City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) Brass Band
The City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) Brass Band, MD Gareth Ritter, was the first of our three visiting brass bands. They began the first part of their day’s contribution with an open rehearsal of the Senior Trophy Spring Bank Contest piece, ‘Les Francs Juges’ by Hector Berlioz.
The strengths of this band are very apparent. They are a band that works hard in rehearsal with an MD who is meticulous in his directives. All share the same high expectation which provides a clear trust, dedication and confidence that is necessary to be a good band. It is no surprise that they are so successful.
It was then Russell Gray’s challenge to further enhance the performance and for many was the highlight of the weekend. Russell’s sense of anticipation, creation of atmosphere and, use of effects in telling the story, provided a very special interpretation that intensified the dramatic tensions and release of Berlioz’ music. At times, Russell’s use of tempo and dynamics to establish an exciting and convincing style left the audience spell bound. His attention to musical markings and dynamics were clear to all; ‘with explanation comes understanding’ and this was very evident in the band’s performance.
The band’s second session allowed repiano player, Alan Gwynant, time to reflect on the band’s history and impressive number of home grown associated bands; so necessary to continue to feed the senior band with a wealth of quality players. There are few communities that offer so much through the medium of brass banding and many of the ideas that have been successfully put into practice was an inspiration to all.
The City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) Band ended their musical contribution by performing a selection of concert items that was quite breath-taking. This was the band’s first collaboration with the NABBC, and we look forward to their next involvement. Their programme was enjoyed by all and endorsed Russell’s words that ‘the most successful performances are those where every player contributes’.