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Jul 27

Ironbridge Gorge Brass Festival

One of the most important industrial heritage areas of the world played host to a wonderful celebratory Festival a couple of weeks ago, which included a substantial input from the Tongwynlais Temperance Band.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum of Iron in Shropshire hosted the Festival for the seventh time over the weekend of 16th & 17th July, where numerous bands performed varied concert programmes during the day, whilst on the Saturday night there was a superbly presented ‘Last Night of the Proms’ concert on the fabulous outdoor stage.

And whilst every outdoor event is very reliant on the weather, the organising committee must have had all fingers and toes crossed as over the course of 2 days there was only one occasion when the heavens opened. However this in no way dampened the enthusiasm of the audience who battled through with umbrellas and huddles together to eventually see the skies clear just in time for the Gala concert.  It made for a wonderful venue and wonderful entertainment.

The Saturday saw an early start to the day long proceedings, with the Abraham Darby band kicking off proceedings at 11am (appropriately named after one of the great industrialists of the area) followed by Cleobury Mortimer Concert Band, Porthywaen Youth Band, Newport Ban, Porthywaen Silver Band and Wellington band before the Tongwynlais Band took the stage. Each of the participating bands enjoyed performing their programmes to enthusiastic and appreciative audiences.

The Tongwynlais Temperance Band must publicly thank the Tom Tom navigation system for guiding the bus so swiftly and safely round the narrow country lanes of Telford! It was a huge sigh of relief to eventually pull up outside the industrial heritage site in one piece to hear the delightful sounds of the Porthywaen Band. The Tom Tom was kept in the box for the journey home!

The Saturday night, the climax of the day came with a wonderful ‘Last Night of the Proms’ Concert, which was very ably compered by Jim Hawkins of BBC Radio Shropshire.

First to take the stage was the Wellington Town Band  who gave the appreciative full house a well chosen programme of music, played with real enthusiasm and plenty of quality.

After a short break came the Tongwynlais Temperance Band under the superb direction of Philip Harper, who showed off their talents to fine effect with a wonderfully broad based programme, extremely well performed, the highlight being Martyn Pattersons superb rendition of Carmen Fantasy and Finale of The Procession to the Minster which brought the drenched audience to their feet.

With both bands coming together for the finale, the stage was re-set so that mezzo soprano Helen E May and audience to join in all the traditional ‘Last Night of the Proms’ celebrations – all packaged by the organisers in a brilliant showcase for the brass band movement.

The Tongwynlais Temperance Band would like to publically thank Neil Fury for inviting the band to the Festival and the kind welcome the Wellington Band gave us throughout such an enjoyable day.

Go to the Gallery Page to see photo’s from the festival