Hanes – 1899-1910

Dathliadau a Dirywiad

Er gwaethaf addewid cynnar o bethau gwych, dim ond dau gyfeiriad sydd i awgrymu fod Band Pres Pontarddulais yn weithredol yn ystod 1899. Roedd y cyntaf mewn Basâr Eglwys Pontarddulais a gynhaliwyd yn Ysgol Genedlaethol Tal y Bont Llandeilo , dan arweiniad Mr D. Lewis (arweinydd newydd arall !) lle adroddir bod y band wedi “discoursed sweet music”. Gyda llaw, un o brif atyniadau’r basâr (a oedd yn ddigwyddiad deuddydd!), oedd cystadleuaeth golchi! (Er nad yw pwy yn union, neu beth, a olchwyd yn hysbys yn anffodus). Roedd ail wibdaith y band, ym mis Hydref 1899, yng ngêm gyntaf Clwb Pêl-droed Pontarddulais ar eu maes newydd, yn erbyn Garnant. Trechodd Pontarddulais Garnant y diwrnod hwnnw ac mae papurau newydd yn adrodd bod y “Morgan brothers of Pontardulais were simply immense”.

Mae’n rhaid bod cyngerdd a roddwyd er budd y Milwyr Wrth Gefn a gynhaliwyd ddydd Sadwrn 3ydd Chwefror 1900 wedi bod yn noson i’w chofio, gan ei bod yn cynnwys “galaxy of talent”, gan gynnwys Mr Evan R. Jones, yr areithydd enwog, ynghyd â Pharti Llais Gwryw Pontdardulais, Cymdeithas Gerddorfaol Pontarddulais, Band Pres Pontarddulais a llu o artistiaid eraill gan gynnwys cantorion, digrifwyr ac offerynwyr. Mae’n anhygoel meddwl bod cymaint o dalent a chymaint o grwpiau cerddorol yn weithredol ym Mhontarddulais ar yr adeg hon.

Fodd bynnag, nid oedd y cyngerdd hwn yn ddim o’i gymharu â’r cyffro ym Mhontarddulais yn ddiweddarach y flwyddyn honno ar ddydd Gwener 18fed Mai. Adroddodd Papur Newydd Cambrian ar 25ain Mai 1900 y canlynol:

“The glorious news was received here at 10 o’clock on Friday evening, and it spread at once like wildfire. All the pent-up enthusiasm of the last few days suddenly burst forth in wild hurrahs and outbursts of joy. Hooters were set going, fog-signals were fired, and bonfires blazed everywhere. All work was at once suspended at the various places of labour. Impromptu processions paraded the streets, headed by improvised bands, and rest and repose were out of the question. It was a never-to-be-forgotten sight. Most grave and reverend seniors vied with youth and urchin in their demonstrations of the universal joy. Saturday was recognised as a general holiday. On Monday the school-children, numbering close on a 1,000, and marshalled by their teachers, paraded the streets. The leading tradesmen closed their business establishments for the day and many other scenes of daily labour were likewise deserted. There are already four Baden-Powells in the place all born this week”.

Beth allai fod wedi gwaddoi dathliadau gwyllt a llawen o’r fath?

Yn ystod 1900, roedd Rhyfel y Boer yn Ne Affrica ar ei anterth, ac yng nghanol y rhyfel roedd y frwydr dros dref Mafeking. Parhaodd Gwarchae Mafeking 217 diwrnod a chafodd gryn sylw wrth i’r Arglwydd Edward Cecil, mab Prif Weinidog Prydain, gael ei warchae yn y dref. Roedd rhyddhad Mafeking (codi’r gwarchae), ar 16eg Mai 1900, er nad oedd fawr o arwyddocâd milwrol iddo, yn hwb morâl i’r Prydeinwyr oedd yn ei chael hi’n anodd, a throdd y cadlywydd Prydeinig, y Cyrnol Robert Baden-Powell, yn arwr cenedlaethol. Achosodd rhyddhad Mafeking lawenydd ecstatig ym Mhrydain, allan o bob cyfran i’w arwyddocâd, ac am gyfnod ystyr y gair ‘Mafeking’ oedd i ddathlu’n ormodol.

Roedd yn debygol iawn, er na chafwyd adroddiadau, fod o leiaf rai aelodau o Fand Pontarddulais yn rhan o’r union fand hwnnw a orymdeithiodd strydoedd Pontarddulais ar noson ‘Mafeking’. Mae hefyd yn ddiddorol bod y papurau newydd ar ôl y noson hon yn cyfeirio at Fand ‘Mafeking’ Pontardulais, sy’n ymddangos sawl gwaith ym Mhontarddulais yn y blynyddoedd canlynol. Ai hwn oedd Band Pres Pontardulais? A oedd yn grŵp arwahan? O ystyried y nifer o bobl a fyddai’n gallu cael gafael ar offeryn ym 1900, mae’n ymddangos yn debygol y byddai’r band ‘Mafeking’ wedi cynnwys o leiaf rai aelodau o Fand Pres Pontarddulais, band sy’n adnabyddus am ddathlu’n ormodol – gwahaniaeth mawr yn wir o ystyried y dechreuadau dirwestol tawelach hynny!

Gwelwyd golygfeydd gwych eto ym Mhontarddulais ym mis Mehefin 1900, gyda dychweliad PTE G. Handford o Bloemfontein, De Affrica. Mae papur newydd Cambria yn adrodd “a huge demonstration took place in honour of the young soldier. A waggonette was procured, and Private Handford, accompanied by his father (Mr. Tom Handford) and Mr. E. Western (an old veteran, and a near relation of the hero of the hour), were drawn along the streets. The Pontardulais Brass Band headed the procession, and patriotic choruses were rendered by the crowd. The appearance of the waggonette was everywhere greeted with spontaneous cheering by the townsfolk along the line of route. Private Handford, thoroughly bronzed, and a trifle haggard, nevertheless looked remarkably well and presented a fine, soldier-like appearance”.

Mae Band Mafeking Pontardulais yn ymddangos ym Mhontarddulais eto ym mis Hydref 1900, gyda phapur newydd y Cambrian yn nodi’n bod y lle “was somewhat enlivened as a result”. Fe wnaeth eu hymddangosiad ysgogi “The Druid” o Bapur Newydd y Cambrian, y mae’n ymddangos ei fod yn rhywbeth tebyg i ohebydd Pontarddulais, i ofyn y cwestiwn yn ei golofn “what has become of the real Pontardulais Brass Band?”. Mae’r Derwydd bron yn syfrdanol wrth ychwanegu. “Will Bandmaster Lewis please speak up? We hope it has not gone the usual way such things generally go at Pontardulais”.

Ysgogodd hyn ymateb cynddeiriog gan Mr D. Lewis (erbyn hyn yn gyn-arweinydd Band Pres Pontarddulais!) sy’n ysgrifennu bod y “Real Pontardulais Brass Band” bellach wedi darfod. Mae Mr Lewis hefyd yn ychwanegu “I have taken an active part in every brass band in Pontardulais for the last fifteen years, but have lately – in the light of recent events – made up my mind not to hold any connection whatever with another”. O diar – beth ar y ddaear a ddigwyddodd i ennyn ymateb o’r fath gan bandfeistr Lewis? Mae ei lythyr llawn at “The Druid” wedi’i nodi isod:


In the columns of your last weeks issue, I came across the Pontardulais Notes by ‘Druid’ – a question about the Brass Band, addressed to myself. Your correspondent wants to know what has become of the ‘real band’. To relieve his anxiety, the band, as such has ceased to exist. What tended to bring this state of things about is what I mean to dwell upon if you will allow me a little of your valuable space – and to the best of my ability to find cause why this, and kindred organisations, fail to live for more than a certain period at Pontardulais.

Any organisation which has not unity amongst its members inevitably must collapse. I’m sorry to say that such was the case with the Pontardulais Town Band. Now I don’t want to tread unnecessarily on anyone’s susceptibilities; but the truth must be told, and until the destructive element which has proved the downfall of the ‘Band’ so many times before – as witness the fact that I was the third conductor in as many years – be completely eradicated and be kept out, it is useless thinking of resuscitating it.

But more than this. The interest taken in the Band, and the support received during the twelve months – more or less that I was a member, was almost nil. Allow me to give you a case in point. A certain tradesman in the place, who felt strongly on the subject, and advocated consistently and enthusiastically on behalf of a brass band, when asked for something towards getting new instruments, proudly handed over the magnificent sum of threepence, looking meanwhile as if he expected to see a brand new set of Bessons appear on the scene the following week.

There are exceptions, of course: but you can count them on the fingers of one hand. Taking them altogether, this is a fair sample of how your successful businessman looks at things in Pontardulais. We could mention several efforts in this direction which have reached untimely graves, this cause predominating. Such as the Sunday Schools demonstration on Whit-Monday; the United Choir; the Cricket, Tennis, and Football clubs. How often do we hear the expression ‘that nothing keeps up for any length of time in this place’: or that this or that innovation promises to be a success. In fact, the place is notorious for it’s unfulfilled promises. ‘Druid’ is pleased to hear that the Pontardulais Male Voice party, etc. is still going strong. Yet how many times has it expired of sheer inanition and inadequate support? But after all said and done, internal dissentions and lack of support are only effects after all. The real reason I assign why musical societies enjoy such a brief period of existence, is that they are not initiated in the right spirit. I find – after due consideration – that the strongest motive is not a love of music for its own sake but, ‘Will it benefit us financially?’ There would be no room for wranglings if this were not so. And they would still flourish without much outside support.

Now I do not say that they should refuse all and sundry monetary engagements, but to make these things secondary.

The Pontardulais Orchestral Society is a proof of what I affirm. It has been actively at work for the last six years and has enough vitality to go on for another sixteen, and more. The sole reason being is that they meet simply for the love of music, and the enjoyment derived therefrom.

But to return to ‘Druid’ and the ‘Brass Band’. I have taken an active part in every brass band in Pontardulais for the last fifteen years, but have lately – in the light of recent events – made up my mind not to hold any connection whatever with another, unless an outside committee is formed, in which all authority shall be vested. If ‘Druid’ has sufficient interest to formulate another band on these conditions or something similar, then I am prepared to do all in my power towards getting a ‘Real Brass Band’ again, which the place is sadly in need of. I remain yours etc.

Geiriau cryf yn wir!

Arhosodd Band Mafeking Pontarddulais, y cyfeirir ato’n aml erbyn hyn fel y “Notorious Mafeking Band”, mewn bodolaeth trwy 1901 a 1902 gan gwrdd â milwyr oedd yn dychwelyd yn yr orsaf reilffordd a’u gorymdeithio adref, yng nghwmni ffrindiau ac edmygwyr.

Yn y cyfamser mae’r “Real Pontardulais Brass Band” yn cymryd rhan yn un o ddigwyddiadau pwysig 1901, pan fydd y ‘bachgen lleol’ y Parch J. (Gwili Jenkins) yn ennill Coron yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol.

9fed Awst 1901 – Wedi’i gymryd o Denver Evans ‘Bont’

Elaborate arrangements were made to accord the Crowned Bard with a reception back home deserving of such great success. On Friday evening, August 9th 1901, a tremendous crowd gathered at the Railway Station at Pontarddulais and with most people bearing flaming torches, Gwili was escorted by practically the whole population through the main streets of the village. This wonderful torchlight procession headed by the Town Band, was cheered all the way up the main street, then back down eventually ending up at the bard’s residence in Hendy.

Mae’r breswylfa hon, bron gyferbyn â Chlwb Clwb Rygbi yr Hendy presennol, bellach wedi’i addurno â phlac er anrhydedd i Gwili, y dyn ifanc lleol a hwyrach wnaed yn Archesgob.

Yn anffodus, dyma’r sôn olaf am Fand Pres Pontarddulais, ac mae’n ymddangos ar ôl Awst 1901, bod Band Pres Pontarddulais wedi darfod unwaith eto.

Ni chafwyd mynediad gan Fand Pontarddulais i Gystadleuaeth Band Pres ‘Monstre’, dan adain Cymdeithas Atyniadau Pontarddulais a’r Cylch ym 1903, er ei fod ar dywarchen gartref Pontardulais. Mae adroddiadau’r dydd yn nodi ym mis Gorffennaf bod y tywydd wedi “kept up beautifully” ac roedd presenoldeb uwch nag erioed – roedd y tywydd yn ffactor hynod bwysig mewn cystadlaethau bandiau pres ar yr adeg hon, gan fod cystadlaethau yn gyffredinol yn cynnwys elfen orymdeithio ac felly roeddent yn aml yn cael eu cynnal yn yr awyr agored.

Gorymdaith heibio i Gapel Hermon tua 1904
Gorymdaith yn pasio Capel Hermon tua 1904. Mae’n annhebygol mai Band Pontarddulais yw’r band yn y llun, o ystyried golwg filwrol y wisg a diffyg cyfeiriadau at y band tua’r adeg hon.

Mae Papur Newydd y Cambrian yn disgrifio “painful sensations” a wnaeth “cast a gloom” dros bentref Pontarddulais, a brofwyd un dydd Mercher ddiwedd mis Hydref 1904, wrth glywed y newyddion bod Mr David Morris, arweinydd gwreiddiol Band Pres Pontarddulais, wedi marw yn gynnar yn 50 oed. Mae’n ymddangos bod hon yn farwolaeth sydyn ac annisgwyl iawn oherwydd “Tuesday, and as late as 11 o’clock last evening he was merrily chatting with some friends”. Yn anffodus gadawodd wraig a naw o blant ifanc, a phriodolwyd ei farwolaeth i glefyd y galon. Ymgasglodd torf aruthrol i dalu eu parch yn ei angladd ac wrth ei gofeb, darparwyd cerddoriaeth gan y côr a’r organ. Yn anffodus, does dim sôn am Fand Pres Pontarddulais i chwarae eu harweinydd allan.

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