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An article, with photograph, by A J Sicluna advising that the inaugural International Festival of Youth Brass and Symphonic Bands starts in Cardiff the following week.


A. J. Sicluna introduces an important music festival

The sound of brass music

THE BRIGHT sound of brass will be resounding loud and clear around many parts of South Glamorgan next week when 1,000 young people descend upon the area to take part in one of the biggest and most important international events since the Commonwealth Arts Festival.

In addition to wind players, there will be opera singers from South Africa and dancers from the Philippines, the United States and Ghana arriving for the inaugural International Festival of Youth Brass and Symphonic Bands.

Brass and wind bands from Norway, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Canada, Australia, Luxembourg and Wales-the Tredegar Junior Band-will be taking part in a sister event to the seven-year-old International Festival Of Youth Orchestras, based in Aberdeen.

Emphatically, the organisers stress that the festival is not a competitive one. “Music and international goodwill and understanding” will be the order of the day, for young people aged from 11 to 18.

Why was South Glamorgan chosen for such a venture? “There is a tradition of music; facilities were impressive, especially where accommodation was concerned; and it was an area well known for its friendliness,” said one of the organisers.

South Glamorgan Council has put its weight behind the festival with a grant of £38,000, which naturally has made home-grown festivals, struggling to cope with inflation, somewhat envious and perplexed.

Cardiff College of Education and University halls of residence will house the musicians and dancers.

Concerts will not merely be restricted to Cardiff. Many events will take place in Barry, Nantyglo, Bridgend, Caldicot, Pontypool, Merthyr Tydfil, Nantymoel, Swansea and St. Donats.

Conductors of the calibre of Eric Ball, Bernard Keefe, Anthony Hopkins, Owain Arwel Hughes, Geoffrey Brand and Glynn Jones, director of the Pendyrus Choir, will be on the rostra.

During the festival an international youth symphonic band will be formed-the ”crème de la crème” of all the players-to take part in the final gala concert.

The festival shows how progressive it is by having commissioned a new work, Welsh Airs And Dances, by Alan Hoddinott. The programme informs us that the “Welsh premier” will be in Cardiff on August 21 and the “world premiere” will be in London three days later, which makes for an interesting distinction.

Brass and wind bands will hold most of the limelight, but there is likely to be much interest in performances by the Dance Theatre of the Philippines, the Eoan Opera Group from South Africa, with offerings of Mozart, Puccini, Verdi and Donizetti, the National Academy Ballet, from Illinois, and the Legon Drummers and Dancers from Ghana.

Foreign Secretary James Callaghan is likely to visit the festival, as is Hugh Jenkins, Minister of the Arts, and Kejtaro Sakamoto, number one man in the world of Japanese brass bands.

Tickets are selling reasonably well. After the Searchlight Tattoo and the International Horse Show public enthusiasm is bound to take time to build up.

Once the festival hits its stride, public support will surely be there. After all, South Glamorgan will be the scene of Europe’s largest wind band gathering, a festival which even has its own official airline-no less than Swissair.

From Microform, Local Studies, Cardiff Library.
Image created by The British Library Board.
Copyright: Media Wales.

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