Cory Wins £35K Arts Award
Cory Band, from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, has recently been awarded £35,000 from Arts Council Wales’ Coronavirus Survival Fund to deliver a number of projects which aim to provide inspiration to other brass players, motivation for its own players and to enable the band to continue interacting with its audience throughout Wales and further afield utilising its online channels through the extended period of inactivity caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The award also supports Cory through these challenging times when, as a result of Covid-19, over 25 performances in the UK and a concert tour abroad have had to be cancelled or postponed.
On Friday 31 July Cory Band released its tenth ‘distance’ video of the lockdown – a performance of Cwm Rhondda with seven male choirs from the region. Cory’s Musical Director, Philip Harper said, “We were originally due to appear at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff to lead a ‘Brass and Voices Prom’ under the baton of Owain Arwel-Hughes, and so we wanted to do something rousing for the thousands of Welsh people who would have otherwise be engaging with the festival.”
On the weekend of 29-30 August Cory Band will be hosting an online Youth Brass Weekend which is open, free of charge, to all Welsh brass players under the age of 22. Organised in collaboration with National Youth Arts Wales and supported again by Arts Council Wales, all of Cory’s star players will be the tutors and there will be two levels of band – Grades 1-5, conducted by Glyn Williams, and Grade 6 and over, conducted by Philip Harper. Philip commented, “Applications are already open for this exciting weekend and we’ve already had dozens of sign-ups on coryband.com. We’ve got all sorts of things lined up for the young people: full band sessions, sectionals and masterclasses, as well as some social activities for a more informal atmosphere.
“We are also going to run a solo competition for more advanced players, and we would like to hear from young players who would like to send in a video of their solo performance, which will then be judged live on the weekend, the winner receiving a specially commissioned trophy. It’s a pretty unique opportunity!” The solo contest will be broadcast publicly on Cory Band’s Facebook page on Sunday 30 August at 1pm, as will Tom Hutchinson’s masterclass on Saturday 29 August, also at 1pm.
Behind the scenes, much work is also going on in preparation for an Online Brass Band Championships which will be broadcast free-to-air, thanks to Arts Council Wales’ support, on the weekends of 18-19 and 25-26 September. Over 70 bands have entered from all over the world and are busy creating videos for one of the five graded sections. Mentors from Cory Band are helping them through the process with advice on programme-planning, presentation and top-level performance. Philip commented, “This project is all about providing some focus and motivation for all levels of bands across the world, and ultimately providing some entertainment for the huge community of people who love musical competitions but are currently denied the experience.”
This project was made possible through funding from the Arts Council of Wales’s National Lottery Fund. More details can be found on the band’s website www.coryband.com
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