St. David’s Day, March 1st is a special day on the Welsh calendar. This year there was no better way to celebrate than with the brass and voices of the Cory Band, Cory Academy and Morriston Orpheus Choir. The concert was the conclusion to two Cory Academy weekends in which around 70 players gathered together to receive expert tuition from principal Cory players. Under the baton of Academy tutor Chris Turner, they joined forces with the main Cory Band to open the programme playing Gordon Langford’s version of the Welsh song Men of Harlech. Then it was time for Cory Band to start the first of several solo sections which featured compositions and arrangements by Welsh composers. First up was a march Thundercloud composed by the Welsh March King and ex-Cory Conductor T J Powell, then Steve Stewart wowed the audience with a composition by Swansea’s own Tony Small, called Soprano Serenade. After there was a solo section by the world-famous Morriston Orpheus Choir directed by Joy Amman Davies before joining forces in another arrangement by Tony Small of Morte Christie.
At the interval the large audience packed around a specially set out area to listen to the Academy Band perform several pieces they had been working on. The second half featured more Welsh music, including North Walian composer Andrew Baker’s tenor horn solo Dragon Dances which was performed by Owen Farr. The band will be returning to the Brangwyn Hall in a few weeks to defend our Welsh Regional title and this gave us the ideal opportunity to perform the finale from Peter Graham’s The Torchbearer which will be the set work for the event. The band and voices concluded with the Welsh tune Rachie before a very rousing rendition of Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.
The concert was attended by several local dignitaries and VIPs, and the band were pleased to extend a special welcome to Lowri Clement from the Arts Council of Wales, which has been one of the principal supporters of the Cory Academy, now in its second year.