At the Butlins Mineworker’s Entertainment Contest on Sunday 20th January, the Solo Prize was awarded to Percussionist Gavin Pritchard. Gavin, very ably accompanied by the Tongwynlais Temperance Band conducted by his father Gareth, played a piece commissioned for him by JAGRINS by the very talented up and coming composer, Andrew Baker. The piece, ‘Kopanitsa’ is a composition based on Bulgarian Folk Music and required Gavin to perform on Vibraphone (with bow and sticks), 7 Tuned Drums, 4 pitched Cymbals and Xylophone. Andrew describes the piece so: “Over the last few years I've been lucky enough to visit Bulgaria on a number of occasions, and every time I've been struck by the wide variety of folk music that the country has to offer, and the breathtaking technique of many of the musicians playing it. In particular I remember a clarinettist, who simply didn't seem to need to breathe, playing a solo with more notes in that I'd care to count! The music often sounds more Middle Eastern than European, as befits a country which was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for four centuries. When I was asked to write a percussion solo to showcase a variety of instruments and playing techniques I immediately recalled the various folk musicians I'd heard in Bulgaria and wanted to write something inspired by them. The title, ‘Kopanitsa’, refers to a type of Bulgarian folk dance which features two long beats and two short beats, similar to the central 10/8 section of the piece featuring tuned drums and cymbals. The last section, a furious presto featuring the Xylophone, also has more notes than I want to count!” Gavin said, “This is the first time I have been put forward as a Solo entry at an Entertainment Contest and I am delighted that the renowned adjudicators, David Read and Peter Parkes awarded me the Solo Prize. I would like to thank Andrew for his hard work in composing this innovative piece (which I’m sure I will play many more times in the future) plus the Band and Conductor for their excellent accompaniment. This one’s certainly not a straight forward, up and down, million Xylophone notes with only um-chucks in the accompaniment.” The piece will be published very shortly by JAGRINS (www.jagrins.com). More news on this to follow.