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Gwaun Cae Gurwen Band

125th Anniversary Concert
Conductor: Jeff Hutcherson
Cwmtawe Community School
Pontardawe
Saturday 22nd July

One of the most evocative names in Welsh banding celebrated its 125th anniversary with a splendid concert that paid homage to its rich history as well as exploring the promise of an exciting future to come.

Formed in 1892, ‘GCG’ were a pioneering contesting force - notching up four top-six finishes at the British Open between 1921 and 1924, winning the Welsh Regional title in 1945 and coming sixth at the Royal Albert Hall in 1950.  

Strong foundation

Today they continue to battle hard with committed players, a talented MD and supporters laying a strong foundation for future success, whilst in a lovely connection to their past, a welcome listener in the packed audience, Gwen Harries, was a descendant of a founder member.

On the night the current band was joined by former players as well as the vocal forces of Morriston RFC Choir and the rising stars of the Gwaun Cae Gurwen Junior Band, for a concert programme that showcased all the performers to fine effect.

Items such as ‘Prelude on Tallis’, ‘Olympic Fanfare and Theme’, ‘Death or Glory’, ‘Breezin’ Down Broadway’ and ‘I’ll Walk with God’ where delivered with substance and style. 

Excellent soloists

In addition, the stable of featured soloists were all on excellent form, with cracking renditions from principal cornet Hannah Jones, euphonium Dafydd Lewis and tenor horn Beth Snaith complimented by a fizzing ‘Trumpets Wild’ trio and a passionate euph duet of ‘Deep Inside the Sacred Temple’ that would have made the great Roland Jones proud.

Showstopper

The performance of Alex Parker’s arrangement of ‘Abide with Me’ and ‘The Last Post’ was a touching tribute to those lost in the Great War, whilst ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ with choir support was a showstopper.

125 years of proud history may have been celebrated in style, but on this evidence, the next 125 will be something to savour too.

Ian Jones



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