THE HERO - A WEST END TRIBUTE
The West End, Broadway and Hollywood have united in tribute to the armed forces. The creators of this amazing project, Daniel & Laura Curtis, invited us to accompany the track - and it’s actually hard to put into words how unbelievable it is to be on a track with so many world-class musicians and A-List actors/celebrities - seeing really is believing! We would like to thank Daniel and Laura Curtis from the bottom of our hearts for asking us to be part of this incredibly special track, and really hope that it goes to No.1!!
Help reach the £10,000 fundraising goal for Help For Heroes by donating at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/westendthehero
You can also download the soundtrack on iTunes, Amazon and most digital stores from midnight 3rd November, all proceeds will be donated to Help For Heroes.
Some of the amazing people who appear on this track are below:
Jack Black; Henry Cavill; Bryan Cranston; Dame Judi Dench; Stephen Fry; Josh Gad; Whoopi Goldberg; Richard E. Grant; Jeremy Irons .net; Sir David Jason; Steve Martin; Brian May; Paul McCartney; Alan Menken; Piers Morgan; Matthew Morrison; Sir Tony Robinson; Jonathan Ross; William Shatner and many more Hollywood & West End stars!
Link to the video is below:
WYCHAVON FESTIVAL OF BRASS 03/11/18
The BTM band had an enjoyable Saturday competing in their 20th WFB at De Montfort School in Evesham, taking 6th in the 1st Section and a respectable 9th in Championship (up from 16th last year) in a set judges described as 'contrasty' and 'confidant'.
The band played an eclectic selection, including the seasonal 'Three Kings Swing', blazing 'Hora Staccato', poignant 'Mid All the Traffic' (Ft. Repiano Cornet Owain Hughes), plus feature pieces for our soloists; the first movement from Philip Sparke's Euphonium Concerto (ft. Solo Euphonium Timothy Jones), and the patriotic 'Born on the Fourth of July' (By John Williams ft. Solo Cornet Alex Parker). The set was rounded off by the dramatic 'Galaxies' (Carl Davis arr. Ray Farr)
Preparation now begins for our Christmas concert on the 8th of December.
EISTEDDFOD SUCCESS 07/08/18
After a 20-year hiatus from the prestigious National Eisteddfod of Wales, the BTM Band has returned with a bang: scooping silver in the Championship/1st Section Flintshire Territory Cup with a performance described by judge Melvin White as 'captivating'.
Months of dedication by the band in rehearsals helped pull of an almost flawless set featuring everything from Star Wars to folk tunes, with soloists Tim Jones (Euphonium) and Alex Parker (Cornet) adding class with their renditions of 'Little Red Bird' and 'First Light' respectively.
After the summer break – including a band social weekend in Pembrokeshire – BTM will be hitting the ground running in preparation for their Autumn concert in the bandroom (20th October) and the Wychavon Festival of Brass (3rd November)
WORLD WAR ONE LIVING HISTORY EVENT 23/07/18
Last weekend (21-22 July) BTM were honoured to participate in Cadw's Living History Events at Caerphilly Castle. Cadw's description of the event was "To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1 come and learn more about life of cavalry troops, nurses and civilians during the conflict".
The castle's main courtyard became home to several re-imagined scenes from World War 1, with the main event of both days being a service of music & poetry in the Castle's imposing Great Hall. BTM was asked to perform music as part of this service, in keeping with the themes of the event. This music included:
- Men of Harlech
- Songs from the Great War (inc. "Pack Up Your Troubles", "Mademoiselle Armentier", "It's A Long Way To Tipperary" and more)
- Abide with Me / Last Post (cornet soloist: Alex Parker)
We would like to officially thank Cadw for inviting us to perform at this poignant event.
BEST OF BRASS CONCERT 10/06/18
The BTM Band was recently invited to perform at The Courtyard, a modern concert hall in the heart of Hereford. This kind invitation, sent out us by The Music Pool, was delightfully accepted and the band performed as part of the "Best of Brass" concert on Saturday 9 June which also featured two local bands: Herefordshire County Music Service, and Ledbury Community Band.
The Music Pool is the community music charity for Herefordshire and its borders. They are "passionately dedicated to providing chances for people of all ages and abilities to make all sorts of music together, because it is one of the most powerful ways to improve people's lives and well-being, and the life of their communities". More information about The Music Pool can be found here: http://www.musicpool.org.uk/
Due to BTM's recent success at entertainment competitions, the band's programme of music reflected these successes. Pieces such as "And The Band Played On" (complete with choreographed stand-ups!) and the Finale from "Phantom Menace Suite" from the Star Wars films were rapturously received by the audience. The band chose to feature no less than four soloists in their 10-piece set, which included the three soloists from last weekend's Bedwas concert (Kirsty Jones, Alex Parker and Tim Jones) as well as Soprano Cornet Clint Miller, who was on fine form with his rendition of "The Lark in the Clear Air".
We would like to express our thanks to The Music Pool for their invitation to this wonderful evening, and we hope to work with you again soon!
BTM SOCIETY SUMMER CONCERT 03/06/18
The evening of Saturday June 2nd saw the BTM Band Society come together for a spectacular Summer Concert, at their "local" venue of Bedwas Workmen's Hall. The three bands that make up the Society (BTM Learners, BTM Band: Next Generation and the BTM Band) were all in attendance, and each band wowed the audience with their repertoire.
First onstage were the BTM Learners, fresh from their successful appearance at the Welsh League contest in Cardiff - where they came away with a Silver Award. They showcased their prize-winning programme at this concert, which included mostly Jock McKenzie works. The BTM Learners sounded great and are on the up, which is testament to the hard work of the players and their conductor, Lloyd Barnaby.
Next onstage, and to close the 1st Half, were the ever-improving BTM Band: Next Generation under the expert leadership of Mark Hutcherson. The Society's main youth band played an engaging and varied programme, which included some new works to their repertoire such as Bandology (Osterling), Morten Stevens' famous theme tune to "Hawaii 5-0", and "Kalinka" (Larlonov). Their programme also included some of their favourite staple pieces such as "I Love You Because" and the "ABBA Gold" medley.
The second half belonged to the BTM Band and their Resident Musical Director Jeff Hutcherson. The band has recently come off a string of successful appearances on S4C's Band Cymru programme, including an appearance at the Grand Final in Swansea University's Great Hall, and the band decided to showcase this repertoire at the concert. Classic brass band repertoire such as "Strike Up The Band" (Goff Richards) and "A Fanfare of Daffodils" (from Gareth Wood's "Five Blooms in a Welsh Garden") was mixed with arrangements of more mainstream music, including the epic "Finale" from Andrew Duncan's arrangement of the "Phantom Menace Suite" from Star Wars.
Three soloists were featured during the BTM Band's set, including two that appeared on the televised Band Cymru programmes. Principal Cornet Alex Parker gave a confident reading of Ben Hollings' "First Light", and Tim Jones - Principal Euphonium - performed the lyrical Manx folk song entitled "Little Red Bird". Flugel Horn star Kirsty Jones was on fine form too, as she performed the Bill Conti classic "For Your Eyes Only", made famous by the James Bond film of the same name. BTM chose to finish the concert with Howard Snell's fine arrangement of the rousing Liverpool Football Club anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone", with the Welsh National Anthem bringing the evening's entertainment to a close.
The BTM Band Society wishes to thank everyone who turned up to watch & support the Society, and to the people and organisations who generously donated raffle prizes for the evening. The BTM Band's next engagement is in a week's time, where we have been invited to perform as guests of The Music Pool at The Courtyard (Hereford).
SPRING FESTIVAL 15/05/18
Last weekend, BTM competed in the Spring Festival competition. This pyramid-style series of competitions takes place every year in Blackpool's imposing Winter Gardens, and 60 bands across three sections (Grand Shield, Senior Cup and Senior Trophy) compete for promotion. The ultimate aim is promotion from the Grand Shield to the British Open Brass Band Championship, held every year at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham, where 20 of the world's top brass bands battle it out to be crowned British Open Champion.
It was only 11 years ago (2007) that we qualified for the British Open for the first time in the band's history. However, we have since come down a couple of sections, and competed in the Senior Trophy this year. 20 strong bands had to tackle Eric Ball's underrated work "A Kensington Concerto", with the top 4 bands qualifying for the Senior Cup 2019.
BTM's preparations were slightly hampered by their appearance at the recent Band Cymru Final (which was a fantastic achievement for the band). This meant that work on "A Kensington Concerto" only really started in earnest just over 2 weeks before Blackpool. Coupled with the absence of a few regular players, due to exams and family commitments, the band was feeling under pressure. However, the band (and its dep players) travelled up to Blackpool last Friday night having put a lot of hard work into the piece.
Unfortunately, the strong morning rehearsal at the hotel wasn't replicated onstage at the competition, and some basic mistakes were made. Soloists on the whole were solid, but some fundamental mistakes detracted from our performance. However, 4barsrest.com liked our performance, saying it had a "fine musical approach with lots to engage with and enjoy". The band eventually came a disappointing 17th out of 20 bands, which means we have to qualify for this competition in 2019. Nevertheless, we would like to thank all players & backroom people who helped us get to Blackpool.
The band's next two engagements are concerts, both in June. The first of which is a local concert in Bedwas Workmens' Hall on Sat 2 June, followed by a prestigious Music Pool concert in The Courtyard (Hereford) on Sat 9 June. We compete next at the National Eisteddfod on Sat 4 August in Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre, having not competed at the Eisteddfod for 20 years (came 2nd in 1998)!
BAND CYMRU FINAL
The prestigious Band Cymru Final 2018, which was the culmination of the Band Cymru series of heats and semi finals, took place at the imposing Great Hall at Swansea University's Bay Campus last Sunday (22nd April). BTM was delighted to have been chosen as one of the finalists, along with Cory Band, Brass Beaumaris and Northop Silver Band.
The band arrived at the Great Hall not long after 09:00 on Sunday morning, and didn't leave until 21:30 - so it was an extremely long but enjoyable day of filming at this well-run competition.
BTM chose to open their 12-minute entertainment set with "Fanfare on Daffodils", which is the first movement from Gareth Wood's test piece "Five Blooms in a Welsh Garden". This was followed by a high-octane rendition of George Gershwin's "Strike Up The Band", arranged for brass band by Goff Richards. The band's Solo Euphonium Tim Jones then performed the lovely euphonium solo "Little Red Bird" (Goff Richards), before the band finished off their entertaining set with the Finale from John Williams' "A Phantom Menace Suite" (from the Star Wars films), arranged by Andrew Duncan.
The band was extremely happy with how they performed under the pressures of live television, but always knew it would be tough to beat the other three high-quality bands. In the end, Cory Band (ranked No. 1 brass band in the World for several years!) prevailed, and won the First Prize of £8,000. Brass Beaumaris won the best Stage Presentation and £2,000, with Cory's Solo Trombone Christopher Thomas picking up the Best Soloist Award.
It was a thoroughly great experience for our young and improving band, and one that will live long in the memory. Thank you to S4C and Rondo Media for your help throughout the day, and for the opportunity to be involved in this competition and perform "live" on television.
To watch the Band Cymru Final on BBC iPlayer, please click the link below. BTM's performance starts at 43:40.