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Pontardulais Town Band
The Pontarddulais Town Band was formed in the late 1800's and it is well remembered by the older inhabitants that the Band played at the local Railway Station when the young men left 'Bont' to join the forces in the First World War 1914-1918.
The Band was also present in the early 1920's when some locals decided to travel to America to seek the "promised land". Locally the Band was active in the thirties, but with the advent of the Second World War, with so many players joining the forces, the band was disbanded as the majority of player were involved in the war effort.
In 1945 after the end of the second world war, some of the stalwarts of the old pre war band namely Ivor Emlyn Davies, Albert Williams, Leonard Thomas, William Upton, Will Thomas, and Will Rees all encouraged young players to become involved in music. And so decided to re-form the Band, and with a great deal of effort, they were successful in obtaining instruments, and players.
The reformed band were taught the rudiments of music in the yard of Clayton Tinplate Works Pontardulais, and moved to a number of venues during the following years. Pontardulais Secondary modern school, on James Street known as the “Top School”, where second hand instruments were played under the Baton of Albert Williams.
After their first contest in Porthcawl in 1946 the Band continued to perform under several conductors winning many local contests. In 1955 under the leadership of Cliff Ward, success came in the form of Class`C` Champions of Great Britain and the following year Champions of Class`B`.
The following year (1956) they achieved another 'first' in London, this time in Class 'B'.
The later move to Bethel Chapel Tynybonau Road coincided with the purchace of second hand uniforms and more instruments. The band also rehearsed at the St Johns Ambulance Hall, Water Street, the old Pontardulais RFC changing rooms Pentre Road, Pontarddulais Primary School.
During the next few years the Band went through a phase of transformation as the older members left and a new Junior Band was formed. To our knowledge, they were the first Band to compete in Class 'D' (winning first place), then competing in Class 'C' and gaining second place, and with tongues in cheeks, they competed in Class 'B' and came in first - this competition was held in Cwmamman in 1967.
Clive Hiddlestone then took over as Bandmaster in 1962 amid the disruption of moving several times.
Joe Pearce was Bandmaster in 1974 when the band won the Coal Industry Social Welfare Cup for Class`C` - the first time this trophy had been won by a Welsh Band.
Another notable achievement was the first prize in the Coal Industry Contest in Blackpool in 1974, the 'Bont' Band being the first Welsh Band to hold this trophy since the inception of the contest 13 years previously.
The Band competed successfully in Class 'B' during the late 1970's and in 1981 gained promotion to the Championship Section.
During the late 1980's the band broke up and stopped competing, but due to the hard work of some players and comittee members the band reformed and in 1992 and 1993 the Band qualified for the London finals again (4th Section). Since then the Pontarddulais Town Band has gone from strength to strength regularly winning local competions (including Eisteddfodau) and performing all over South West Wales.
1985 saw the first success at the National Eisteddfod under the baton of C.Brian Buckley. The Band has won numerous trophies, since their 1985 National Eisteddfod win. Including National Eisteddfod winners again in 1993, 1998.
1996 marked the year of National Lottery Funded Band Room, built on land donated by Clayton Tinplate Works on High Street Pontarddulais. This is where the band now rehearses and holds functions.
In 1996 the Band celebrated its official 50th Anniversary at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea where among the guest artistes were Cor Meibion Pontarddulais. and a Championship win in 2004 under Mike Faro.
Recent results include.
Welsh 4th Section Champions 1994.
Welsh 3rd Section Champions 1997,
Harry Ramsden`s National Winners 1998.
Welsh 2nd Section Champions 1999.
Welsh 1st Section Champions in 2000.
Pontins 1st Section Champions 2000.
Welsh 1st Section Champions 2007
In 1998 the Band were promoted to the 2nd Section and surprised everyone (including themselves) by winning the Welsh Regional Competition in Swansea, winning the Harry Ramsden 70th Birthday Competion at Cardiff (against several 1st Section Bands), winning the East Wales Compettion at Ebbw Vale and winning the National Eisteffod at Pencoed.
In September 1998 the Pontarddulais Town Band were crowned Harry Ramsden 70th Birthday Section 'A' Champions at Guisley, Leeds winning £1000. The Band were then invited to play in the Brass Band Masters held on the following day at the same venue with the likes of Fodens, Ever Ready, Tredegar, Wingates, Cory
More recently Welsh 1st Section Champions 2008. The Band are now graded 1st Section Nationally and Championship locally.
There have been a number of bandmasters who have contributed to the present Band, and many have helped in rehearsals, competitions, and performances.
The band is currently Under the Baton of Paul Jenkins.