The BTM Band recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a special day at Bedwas Workmens' Hall on Saturday 1 October.
Entitled "BTM Is 50", the day was split into two parts: an afternoon "Celebration Concert", followed by an evening "Gala Dinner". The Bedwas Workmens' Hall was chosen as the venue for both events, due to its close connection with the band during our 50-year history.
The musical programme for the afternoon "Celebration Concert" was a reflection & homage to the band's last five decades, with works chosen from throughout this time.
Guests were treated to an informal set from the Society's youth band BTM Band: Next Generation, which has been an integral part of the senior band's success over the years.
The Bedwas Workmens' Hall was the venue for BTM's first ever rehearsals way back in 1972, and founder members Jeff, Mark & Keith Hutcherson remember practising Bandology (Osterling) during this time - so the band simply had to perform this work during its 50th Anniversary celebrations. It was fantastic that Keith could join us onstage for this piece to perform BBb Bass, many years since he's been able to!
Other works from the band's more distant past, such as Eine Kleine Oompah Music (Woodfield), Hootenanny (Walters) and T.J. Powell's Castell Caerffili were also performed during the afternoon - the latter conducted by David Maplestone (below), who has conducted the band several times over the last 30 years, most notably at the band's sole appearance at the European Brass Band Championships in 1992.
The band's more recent history was also paid homage to, with pieces such as Prelude on Tallis (Graham) - which opened the concert and has been used as a staple concert & contest work by BTM for years - as well as I'll Walk With God (Brodsky), Richards' famous version of An American Trilogy, and the emotive I Know Thou Art Mine (Ballantine).
Some of the band's Principal Players were featured as soloists during the concert too. Solo Euphonium Tim Jones performed Lovatt-Cooper's solo Donegal Bay, and the band's trombone section along with flugelhorn Kirsty Jones gave an entertaining rendition of I Will Follow Him (Pourcel/Mauriat arr. Richards).
However, the band's Guest Soloist for the afternoon - none other than the Cory Band's Principal Cornet Tom Hutchinson - simply wowed the audience with his four solo items. The Paragon (Sutton), How Great Thou Art (Boberg arr. Harper), Mr Bojangles (Walker arr. Griffiths) and the fiendishly difficult Carnival of Venice (Paganini arr. James) were each performed with an incredible level of technical & musical virtuosity, and the band was privileged to have Tom join us onstage.
The final work of the concert: I Can't Help Falling In Love (Peretti/Creatore/Weiss arr. Hutcherson), conducted by Mark Hutcherson & a staple of the band's 10-piece ensemble "That's Brass" at corporate and social events, rounded off an excellent concert. Many thanks from the band - and its Musical Director Jeff Hutcherson - to the audience and VIP guests for supporting the event, as too the local companies who advertised in the concert programme, as well as several individuals and organisations for their ongoing support towards the BTM Band Society.
When the Celebration Concert was over, it was "all hands on deck" to turn the Hall around into the venue for our evening Gala Dinner. The audience concert seating was replaced by large round tables, a dancefloor/DJ, photo booth, uplighters, and a projector showing images from the past 50 years of the band's history.
Guests arrived for welcome drinks from 19:00, which was followed by the largest buffet we've ever seen! Funny & poiinant speeches from Jeff & Mark Hutcherson gave the evening a personal touch, before the party kicked into full swing for the rest of the night...
Thank you to everyone who helped make the Gala Dinner evening into such a success. Special mention to Kirsty Jones (the band's flugelhorn player) for organising such a great party, and her mother-in-law (!) Carolyn Jones - the BTM Band Society Secretary - for all of her hard work overseeing the "BTM Is 50" celebrations. Both pictured below:
A full Gallery of images - courtesy of the fantastic Dearden Photography - will be available on this website soon.