After a highly successful 2007, the Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen Band's MD Jason Katsikaris has taken a well-earned break back in sunny Sydney.
And while Jason kicks back, catches rays and blows the dust of the barbie, the band has moved to engage Yorkshireman Graham O'Connor who will take BTM to the Welsh Area as well as the Yeovil and Porthcawl entertainment competitions.
2007 was a tremendous year for BTM under Jason's guiding hand. Starting with a win at the Porthcawl Miners Eisteddfod they showed well at the Areas, Grand Shield and Masters competitions and went on to claim a creditable 7th place at the National Finals in London.
Rounded off nicely
They rounded off the year nicely being crowned Welsh League Champions after winning the Ebbw Vale, Burry Port and Treorchy competitions.
A sponsorship deal with UK workplace service provider the PHS Group plc enabled the band to buy new walking out uniforms which were paraded for the first time at the Royal Albert Hall.
Jason conducted the band for the last time at the annual concert in Caerphilly before heading home. However, it's only a temporary migration to New South Wales and Jason will be flying back to the UK in the Spring.
He's (Jason) a bundle of energy working tirelessly for the band and that's been shown in the success we've had. We're a far more consistant band now and are looking to progress even more from hereBand Manager, Jeff Hutcherson
In the meantime Graham will be leading BTM's challenge at the Welsh area in Swansea in March and said he was looking forward it.
"I've been hearing good things about BTM for a while and this year especially they've shown they are a force to a reckoned with," he told 4BR. "I'm looking forward to the New Year and getting them back to the Albert Hall."
Well earned rest
Band Manager Jeff Hutcherson told 4BR: "We're all very grateful to Jason for the work he's put in over the last 18 months. I'd like to publically thank him. He's a bundle of energy working tirelessly for the band and that's been shown in the success we've had. We're a far more consistant band now and are looking to progress even more from here."
He concluded: "Jason deserves a well-earned rest but we also wish him a speedy return. In the meantime I'm delighted that Graham's agreed to take charge. He's been very positive and I'm sure will keep the band going forward."