The BTM Band is delighted to have won Section 1 of the Welsh Regional Championships last weekend, its first “Area” win since 1993!
The band was competing against six other strong bands at the wonderful new Regionals venue in the Great Hall, Swansea University’s Bay Campus, and BTM has been working hard on the set test-piece “Legacy” (Tom Davoren) for the last few weeks. Players and conductor alike felt that the band had been noticeably improving since the end of 2019, and went to the contest full of confidence – especially after a strong outing at the Welsh Open a couple of weeks ago - but anything can happen on the contest stage, so the band was taking nothing for granted.
BTM’s performance was very consistent (something that has been lacking in recent years), with very minimal splits or clips. Every soloist performed well, and the band “sound” was huge without being brash. Live comments from 4barsrest.com and the British Bandsman were very complimentary towards the band’s performance, with their comments in full being published at the bottom of this article.
The band has been in Section 1 since 2016, and has been steadily re-building since then - with a firm emphasis on youth development from the BTM Band Society’s fantastic youth band setup. This year, a total of eight players took to the stage who began their playing in BTM’s youth bands, including a first “Area” contest for the three newest graduates from the youth setup: Gabriella Idzi (3rd Cornet), Ellie Weston (2nd Horn), and Elliot Harrington (2nd Baritone). They all have a 100% record at the Welsh Regional Championships so far!
BTM Band is definitely heading in the right direction, with a stable band around the stands, a talented and committed MD in the middle, and a strong infrastructure behind the scenes. The band is planning on entering up to three more contests before the summer, as well as looking forward to its Summer Concert in Bedwas Workmens’ Hall in June… so it’s all go at BTM!
WELSH REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS 2020
The Great Hall, Swansea University Bay Campus
Saturday 29th February
Test Piece: Legacy (Tom Davoren)
Adjudicators: Alan Morrison and Jonathan Pippen
1. BTM (Jeff Hutcherson)*
2. Tylorstown (Gary Davies)*
3. Deiniolen (Lois Eifion)
4. Lewis Merthyr (Craig Roberts)
5. Parc & Dare (Lewis Wilkinson)
6. Pontardulais Town (Paul Jenkins)
7. Newport Borough (Robin Hackett)
*Qualify for National Final
Best Instrumentalist: Dylan Williams (cornet) — Deiniolen
The most convincing start so far, beautifully subtle blends of sound (just slightly tarnished by a relatively high error count to start). The tempo is much more sensible, allowing the music to breathe so much more naturally. Maybe not as much detail coming through as we have heard before, but this is so much more pleasing on the ear. Confident to start the next slow section, with good stuff from principal cornet. There are some really lovely colours being shown in this section, beautifully shaped and blended. The pp is beautifully handled and retains the beautiful blend that we have heard from the start. Bravo sop, excellent stuff! The colouring between tuned perc and brass for me is perfect, just the odd moment of dodgy intonation but it is so minor. The final tempo is much more sensible too, it makes much more of a statement as a result of this. This is so well balanced whilst creating drama and lifting subtle details from the score. Even the top dynamics are so smooth and balanced, and the faster gear change makes so much more sense and is so effective. Plenty in the tank for a rousing finish.
High quality from BTM today. Such an appreciation of sound quality and tempo, it made it so much more exciting as a result. Our leader so far.
BTM Band is the first today to control the dynamic contrasts, textures and balances. Solid playing that just lost focus towards the end, but was an admirable musical approach by MD and players.