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Friends of Eilir Williams Concert

University of Salford Brass Band and Friends of Eilir Brass Band
Conductors: Tom Davoren, Michael Fowles
University of Salford
Wednesday 25th October

The University Salford's autumn concert season started with this fine celebration of the life of the much loved cornet player and alumnus Eilir Williams, who sadly lost his long battle with multiple sclerosis during Christmas 2016.

A capacity audience spoke volumes for his popularity as both a person and performer, with the University of Salford Brass Band opening the proceedings with a rousing version ‘Ravenswood’ under Conductor in Residence, Tom Davoren.

Mature appreciation

Warm sounds, precise ensemble work and confident soloists were on show throughout their first half performance - with the band showing a mature appreciation of style and dynamic variance on repertoire that encompassed some of Eilir’s personal favourites chosen by Anna Hughes-Williams.

The beautiful ‘Hymn for Diana’, the classic ‘Rhapsody in Brass’ by Dean Goffin, ‘Serenade’ and ‘Sospan Fach’ all highlighted his eclectic tastes and keen appreciation of musical style - one that was nurtured both at the University and especially during his time playing with Yorkshire Building Society Band.  A proud Welshman, Eilir would have particularly enjoyed the sense of passion and brio that was on display.

Common thread

After the interval Michael Fowles directed the Friend's of Eilir Band - an ensemble comprising close colleagues and associates from his Salford days and with the various bands he played with:  It was an epic scratch band in anyone’s book – all brought together by the common thread of friendship that was generated by a man remembered with lasting fondness, respect, and more than a few laughs.  

It summed up a wonderful evening - one that saw over 50 family friends (led by Eilir’s two brothers) travel from North Wales to celebrate the life of an equally wonderful man and musician of character, love and talent. 

Centrepiece

‘Men of Harlech’ was full of Welsh ‘hwyl’ before Richard Poole shone on one of Eilir's favourite pieces, ‘Vitae Lux’.

‘Procession to the Minster’, ‘Shine as the Light’ and the appropriate ‘Cry of the Celts’ all followed; the centrepiece of which was a wonderful new work, ‘Song for Eilir’, written by Robin Dewhurst and performed with subtle melodic beauty on the hymn tune ‘Ar Lan Y Mor’, by Mark Wilkinson. 

It summed up a wonderful evening - one that saw over 50 family friends (led by Eilir’s two brothers) travel from North Wales to celebrate the life of an equally wonderful man and musician of character, love and talent. 

Ian Stevens



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