Return to the the British Open Spring Festival

Having received an invitation to compete at the British Open Spring Festival as a result of its victory in the Welsh Open Championship in February, the band returned to Blackpool for the first time since 2013 to compete in the Senior Trophy.

Held in the Spanish Hall at the Winter Gardens on 7th May 2022, the band performed the set test piece, ‘Life Divine’, by (Swansea-born composer!) Cyril Jenkins.

The band achieved an excellent 7th place in a field of 22 bands, its highest ever position in the competition! The adjudicators for the contest were Sandy Smith and Simon Gresswell.

The band were very grateful to receive funding from the Mynydd y Gwair Wind Farm Community Fund to cover the transport costs for the weekend.

Full results for the contest are below.

PositionBandConductorDraw
1Unite the UnionJonathan Beatty20
2Boarshurst SilverJamie Prophet10
3FishburnDuncan Beckley18
4East London BrassJayne Murrill19
5TylorstownGary Davies1
6EnderbyStephen Phillips13
7PontardulaisPaul Jenkins21
8Unison KinneilRaymond Tennant2
9Hatfield & Askern CollieryStan Lippeatt6
10Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart TravelGarry Hallas5
11Eccles BoroughMareika Gray22
12Easington CollieryStephen Malcolm4
13Thundersley BrassMelvin White11
14AmershamPaul Fisher3
15Marsden SilverAndrew Lofthouse12
16Sovereign BrassStephen Roberts8
17Bo’ness & CarridenAndrew Duncan14
18LydbrookStephen Sykes17
19Crofton SilverDean Jones15
20Roberts BakeryPaul Lovatt-Cooper9
21StaffordshireCraig Williams7
22JackfieldRyan Richards16

Best Instrumentalist: Sarah Curtis – Trombone (Unite the Union)

Welsh Regional Championships Winners

Having recently won the Welsh Open Championships, the band was delighted to follow it up with victory in the 1st Section at the Welsh Regional Championships!

Returning to the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea on 19th March 2022, having last been held at the Great Hall on Swansea University’s Bay Campus in 2020, this was the first Welsh Regional Championships to take place following the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

Best Instrumentalist – Lyndon Harris

With the victory comes an invitation to represent Wales at the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, to be held at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse on 17th September 2022.

The set test piece for the contest was ‘Spectrum’ by Gilbert Vinter, with the band competing in a field of 7 bands. As well as claiming the main trophy, the band’s euphonium player, Lyndon Harris, added to his growing collection of individual awards by claiming the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ prize.

Full results for the section are below.

PositionBandConductorDraw
1Pontardulais Town BandPaul Jenkins6
2Ebbw Valley BrassGareth Ritter3
3B. T. M. BandJeff Hutcherson7
4Lewis Merthyr BandCraig Roberts2
5Parc & Dare BandNigel Seaman5
6Deiniolen Silver BandKeith Jones4
7Markham & District BandJayne Thomas1

Best instrumentalist: Lyndon Harris – Euphonium (Pontardulais Town Band)

A full report for the contest from 4barsrest.com can be read by following this link.

Positive comments on the band’s performance from 4barsrest.com were as follows:

From 4barsrest.comWe waited a long time to hear two really authentic high quality First Section performances of ‘Spectrum’ and then we got them to close the contest.

The first came from Pontardulais, playing with bold confidence after their recent Welsh Open victory. That was carried forward here — helped by a wonderfully cohesive reading by the MD which was stuck to like Aroldite glue by his players.

This was glossy, high sheen stuff as oily as a palette of Dulux gloss and brushed on with the care and attention of a Vermeer rather than a Jackson Pollack. Little moments of unease, but it didn’t tarnish the canvas on which it was placed. Nicely done in all aspects that — very nicely done indeed.

From 4barsrest.com on TwitterThe most cohesive rendition so far from a bold but refined @pontardulaisband MD gave real definition to each colouring too – aided by fine soloists and balanced ensemble. Nice.

Welsh Open Champions 2022!

Pontardulais Town Band – Welsh Open Champions!
Photo credit: 4barsrest.com

For the first time in its history, the band was delighted to win the Welsh Open Brass Band Championship!

The first contest held in Wales since the beginning of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic was hosted at The Riverfront in Newport on February 20th and saw the band compete in a field of 13 Championship and First Section bands.

Previously held at the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl, this Entertainment Contest sees each band perform a programme of music up to 20 minutes in duration and this year was adjudicated by Dr Robert Childs, with David Francis given the task of selecting the winner of the ‘Most Entertaining Stage Presentation’ award.

A late personnel change as a result of COVID-19 Coronavirus restrictions saw regular conductor, Paul Jenkins, swap his baton for a trombone, with Matthew Jenkins taking over conducting duties.

Best Horn Section – Pontardulais Town Band

In addition to winning the CISWO Challenge Trophy and the £1,000 prize, the band’s horn section were awarded the prize for the ‘Best Horn Section’.

The result also saw the band gain an invitation to compete in the Senior Trophy contest at the Spring Festival in Blackpool on May 7th 2022.

The band chose to perform the following programme, complemented by a video presentation and narrated by radio DJ and local Swansea personality, Kev Johns.

  • Nordic Polska, Anders Edenroth & Matti Kallio arr. Philip Harper
  • Trust in Me, Sherman & Sherman arr. Philip Harper
  • Fantasy on London Nursery Rhymes, Dan Price
  • An Evening Prayer, Engelbert Humperdinck arr. Robert Childs
  • Tale of the Dragon, Paul Lovatt-Cooper

Full results for the contest are shown below.

PositionBandConductorDrawPoints
1Pontardulais Town BandMatthew Jenkins14184
2City of Cardiff (M1) BandChris Bond4183
3Tongwynlais Temperance BandCarl Saunders13181
4Ebbw Valley BrassGareth Ritter2180
5Brunel BrassDaniel Hall10178
6B. T. M. BandJeff Hutcherson12176
7SW Comms BandStephen Sykes7175
8Tylorstown BandGary Davies1173
9Lewis Merthyr BandCraig Roberts8172
10Parc & Dare BandDewi Griffiths11171
11A W Parker Drybrook BandJoshua Ruck5170
12Forest of Dean BrassThomas Dunne3169
13Markham & District BandJayne Thomas6168

Filton Conert Brass, drawn to perform as band number 9, withdrew prior to the contest.

Highest Placed First Section Band not in the Prizes: Ebbw Valley Brass

Most Entertaining Stage Presentation: City of Cardiff (M1) Band

Best Soloist: Megan Newberry – Cornet (SW Comms Band)

Best Cornet Player: Becky Cale (City of Cardiff (M1) Band)

Best Soprano Player: Clint Millter (B. T. M. Band)

Best Horn Section: Pontardulais Town Band

Best Percussion Section: Brunel Brass

Youngest Instrumentalist: Noah Davies (Tylorstown Band)

Invitation to Compete at the 2022 Spring Festival Senior Trophy: Pontardulais Town Band

Back on the Contest Stage

A long 20 months after its last appearance at a brass band contest due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the band performed at the Wychavon Festival of Brass, held on October 30th 2021 at The De Montfort School in Evesham.

David Morris Award (Best Euphonium): Lyndon Harris

Competing in the 1st Section at this Entertainment Contest, the band was pleased to achieve 4th place in a field of 9 bands, with the band’s euphonium player, Lyndon Harris, winning the David Morris Award for the Best Euphonium.

The band chose to perform the following programme, complemented by an audio and video presentation prepared by Jayne Kinnear.

  • Nordic Polska, Anders Edenroth & Matti Kallio arr. Philip Harper
  • Trust in Me, Sherman & Sherman arr. Philip Harper
  • Fantasy on London Nursery Rhymes, Dan Price
  • An Evening Prayer, Engelbert Humperdinck arr. Robert Childs
  • Tale of the Dragon, Paul Lovatt-Cooper

Full results for the section are below.

PositionBandConductorDrawPoints
1Eccles Borough BandMarieka Gray3195
2Haydock BandMark Quinn8193
3Milton Keynes BrassJonathan Mott4188
4Pontardulais Town BandPaul Jenkins7187
5Markham and District BandJayne Thomas1184
6Stannington Brass BandDerek Renshaw2180
7Langley BandCliff Parker6178
8Strata BrassRichard Marshall5175
9Shirley BandTom Stoneman9173

Winning MD: Marieka Gray (Eccles Borough Band)

Entertainment Award: Haydock Band

Best Soloist: Morgan Hart – Eb Bass (Shirley Band)

Best Baritones: Haydock Band

Best Percussion: Milton Keynes Brass

David Morris Award (Best Euphonium): Lyndon Harris (Pontardulais Town Band)

Foden’s Band Online Whit Friday Championships 2021

Having enjoyed its first taste of virtual contesting with the Kapitol Cory Online Brass Band Championships, the band entered the Online Whit Friday Championships, run by Foden’s Band.

The contest was broadcast on the 28th and 29th of May, the weekend the Whit Friday contest usually takes place in the Tameside and Saddleworth areas.

A total of 119 bands from around the world entered the contest, performing 57 different marches! In true Whit Friday fashion, all bands competed against each other, but with prizes awarded to the highest placed bands in each section. The contest was adjudicated by Michael Fowles.

Pontardulais Town Band were band number 38 in the draw, performing ‘The Contestor’ by T. J. Powell, which starts at around 2:56:10 in the video below.

The band were pleased to be placed 35th overall (from 119) and 15th in the 1st Section (from 24).

Kapitol Cory Online Brass Band Championships 2021

The band were thrilled to compete in the Kapitol Cory Online Brass Band Championships 2021, a virtual music contest broadcast live on YouTube and hosted by the Cory Band. Broadcast over three successive weekends in March, the contest included Championship, 1st to 4th, University and Youth Sections, with bands entering from all around the world!

Pontardulais Town Band competed in the 1st Section, broadcast on 20th March in a field of 12 bands. The adjudicators for the section were Cory Band members Chris Thomas, Simon Howell and Helen Williams.

The entire contest is worth watching, but if you only want to view our entry, it starts at 1:12:57 in the video below.

The running order for the section was as follows:

  1. Coalburn Silver Band (Scotland)
  2. Strabane Brass (Northern Ireland)
  3. Johnstone Band (Scotland)
  4. Pontardulais Town Band (Wales)
  5. Dallas Brass Band (USA)
  6. Langley Band (England)
  7. Seindorf Arian Deiniolen (Wales)
  8. Freckleton Brass Band (England)
  9. North Skelton Band (England)
  10. Drogheda Brass Band (Republic of Ireland)
  11. Wotton Silver (England)
  12. Strata Brass (England)

Welsh Regional Championships 2020

The band was placed 6th in the 1st Section at the Welsh Regional Championships 2020, held on February 29th at The Great Hall on Swansea University’s Bay Campus.

The set test piece was a new work by Welsh composer Tom Davoren titled ‘Legacy’, and the adjudicators were Alan Morrison and Jonathan Pippen.

Despite the low placing, the result has seen the band retain its 1st Section status for next year, following promotion back into the 1st Section in 2019.

Full results for the section are below.

PositionBandConductorDraw
1B. T. M. BandJeff Hutcherson4
2Tylorstown BandGary Davies1
3Deiniolen Silver BandLois Eifion5
4Lewis Merthyr BandCraig Roberts6
5Parc & Dare BandLewis Wilkinson7
6Pontardulais Town BandPaul Jenkins2
7Newport Borough BandRobin Hackett3

Best Instrumentalist: Dylan Williams – Cornet (Deiniolen Silver Band)

Welsh League First Section Champions 2019

The third and final leg of the 2019 Welsh League Series was held on November 23rd at Stanwell School in Penarth, and saw the band named joint First Section Champions for 2019, alongside the BTM Band.

This leg of the Welsh League Series was a ‘Concert Programme’ contest and saw the Championship and First Sections combined. The band was placed 5th, but were 2nd of the First Section bands, with a programme which included the premiere contest performance of band member Jonathan Mead’s ‘Prelude on Two Welsh Hymn Tunes’.

Full results for the combined Championship and First Sections are below.

PositionBandConductorDraw
1City of Cardiff M1 Band
(Championship Section)
Christopher Bond3
2Ebbw Valley Brass
(Championship Section)
Nigel Seaman5
3Tongwynlais Temperance Band
(Championship Section)
Carl Saunders1
4BTM Band
(First Section)
Jeff Hutcherson4
5Pontardulais Town Band
(First Section)
Paul Jenkins6
6Markham & District Band
(First Section)
Matt Rowe2

Best Instrumentalist: Tim Jones – Euphonium (BTM Band)
Best Trombone: Bethan Cooke (Ebbw Valley Brass)
Best Bass Section: BTM Band

Gold Award for the Training Band

Both the Pontardulais Town Band and Pontardulais Training Band competed at the 2019 West Wales Brass Band Association Contest on 5th October, held at Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth in Cefneithin.

Best Instrumentalist - Christopher Jenkins
Best Instrumentalist – Christopher Jenkins, with adjudicator Paul Holland. (Photograph courtesy of the West Wales Brass Band Association.)

The Senior Band was awarded 2nd place in the First Section, performing ‘A King’s Lie’ by Stan Nieuwenhuis in this Own Choice contest, which was the second leg of the 2019 Welsh League series. For the third Welsh League contest in succession, principal cornet player Christopher Jenkins won the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award.

The Training Band achieved a Gold Award on its return to the contesting stage, after performing a 10 minute selection of music. The set included ‘When I Grow Up’ by Tim Minchin arr. David Edmonds, featuring Aled Tumelty on Cornet, Dylan Fowles on Flugelhorn and Tom Fowles on Euphonium, ‘Kid Shifter’ by Simon Wyld – a tenor trombone solo performed by Evan Kinnear – and ‘African Funk’ by Alan Fernie. The Training Band also won the prizes for Best Performance and Best Section, which was awarded to the Percussion section.

Full results for both the First Section and Junior Section are below.

First Section

PositionBandPieceDraw
1Burry Port Town Band
(Ceri John)
Endeavour
(Philip Sparke)
2
2Pontardulais Town Band
(Paul Jenkins)
A King’s Lie
(Stan Nieuwenhuis)
1
3Markham & District Band
(Matt Rowe)
The Forest of Dean
(Derek Bourgeois)
3

Best instrumentalist: Christopher Jenkins – Cornet (Pontardulais Town Band)

Youth and Junior Section

AwardBandConductor
GoldPontardulais Training BandKevin Shanklin
SilverGwaun Cae Gurwen Junior BandDafydd Lewis
SilverNewport Borough Training BandHayley Gibbs

Best section: Percussion – Pontardulais Training Band
Best performance: Pontardulais Training Band

Silverware Claimed at the Cardiff Contest

The band was pleased to attain 2nd place in the First Section at the opening leg of the newly restructured 2019 Welsh League series. The contest was held on May 11th 2019, and once again took place at Willows High School in Cardiff.

Best Instrumentalist - Christopher Jenkins
Best Instrumentalist – Christopher Jenkins

With the contest reformatted to recognise National Gradings and with the removal of promotion and relegation, the band competed in a small field of four bands at this Own Choice contest.

The band elected to perform ‘Of Distant Memories’ by Edward Gregson, with Paul Holland adjudicating the section.

In addition to the 2nd place awarded to the band, principal cornet player Christopher Jenkins again collected the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ prize, having won the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ prize at the final Welsh League series contest of 2018 in Cardiff.

Full results for the section are below.

Position Band Piece Draw
1 B. T. M. Band
(Jeff Hutcherson)
Symphony of Marches
(Gilbert Vinter)
3
2 Pontardulais Town Band
(Paul Jenkins)
Of Distant Memories
(Edward Gregson)
4
3 Markham & District Band
(Matt Rowe)
Symphony of Marches
(Gilbert Vinter)
2
4 Abergavenny Borough Band
(Sean O’Neill)
Variations on Laudate Dominum
(Edward Gregson)
1

Best instrumentalist: Christopher Jenkins – Cornet (Pontardulais Town Band)

Best soprano cornet: Clint Miller (B. T. M. Band)