History – 1956 National Contest

1956 National Brass Band Championship Festival

On Saturday May 5th 1956 at the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl, playing Snowdon Fantasy by Thomas James Powell, Pontardulais Town Band secured 1st place at the Welsh Regional Championships Second Section Qualifiers, and with it an invitation to compete at the Finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in London later that year.

Fast forward to Saturday, October 27th 1956 at Kensington Town Hall. The test piece was Sirius by Frank Wright and this time there were 21 competing bands in the Second Section. It must have seemed an impossible task for the newly promoted Pontardulais Town Band. However Pontardulais Town Band, with 10 players under the age of 16, some experienced heads and a talented Musical Director in Mr Cliff Ward at the helm, they played the test piece with some considerable style and confidence. Later the adjudication will read “a brilliant and satisfying performance”

1956 Nationals

With 192 points, the Challenge Cup and £100 prize money, Pontardulais Town Band ‘do the double’ and win the Second Section of the 1956 National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, just a year after winning the Third Section National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. It is an amazing achievement for a village band and their MD of less than two years and puts Pontardulais firmly at the heart of brass banding excellence.

Mr Cliff Ward with his band
Mr Cliff Ward with his band

Both adjudications are below.

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