighted" and that Tongwynlais had delivered a programme that had "good impact and commitment".

He also praised his band for their hard work and said that it would "mean a lot" if they got through to the final.

That was certainly shown in their high paced opening march, 'The Melody Shop', which was followed by the subtle musicality of 'Lament' by Ben Hollings, played with tenderness by the cornet and baritone duet of Harvey Rees and Georgie Evans.

The quirky marital march rhythms of 'Serenade' by Derek Bourgeois led into the soloist showpiece finale of Peter Graham's 'Cossack Fire Dance'.

Closely fought

The last of the four semi-finals was certainly the most closely fought in terms of overall quality, with spirited performances from both the Cardiff University Jazz Society Big Band and Burry Port Band.

The student jazz ensemble under MD Matthew Lush showcased their talents with vibrant renditions of 'I'm Not So Sure' by Cedar Walton, 'April in Paris' and the choreographed 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah', which in her opinion Branwen Gwyn felt may have just had the edge over their rivals.

Welsh opera conductor Wyn Davies that summed up their performance by stating that there was "one reason" for their victory — "bravery", as "...they aimed for a very high level" of performance throughout4br

Showstopper

Meanwhile, Burry Port gave the audience a very different programme under conductor Christopher Bond, with the opening 'Lest We Forget' commemorating the sacrifice of the First World War.

It was followed by a languid trombone soloist in Nils Richard with 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square' and emotive 'Legends of Cyfarthfa' to close, which, given it was the last piece to be played by the 12 semi-finalists, was rather accurately described by Branwen as 'a showstopper'.

Watch again:

You can watch a repeat of the semi-final at:
http:/­/­www.s4c.cymru/­clic/­e_level2.shtml?programme_id=797935017



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Alan Fernie

DRSAM, Dip.NCOS
Arranger, composer, adjudicator, conductor