The Royal Oakeley Silver Band have returned victorious from the Welsh Brass Band Championships after winning their section.
The band are now the 4th section Welsh Champions and are celebrating victory at the championships for the first time in 18 years. On Sunday, 19 March, the Blaenau Ffestiniog-based band travelled to Brangwyn Hall in Swansea to compete in the Welsh Regional Championships where they picked up their section's top prize. And there was further success when the prize for best soloist was also awarded to the band’s principal euphonium player, Ian Colwell.
The band performed a beautiful but challenging test piece called Hungerford Town by Darrol Barry to an enthusiastic audience and two renowned judges who were extremely complimentary with their adjudications, remarking that, ‘overall, the band’s performance produced much to admire, was musically shaped and very enjoyable’.
This outstanding result means this old famous band, born from the slate mines of Blaenau Ffestiniog in the 1800s, will go on to proudly represent Wales in the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at Cheltenham in September as the Welsh Section Four Regional Champions.
The band’s musical director, Paul Wilson MBE, a former Royal Air Force musician, expressed his delight at such a momentous achievement in the history of the band and said the musicians worked tirelessly in rehearsals and thoroughly deserved their hard-earned success in Swansea.
“We are all enormously excited at the opportunity and honour to represent Wales at the British Championships later this year,” he added.
The band is also busy with preparations to support the upcoming eisteddfod in the summer, as well as raising funds to transport and accommodate 30 band members to Cheltenham and back.
“A huge financial undertaking, considering the enormous travelling distance and ever rising costs,” Paul explained.
The band has raised thousands of pounds for many local charities. At Christmas in Pwllheli they raised a staggering £4,250 for the Bryn Beryl Dementia Unit.