News

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

Welsh Regional Championships Success

The band achieved 3rd place on its return to the 1st Section at the Welsh Regional Championships 2019, held at the William Aston Hall at Wrexham Glyndwr University on 16th March 2019.

On an emotional day, and following a difficult couple of weeks for conductor Paul Jenkins after a family bereavement , the band was very proud of its performance and only narrowly missed out on an invitation to represent Wales for a second successive year at the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.

Performing the set test piece ‘Symphony of Marches’ by Gilbert Vinter, the band were placed 3rd by adjudicators Sheona Wade and Roger Webster, behind Goodwick Brass and Burry Port Town Band, to complete a West Wales 1 – 2 – 3!

Burry Port Town Band’s euphonium player and Besson Artist, Robbert Vos, won the Best Instrumentalist prize.

Full results for the section are below.

Position Band Conductor Draw
1 Goodwick Brass Matthew Jenkins 7
2 Burry Port Town Band Ceri John 3
3 Pontardulais Town Band Paul Jenkins 9
4 Deiniolen Silver Band Lois Eifion 10
5 Tylorstown Band Gary Davies 6
6 Lewis Merthyr Band Craig Roberts 2
7 B. T. M. Band Nigel Seaman 1
8 Markham & District Band Matthew Rowe 5
9 Llanrug Band Brian Connolly 4
10 Ifton Colliery Band Scott Lloyd 8
11 Abergavenny Borough Band Sean O’Neill 11

Best instrumentalist: Robbert Vos – Euphonium (Burry Port Town Band)

Some comments on the performance from brass band media on the day were as follow:

From 4barsrest.com Pontardulais provide the judges with a mature, well controlled account to ponder. MD picks his tempos judiciously as well as the dynamics. The odd smudge here and there, but this had a touch of richness to compliment the wit and thoughtfulness.

From 4barsrest.com on Twitter A mature performance of quality from Pontardulais – confident as well as considered. Odd little moment or two but such a coherent and musically authentic whole.

Welsh Open Return

The band enjoyed performing at the Welsh Open Entertainment Contest, held at the Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl on February 16th 2019.

PTB at the Welsh Open 2019
On stage at the Welsh Open 2019

Making a first appearance at the contest since 2016, and in a strong field of Championship and 1st Section bands, the band had the difficult task of catching the ear of adjudicators Philip Harper and Sarah Hayward, with a programmed entitled ‘The Eye of a Child’. The set list was as follows:

  • Activate, Matthew Hall (Soloist: Gareth Halfpenny)
  • Carnival of Venice, James Benedict/Harry James arr. Mark Freeh (Soloist: Chris Jenkins)
  • Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel), Billy Joel arr. Philip Harper (Soloists: Owain Evans, David Kelly, Gareth Halfpenny, Adrian Hiscock and Martyn Llewellyn)
  • Helter Skelter, W. G. Lemon arr. Ray Woodfield (Soloist: Sara Llewellyn)
  • Tale of the Dragon, Paul Lovatt-Cooper (Soloists: Kevin Shanklin, Chris Jenkins, Owain Evans, Tara Smith, Lyndon Harris and Gareth Halfpenny)

Though the band didn’t feature in the prizes on this occasion, the performance puts the band in good stead ahead of the Welsh Regional Championships in Wrexham in a month’s time.

Dylan Fowles on his debut contest appearance

Another positive from the day was the first contest appearance with the senior band for brothers Tom and Dylan Fowles, who have both progressed through the Junior band. While Tom already has some contesting experience under his belt, this was Dylan’s first ever contest appearance, and both brothers sportingly agreed to play percussion for the demanding final piece of the programme, which even involved playing Japanese Taiko drums!

Full results for the day are below.

Position Band Conductor Draw Points
1 Filton Concert Brass Tom Davoren 13 193
2 City of Cardiff M1 Band Chris Bond 4 190
3 Llwydcoed Band Chris Turner 7 189
4 Thundersley Brass Band Melvin White 12 188
5 Jackfield Brass Band David Maplestone 6 187
6 Tongwynlais Temperance Band Gareth Hann 1 186
7 Enderby Band Ryan Richards 10 185
8 Haverhill Silver Band Paul Filby 8 184
9 Burry Port Town Band Ceri John 9 182
10 Pontardulais Town Band Paul Jenkins 11 181
11 Tylorstown Band Gary Davies 5 180
12 A.W. Parker Drybrook Band Joshua Ruck 2 178
13 B. T. M. Band Jeff Hutcherson 14 177
14 Abergavenny Borough Band Sean O’Neil 3 176

Most Entertaining Band: Filton Concert Brass

Best First Section Band (not in main prizes): Jackfield Brass Band

Best Soloist: James McLeod – Euphonium (Thundersley Brass Band)

Best Cornet: Tim Pannell (Haverhill Silver Band)

Best Soprano Cornet: Adrian Williams (Burry Port)

Best Horn Section: Filton Concert Brass

Best Percussion Section: Jackfield Brass Band

Youngest Player: Dylan Rowlands – 12 (Burry Port)

Spring Festival Invitation: Thundersley Brass Band

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.


Prizes Won at the Cardiff Contest

At the final contest of the year for the band, and the final leg of the three-part Welsh League series, the band were delighted to be awarded 2nd place in the Championship Section, which also saw the band achieve the overall runner-up position in the Championship Section of the Welsh League for 2018.

Christopher Jenkins
Best Instrumentalist – Christopher Jenkins, Cornet

In addition, the band’s principal cornet player, Christopher Jenkins, was awarded the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ prize for the section, for his fantastic contribution to the band’s performance of the set test piece, ‘Between the Moon and Mexico’, by Philip Sparke.

The result rounds off a brilliant year for the band on the contesting front, with one 1st place, three 2nd places, a ‘Best Instrumentalist’ prize for Christopher Jenkins, a ‘Best Percussion Section’ prize and a ‘Best Back Row Cornet Section’ prize.

This set piece contest was adjudicated by Stan Lippeatt.

Full results for the section are below.

Position Band Conductor Draw
1 Llwydcoed Band Chris Turner 1
2 Pontardulais Town Band Paul Jenkins 5
3 Tylorstown Band Gary Davies 2
4 Ebbw Valley Brass Gareth Ritter 4
5 Markham & District Band Matthew Rowe 3

Best instrumentalist: Christopher Jenkins – Cornet (Pontardulais Town Band)
Best trombone: Gareth Robinson (Llwydcoed Band)
Best bass section: Llwydcoed Band

Remembrance Events

Festival of Remembrance 2018 posterA busy Remembrance weekend saw the band perform at a special ‘Festival of Remembrance Concert’ on the Saturday evening, before leading the traditional parade on the Sunday morning.

The concert, commemorating 100 years since the end of World War 1, saw the band give a world premiere performance of a composition written for the band, ‘Bugles Sang’, from the pen of local composer and current composer in residence of the Pontardulais Town Band, Mr. Haldon Evans.

Also performing at the concert were soprano soloist Adele O’Neill, local choirs Côr Glandulais and Lleisiau Lliw, and the prize-winning Pontarddulais Male Choir.

A number of performances were given by local children – choirs from Pontarddulais Primary School and Ysgol Llanedi, a choir and saxophone ensemble from Pontarddulais Comprehensive School and a dramatic presentation by Ysgol Gymraeg Bryniago.

The concert was held at Pontarddulais Comprehensive School and was compèred by Rhodri Lewis.

Llanelli online were present at the concert and have a report, along with photographs, available on their website.

Popular brass band website 4barsrest.com also have a report on their website, specifically about the premiere of ‘Bugles Sang’.

Haverfordwest Contest

On a very wet and windy day, the band were placed 6th in the Championship Section at the second leg of the 2018 Welsh League series, held at Haverfordwest High VC School on October 13th 2018.

Taking place only four weeks after the band’s successful appearance at the the Second Section Final of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, the band gave a good performance of ‘Chivalry’ by Martin Ellerby with only three weeks of preparation!

This Own Choice contest was adjudicated by Ian Porthouse and David Hayward, who stepped in at short notice in place of David Hirst, who was unable to attend due to travelling problems as a result of Storm Callum.

Full results for the section are below.

Position Band Piece Draw
1 Llwydcoed Band
(Chris Turner)
Of Distant Memories
(Edward Gregson)
6
2 Goodwick Brass
(Matthew Jenkins)
A King’s Lie
(Stan Nieuwenhuis)
3
3 Markham & District Band
(Matthew Rowe)
Coventry Variations
(Bramwell Tovey)
2
4 Ebbw Valley Brass
(Gareth Ritter)
King Arthur – Scenes from a Radio Drama
(Benjamin Britten arr. Paul Hindmarsh)
1
5 Tylorstown Band
(Gary Davies)
Tallis Variations
(Philip Sparke)
5
6 Pontardulais Town Band
(Paul Jenkins)
Chivalry
(Martin Ellerby)
4

Best instrumentalist: Steve Stonelake – Baritone (Llwydcoed)
Best soprano cornet: Jayne Thomas (Markham & District Band)
Best percussion section: Goodwick Brass

In the Prizes at the National Finals

The band is proud to have been awarded 2nd place in the Second Section Final of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, held at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse, on September 15th 2018. The band gained the invitation to represent Wales at the contest through winning the Second Section at the Welsh Regional Championships in March.

All 18 competing bands were required to perform the set test piece ‘Firestorm’ by Stephen Bulla, with three adjudicators to impress – Roger Webster, Brian Rostron and David Hirst.

Full results for the section are below, along with a selection of comments on the band’s performance from brass band media.

Position Band Conductor Draw
1 Middleton Band Kevin Gibbs 13
2 Pontardulais Town Band Paul Jenkins 4
3 North Skelton Band Lewis Wilkinson 14
4 Bollington Brass Band Peter Christian 15
5 Crofton Silver Band Dean Jones 12
6 Milton Keynes Brass Jonathan Mott 11
7 South Yorkshire Police Band Leigh Baker 6
8 Shrewton Silver Band Michael Dunford 16
9 Helston Town Band John Berryman 7
10 J36 Brass Steven Craig 17
11 Annan Town Band Paul Drury 5
12 Ifton Colliery Band Scott Lloyd 3
13 Hucknall & Linby Brass Paul Whyley 10
14 LGB Brass Band Ian Stewart 1
15 Flixton Band Matt Ryan 2
16 Campbeltown Brass Paul Kiernan 9
17 St. Sebastian Wokingham Band John Watts 8
18 Rolls Royce (Derby) Band Graham Cardwell 18

Best instrumentalist: Jo Robinson – Soprano Cornet (North Skelton)

From 4barsrest.com Purposeful intent from the off. Descriptive images of war and military right from the off. Tempos are good but occasionally the clarity drops but the confidence from all on stage is coming through.

The quality playing remains and the soloists step up to the mark. This is a real team effort and the excitement builds right to the close.

Overall: Very impressive stuff from the word go. The odd moment, but an account of real musical intent.

Star Player: The first clich’d ‘team’ effort of the weekend. Everyone stepped up there.

From the BritishBandsman.com Solid start with a great sense of style! Lovely dynamics that colour the music so well. This band really keep you engaged. Conductor is really clear in conveying the story of this piece… This is clearly all about the music! Ensemble really tight throughout this opening section. Bravo!!

Slow section- A tiny bit of intonation creeps in. Lovely solo lines throughout. The band are taking lots of risks with their lower end dynamics and its really paying off!

Final section ticks along with the same quality as earlier and accels well. Great balance between sections and all effects are heard. Band not holding back but it works.. oozes quality. Great early marker for us!!

STAR SECTION :- Condutor (Lovely interpretation)

STAR PLAYER :- Cornet

From Brass Band World on Twitter @bontband deliver a very convincing performance. We hear the detail of the score come across, complimented by a huge, yet always controlled band sound. Quality playing around the band and soloists do well. An early contender for sure!

Junior Band Awards 2018

Winners of the various Pontardulais Junior and Beginner Band Awards were presented with their trophies by guest soloist Tom Hutchinson at the Annual Concert on June 16th 2018.

This year saw the inaugural awarding of the J. D. W. Maclean Junior Bandsman of the Year award, introduced in memory of long-standing Band President, Mr John Maclean, who sadly passed away last year, after a period of 45 years acting as Band President.

Congratulations to all the winners.

Most Promising Beginner – Cian Curry
Most Promising Beginner – David Davies
Best Attender – Helen
Most Improved Junior – Sian Jones
Junior Player of the Year – Aled Tumelty
J. D. W. Maclean Junior Bandsman of the Year – Evan Kinnear