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Llangollen Silver Band
It was called an excellent project. A hastily convened meeting was called on Wednesday August 17'th 1904 under the chairmanship of Mr W.Pencerdd Williams at the assembly rooms Llangollen to consider proposals to form a Band for Llangollen that would fulfil a long felt and frequently expressed want in the community. The gathering was convened by Mr S.J.Henry the Bandmaster of H company 1st Battalion V.B. R.W.F. which was stationed in the Town.
Mr Henry stated that during his stay at the camp he had made acquaintance with a representative of Messers Boosey & Co, who upon being acquainted with things at Llangollen offered on behalf of the eminent firm to loan to Llangollen, for a period of 6 months free of charge a set of Twenty Four musical instruments that had previously been in use for a Band at Pontypridd. He had some of the leading tradesmen in the Town approached for their comments and all spoke in favour of this project to form a Brass Band in Llangollen and might utilize these instruments, and several promised to subscribe to meeting preliminary costs.
Mr Henry volunteered to conduct the Band free of charge for the first 12 months and that
he had had numerous offers of men wishing to join.
To put the matter on a proper basis they must have a body of Trustees appointed who will work together with a working Committee. After discussing the project for some time and heartily approving the suggestions made, it was decided to call a public meeting for 8.15pm Friday August 19th 1904. Again at a very low attendance it was agreed to accept a kind offer of the loan of instruments and so... Llangollen Silver Band was born!
1904 - 1920
In this period we have the oldest attendance register of Band Members, and the first date in the register is March 1st 1910. We don't know if there was a previous register, it is assumed that there would be, but we have no record of it. The only Names we can be certain of prior to these records is that of the founder; Mr J.C.Henry, along with the first Bandmaster; Mr Jeff Williams, players Mr John Henry Humphreys and Mr Richard Ellis Evans.
You can see a copies of the register for 1912 and 1914, and these pages start to record the Family names that through the decades have been synonymous with the Band.
The register stops in 1914, then on the next page restarts again in 1919, this gap would be because of the First World War, it is assumed that all banding activities ceased during that period.
Going into the 1920's, Mr Jeff Williams is recorded as still being the Bandmaster.
The Band moved into the 1920's with Mr Jeff Williams as Bandmaster, but in 1922 the records showed that Mr John Henry Humphreys took over the Baton, and held office until the end of 1930.
In 1931 the records show that Mr Richard Ellis Evans became Bandmaster, we are at present trying to ascertain how long he held this position for.
The Band took third prize at Belle Vue Manchester in 1933, Harry Mortimer Conducted the Band on the day, it is reported that Mortimer made a name for himself that day by conducting four Bands, and by winning Prizes with three of the four; Llangollen of course being one.
There was no Band register kept for the years 1940/1 but there was one for 1942. It shows that Mr Richard Ellis Evans continued as Bandmaster through this period of time, we are still trying to confirm at what point he left office.
The first item of note in this era was the programme for a Massed Band Concert held in Rhos Miners Institute in 1944, the second half of the concert was of a Welsh theme and recorded for B.B.C Wales Radio. It's sad to note that Coedpoeth Band and Rhos band are no longer in existence, but Llay, and of course Llangollen Bands are still very active.
A copy of the Band rules show Mr Sam Hayward signing for his instrument BBb Bass serial number 135218 and of being in agreement with the Band rules on May 30th 1945. Also on the same date: Mr Wm Thomas, Bass Trombone number 132729 and Keith Evans, Cornet 135377 I have just mentioned these names from amongst the rest of the players, all Boosey and Hawkes class 'A' instruments by the way.
This period was without doubt the most difficult time for Brass Bands, and as stated elsewhere on the site, many small Bands folded through lack of funding or lack of support in general. But for those Bands that did survive, it was the die hard loyal players that kept the band going. When only a handful of players remain it is hard to keep a good balanced sound, many players had to switch instruments, Bands found the conductor playing an instrument whilst banging his foot on the floor to keep a beat to follow, or playing with one hand whilst conducting with the other, not an ideal situation; and one that was not very attractive to young prospects!. Llangollen found themselves in this position, and thankfully managed to ride the storm, Bob Lube (Chairman's remarks) tells us how in 1976 he was brought in to beat the drum as a time keeper. Good fortune graced the Band and it survived, making itself attractive to new players, a great deal of thanks must go to Mr Albert Hammonds for his addictive good humour and friendliness towards everyone, this must certainly have made even the most sceptical of persons feel relaxed and welcome.
You can see here a list from December 1984, asking for a good turn out in our Christmas Carolling efforts that year. It is a significant piece of paper because it was the first step in an ongoing fund raising scheme, the efforts that were given by everyone paid rewards, and within 8 years of this first concentrated effort, there were many new instruments purchased, and also the much desired full set of new Band Uniforms had been bought outright.
Whilst playing in Harlech Castle in 1988 someone listening to the Band had written a poem during the time we had playing, at the end of our programme he presented the Poem to us
After the Band had secured its new uniform in 1991, it continued to update and upgrade the instruments, while ways in which it would be possible to have a new Bandrooms built were looked at. It was hoped that perhaps funding from the new National Lottery could have been granted to us, but our applications were unsuccessful on numerous occasions. So eventually, the plans that had been drawn and the strategy for the rebuild were all put on hold.