On Saturday 17 December Cory Band held its annual Awards Evening in Cardiff, at which three special awards were made.
Awards presented annually are Player of the Year and Member of the Year, and the winners are decided by votes among Cory Band members.
The Player of the Year Award was won by flugel horn player Helen Williams. After winning the award, Helen commented: “To be recognised by my peers at Cory Band is something VERY special indeed. I feel extremely privileged to have been a part of such a historic year for the band and although it sounds like a cliche, I am most definitely living the dream!”
Musical Director Philip Harper, who presented Helen with the dragon-shaped Welsh slate trophy said: “To say that no-one was surprised that Helen won the award this year seems somehow to devalue her achievement. The point is that, in a year when every player in Cory Band has generally excelled themselves on a regular basis, Helen has been nothing short of phenomenal, with a consistency running through the year which should not be underestimated. For example, as she played her extended solo cadenza in The Journey of the Lone Wolf at the National Finals, she held several thousand people in the Royal Albert Hall in the palm of her hand and created for Cory yet another spine-tinglingly magical moment. I’m delighted that she has now earned the Player of the Year Award on top of everything else.”
The Member of the Year Award was won by percussionist Steve Jones, affectionately known throughout the banding world as ‘Weenie’. Of his award he said: “I’m absolutely surprised and delighted to have been awarded this honour and even more so with it being Cory’s Grand Slam year. It makes the hard work worthwhile.”
Philip Harper enthused: “Steve came back to Cory in 2016 after a few years away. He’s the model bandsman in so many ways, over and above his contribution as, in my opinion, one of the best percussionists in the banding world. I’m sure that his award is also partly based on the fabulous work which he has been doing at the bandroom since the summer, bringing historic photos and banners out from storage and onto the walls, making an inspiring and celebratory environment for us all to work in.”
Receiving a special award marking 60 years unbroken service to Cory Band was Gwyn Thomas, in latter years serving as Band Librarian, but for over 30 years in the 70s, 80s and 90s as soprano cornet of the band. Paying tribute to Gwyn Philip said: “There are some people in life for whom no words are sufficient to summarize just what they mean to others. Gwyn is one such person – the guy who is always there for us, with his passion for Cory as strong today as it ever was, and commanding instant respect amongst players and colleagues alike after an incredible stint in the soprano seat, including the famous Nationals hat-trick. He and his wife Helen deserve this wonderful accolade after 60 years of association with Cory and we look forward to many more to come. Thank you for everything Gywn!”