Review: Burry Port Town Band Christmas Gala Concert

Burry Port Town Band Christmas Gala concert at the Memorial Hall with special guests Cor Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal, from Cardiff, and Burry Port Junior Band.

Burry Port Town Band and their special guests served up a festive treat at the Memorial Hall in the town.
It was an evening which demonstrated why the band has true championship status.
It was also an evening to introduce young talent to the stage in the shape of the Burry Port Junior Band and the beginner’s class from music rehearsals.
And it gave the packed house at the Memorial Hall the chance to hear the excellent Cor Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal mixed choir from Cardiff.
Festive fun was the order of the day and the band set the tone with Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, followed by Away in a Manger (featuring Flugelhorn Soloist Jane Stredwick, Hwiangerdd Mair (an arrangement by choir member Jayne Thomas) and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (which even included a couple of sing-a-long verses!).
Cor Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal were under the baton of Steffan Hughes, who had been featured on S4C TV’s Heno show a few nights previous to the concert, marking the occasion of his acceptance into Only Men Aloud.
Cleverly, they gave the audience a choral version of the Haydn Morris classic Hwiangerdd Mair which had earlier been performed by the band.
Sisialai’r Awel Fwyn featured the full choir before chorister Rhydian Jenkins had a solo spot with Carol y Seren. The choir female section then took centre stage with Ave Maria. The choir’s first-half set concluded with Gwyl y Baban, written by Caryl Parry Jones and arranged by Robat Arwyn.
Burry Port Town Band closed the first half with a tribute to the American composer Leroy Anderson. A Christmas Festival, Buglers Holiday, Serenata and Sleighride were all featured as everyone got into the festive spirit.
The second-half started with the spotlight on the Burry Port Junior Band, who performed Good King Wenceslas and Away in a Manger.
They were then joined by the Burry Port Beginners Group (some of whom had only been playing an instrument since October) for a Christmas Medley.
At the end of their performance, there was a surprise visit from Father Christmas, who distributed presents to band members and youngsters in the audience.
Burry Port Town Band had the difficult job of following the junior players and they resumed with Little Drummer Boy, In the Bleak Mid-Winter (featuring Tenorhorn Soloist Keith Curtis) and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Cor Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal returned to feature soloist Ceri Roberts singing a Welsh translation of Only Love.
Their second-half set also included Rho I’m Iesu, Cofio Crist, and Brenin y Ser.
Burry Port Town Band brought the evening to a sparkling conclusion with Jingle Bells, Christmas Song, and Santa-Claustrophobia. They delighted the audience with an encore of Jingle Bells.
The band’s new president Mr Spencer Davies said at the close of the evening: “We are blessed indeed to have such talent in Burry Port and it was wonderful to see everyone enjoying themselves with such inspirational playing by the band members and, in particular, the junior band members.
“It was also a great treat for us in Burry Port to have Cor Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal on stage. It was great to see such marvellous young talent on display.”
The accompanists for Cor Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal were Lucy Jones and Megan Alis. Cakes were provided by Sue Wellins. Burry Port Town Band were under the baton of their supremely talented co-musical director Michael Thorne. The compere for the evening was Robert Lloyd.


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