Concert to Celebrate the Life of John R Davies
Saturday 10th June 2023, Aberystwyth Arts Centre
WELL, WHAT A NIGHT!
A night to remember for a very long time.
We all came together to celebrate the life of the most amazing and wonderful man, John R Davies.
He would have loved it.
The band comprised of 38 players and was joined on stage by 24 former players.
The band opened the concert with Alan Fernie’s PRISMATIC LIGHT and then welcomed its guest soloist for the evening, Ian Roberts, soprano cornet with Cory Band. Ian grew up in Aberystwyth and started his brass banding journey with John in the bandroom in the early 1980s.
Ian played MEMORY from Cats and then disappeared off the stage (followed by young Jacob).
The band played Christopher Bond’s arrangement of Arthur Kent’s BRING ME SUNSHINE before bringing its first set to a close with the POST HORN GALOP.
Ian made his way up into the auditorium with John’s post horn and the audience were thoroughly entertained by the hunter and the fox, ably played by Jacob Williams.
The piece ended with both hunter (Ian) and fox (Jacob) on the stage and in a twist, the fox ‘shoots’ the hunter!
Côr Adran performed several items to give Graham and the band a little break.
The band’s second set comprised of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ RUBY TUESDAY, arranged by Alan Catherall.
The audience were treated to a WILD WEST medley of Ennio Morricone tunes including ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’, ‘Farewell to Cheyenne’, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’, and ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’.
Next the audience were treated to a masterful performance from Heledd Gwynant, first on the Marimba, and second on the Snare Drum.
To close the first half, the MC for evening, former Aberystwyth Silver Band cornet player and conductor Aneirin Hughes invited any former players to pick up their instruments and to come down to join the band to play the famous brass band march, SLAIDBURN.
Ioan Mabbutt took to the stage to sing 3 songs while former players were preparing to march onto the stage.
As 24 former members marched onto the stage to join the 38 current members present, Aneirin also picked up a cornet to join in the massed band.
As a finale, Graham conducted the massed band with a firm favourite, BARNARD CASTLE which drew the first half to a close with a rousing round of applause from the audience.
The second half started with a wonderful performance by a talented pair of clog dancers, Daniel and Morus Jones. Daniel took a solo dance.
Once of John’s ‘party tricks’ was to pick up and ‘play’ household items such as teapots, kettles, chair legs, milking udders … SO, Vic Evans, Graham Brand, Helen MacDougall, Kit & Bryn Wolf formed the TEAPOTS PARTY and a hilarious routine followed. Back in the day, Marc Roberts used to partake in this foolishness so was quick to accept the offer to pick up a teapot and play along. As if Ian hadn’t already played enough, he also picked up a teapot to join in with the fun! The group were ‘chased’ off the stage by the ‘janitor’ (Gareth Thomas).
Daniel and Morus were then ‘allowed’ back onto the stage to perform a folk dance.
The final act to take to the stage, FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY, was ABER JAZZ comprising Brian Sansbury on clarinet, Mike Taylor on vocals and banjo, Emyr Pugh-Evans on trombone, Joe Sansbury on trumpet, Alan Phillips on tuba and Den York on kit.
The audience thoroughly enjoyed the return of the famous ABER JAZZ.
The final number of the evening was ‘When You’re Smilin’ as requested by the Davies family.
ABER JAZZ began with the audience invited to sing along.
Mid way through the piece, Aber Jazz were joined by current and former members of Aberystwyth Silver Band as the roof was truly raised.
John would have loved it.
Everyone in the band felt privileged to have been present for such a wonderful celebration of the life of the most amazing John R Davies.
Heather Phillips June 2023