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Issue 6056

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Changing times at Tongwynlais

Wednesday 22 July, 2020

Like bands across the UK and further afield the Tongwynlais Temperance Band has been using the COVID-19 lockdown to plan for the future and has unveiled changes to its playing line-up.

The Welsh band will welcome Darren Thomas, formerly of The Cory Band, to the principal cornet position. Meanwhile, former principal cornet player Charlotte Hann has moved to the flugel seat, which has been vacated by Cerys Hughes, while first horn player Charley Green has become principal horn following Chelsea James’ decision to return home following her studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Darren Thomas commented: “I've always admired how the Ton has consistently pushed and worked hard to achieve great performances. It is no secret that the band has been trying to rebuild over the last two years but I feel I couldn't have joined a better band to help push it back to success on the contest stage.

“Having played on the front bench for many years with Cory and having tasted first-hand its success, I am really looking forward to using that experience in the challenge of being principal cornet with the band for many successful years to come.”

Newly-appointed solo horn player Charley Green said: “I'm so happy to have been offered the position and having played with Ton since November 2018, I've seen a significant rise in the band’s morale in the lead-up and following the Welsh Regional. Standards are consistently improving and I hope to contribute to this In my new role. I can’t wait to get back to band and I am excited for all the new challenges and opportunities that will come from being a principal player.”

Reflecting on the personnel changes, Andrew Robbins, band chairman, said: “We’re grateful to Cerys for her contribution to the band and wish her the very best, she will always be welcome at Ton. We are accustomed to students like Chelsea spending their time in Cardiff and then having to move on and we know she will take the experience of Ton with her on the next step of her journey.

“In filling vacancies, we consider carefully how to proceed and since joining the band Charlotte has become an integral part of the band family – both figuratively and literally. She has always been willing to put the needs of the band first and previously fulfilled the role of flugelhorn with her usual dedication and high quality performances. We know the same will be the case in the future.”

Gareth Hann, band manager commented: “I’m looking forward to Darren joining us on principal. His experience and work ethic gained from many years in top-flight banding will be a vital asset when contests and concerts recommence and he will be a great role model for our academy members.”

With a return to the bandroom still some way off, Tongwynlais continues to plan for the future and its commitment to developing its digital concert platform and community activity.

Andrew added: “The current difficulties have caused many of us to think about what’s important and for Tongwynlais it’s confirmed our decision to double down on being part of our wider community and providing a stimulating and enjoyable experience for all our members, whether that’s in rehearsal, contest or concert, through our academy programme and the opportunities we can provide for students at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and local universities.”


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