Return of Concerts!

Almost 18 months after its last public performance at the Welsh Regionals Championships 2020, Pontardulais Town Band was delighted to perform two concerts in August 2021 in the local area.

The first was a fantastic ‘Night at the Movies’ concert at The Clubhouse at Pontardulais Golf Club on August 14th as part of its summer series of concerts.

The second was a free ‘Music from the Movies’ concert held at Coed Bach Park in Pontardulais, on Bank Holiday Monday August 30th. The event saw an audience numbering in the hundreds with garden chairs in hand enjoy an afternoon picnic while being entertained by the band.

The past 18 months has been a difficult period for the band, as it has been for everyone, but despite being unable to carry out normal band activities, there has been a lot going on ‘behind the scenes’.

Virtual Performances

Though the band has been unable to perform in person since the start of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the band has tried to embrace the lockdown trend of ‘virtual performances’ as a means of keeping its members engaged and trying to bring some welcome relief to its supporters in difficult times.

The first was our Virtual Annual Concert, compered by Band President Garry Owen, which featured performances recorded at previous Annual Concerts and footage and photos collated by current band member Jayne Kinnear.

Next was a video released on Remembrance Sunday, which again featured recordings, footage, photos and newspaper clippings collated by Jayne Kinnear. The video also included recorded performances of Pontarddulais Male Choir.

Christmas soon followed and saw the band release a series of videos daily in the run up to Christmas Day, showcasing recordings from previous Christmas Concerts, in addition to three new videos which had been created using recordings created at home by individual band members and combined to create a single ‘Virtual Perfomance’.

Vaccination Clinics

With the wonderful news of a COVID-19 vaccine having been created at the turn of the year, the band answered the call and made the bandroom available as a venue for vaccinations from February 2021. A huge thank you to the team at Tal-y-Bont Surgery for their hardwork in administering the vaccine to so many local residents, some of which included members of the band!

Online Contesting

With so many brass bands around the country embracing the trend of virtual performances, the Cory Band and Kapitol hosted an Online Brass Band Championships, where Pontardulais Town Band competed in the 1st Section.

Having enjoyed the experience so much, the band entered Foden’s Band’s Online Whit Friday Championships a couple of months later, again competing in the 1st Section.

Bandroom Upgrades

The band are grateful to have been awarded grants to facilitate some much needed bandroom improvements, which took place in the Spring. These included replacing the flooring, replacing the boiler and installing radiators, re-tarmacing the car park and fitting new gates.

The band are also fortunate to have been awarded grants to purchase gazebos, which allowed the band to rehearse outdoors when COVID-19 restrictions and guidance (and the weather!) allowed.

Indoor Rehearsals

With the relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions in May 2021, the band was finally able to re-commence indoor rehearsals, though not at the band room due to the size of venue needed to meet the minimum spacing required between players to conduct safe rehearsals. The band are grateful to have been allowed the use of Penygroes Memorial Hall for this purpose.

Arts Council of Wales Funding

Arts Council Of Wales

The band are delighted to have been awarded a generous grant from The Arts Council of Wales, funding which has been made available by the Welsh Government as part of its Cultural Recovery Fund.

The grant will go a long way in helping the band continue its activites as best as possible during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

The band are very grateful to The Arts Council of Wales for the awarding of this grant and for its continued support.

Further information is available in the news release on The Arts Council of Wales website.

National BBC Coverage

The band’s first ever ‘Virtual Concert’, published during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, and associated fundraiser has been featured by BBC Cymru, both in a television news broadcast on Sunday 13th July and online.

The news item can be read on the BBC Cymru website (in Welsh) with the televised item also available on the BBC Cymru website or below.

The Virtual Concert is available to view from the Virtual Concert post on this website.

As mentioned in the news feature, if you would like to make a donation to the band, please follow this link to the band’s current campaign on GoFundMe.

South Wales Evening Post Community Award for Neil Palmer

The band would like to congratulate Neil Palmer (a.k.a. Mr. Pontardulais Town Band) on winning the Lifetime Achievement Award in the South Wales Evening Post Community Awards 2019.

South Wales Evening Post Community Awards 2019 - Lifetime Achievement Award Winner - Neil Palmer

The award ceremony took place at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea on Friday 22nd March. The judges for the award were:

  • Leon Britton – Swansea City AFC Ambassador
  • Lisa Cameron – Commercial Managing Director of Media Wales
  • Kev Johns MBE – Actor and Broadcaster
  • Phillipa Mounsey – representing one of the sponsors, McDonald’s
  • Mathew Rees – 2018 Amabassador Award winner
  • Jonathan Roberts – Editor at South Wales Evening Post

Senior Band Awards Evening

February 9th 2019 saw the return of the Pontardulais Town Band Awards Evening, held on this occasion at Tree Tops Country Club in Swansea.

The awards were presented by new Band President, Mr. Garry Owen, and the prize winners were as follows:

Most Improved Player of the Year: Lyndon Harris (Euphonium)

Bandsperson of the Year: Carly Shanklin (Cornet)

Player of the Year: Gareth Halfpenny (Trombone)

Players’ Player of the Year: Kevin Shanklin (Soprano cornet)

A special presentation was also made to Jayne Kinnear for her tireless work ‘behind the scenes’ over the past year, which has included securing numerous grants for the band to fund Workshops, purchase instruments for the Training band and for upgrading band facilities, to name but a few. Jayne was also heavily involed in the planning of the hugely successful Festival of Remembrance Concert held in November 2018.