The band enjoyed the company of two welcome overseas visitors to one of its rehearsals in the lead up to their appearance at the Brass in Concert Championship at The Sage Gateshead on the weekend.
Rita Arendz and Fred Haive from Ontario in Canada have been visiting south Wales, and as both are former professional military musicians and fervent brass band lovers they took the opportunity to get in touch and come and listen to the band in action.
Rita and Fred have also been delegates on the annual North American Brass Band Summer School (NABBSS) held in Nova Scotia where they became friends of three of the tutors there - Hannah Rodgers, Ben Stratford and Will Norman, all of whom are members of the band.
In their professional lives in Canada, Rita was the highly respected Musical Director of The Queen’s Own Rifles Band for 17 years, whilst Fred was the renowned Bugle Major.
Too good to miss
They have been coming to the UK in the last few years to enjoy the British Open, National Finals and now Brass in Concert, and as Rita said, the opportunity to come up to listen to Tredegar before the contest was too good to miss.
“We are great brass band fans, so being on Wales we thought it would be perfect to come and hear Tredegar. We have heard so much about what they do, and it was wonderful to sit at a rehearsal and hear them close up. They are fantastic - and what a sound.”
We are great brass band fans, so being on Wales we thought it would be perfect to come and hear Tredegar. We have heard so much about what they do, and it was wonderful to sit at a rehearsal and hear them close up. They are fantastic - and what a sound - Rita Arendz
Whilst they were in the area the couple also came to the annual Remembrance Parade in Tredegar, with Fred adding: “That was a very moving service performed with such respect. We have really enjoyed our time here again and we will head to Gateshead and support all the bands – with something a bit extra for Tredegar!”
Tredegar MD Ian Porthouse was also delighted to welcome to new fans of the band. “We have an ‘open door’ policy at the band that welcomes visitors at any time, although it’s particularly nice to meet up with new friends from overseas.
I hope Rita and Fred enjoyed their trip up to hear us and we hope we can give them something extra special to remember us by at Brass in Concert on the weekend.”