ADVANCED PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE’S (A.P.E) BIO
Cardiff County & Vale of Glamorgan Percussion Ensembles were formed many years ago by Adrian Evans. Celi Johnston has been directing the ensembles since 2003.
There are three ensembles in total: a Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced group. The aim is to improve members’ technical ability as well as develop ensemble skills as they progress through the groups.
In recent years the ensemble has begun participating in the Festival of Music for Youth. They have had three very complimentary critiques and have been successful in gaining places in the National Festival held in Birmingham.
In July 2014 they were invited to perform as part of the Royal Academy of Music’s Percussion Day. They also enjoy a close partnership with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama – our own National Conservatoire and they recently took part in masterclasses there.
WHAT DID I DO WITH A.P.E?
I joined the beginner’s ensemble at the Friary Centre, Cardiff when I was around 8 years old.
Every Saturday during term time I would attend rehearsals and did this up until the year I moved to London in September 2009 to study music performance at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.
We played at some of Cardiff’s most prestigious venues such as St. David’s Hall, The Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff City Hall, Barry Town Hall and we even once played a televised performance at The Welsh National Eisteddfod when it came to Cardiff in 2008.
Here’s the second half of our performance of ‘Suite for Solo Drum Set and Percussion Ensemble‘ at the Music for Youth Festival in Birmingham on 6/07/09. We didn’t get through to the next round but we sure had a great time in Birmingham.
There have been many successful musicians from the ensembles over the years. Some of the members I played with (and are in the video above) were Dave Newington (Charollote Church, Boy Azooga) Alun McNeil-Watson (Box 9 Drumline, Freelance Percussionist) and Rich Cartlidge (Freelance Percussionist). Also, another member of the ensemble, Molly Ferrier, went on to work at Polydor Records in London.