Getting back together after the summer holidays is always an exciting time for the Youth Band and this year was no exception.
New seats were filled once again as the almost annual influx of new members were promoted from the Intermediate Band but this year there was a new conductor to contend with too as Gwyn Evans took the baton with the Youth Band.
Gwyn, as the band’s Musical Director, is certainly no stranger to the Youth band members, and, as he teaches the vast majority of them individually too, the band knew they were going to be pushed to the limits of their musical ability ... in a good way, of course!
And so it was as the band prepared for the North Wales Rally, a competition Beaumaris Youth Band can almost consider it’s own having won the previous five titles.
However, winning wasn’t foremost on Gwyn’s mind, as the band’s MD, he wanted to test the band musically and so chose a cracking Test Piece for them to play; Stuart Johnson’s “Landscapes”.
The piece is very close to Gwyn’s heart as it is the piece with which Gwyn led Seindorf Beaumaris to the National Championships of Great Britain Fourth Section title in 1991 ... it also gives you some idea of the challenge facing the young musicians!
But that wasn’t enough of a challenge for Gwyn. With a few too many cornet players in the band, a handful of musicians were asked if they would be willing to swap their instruments. Cornets were swapped for baritones and basses as the musicians crossed over and to their huge credit, these musicians took to their new instruments straight away.
Weeks of hard work and hours of rehearsals paid off as the band took to the stage in Venue Cymru, Llandudno. The hymn chosen for the competition was “Eventide”, a hymn many of the football mad youngsters recognised as the FA Cup Final hymn, Abide With Me and the playing was sublime, sending more than one member of the audience looking for a tissue.
And then it was time to treat the audience to the chosen Test Piece. Gwyn had described Landscapes as “a good old blow” ... a typical Evans understatement ... but the Youth Band gave their all for the whole 12 minutes of playing coming off stage both exhausted and exhilarated.
As well as winning the GD Thelwell Youth Cup for the Best Hymn, the Band also collected the Llandudno Town Council Trophy for the Best Test Piece for the sixth successive year.
Pippa Scourse, the band’s principal cornet player collected the Trophy for Best Soloist, a trophy which has the names of several Beaumaris Band members past and present etched onto it’s side, one of which is a certain Mr B. Gwilliam, the Senior Band’s Soprano Cornet player.
Which brings the whole competition full circle and puts everything in perspective. It’s safe to say that the attitude, spirit and performances shown by the Youth Band over the last few months, means that the future of Seindorf Beaumaris Band is alive and well and in very safe hands.