Duel award at Crosskeys

THE Usk Youth Brass Band came away with two awards at the recent Greater Gwent Youth Brass Band Festival at Crosskeys College.

They won the Highest Placed Band in Gwent Award and Usk's junior band's conductor Lea Jones was awarded the Con Buckley Memorial Award for her commitment to youth brass banding.

Her husband Jeff Jones, the youth band conductor, who won the same award back in 2007 said: "The band played magnificently at the Festival and justly deserve the award. I'm extremely proud of the way each member of the band performed, I couldn't ask for any more."

The band is the first to have won the Con Buckley Memorial Award more than once, having now won it for the third time.

Usk Youth Brass Band played five diverse pieces in their programme and opened with a sparkling rendition of Hey! Look Me Over made famous by Lucille Ball in her only broadway appearance, followed by the beautiful solo Craig Lea played by the band's principal cornet Emily Davies.

This was followed with the world premiere of The Band that Jack Built, a jaunty march especially commissioned for the band in memory of Jack Stradling who founded Usk Brass band in the early 1970s. Jack's son Bob, himself a brass player, was in the audience and was very honoured and touched by the piece.The shield was awarded to the youngest player of the band, ten-year-old Lydia Morgan, who was playing her first concert.

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