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'The village of Deiniolen has not always been known by that name. In the old clays the district was known as Llandinorwig and Gwaun C'ynfi, and the village itself was referred to as Llanbabo. It was also known as Ebeneser, the name of the local Independent chapel. The band, which was founded about the year 1835, has also been known by all the above names, but today is known as the Deiniolen and District Silver Prize Band.
Judging from a letter sent by a man from Rhiwlas to the Northern Star (`Y Seren Ogleddol') in 1836, this band appears to have had a rather rough start. He wrote: "About a year ago several men got together to form a society to help in distress; but soon afterwards some members expressed a desire to purchase musical instruments for the society's use. Then about twenty-five of the biggest beer-drinkers got together to learn to play them, and for that purpose they assemble once or twice a week in a nearby public house. But when they came to receive their wages from the quarry they went, as customary, to the cursed public houses which are so frequent around these localities. A fierce quarrel broke out amongst the band boys. and the effects were severe; by morning the streets and the walls of the houses of Llanbabo were speckled with human blood. Some were without skin on their faces, others with their eyes as black as the hob, and others injured by lethal weapons so that some of them were unable to work for a while, and great was the disorder — some having lost their instruments, and more of them having lost their senses."
The Deiniolen band became one of the best known bands in Wales and over the border, winning many premier awards in band festivals and eisteddfodau. During the five years following 1928, when Mr Man Evans took charge, the hand won 17 first prizes including the silver cup at the Bangor Royal National Eisteddfod in 1931.
The Deiniolen Silver Band (previously known as the Cynfi and Ebenezer Band) was founded in 1835, as a quarry band. The majority of today's members, whilst being descendants of quarry workers, come from all walks of life: factory workers, local government officers, nurses, a chartered surveyor, a finance officer, a baker, a double-glazing salesman, a data analyst, a nuclear technician, a hospital porter, a warehouse assistant, together with schoolchildren and college students. Currently, only one member of the Band continues the tradition of being a quarryman
Although there is a Junior Band (conducted by Mr. Hefin Goronwy Jones, who is also the band's treasurer), the Senior Band is considered to be a very young Band, with 16 of the 35 registered members being under the age of 25. However, the band also has a number of long serving members, with some having been with the band for over 40 years.
Over the Band's long history, there have been many female members and the Senior Band currently has 4 registered female players. The Deiniolen Silver Band was the first Band in Wales to have a female player - Gwyneth Jones, who played with the Band in 1929.
In March 1974 the band achieved a great honour when it was awarded the Freedom of the City of Bangor. The Deiniolen Silver Band was the first band in the UK to achieve an honour of this kind, and since then, it has only been achieved by the Black Dyke Mills Band, who were awarded the Freedom of the City of Bradford in 1976.
The Bandroom was, originally, an old slate mill, built around 1820, to complement the nearby quarries. When its owner, the Vaynol Estate, was disbanded in 1968, the building was donated as a gift to the Band on 1st May 1968, due to the Band having been long-standing tenants since 1929.
In the mid 1980's, the Band made a conscious decision to challenge for the British Championships, i.e. compete outside its traditional experience of generally, only competing in the North Wales Championships, the National Eisteddfod and Pontins Competitions. It took 4 years for the Band to qualify for the British Championships Fourth Section. Since the creation of the 'all-Wales' Regional heat for the British Championships, the Deiniolen Silver Band has won the Third Section Championships on all 3 occasions that they have taken place. Indeed, it is the only Band in Wales to have won 3 consecutive Welsh Regional Championships, thereby representing Wales in the UK Finals for 3 years running. In the 1997 UK Finals, the Band's hard work over the last few years was rewarded when it was placed third in the Section Three Championships and received excellent remarks from the adjudicators. Due to this outstanding performance over the last 3 years, the Band was promoted to the Second Section on the 1st of January, 1998 and obtained second place in it's first ever contest in this section - the 1998 Welsh Regional Championships in Swansea. The Band continued it's amazing run of results in the Welsh Regionals by being placed fourth in the 1999 Championships, and as aresult of this consistency, from January 1st 2000 the band will be competing in the First Section for the very first time in it's history.
The Band is extremely proud of it's achievements in nurturing members of the Junior Band into the Senior Band, schools and County Youth Brass Band and importantly, the National Youth Brass Band of Wales. Presently, five of the former youth members are music students at the Salford College of Music, and they have all become members of prominent Championship Brass Bands in England (Iwan Williams and Gavin Saynor are members of the Yorkshire Building Society Band and Eilir Williams and Euros Williams have also been members of YBS, while Sian Griffith is a member of the BT Band).
In recent years, the band has been conducted by Mr. Robert Wyatt of Stockport, who is an ex-member of the Williams Fairey Band and was conductor of The Stockport Schools Band, for whom he has recently composed a march called 'DEINIOLEN', and this march has become a very popular part of our repertoire.
The current conductor is Mr. Wynne Williams, of Trefor, a brass peripatetic teacher and a former Flugel horn player with the Beaumaris Band.
Past professional conductors of the band include Mr. R. John Childs, his sons Nicholas and Robert, Mr. Graham Sanders, Mr. Alan Lawton, Prof. Walter Hargreaves, Mr. Derek Broadbent and Mr. Ray Farr.
The band has also been very fortunate to have accompanied some of the world's leading brass soloists in the last few years. These include Nicholas Childs, Peter Roberts, Chris Jeans, Russel Gray, Shaun Crowther and Glyn Williams.
The Deiniolen bandroom is visited regularly during the year by bandsmen from Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester, in addition to bandsmen from other Welsh regions. The summer months are particularly busy in the bandroom when visitors call in during their summer holidays to picturesque Eryri (Snowdonia) where the village of Deiniolen proudly sits in the shadow of Elidir mountain which inspired W. M. Hughes, a former conductor of the band, to compose and dedicate to the Deiniolen band, the famous march 'Elidir'. This music was composed in the 1950's and remains a regular item in the musical programme of today's band. The historic and original music score and individual instrument parts can still be seen today at the bandroom.
Looking forward to the next century of banding, the Band is desirous of continuing the tradition of commissioning music for the Band and we hope to invite Welsh composers to the Bandroom, with a view to obtaining compositions and arrangements of both new and popular Welsh music.