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The Welsh Brass Arts Festival

Welsh Brass Arts Festival June 10-13 2009

Park and Dare Theatre, Treorchy

The Welsh Brass Arts Festival

The Welsh Brass Arts Festival is one of the flagship events in the annual calendar of the Parc & Dare Band. Held annually at the Park and Dare Theatre, Treorchy in early June, the Festival sees the band combine with a host of talent from across Wales and beyond. This year the Festival is being held in conjunction with a book about the history of the band.

“LIFE DIVINE”

A History of the Parc and Dare Band

To be asked to write about an organisation whose history spans over a hundred years can be a daunting prospect but when you realise that you are also endeavouring to turn one man’s dream into a reality the task can become even more of a challenge with failure not an option that’s open. The story of how the book “Life Divine”, the life and times of Parc and Dare Band, came to be written began early in 1993 when Mr Malcolm Pickin, Chairman of the Parc and Dare Band, approached us with his request. Luckily the band had had the foresight to keep all its archive material including old minute books, newspaper clippings, concert programmes, certificates, official documents, letters, and many photographs dating back to their early days when the band was established in 1893. Nothing had been deemed too small or unworthy to retain and kept they were, the old and the new, in no particular order in five dusty cardboard boxes. The task at first would seem a straightforward one of sorting through all the material, putting it in some kind of chronological order plus researching through old newspapers in the library for any accounts of the band that had been missed.

As the manuscript progressed and grew we came to realise how much the bands own history was inexplicably linked up with the history of the valleys community out of which it grew. So, although it was a history of the Parc and Dare Band, it is also a history of the “Life and Times” of the Rhondda community as both evolved together, affecting and reflecting each other as their story unfolds but it is also a story of dedication and commitment that is both humbling and inspiring. There were certainly many difficult times in their history, the years of mass unemployment and strikes, two World Wars and the changing fashion within the musical world. Yet the Parc and Dare Band would survive them all through its ability to adapt and change with the times, assimilating the new trends, and even attracting a younger generation of members.

The question arose of how do you write about a world-famous organisation that had travelled so far and achieved so much when, as writers, we were at the start of our writing careers having published only two books so far, one “Around Rhondda Fawr”, part of the Archive Photographs series and “A Dark Past” which is a selection of Rhondda murders. We also, at that stage, knew next to nothing about brass bands or their music. The answer was to regard the whole process as, not only a journey of discovery into the world of brass band music but also a journey of discovery into ourselves as authors and , more than anything else, into the people behind the band and the valleys community themselves.

It was of course, never our deliberate intention to glorify an organisation or to paint a rose-tinted picture, what we intended was to write their historical account “Warts and All”. To give, as close as possible, the facts as they happened, whether good or bad, although after attending their concerts one is left with the impression that the Parc and Dare Band is without blemish, and you certainly leave wanting more, not less. We can only hope the same will be said about their own story.

The story of the Parc and dare Band in a decorous volume of some 200 pages with nearly 100 photographs is a story of self-discipline and conviction, of perseverance against the odds. From their first successful competition at Pontycymmer in the late 1890’s when the band had to walk across the mountains carrying their brass instruments in order to compete, to their success in 2005 at the Welsh Regional Championships, the unfolding of the Parc and Dare story should be an inspiration to everyone who doubts that the Rhondda Valleys can spawn such a rich musical and cultural heritage from within its green walls. It is a collective memoir of an organisation, an endeavour to reconstruct their history within the community that supported them. Like the men and women, who have committed so much of their time and energy into making the Parc and Dare Band into such a world-class organisation, we have learnt that to understand the world of brass-banding is to learn the art of living a “Life Divine.”

Avril Evans & Elaine Hawkins

Below can be found the Primary Aims & Objectives of the Festival, News on this year's forthcoming event and also details of the exciting new daytime element". Alongside all of this Retrospectives on past events and participants, plus a section on the Festival's keen approach to the commissioning and performance of new music (including a list of the Commissions funded by and premiered at the Welsh Brass Arts Festival to date) is also included.

Initially funded by an "Arts For All" lottery grant from the Arts Council of Wales, the Welsh Brass Arts Festival is now wholly funded by the Parc & Dare Band and its supporters. Details of how individuals and business can support the Festival can be found in the Sponsorship section of this site.

WBAF 2008 is supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust, Red Dragon FM and funding provided by the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Assembly Government and Rhondda Cynon Taf Cultural Services. The Parc & Dare Band is indebted to these organisations for their help and support.


Primary Aims and Objectives

1) To promote the music of Wales and the music-making of Welsh artists at the highest level through the medium of brass

2) To promote the brass band as an institution and to raise the general profile of the medium

3) To encapsulate into the festival all the various aspects of the band musician – as a performer, conductor, composer and arranger – and as part of the festival to provide expert tuition of the highest quality in these fields by recognised band personalities

4) To create, through the festival, considerable further interest in brass bands and their activities within Wales, particularly with regard to youth, and to create an outside interest in Welsh bands.

5) To provide, through the Schools' Music Festival, opportunities for young people to perform in a professional setting, individually and in groups.


WBAF 2009

This year’s Welsh Brass Arts Festival will incorporate the launch of the Parc & Dare Band’s social historical project ‘A Life Divine’. The project includes a book written by local authors Avril Evans and Elaine Hawkins, which will be for general sale, an exhibition of memorabilia & photographs and a DVD with some exclusive footage of the Band past & present featuring a composition by the American Composer, Joseph Turrin called Prologue (An Introduction to the Brass Band) where a narrator takes the listener through the function of each instrument within a Brass Band. The Festival ends on Saturday night with a concert called ‘Bernstein in Brass’, featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein with special reference to the social side of his world famous musical West Side Story and showing its relevance today - some 50 years later. Wednesday 10th June - Friday 12th June - Free viewing of ‘A Life Divine’ project throughout the day for the local schools Thursday 11th June 7:30pm - Free launch of ‘A Life Divine’ project open to the general public on a ‘first come first served’ basis, bookable in advance via the box office Saturday 13th June 7:00pm - Parc & Dare Band, Conductor Gareth Pritchard and guests in a night of ‘Bernstein in Brass’ Tickets priced £10 Circle; £8 Stalls

Retrospectives

Listed below are retrospectives on each Welsh Brass Arts Festival event, detailing the dates, titles and various artists featured in each WBAF right back to the original Festival in 2001.

2001 Welsh Brass Arts Festival

Presenter: Vincent Kane

Friday June 8th – “Brass & Voices”

Guest Artists:  Treorchy Male Choir,  Denise Leigh,  Jacqueline Boucher

Guest Conductor:  Dr Roy Newsome

Saturday June 9th – “Stars In Brass”

Guest Soloist:  James Watson, Trumpet

Sunday June 10th – “Finale” Gala Concert

Guest Artists:  Leyland Band

Guest Conductors:  Dr Robert Childs,  Dr Roy Newsome

  

2002 Welsh Brass Arts Festival

Presenter:  Owen Money

Friday June 14th – “Brass & Voices”

Guest Artists:  Peter Karrie,  The Richard Williams Singers

Saturday June 15th – “Stars In Brass”

Guest Artists:  David Childs, Euphonium,  Treorchy Comprehensive School Brass Band

Guest Conductor:  Ieuan Morgan MBE

Sunday June 16th – “Finale” Gala Concert

Guest Artists:  Black Dyke Band, Philip Madoc

Guest Conductor: Dr Nicholas Childs

 

2003 Welsh Brass Arts Festival

Presenter:  Arfon Haines-Davies

Friday June 6th – “Brass & Voices”

Guest Artists:  Peter Karrie,  The Richard Williams Singers

Saturday June 7th – “Stars In Brass”

Guest Artists:  Brighouse & Rastrick Band

Guest Conductor:  David Hurst

Sunday June 8th – “Last Night of the Proms”

Guest Artists:  Catrin Finch,  Owen Money,  RCT Youth Brass Band

 

2004 Welsh Brass Arts Festival

Presenter:  Beverley Humphreys

Friday June 4th – “Brass & Voices”

Guest Artists:  Denise Leigh,  Pendyrus Male Choir

Saturday June 5th – “D-Day: 60th Anniversary Tribute

Guest Artists:  Beverley Humphreys,  Rhondda Sea Cadets,  RCT Youth Brass Band

 

2005 Welsh Brass Arts Festival

Monday May 1st - FREE WBAF Preview Concert - Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Thursday June 9th & Friday June 10th – “Showcase”

Rhondda Cynon Taf "Gwyl Gerdd Ysgolion - Schools' Music Festival"

Friday June 10th – “Brass Tracks”

Guest Artists:  Natalya Romaniw, Leigh Phillips, Paul Shallcross, Simon Prothero

Saturday June 11th – “Going Solo”

Rhondda Cynon Taf "Gwyl Gerdd Ysgolion - Schools' Music Festival"

Saturday June 11th – “Last Night of the Proms"

Guest Artists:  The Richard Williams Singers, Gentlemen Songsters & Helen May

 

2006 Welsh Brass Arts Festival

Monday May 29th - FREE WBAF Preview Concert - Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Rhondda Cynon Taf "Gwyl Gerdd Ysgolion - Schools' Music Festival"

Monday June 12th - “Showcase” Event #1

Tuesday June 13th - "Gwyl Gerdd Ysgolion Cymraeg Rhondda"

Wednesday June 14th - "Showcase" Event #2

Thursday June 15th - "Music Bites" Lunchtime Recital

Bella Tromba Trumpet Quartet

Friday June 16th - "Electric Brass"

Guest Artists: Catrin Finch, Steve Bingham, Gareth Rhys-Davies, Only Men Aloud!

Saturday June 17th - Going Solo

Individual Competitive Youth Event

Saturday June 17th - "Big Anthem Fawr

Guest Artists: Stadtorchester Ravensburg, Helen May, Bella Tromba, Jenny Doolan

Guest Conductor: Harald Hepner

 

2007 Welsh Brass Arts Festival

WBAF Outreach Programme

Monday May 21st - World Percussion Workshop - Treherbert Bandroom, Treherbert

Thursday May 24th - World Percussion Workshop - Parc & Dare Bandroom, Treorchy

Saturday May 26th - World Percussion Workshop - Park & Dare Theatre, Treorchy

Monday May 28th - FREE WBAF Preview Concert - Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Sunday June 10th - Vocal Workshop (with Peter Karrie) - Park & Dare Theatre, Treorchy

Friday June 15th – “A Night at the Musicals / A Night at the Sands”

Guest Artists:  Peter Karrie,  John Quirk (piano), Spotlight Theatre Company, Porth County Community School "Harmony" Senior Choir

Saturday June 16th – “World Dances"

Guest Artists:  Joji Hirota and the Japanese Taiko Drummers, Azaad Dhol Group, Welsh Brass Arts Festival Community Samba Band and Rhigos & Perthcelyn Primary African Djembe Groups.

Guest Conductor: Stephen Roberts

"Gwyl Gerdd Ysgolion - Schools' Music Festival"

Monday June 18th - Primary Schools' “Showcase” Event #1

Tuesday June 19th - Primary Schools' "Showcase" Event #2

Wednesday June 20th - "Cyngerdd Ysgolion Cymraeg Rhondda"

 


Festival Commissions

Since its inception a central feature of the Welsh Brass Arts Festival has been the commissioning of new and unconventional works for brass band. Below can be found a list of works commissioned by the Festival to date.

The Parc & Dare Band is always interested in new musical work. Any composer or arranger who would be interested in seeing their work to be featured by the Parc & Dare Band at any of their events, are welcome to contact the band's Management Team.

 

Major Works

Aspects of Adiemus 

Karl Jenkins / Peter Graham

Premiere:  Saturday June 9th 2001

Parc & Dare Band

 

Concerto for Euphonium & Brass Band

Michael Ball

Premiere:  Saturday June 15th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & David Childs

 

Concerto Melyncoch

Andrew Powell

Premiere:  Saturday June 9th 2001

Parc & Dare Band & James Watson

 

Concerto for Six String Electric Violin and Brass Band

Dr. Mick Wilson

Welsh Premiere:  Friday June 16th 2006

Parc & Dare Band & Steve Bingham

 

Eine Kleine Lichte Musik!

Philip Wilby

Premiere:  Saturday June 15th 2002

Parc & Dare Band

 

Final Chorus from Symphony No. 8              

Gustav Mahler / Malcolm Peach

Premiere:  Friday June 8th 2001

Parc & Dare Band

 

Highlights from Carmina Burana            

Karl Orff / Dr Roy Newsome

Premiere:  Sunday June 10th 2001

Parc & Dare Band & The Leyland Band

Guest Conductor: Dr Roy Newsome

 

Images of the Millennium

Howard Snell

Welsh Premiere:  Sunday June 10th 2001

Parc & Dare Band & The Leyland Band

Guest Conductor: Dr Robert Childs

 

Rhapsody On A Theme of Purcell

Dr Paul Mealor

Premiere:  Saturday June 7th 2003

Parc & Dare Band & Brighouse & Rastrick Band

Guest Conductor: David Hurst

 

The Sword & The Crown

Edward Gregson

Premiere:  Sunday June 16th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & Black Dyke Band

with Robert Samuel & Christopher Tuner (off-stage trumpets), Victoria Roberts (mezzo-soprano), Jenny Jones (harp) & Rhiannon Williams (piano)

Narrator: Philip Madoc

Guest Conductor: Dr Nicholas Childs

 

Tair Cerdd Sanctaidd

Andrew Powell

Premiere:  Friday June 16th 2006

Parc & Dare Band, Gareth Rhys-Davies, Catrin Finch & Only Men Aloud!

 

Witches Sabbath (from Symphonie Fantastique)

Hector Berlioz / Roy Newsome

Premiere:  Friday June 8th 2001

Parc & Dare Band

Guest Conductor: Dr Roy Newsome

 

World Dances

Stephen Roberts

Premiere:  Saturday June 16th 2007

Parc & Dare Band with Joji Hirota and the Japanese Taiko Drummers, Azaad Dhol Group, Welsh Brass Arts Festival Community Samba Band and Rhigos & Perthcelyn Primary African Djembe Groups

Guest Conductor: Stephen Roberts

 

Light Music

A Beautiful Mind

James Horner / Leigh Phillips

Premiere:  Friday June 10th 2005

Parc & Dare Band & Natalya Romaniw

Guest Conductor: Leigh Phillips

All Through The Night 

Welsh Trad. / Margaret Antrobus

Premiere:  Friday June 8th 2001

Parc & Dare Band & Treorchy Male Choir

 

Anthem (from Chess)

Andersson / Rice / Ulvaes / Quirk / Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 14th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with The Richard Williams Singers and Geoff Guppy (piano)

 

Beim Schlafengehn (from Four Last Songs)

Richard Strauss / Margaret Antrobus

Premiere:  Friday June 8th 2001

Parc & Dare Band & Denise Leigh

 

Bring Him Home / Do You Hear the People Sing (from Les Miserables)

Schonberg / Boublil / Quirk / Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 14th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with The Richard Williams Singers and Geoff Guppy (piano)

 

Bui Doi (from Miss Saigon)

Boublil / Schonberg / Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 6th 2003

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with Geoff Guppy (piano)

 

The Contender

Pope / Kinder

Premiere:  Friday June 15th 2007

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with John Quirk (piano)

 

A Desperate Poaching Affray

Paul Shallcross

Premiere:  Friday June 10th 2005

Parc & Dare Band

 

Humming Chorus (from Madame Butterfly)

Giacomo Puccini / Craig Roberts

Premiere:  Friday June 14th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & The Richard Williams Singers

 

Huntsmen's Chorus (from Die Freischutz)

Carl Maria Von Weber / Christian Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 8th 2001

Parc & Dare Band & Treorchy Male Choir

 

Hymn of Praise

John Rutter / Tony Rogers

Premiere:  Friday June 8th 2001

Parc & Dare Band & Treorchy Male Choir

 

The Impossible Dream (from Man of LaMancha)

Leigh / Darion / Quirk / Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 14th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with The Richard Williams Singers and Geoff Guppy (piano)

 

Luck Be A Lady (from Guys & Dolls)

Loesser / Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 6th 2003

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with Geoff Guppy (piano)

 

Mack the Knife (from the Threepenny Opera)

Weill / Brecht / Blitzstein / Quirk / Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 14th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with Geoff Guppy (piano)

 

Masada 

Jerry Goldsmith / Leigh Philips

Premiere:  Friday June 10th 2005

Parc & Dare Band

 

Minnie the Moocher

Calloway / Mills / Quirk / Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 14th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with Geoff Guppy (piano)

 

Music of the Night (from Phantom of the Opera)

Andrew Lloyd Webber / Christian Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 14th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with Geoff Guppy (piano)

 

My Way

Anka / Revaux / Francois / Quirk / Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 6th 2003

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with Geoff Guppy (piano)

 

New York, New York

Ebb / Kander / Quirk / Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 14th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with Geoff Guppy (piano)

Pilgrim’s Chorus (from Tannhauser)

Richard Wagner / Christian Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 8th 2001

Parc & Dare Band & Treorchy Male Choir

Guest Conductor: Dr Roy Newsome

 

September (from Four Last Songs)

Richard Strauss / Margaret Antrobus

Premiere:  Friday June 8th 2001

Parc & Dare Band & Denise Leigh

 

The Sheepstealer

Paul Shallcross

Premiere:  Friday June 10th 2005

Parc & Dare Band

Guest Conductor: Paul Shallcross

 

Spiderman

Danny Elfman / Leigh Phillips

Premiere:  Friday June 10th 2005

Parc & Dare Band

 

Supergirl 

Jerry Goldsmith / Leigh Phillips

Premiere:  Friday June 10th 2005

Parc & Dare Band

Guest Conductor: Leigh Phillips

 

Surrender

David Arnold / Leigh Phillips

Premiere:  Friday June 10th 2005

Parc & Dare Band & Natalya Romaniw

Guest Conductor: Leigh Phillips

 

March: The Welshman

Lt. Col. Peter Hannam / Christian Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 6th 2003

Parc & Dare Band

 

West Side Story Medley

Leonard Bernstein / John Quirk  / Christian Jenkins

Premiere: Friday June 14th 2002

Parc & Dare Band & Peter Karrie

with Geoff Guppy (piano)

 

Zulu

John Barry / Dr. Christian Jenkins

Premiere:  Friday June 10th 2005

Parc & Dare Band

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