The inauguration of the first Cardiff International Wind Band Festival took place on 27 October, 2012 in the striking Dora Stoutzker Hall of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (a venue as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside) at a gala concert which included five outstanding soloists - David Cowly (principal oboist of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales), percussionist Simone Rebello, Black Dyke Band principal cornet Richard Marshall, saxophonist Gerard McChrystal and euphonium soloist, David Childs.
Simone Rebello, David Childs Richard Marshall, Sean O'Neill, Gerard McChrystal and David Cowly perform with CCVGYWB
The participating bands were Abraham Darby Academy Showband conducted by Rachel Morton, the Greater Gwent Youth Modern Ensemble conducted by Paul Hornsby, Northampton County Youth Concert Band conducted by Peter Smalley and Cardiff and Vale Youth Wind Band (which hosted the festival) conducted by it’s recently-appointed musical director, David Childs, and his immediate predecessor, former principal tuba of Welsh National Opera, Sean O’Neill. The concert was presented by American-born wind band specialist, Bruce Perkins, and the programmes drew largely from the American and British repertoire, with items by Philip Sparke, Peter Graham, Dan Price, Eric Whitacre, Mark Camphouse, Richard Saucebo, Frank Ticheli and Andrew Boysen jnr among others.
The standard of playing was uniformly high (indeed, Greater Gwent’s superb performance of Mark Camphouse’s Fantasia encouraged this listener to seek out a recording immediately on returning home) and the soloists dazzled with their performances. These comprised David Cowley in Edwin Roxburgh’s An Elegy for Ur (the composer himself was present to acknowledge the applause), Simone Rebello as marimba and xylophone soloist in Summer Storm (from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons) and Jan Barenska’s catchy Taps in Tempo (written for Welsh virtuoso percussionist, Leslie Lewis), Gerald McChrystal in Jay Bocock’s Illuminations and John Williams’ Catch Me if You Can, Richard Marshall in Herman Bellstedt’s Napoli and Dvorak’s Song to the Moon from Rusalka and David Childs in Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s lovely Donegal Bay and Paul Nero’s The Hot Canary.
The five stars shone together at the end of the evening in Dan Price’s Glenn Miller arrangement, Tribute to the King of Swing. In an introductory programme note, the festival’s Artistic Director, Sean O’Neill, said that the event, sponsored by Buffet Crampon, Yamaha, Ev-entz, Friends of the Friary Youth Wind Band and GK Graphic Design, promised to be inspirational, and so it was in every respect.