The National Eisteddfod of Wales 2022, based in Tregaron (Ceredigion) kicked off on Saturday 30 July, with dozens of cultural performances and events taking place during the week. The Eisteddfod's brass band competitions took pride of place on the event's first weekend, with four sections (Classes/Dosbarthau) across the Saturday & Sunday.
Due to travel & logistical challenges posed when the Eisteddfod is in Mid/North Wales, BTM has unfortunately been unable to participate regularly at this incredibly important Welsh cultural event on a more regular basis. However, 2022's location of Tregaron meant the band was delighted to attend.
BTM competed in Class/Dosbarth 1 on Sunday 31 July, which included bands from the nationally-graded Championship Section & Section 1: Northop Silver (who have qualified for the British Open & National Finals this year, the two biggest band competitions in Great Britain) were the stand-out band on paper, but the other two bands who were there - Markham & District and Burry Port Town - are also good solid bands, so BTM knew that they'd have to perform at their very best to achieve a strong result.
The band opened their programme with Fanfare and Chorale - Laudes Domini (William Gordon), before featuring their soloist for the day - Principal Cornet Alex Parker - whose lovely interpretation of Ben Hollings' First Light was warmly received.
Next up was Philip Harper's arrangement of La Mer (Beyond The Sea), originally composed by Trenet & Lasry and which is featured in films such as Mr Bean's Holiday and Finding Nemo. Harper's arrangement won the "Best New Arrangement" at the Brass in Concert competition (2021), and its uplifting nature showed the band's more entertaining side - including stylish stand-up solos from several players including Flugelhorn Kirsty Jones, Solo Euphonium Tim Jones, Solo Cornets Trevor Isaac & Andrew King, and our Baritone section Lloyd Barnaby & James Barratt.
The band chose to finish their Eisteddfod programme with two contrasting pieces: Leonard Ballantine's emotional I Know Thou Art Mine, followed by the exciting Neopolitan Scenes (Massenet arr. Roy Newsome).
BTM's players came offstage knowing they had performed to the best of their ability, with MD Jeff Hutcherson echoing these views. The band eventually came second, which is a good result & another stepping stone in the band's goal of returning to Championship Section status in 2024.
The band wishes to extend its congratulations to the winners Northop Silver, but also to the contest organisers and everyone associated with the Eisteddfod 2022 for making us feel welcome. BTM enjoyed their trip "down West"... and certainly enjoyed the sociable coach ride home too!
Class/Dosbarth 1, Sunday 31 July
Markham & District
Burry Port Town
BTM's Full Programme
Fanfare and Chorale - Laudes Domini (Gordon)
First Light (Hollings) - soloist Alex Parker, Principal Cornet
La Mer (Beyond the Sea) (Trenet/Lasry arr. Harper)
I Know Thou Art Mine (Ballantine)
Neopolitan Scenes (Massenet arr. Newsome)