News

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

Virtual Christmas Concert 2021

As the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has once again resulted in the cancellation of most of the band’s Christmas performances, the band instead has a very special treat for you – a joint virtual concert from Pontardulais Town Band and the incredible Pontarddulais Male Choir, with an introduction by the choir’s President, Mr Eric Jones.

The band are incredibly grateful to both for their contributions and are honoured to be sharing a stage with them, albeit a virtual one! The band sincerely hope Christmas 2022 will see the return of the much loved community Christmas Concert and the opportunity for all musical organisations in Pontarddulais to perform together once again.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas Concert Cancelled

The band is sad to announce the cancellation of the Christmas Concert at Morriston Tabernacle this Saturday, December 11th.

The health and safety of our audience and band members must come first and it would be unwise to go ahead given the rise in cases in recent days, following the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 Coronavirus.

The band are in the process of contacting everyone who had purchased tickets to offer a refund.

Thank you for your understanding.

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)

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.

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).