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This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.

Cwmbran Brass

Cwmbran Band was formed well over a hundred years ago and was one of the first brass bands to be established in South Wales. The band have enjoyed a number of very successful years both in contest and competition. This was reflected in the winning of their section at the Welsh Championships in 1999 and their subsequent promotion. Further succes came in the entertainment contest where the band came away with three prizes, including that for the best soloist. 2001 has been even more successful wirth the band qualifying for the National Finals at the Guildhall Preston.

Like many Brass Bands actual details of starting are very vague but according to a radio interview on Radio Wales with the late Len Morgan who was associated with the Band for very many years as a player, Bandmaster of the Senior Band and conductor of the Youth Band it is possible that the original Band was of a military style i.e. including woodwind and was connected with the Tin Plate Works owned by a Mr Conway in the Pontrhydyrun area of Cwmbran - this was prior to 1832 because in 1832 the Band became all brass instruments. A Lewis Edwards was the Bandmaster in about 1900.

The late Len Morgan said in the radio interview that he was writing a book on the history of the band - obviously this was not completed but it would be interesting to find out from his family what happened to the paperwork on the research he did?

According to Len the Band has had a number of rehearsal rooms including in Cwmbran House and Oak Street. In 1913 they purchased what is now the Cwmbran Band and Working Mens Club - it became a Club in 1919 to finance the mortgage payments. The Band and Club separtated during the Second World War mainly because they had to recruit a lot of youngsters into the Band and it was thought inappropriate for the children to be on licensed premises etc!

My own involvement with the Band commenced in 1965 just after we moved to Cwmbran which continued along with my family until 1983. I 'retired' then but did return to playing for a year or so in the 1990's. Fortunately i kept scrap books for the period 1965 - 1983.

Prior to my contact with the Band apparently Cwmbran Urban District Council decided they wanted to improve the Band considerably and they appointed in 1952 as Entertainments Officer for Cwmbran and also Musical Director of the Band a Mr Cyril K Evans. He came from London, was ex-Callender Cables Band and very professional in his approach. He brought such people to the town as Semprini (Concert Pianist) and David Hughes (Singer) as guest artists for the Band's Annual Concert.

There is another scrap book in being which covers the 1940's and 1950's which Don Thomas has - he was in the Band at that time and makes very interesting reading. His father W.G.Thomas was Chairman of the Band for many years.

I am listing below just some of the highlights of my time with the Band:-
  • 1968 - Champion Band Class B - promoted to Championship Section under C.K.Evans.
  • Swansea Contest 14/02/1970 - 4th - Championship Section - The Corsair.
  • Miners Gala, Cardiff 13/06/1970 - 4th - Championship Section - Resurgam.
  • Upper Cwmtwrch 07/11/1970 - 3rd - Championship Section - Resurgam.
  • Pontypridd 21/11/1970 - 5th - Championship Section - Variations on a Ninth - Band involved in coach crash on the way to Contest.
  • In March 1971 travelled to Derby with Cwmbran Male Voice Choir for combined Concert.
  • The present Bandroom was built in 1971 and officially opened in June.
  • 1972 - Cyril Evans retired on reaching the age of 65 - final Concert at Frome, Somerset.
  • Late 1972 Colin White appointed Musical Director - he was ex-Manchester CWS Band, R.A.F. Western Command Band and Melingriffiths Band - unfortunately was on kidney dialysis.
  • July 1973 - Band played for official opening of Town Centre Band Stand.
  • 1975 - Tyrolean Band 'formed'.
  • 1975 - Champion Band Class B - promoted to Championship Section again.
  • 1976 - Recorded an produced an L P Record entitled 'Choice of the Champions' - sold about 2000 copies. Colin collapsed while conducting the Band in the Town Centre Band Stand on the day of the record going on sale in David Evans.
  • 1976 - Colin White died aged 34 - result of kidney problems and a road accident.
  • December 1976 - The Band appeared on National TV from London playing a medley of Christmas music by Leroy Anderson. One of the younger members of the Band had written to the BBC telling them of Colin White's successes with the Band and his problems with kidney failure. His story went out at 5.30 p.m. on Sunday 19th December and helped boost the kidney donor scheme. There was a good reaction nationwide.
  • 1978 - Ivor Roberts appointed Musical Director.
  • 1979 - Band qualified for Finals at Pontins and London (Class B).
  • 1979 - Champion Band Class B - won prizes in almost every Contest that year except the last one at Pontypridd - came 4th but promoted to Championship Section again.
  • 1980 - Radio Wales Brass Band of the Year Competition - won through to semi-final and lost to Parc and Dare.