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New skills in Newtown

For the second successive year, it was a very quiet bus which left Beaumaris for Newtown at what some members of the Youth Band described as an unnatural hour!

The fact that it was a gloriously sunny morning was no compensation for those who don't normally experience 7am on a Sunday morning as we set off to compete in the Newtown March and Open Air Contest.

The competition is open to bands up to and including Second Section bands, which meant the Youth Band would be competing against some very experienced bands and players.

But once again the players, under the guidance of Nick Hughes, excelled themselves, pulling out all the stops and coming home with not one, but two prizes!

The competition was in two parts; the deportment judge would mark the bands as they marched through Newtown High Street before the adjudicator marked the bands' playing in the band stand in the park.

The kindest thing to say about the band's marching abilities at last year's contest is that they tried ... although the deportment judge might even take issue with that statement!!

Marching hadn't been a major part of this year's rehearsals either, in fact the only marching the Youth Band had done was a brief march through Beaumaris town on the day before the competition as the community celebrated the handing over of the Ganolfan.

So, on arrival at Newtown, Gwyn Evans took charge of a 10 minute impromptu marching drill ... and it must have worked a treat as deportment judge, retired Warrant Officer Terry Young from the Royal Regiment of Wales, resplendent in full uniform and a chest full of medals, had nothing but praise for the band as they scooped the Deportment Prize for Youth and Training Bands.

Back in more familiar surroundings ... and by that I mean sat down behind a music stand ... the band performed to an extremely high standard, which was reflected in Steve Pritchard-Jones' adjudication.

And for the second successive year, the band collected the third prize in the Open Competition behind hosts Newtown Silver Band and debutants and eventual winners, Hollywell Band.

As we set off on the long journey home, it wasn't the fact that they had run a Fourth Section band and a Second Section band so close which had delighted the young players ... it was the deportment prize which had made thier day.

"Next year we're going to win not just the youth prize but the overall deportment prize," they promised!


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