Ystradgynlais Public Band - News Archive

Commentry on our activities between 2000-2011.  Please note that the embedded pictures and some links have been lost or broken when we changed our site provider.  This page has been kept for reference only.


25th December - Another festive season of Christmas carolling draws to a close.  As usual, members of the Band brought some festive cheer to the wards of the Ystradgynlais Community Hospital this morning.

9th December - Christmas activities continue and the Band played at the Grove Nursing Home and the Catholic Church Christmas service today.

3rd December - The festive season is now in full swing.  We held our Christmas Party at the Bomb in Glanrhyd last night and today we headed to the Christmas Fayre at the Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall.

5th November - The Band participated on a Charity Concert with Côr Y Gyrlais at the Welfare Hall in Cwmtwrch.  The concert raised money for the Cardiac Unit at Morriston Hospital.
Charity Concert for Morriston Hospital Cancer Ward at Cwmtwrch Welfare Hall.

5th November - A quartet from the band played for the Ammanford branch of the Torch group.

25th October - We attended a community fun day, organised by Powys County Council at the Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall.

8th October - We played an old favourite, Edward Gregson's 'Partita' at the West Wales Contest in Ammanford.

30th September - The Band played at the Ystradgynlais Community Hospital fete.

17th September - We took part in the Miners' Eisteddfod at the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl.  Sianess was awarded a shield for being the youngest player to perform.

28th August - The Band held a fun day in Craig-Y-Nos country park.  A picnic was combined with activities such as a treasure hunt and a game of rounders.

30th July - An enjoyable trip to Wrexham for the National Eisteddfod culminated in the Band winning 3rd prize in its competition.  Our programme started with our own arrangement based on popular Welsh tunes, followed by the Beatles' 'Yesterday'.  'Bass in the Ballroom' came next, with Tom's playing and dancing both impressing the adjudicators.  We finished with 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.  Many thanks to our guest players from Shropshire and Goodwick - we couldn't have done it without you!

Ystradgynlais Band at the Eisteddfod in Wrexham. Pirates Osian, Ben, Rhys & Alex

16th July - The Band's outing to the Gwyl held at Penrhos Youth Club was an unexpected success.  It was a long day, but the Band was on good form and our surprisingly large cake stall raised over £200.  Our Eisteddfod programme got an outing, although the band that's playing in Wrexham at the end of the month will be quite different to the band that was assembled today.

3rd July - We held an afternoon rehearsal at the GCG bandroom and were joined by four players from Goodwick Band who are playing with us at this month's National Eisteddfod.

7th May - We played Eric Ball's 'Impromptu' at the contest in Ebbw Vale.  It was an encouraging performance and we finished in front of the current section 3 leaders Ogmore this time around.  The adjudicator complemented many facets of the performance and this will hopefully give us a springboard into the rest of the year as our new conductor settles in to his role.

8th April - We returned to the Welfare Hall for our concert with Ynysgedwyn and Maesydderwen schools.  There was a wide range of items to enjoy and the standard of performances from both schools was excellent.  Naiomi from Maesydderwen school delighted the audience as the concert's compere.  Thanks to Dafydd for conducting the band and to the players who joined us from neighbouring bands for the event. 

31st March - We took part in a Cawl Cenin concert held at the Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall. 

20th March - Although preparation for the contest at the Brangwyn hall was hampered by personal circumstances of some band members, we managed to make it to the event and, although the 4th place finish was a little disappointing, it was encouraging that the band was able to attend what was only its second regional qualifier in five years.  It was the first time on such a large stage for many players and we are now looking forward to playing on a stage closer to home in our annual concert at the Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall on April 8th. 


December - It looked like a potentially lucrative Christmas at the start of the month but we were hampered by the wintriest December in 120 years.  We did beat last year's fundraising total, though, and managed to attend all of the community based events - including the St. Cynog's and Catholic Church's Christmas concert and playing at the Grove Nursing Home and the Christmas Fete in the Welfare Hall.  We also played at the community hospital on Christmas morning.  Our Christmas get together at the Bomb was a success, with Christine working hard to prepare all the food.   Some carolling footage from Christmas Eve has been uploaded onto the ystradband youtube channel.

20th November - We ended the contest season at a very wet and windy Blaenavon, where Haslemere Suite was the set test piece.  Our previous performance didn't help us as the bands were placed in order of tempo.

21st October - The Band hit the front page of the Brecon and Radnor Express today, with a detailed article that focused on our recent successes, while drawing attention to our need to find a few new players to bring the Band up to a full compliment of players. 

2nd October - We played Haslemere Suite at the Ammanford brass band contest.  It was the first contest with the band for four players and a few more were out of their usual positions, including Father David who conducted the band.  Our new drummers played very well for their first time competing, possibly helped by the lucky bird droppings that fell on one of them just before we went on stage...

3rd July - We entertained at the Ystradowen Carnival.  Although we were again hit with some last minute no-shows, Uncle Frank's formulaic arrangements helped us to overcome this.  Some pictures from the day have been added to our photo page.

22nd May - Our fist competition following our promotion at the end of 2009.  Things were not looking good when our drummer pulled out with less than a week to go.  They were to get a lot worse when our conductor phoned to say she had been taken ill on the morning of the contest! Nevertheless, we soldiered on and managed to get a result that was one position higher than we expected.  Many thanks to Carl who stepped in on the day having never conducted the band or seen the score for the music! 

10th April - Singer-songwriter Pete Lawrie arrived at the Gorsedd Park in Ystradgynlais on a sunny Saturday afternoon and recorded one of his songs with the band! The song was arranged for the band the day before and printed off just as we started to arrive at St. Cynog's. Pete's signed up to Field records and his first album is in the pipeline.  

21st February - Our first outing of the new year saw us playing at the Breconshire Girl Guiding Centenary service held at St. Cynog's in Ystradgynlais.  An unexpectedly large band assembled in the town centre as the guides marched through and this was followed by a surprisingly good performance from the band in the church.  Let's hope that this is a positive sign for the year ahead.


18th December - Christmas activities are well under way.  As well as visits to Tesco in Llansamlet and Pontardawe, we've done a pub crawl in the back of a van and our first ever night's street carolling in the rain, trying to juggle instruments, music and umbrellas! 

21st November - Ystradgynlais has been confirmed as the Champion Fourth Section band following the results at the competition in Blaenavon today.  Fittingly, our performance was the best we've done with a test piece for a number of years.

10th October - We competed at the West Wales Festival Contest in Burry Port.  We came third with a solid performance of Eric Ball's 'In Switzerland', in spite of Jacob's obvious tiredness and the off-putting antics of a rival band's players who were sitting in the front row! 

1st August - We took part in the National Eisteddfod in Bala.  Although the adjudicator wasn't too keen on our interpretation of the music, we enjoyed an eventful weekend.  Emyr won £3 and Sarah won £100 in our Deal or No Deal games, we almost got thrown out of the pub for laughing too loudly and Carl spent the whole of Saturday night walking the streets of Bala as he got locked out of the hotel after staying behind to try to chat up a barmaid...

18th July - The Band played at Gwyl Yr Ystrad at the Ystradgynlais Rugby Club. 

3rd July - Our Annual Concert was held at the Abercrave Welfare Hall.  We were joined by children from Caehopkin school. 

16th May - We competed at the SEWBBA contest in Ebbw Vale.  As anticipated, we were awarded 2nd place, behind last year's 3rd Section Eisteddfod winners Goodwick.

22nd April - We held a charity concert at Sardis Vestry, raising over £200 for AIDS charities in Africa.

28th March - We held a surprise birthday party for Ross at the 'Bomb' in Glanrhyd.  Many thanks to everyone for keeping the party a surprise and for making this such a memorable event.Charles and Marshall present Ross with an award at his 80th birthday party.

15th March - We made our first trip in five years to the Brangwyn Hall for the Welsh Regional Contest.  Although each of the competing bands are graded higher than us, we managed to beat one of them and the performance of such a difficult piece demonstrated the progress that the band has made over the last year.

13th March - Ross has become the town celebrity as he approaches his 80th birthday next week.  His story has been featured in the Evening Post, South Wales Guardian, Brecon & Radnor and the Daily Mirror.  He's also completed interviews that have aired on BBC Radio Cymru and on TV. 


25th December - Another hectic Christmas period has come to a close.  From streets, pubs and supermarkets to nursing homes and the community hospital, the band has been out and about spreading its usual Christmas cheer. 

15th November - We visited Treorchy for the first time in six years and Phill picked up another big trophy as we came runners-up for the year.

22nd October - The training band completed its slot in a concert organised at the Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall.  The concert was held over two consecutive nights and features performances by Maesydderwen school and pupils from some of the 'feeder' schools in the area. 

4th October - We took part in the Ammanford Band Contest.  The best instrumentalist prize for the section was retained in the Band as Steve took this award this year.

24th September - We held our second open evening at Sardis for players interested in joining the Band.

2nd August - We participated at the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff.  There were some very positive comments from the adjudicator and the 'expert' commentating on S4C. 

12th July - The training band held an end of term concert at Sardis.  Our annual awards were also presented:
The Ross Morgan Award for best attendance in the training band went to Iestyn and the Paul Rochard Memorial Cup for most improved player went to Danielle.  The Gwyn Alexander Memorial Shield was awarded to Catryn, who has worked tirelessly to improve the fortunes of the Band over the last year.Ross presents Iestyn with the Ross Morgan cup.

7th June - We played at the Community Hospital in Ystradgynlais.  The hospital held its annual fete today so patients and fundraisers were treated to an afternoon of music.

27th May - The Band was featured on S4C's 'Y Sioe Gelf' tonight.  Three members of the Band spoke about their experiences (ranging from less than seven months to over 70 years) - Ross, Catryn and Osian were the stars of the show.

17th May - We played Eric Ball's "Indian Summer" at the contest in Tredegar.  There was plenty of excitement when we were announced as the winners and awarded the trophy in the hall.  When we went to collect the adjudicator's copy of the score ten minutes later, they decided that there had been a clerical error and we had finished second.  We worked really hard in preparation for this competition and fiascos like this only serve to show why attendances at these contests are at an all time low.

23rd April - A quartet made a trip to Pontardawe to play at a 70th birthday party.  Unfortunately, four players turned up but only three instruments did.  So a trio of two horns and one euphonium played the theme tune for 'Dad's Army' that we'd arranged at the request of the party organiser.

19th March - A film crew descended on Sardis Vestry!  The Band will feature on 'Y Sioe Gelf' on S4C on May 27th (other bands in the series are Cory, Beaumaris and Deiniolen!!).  Filming also took place at the homes of Catryn and Ross, so our segment is sure to be an interesting one.

12th March - We held our annual concert at the Church Hall in Ystradgynlais.  There were several disasters leading up to the concert, which went very well all things considered!  There were excellent performances from both participating schools - Ynysgedwyn and Gurnos.  Our new junior band performed in three groups and the young soloists in the main band coped well with the added difficulty of there being no conductor!  Sophie, Sion and Emyr perform solos at Ystradgynlais Band's annual concert 2008.


23rd December - Another busy carolling week comes to a close.  This week has included a six-hour stint at Tesco in Neath, playing for Santa's arrival in Ystrad and the St Cynog's carol service.  At this service, Jacob played his first solo with the band - in front of an audience of around 450 people!

16th December - We've visited Tesco stores in Llansamlet and Ammanford.  We have also been around local pubs in Cwmtwrch and Glanrhyd.  More carolling is lined up over the coming week. 

10th December - We've completed a number of Christmas engagements already this year.  Tonight saw our new junior members take part in a Christmas carol concert at the Ynyscedwyn Arms.  Although they've been playing for only nine weeks, all of the children played to the delight of the audience.  The children have obviously been practising really hard - well done!

6th October - We played at the Burry Port contest.  It was the first competition for more than half of our players so this was a real achievement.  We played Eric Ball's 'In Switzerland'.  Greg conducted the Band and Angharad won the award for best soloist.

3rd October - The number of new players increased to 16 at our first beginners' rehearsal tonight.

26th September - Fourteen new members joined the Band as a result of tonight's open evening at Sardis Chapel. 

13th September - We've completed a tour of eight local primary schools to promote the Band in the locality.  We hope to see anyone interested in learning to play or joining the Band at our open evening on 26th September.  Thanks to all the schools for giving us a warm welcome.

10th June - We took part in a Gymanfa Ganu at St Cynog's Church in Ystradgynlais.  This was to raise money for Ty Croeso, marking the cancer support charity's 10th anniversary.  Aled conducted from the pulpit - trying to keep not only the Band in time but the congregation as well!

11th May - We held a 'musicals' themed concert at the Abercrave Welfare Hall.  Children from Abercrave, Caehopkin and Penrhos Schools joined us for the event.  Thanks as always to them for their contributions, to the community for supporting our concert and to everyone who helped make the evening a success.  There were 20 players in the Band - and seven of these were performing for the first time with us.  Gareth, Aaron, Gerry and Lauren joined us from Haverfordwest and Martin joined us again from Cardiff.  A lot of travelling was done for the concert - Aled came back to conduct the band from university in Bangor and Catryn returned fom Aberystwyth.


25th December - As usual, we were out and about playing carols in local supermarkets and pubs this month and managed a few streets in spite of the cold weather.  We also took part in the St. Cynog's carol service on 21st December.

2nd December - The Band went upmarket as we entertained at a £25 a head fundraiser for Morriston Hospital at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea.  There was a lot of waiting around before we eventually got to perform but it was worth it in the end as our musical offering was very warmly received.

3rd November - We're delighted to report on a hugely successful concert at the Abercrave Welfare Hall. Three schools took part: Ysgol Gymraeg Ynyscedwyn, Cynlais Primary School and Penycae Primary School. The Concert was based on music from the 60s, 70s and 80s and featured music from the Beatles, ABBA and Freddie Mercury amongst others.
Thank you to all for organising, attending and participating.

16th September - The Band performed at the community hospital fete in Ystradgynlais.

9th September - We played to open the Healthy Living Centre's Fete at Penrhos.

5th August - The Band took part in the National Eisteddfod in Velindre.  Our performance was hailed as being of a very high standard by the commentators as it was broadcast live on S4C. Ross interviewed at the 2006 Eisteddfod (wearing his good attendance shirt!)

23rd June - A trio from the Band played at a charity concert in St Peter's Church, Cockett.  The concert commemorated the church's 150th anniversary and also featured performances from West End singer Steve Balsamo.


25th December - The year finished with a flourish as we performed at local supermarkets and pubs.  We participated in this week's St Cynog's Carol Service and on Christmas morning played at Ystradgynlais Hospital and Cwrt Enfys Residential Home.  Thanks to those who came carolling this year who helped us to raise over £600 for Macmillan Cancer Care.

30th July - We played two entertainment programmes in the National Eisteddfod at Eryri.Vernon (four years before his appearance on Dragons' Den) and Jane.

11th March - We held our Annual Concert at the Abercrave Welfare Hall with Abercrave and Caehopkin schools.  Our finale maintained the theme of our previous outing with a medley of wartime songs, ending with the children from Abercrave singing 'Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag' while Caehopkin's children sang 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary'!

17th February - A quintet that included four players from Ystrad Band, played for the "Their Past Your Future" exhibition launch in Merthyr Tydfil.  The exhibition commemorates the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.


25th December - Our last carols of the year were played at the community hospital in Ystradgynlais and at the Grove and Cwrt Enfys resedential homes.

24th December - The last of three consecutive days spent playing at supermarkets.  We played at Tesco in Llanelli on Wednesday, Tesco in Pontardawe yesterday and at the Co-op in Ystrad this morning.  A group also went to Ystrad square today but were a little hampered by the weather.  We also played at the Con Club in Ystrad this evening.

21st December - The Band played at the Annual Carol Service at St Cynog's.  Our items in the programme were New York New York and En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor.

20th December - Our last night of street carolling this year took us around Maes Cynog, Station Road (to the police station) and the side streets at the bottom of Brecon Road.

18th December - Another visit to Tesco Extra in Fforestfach.

17th December - Our second tour of local pubs took us from the Gwyn Arms past Dan yr Ogof back down to Ystradgynlais. 

15th December - We played at the Tesco store in Neath Abbey.

13th December - More carols in Glanrhyd, covering Wind Road, Croesfyrdd, Tudor Street and Dumfries Place.

12th December - We played at the Tesco Extra store in Fforestfach.

10th December - Our first Christmas pub crawl took us from Cwmtwrch to Glanrhyd.

8th December - We visited Tawe Park last night and tonight played in Glantawe Park, Tan y Farteg and Alder Avenue.

6th December - In spite of the rain, we managed to complete Rhestr Fawr before our carol books got too wet.

5th December - Tonight's carolling session took us to Cwmgiedd and Oddfellow Street.  With three cornets, three euphoniums, four collectors and lots of empty houses, we finished in record time!

4th December - We played at the Co-op in Ystradgynlais with the junior band joining us for the first hour.

27th November - Our Christmas activities got underway with a visit to the Festive Market at Castle Square, Swansea.

5th September - We participated in a Noson Lawen at the showground in Sennybridge with Brecon Male Voice Choir.  The audience was delighted by our performance of our Eisteddfod winning programme, along with New York New York, I Will Follow Him and Final Countdown.

15th August - Our summer barbecue was held at the Ynyscedwyn Arms.  Aled won the Weakest Link quiz, after the previous winner, Carwyn, got voted off in the first round this time.  The team quiz was won by the team of Wyn, Cadi, Catryn and Greg.

7th August - A quartet from the Band played at a wedding in Myddfai near Llandovery.  As well as the hymns we played as the congregation arrived, we had to arrange four pieces for the service, including 'Everything I Do I Do It For You' which we played as the bride walked down the aisle.

31st July - We won first prize in our competition at the National Eisteddfod in Newport. The day got off to an inauspicious start with the coach arriving at Sardis an hour and twenty minutes late.  Our first attempts to contact the coach company had been unsuccessful as there was no-one in the office at 8 o'clock on a Saturday morning.  The office phone was redirected to a mobile that was switched off!  We eventually found out that the coach that had been allocated for the trip was unfit for service.  At least Charles was already at the Eisteddfod due to his role as secretary to the Welsh Brass Band Association.  The draw for the competition was taking place as we were getting onto the coach.  We were drawn to play 7th so there was no need to ask if we could swap places with anyone; we arrived during the third band's performance. 

Winning this competition was a superb result for the Band and our first victory at the National Eisteddfod since 1947!  Our choice of programme was praised by the adjudicator whilst the fact that we had a young, female conductor was a major talking point in the discussion about our performance as it was broadcast live by S4C.  An interview with Sian Cothi followed. 'Kenneth' was chosen as the interviewee.  On the way home, Angharad proudly displayed the cup and adjudication and Wyn struck his familiar, "Look, I've won another trophy" pose!

The competition was of a high standard - we beat the current Welsh Champions Radyr into second place with other bands that had been expected to beat us not even making the top 3!  The adjudicator, Mr Steve Pritchard-Jones, summed up our performance. "Confident playing with well controlled sounds evident. A good selection of music and well played".
Congratulations and thanks to everyone who contributed towards this brilliant result.

Angharad shows off the cup we won at the National Eisteddfod.

6th July - Our Annual Concert was held at the welfare hall in Ystradgynlais.  We were joined by Penrhos and Ynysgedwyn schools.  It was our first full concert with Angharad conducting and we are delighted with the outcome.  Attendance was much better than expected given the short notice and lack of publicity and the Band performed a programme that was greeted with universal approval.  Thanks to Charles and Catryn for compering without any notice, to Karen for running the door and the raffle, Wyn for coping with the surprise item
 so magnificently and everyone else involved in ensuring that the concert was a success.
Wyn was used to female attention long before Only Men Aloud!

3rd July - We played at the community hospital fete.  For the first time, it was held inside because of the weather and we had to play in the exercise room.

27th June - The Band took part in a concert to mark the 25th anniversary of the Alzheimer's Association in Ystradgynlais.

15th May - Another contest: this time in Ebbw Vale.  We came fifth in the third section playing Eric Ball's 'In Switzerland'.  Thanks to Wyn, Catryn and Greg for coming back from university to join us.

14th March - We are pleased to report a good result at the regional contest in Swansea.  The Band came in a respectable 7th place out of nineteen bands in the section.  For some reason, we have historically had poor results at this competition and this is our best showing there for 10 years.  We were the smallest band at the contest and probably the first in the history of the event to perform with no trombones...  Several rewrites of the music ensured that all of the parts were covered and, judging by the performance of some of the other bands' trombonists, we were much better off as we were!  Congratulations to Angharad who has taken on the job of conducting - this was the first time that she has done this at a contest and the adjudicator found no fault at all with the musical direction of the piece.  In fact he commented on the high standard of the second and third movements.  If we had not made a few avoidable slips in the opening section and remembered to take the triangle, the result could have been really good!

27th February - The Band played at a 50th birthday party held at the Manor Park in Clydach.


25th December - Another tradition upheld as we played carols at the community hospital in Ystradgynlais.

24th December - Two more engagements to bring our festive season to its usual hectic climax.  In the morning, we carolled at the Co-op in Ystradgynlais and in the evening we made our customary homage to the Con Club.

23rd December - Our last session of street carolling for this year.  We played in Tan y Farteg and Glantawe Park.

22nd December - The Band played on and around Ystrad square this morning and also gave an impromptu concert at Ty Croeso.

21st December - The Band participated in the Annual Carol Service at St Cynog's.

20th December - A quartet from the band made a quick stop at the Tesco store in Fforestfach.  We only stayed long enough to zip through the book once but treated the shoppers to some carols that we wouldn't normally dare to play on a normal carolling night!

19th December - Another trip round the pubs.  Tonight we started at the Ancient Briton in Ynyswen and ended at the Ynyscedwyn Arms in Ystradgynlais.

18th December - We played outside the 'Quids In' store for Santa's arrival in Ystrad.

17th December - We played carols at the Tesco store in Neath Abbey.

16th December - More carolling.  Tonight we visited Brecon Road.

14th December - A small group of players from the Band made a trip to Tesco in Llanelli where we played carols for a very appreciative audience!  Straight after this, we took part in the carol service of the Ammanford Bible Church.

12th December - We visited eight pubs - from the George in Cwmtwrch to the Bomb in Glanrhyd.

11th December - We played carols for the residents of the Grove nursing home.

10th December - The junior band joined us tonight as we visited Oddfellow Street, Pelican Street and Rhestr Fawr.

9th December - More carolling.  Tonight we visited Tawe Park.

8th December - The Band played on Ystrad Square as the Christmas lights were switched on.

7th December - We went carolling in Cwmgiedd.

6th December - The Band's quartet was in action again - playing at a wedding in St Cynog's church.

4th December - We started our carolling marathon off by visiting six Ystrad streets: Smithfield, Heol Eglwys, Llys Tawel, College Row, Pantyffynon and James Street.

3rd December - We held a Christmas Concert at the Abercrave Welfare Hall with children from Abercrave and Caehopkin schools.  We'd like to thank the schools for their hard work at this busy time of year and all who came to watch the concert.  Conducting responsibilities were shared between Laura, Greg, Angharad and Caroline.  In spite of the absence of a number of players who are away at university, the Band gave a good account of itself and our performance of 'Kalinka' was one of the best items that the Band has presented in concert in recent years.  As ever, we finished off with a combined item performed by the Band (including juniors) and both schools.  This time, it was 'Winter Wonderland'.

30th November - Our Christmas events kicked off with a trip to the Botanical Gardens in Carmarthen where a quartet from the Band played for a couple of hours.

4th October - Another contest, this time at Burry Port.  The Band came fifth in the third section playing Eric Ball's 'Petit Suite de Ballet'.

14th September - The Band opened the Celtic Festival at Craig-Y-Nos park with music from the four Celtic regions of the UK.

2nd August - The Band competed at the National Eisteddfod in Welshpool.  We won third prize in the third section, which is our best result in at least sixteen years. 

15th July - We have completed a two-day tour of three local primary schools.  Each school has recorded a song with the Band.  On Monday, we visited Cynlais school.  They sung 'Bare Necessities'.  Today, we went to Caehopkin school - their song was 'Any Dream Will Do' - and to Ynysgedwyn school, where we recorded 'I Will Follow Him'.

12th July - The Band held its Centenary Dinner at the Ynyscedwyn Arms. 

5th July - We played at the community hopsital fete.

22nd June - The Band's Centenary Gymanfa Ganu was held at St Cynog's.  We were joined by the Gyrlais choir.

20th June - The Band opened the Archbishop of Cantebury's concert at the Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall. 

17th May - We competed in the third section for the first time in thirteen years at Ebbw Vale.  Our chosen test piece was 'The Prizewinners' but unfortunately, we just missed out on a top three place as the adjudicator took offence with the playing style of one band member in particular...

1st May - The Band's resident quartet returned to Ystalyfera, this time to put on a concert in St David's Church Hall.  Several new arrangements were performed for the first time, including a version of 'Pink Panther' that saw Wyn cajoling a reluctant member of the audience into playing the triangle part!

19th March - A quartet from the Band gave a concert in aid of Cancer Research at the British Legion in Ystalyfera.  More than £300 was raised for this good cause as a result

16th March - The Band participated in the regional championships at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea.  The set piece was 'Lydian Pictures' by Simon Dobson.

7th February - We held our Centenary Concert at the Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall.  A massive band of 36 players took to the stage and the audience numbered over 300 (including a couple who had travelled from London for the occasion).  They were not to be disappointed as the Band pulled off its most spectacular concert to date.  Cynlais and Penrhos schools joined us on this memorable night and their contributions were also outstanding.  Almost 20 members of the junior band also took part.  By popular demand, the concert was finished with the Band and school choirs performing 'I Will Follow Him'.


25th December - As always, we ended the year by playing carols at the community hospital.  We also visited Cwrt Enfys again this year.

24th December - In spite of the weather, we played on Ystrad square this morning and made our usual Christmas Eve pilgrimage to the Con Club (and Gloria) in the evening.

22nd December - Another trip to Tesco: this time we were in the Swansea store.  The St Cynog's service followed in the evening.

21st December - We visited Tesco in Neath Abbey on Wednesday and returned to Tesco in Fforestfach today.

17th December - Just one spot of local carolling this week.  Tonight we played in Brecon Road.

15th December - The Band participated at the Carol Service of the ABC church in Ammanford.

14th December - Local shoppers once again showed their generosity as our stint at the Co-op raised our highest total of the year.

13th December - We visited a further eight pubs, travelling from Craig Y Nos down to Ystradgynlais.

11th December - Carolling has continued this week with visits to Tawe Park, Glantawe Park, Tan y Farteg and Glanrhyd.

9th December - We played on Ystrad Square in an event organised by 'Communities First' to celebrate the first ever year of Christmas lights in Ystrad!

7th December - Our first ever Saturday evening carolling session was held at Tesco Extra in Fforestfach.

6th December - The Band's annual carolling marathon is now well underway.  We visited Cwmgiedd on Wednesday, Smithfield and College Row on Thursday and tonight saw a 'pub crawl' from the George in Cwmtwrch to the Bomb in Glanrhyd.

24th November - Our first CD recording session was held at the bandroom in Ystalyfera.  Although there were a few surprise absentees, we had a band of 28 playing and Alud is happy with some of the recorded tracks.

20th November - A quartet from the Band played at an event in Abercrave school.

16th November - Yet another second place in competition - this time at Treorchy, but this was the band's best performance in 15 years and showed that we are worthy of the Championship title.  Our chances of winning were this time reduced on three fronts:  1) Charles had told the contest organiser where to shove his competition after he had decided to rigidly stick to a different set of rules to those applied at the same contest last year (this meant that we were unable to borrow a bass and trombone player as anticipated).  2) The contest controller (who also happened to win best instrumentalist) played with the winning band.  3) The adjudicator was Ross's favourite - Lloyd Landry.  But all in all it was a fantastic day, rounded off by an exceptional after-contest party!

5th October - The Band claimed 2nd prize at the Ammanford contest playing 'Malvern Suite'.  This result was enough to secure our place as fourth section champions for the South East and West Wales region with one competition still to go.  Our principal cornet player, Greg Owen, also won the award for the best soloist in the section today.

28th September - Although we were given just 12 hours notice by Alud at the end of the concert, the Band played at the Ystradgynlais Farmers' Market this morning.

27th September - Annual Concert at Abercrave Welfare Hall.  The concert was a sell out and the packed hall were not disappointed as the Band turned in another rousing performance.  There were excellent contributions from Abercrave, Caehopkin and Penycae schools and from our featured soloists - Wyn (who sang Can yr Arad Goch) and Rhysian (who played 'Sunshine of your Smile').  As usual, we finished with a combined item featuring all three choirs and the Band - the song on this occasion was 'Yellow Submarine'.  Thank you to all who supported this concert and to those who worked behind the scenes to make it such a resounding success.

31st August - We held our Annual Barbecue at the Ynyscedwyn Scout Hut.  It was an entertaining evening, which (for some) went on for over 13 hours!

26th August - Today saw the culmination of several weeks worth of fundraising at the Ynyscedwyn Arms on behalf of the Band and the Gyrlais choir.  A small group from the Band provided entertainment in the gardens.  A total of £250 was raised for us.

24th August - Dulais Valley summer festival.  The organisers had originally booked Dulais Valley band but they did not have enough players to complete the job so it was Ystrad Band to the rescue.

16th August - We held a quiz night at the Ynyscedwyn Arms.  Video clips from the Band's performances in concerts and competitions over the last three years were shown and the questions related to the music in the clips.  The winners of the quiz were the 'Smelly Arabs' who scored 42 out of 50.

3rd August - An outstanding performance saw Ystrad Band walk away with the runners up prize at the National Eisteddfod in St. David's.  In each of the previous four years (the sequence may be longer, but my memory's not that good) the first prize has gone to the 'host' band so it was no surprise that the winners trophy went a few miles up the road to Fishguard.  The Eisteddfod operates under the National grading system, which meant that we were faced with competition from bands who are locally graded up to two sections higher than us.  So our second place was a fantastic result under the circumstances.  Our two soloists, Wyn and Laurence both played superbly and thanks go also to our two 'borrowed' players, Geraint on trombone and Cliff on Bb bass.

6th July - Given our recent success, we again left our conductor to do other things as we performed at the Hospital Fete.  But a request for us to play 'Memory' caused a little problem when each bar was played more slowly than the preceding one - our solo cornets obviously don't run on the same batteries as the energizer bunny...

15th June - Ynyscedwyn Scout Fete.  The potential for disaster was high, with no conductor and a set of music that we haven't looked at for a year or longer.  Thankfully, our successful run continued and even the rain held off until the end.

14th June - The Band was in remarkably good form, given the less than ideal preparation in the run up to the Charity Concert at the Welfare Hall in Ystradgynlais.  Our combined item with Penrhos school stole the show and was received with rapturous applause!

8th May - Our Annual Concert at the Welfare Hall in Ystradgynlais.  Wyn and Rhodri were the comperes for the evening and we are again delighted with the positive feedback received from the audience.  Ynysgedwyn and Cynlais schools joined us and our finale was two combined items:  Flashdance and I Will Follow Him.

20th April - We collected the first prize trophy at the Ebbw Vale contest.  As Catryn was barely able to stand up straight, it was left to Daniel to collect our award.  Parrot-face made his usual appearance as the results were announced.

17th March - Our first contest of the year at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea.  We are pleased to have signed 6 new players since the beginning of the year and five of these took part today.

1st March - St David's Day concert at Maesydderwen school.  We joined Cor Meibion and a number of local schools for this concert.  The concert was organised by the choir and although the hall was filled to capacity, they failed to hand over a penny of the agreed £100 fee.

18th January - We played at the Gnoll in Neath for the international rugby match between Wales and New Zealand schoolboys.


25th December - We played carols at the Community Hospital and Cwrt Enfys Nursing Home.

24th December - As always, we finished off the year's carolling
 events at the Con Club.

24th December - Our return to the Co-op was much more successful than some of our previous efforts this month.  Thanks to the generosity of local shoppers, we made our largest ever collection this morning.

23rd December - We visited the Quadrant Shopping Centre in Swansea.  Again, a poor turnout meant that we struggled throughout the day.

22nd December - Although most of the shoppers at Tesco in Swansea were in a most unfestive mood, we managed our highest collection of the year at the store.

21st December - Another annual tradition upheld, as we played at the St Cynog's Carol Service.  This service also heralded the return of over a dozen players that we have not seen in the last month...

21st December - The last Friday before Christmas and we stuck with tradition, treating Ystrad town centre to an improvised carol playing feast.

20th December - We had a bit of help for tonight's carolling - we joined the Abercrave Firemen who sang very tunefully as we played through the village.

18th December - An evening carolling
 session at the Tesco store in Neath Abbey.

16th December - Santa's Sleeping Giant tour.  Santa swapped his sleigh and bells for a trailer and a kazoo as we meandered up the valley from Caerbont to Caehopkin.

14th December - More pubs - this week in Abercrave and Ystradgynlais.  We ended at the official 'opening party' at the Ynyscedwyn Arms.

13th December - We played at Penrhos school's Christmas concert in St Cynog's.  This was followed by more carolling
 in Glanrhyd.

12th December - We returned to Brecon Road for tonight's carolling

11th December - Tonight's carolling
 session took us to Brecon Road. 

10th December - Our trek though the local community continued with a visit to Glantawe Park.

8th December - A very poor turnout at Tesco in Fforestfach, even by our own mediocre standards.  The few that turned up carried on regardless, but the collection total was just half the amount that we'd anticipated.

7th December - We played at nine local pubs, in Cwmtwrch and Glanrhyd.

5th December - Tawe Park was tonight's carolling

4th December - More carolling
 - this time in Cwmgiedd.

3rd December - We'd walked twenty yards when the rain started pouring down.  We were forced to give up after just two carols!

2nd December - We took advantage of the fine weather and abandoned our scheduled rehearsal for a night of carolling
 in the local area.

1st December - Our first 'proper' carolling
 stint took place at the local Co-op store.

18th November - We rounded off a hectic weekend with a Quiz Night at the Ynyscedwyn Arms.  The winning team was Charles, Glenys, Graham and Chris who each received a Brains t-shirt for their efforts.

18th November - Ystrad Band walked off with the runner's up trophy for the Fourth Section after competing at the Treorchy contest today.

17th November - Christmas came earlier than usual for the Band this year.  We welcomed Santa as he arrived at Tesco in Fforestfach with two hours of carols.

16th November - We performed at Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera, as part of a fundraising concert for the Ystradgynlais Community Hospital.

11th November - Two more engagements completed by the Band.  In the morning we played at the Remembrance Service at St. Cynog's and in the evening we played at the Temple of Light. 

9th November - Our annual concert at the Welfare Hall in Abercrave.  Abercrave and Penrhos schools joined us this time.  Our junior band also featured in their second public appearance this year.   Tonight's soloists were Wyn, who played '
I Don't Know How to Love Him' and Alud, who played 'Carousel'.  The concert reached a climax with our spirited performances of Final Countdown and the James Bond Collection.  Our final item was Flashdance, which combined the Band and the school choirs.  Some of the proceeds from this concert were donated to the Ystradgynlais Community Car Scheme and the Poppy Appeal.

20th October - Another wedding reception for the Band's resident quintet.  This time we played at the Tree Tops in Morriston.

13th October - We came 4th at the West Wales area contest in Burry Port playing "Wessex Suite".

7th September - The Band played at the grand opening of the Remax office in Neath.

4th August - An incident packed weekend at the National Eisteddfod in Denbighshire.  Eight bands had entered the competition and, although we only had eighteen players on stage, we managed to finish in fourth place.  New arrival Ron was quickly handed the baton so that Alud could step in for our absent drummer.  The weekend together certainly seemed to lift the Band's spirits - it was agreed unanimously that we should not have our regular summer break.  Rehearsals will begin for our planned CD recording on Wednesday.

7th July - After our playing marathon, we rushed back to the Church hall in Ystradgynlais for our annual barbecue.  The result of the
quiz was much closer this year - the difference between the winning and last placed teams was just seven points.  Catryn's knowledge of the tenor horn helped to move her team from the last place slot that they occupied last year.

7th July - We completed our eight hour 'blowathon' at the Tesco store in Neath Abbey.

22nd June - The junior band played at the opening of the Steer Recording Studios in Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen.  An interview with Alud was shown on S4C's 'Heno' but, sadly, the Band was not...

16th June - A quintet from the Band played at a wedding reception in Cwmwysg.

9th June - We played at the Ynyscedwyn Scout Fete.

30th May - Members of the senior and youth Bands enjoyed a trip to the Megabowl in Swansea.

12th May - For the third year running, the Band claimed second place at the Ebbw Vale contest.  The test piece this year was 'The Seasons' by Philip Wilby.

5th May - Val's Retirement Party.  We celebrated Val's retirement and 65th birthday at the British Legion in Ystalyfera.  The Band excels at this type of venue and we once again provided a night of huge enjoyment for the assembled guests.

5th May - The Band opened the Communtiy Car Concert at the Welfare Hall.  We gave a creditable performance considering we had just one (toothless) solo cornet player.

29th April - After a very quiet period for the Band, we turned out in surprisingly large numbers for the scouts service at St Cynog's.

2nd February - Our Annual Concert at the Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall.  Once again, we were delighted to play to a packed hall - thanks to all who supported this event.  Cynlais and Ynysgedwyn schools joined us on this memorable occasion.  Our final item involved both school choirs joining us for a performance of "
Love Shine a Light".  We held a collection for the Indian earthquake appeal, to which we also donated part of the proceeds from the concert.

17th January - The Band's AGM.  Chairman Charles praised the Band for its hard work throughout last year.


25th December - As usual, we brought our Christmas capers to a close by playing carols at the community hospital.

24th December - Yet more carolling
 as we returned to the Co-op in Ystrad in the morning and played in the Con Club in the evening.

23rd December - We somehow got the band to split into two groups and perform at two venues at once.  One group went to Fforestfach Tescos and the others returned to Neath Abbey Tescos.  Between the two locations, we managed to collect over £400 and this pushed our carolling
 total to over £2000!  Today's casualties were Rhodri (who, although he managed to turn up to Fforestfach, spent the best part of three hours on the toilet after a reheated Chinese meal the night before) and Ken (who's music went to Fforestfach although he was in Neath).  

22nd December - We returned to Tesco in Llansamlet.  Unfortunately, they had double booked and we had to contend with a tirade of foul mouthed abuse from a group of rabid nuns!  Their untimely arrival (they were dressed in white robes - we thought they were just two months late for Hallowe'en) coincided with the end of our third carol of the night.  At this point, they demanded that we should pack up and go home - but due to the fact that we could play a lot louder than they could sing, we saw them off within fifteen minutes...

21st December - St Cynog's Annual Christmas Concert.  The congregation of around 400 people were again pleased to hear that the band had selected tuneful music for this event!

20th December - Another carolling
 session, at Tesco in Llansamlet.  Tonight's collection saw us overtake last year's record amount with a few days to spare!

19th December - Following a request from the manager, and in spite of the short notice and the clash with Ystalyfera school's Christmas concert, we returned to the Neath Abbey Tesco store where we held another carol collection

18th December - We resumed our carolling
 tour with a visit to Tesco in Neath Abbey.

17th December - The band played at the Temple of Light's Christingle Service.

16th December - Another carolling
 marathon - this time at Tesco in Swansea. 

15th December - Another night of carolling.  One group played at a few more of the local pubs while another group played on the streets of Ystradgynlais.

14th December - We played at the Coelbren Church Christmas Concert.

13th December - Residents of Tawe and Glantawe Parks enjoyed our latest carolling

11th December - Unfortunately, our planned carolling collection was called off because of rain.

9th December - More carolling
, this time at the Quadrant in Swansea.  In spite of the dearth of cornet players, we again collected for almost five hours.

8th December - In spite of the inclement weather, we played at eight local pubs as part of our continuing quest to raise awareness of the band in the community.

7th December - Another Christmas fete; this time at Glais Primary School.

6th December - It stopped raining at 6:30pm so we were able to go carolling
 in Cwmgiedd as planned!

2nd December - Our first carolling
 collection of the year at the
Co-op in Ystrad.  Although the store itself was fairly quiet, we played for almost five hours and with the help of collectors from the junior band, managed to raise over £200.

1st December - We kicked off the festive season with a Christmas fete in Penrhos school.  Afterwards, Alud, Daniel and Chris attended a presentation evening in the Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall where the band received an award for its outstanding contribution to the community throughout the millennium year.

19th November - The final competition of the year.  It was an entertainment contest and we played The Great Escape, Born Free and The James Bond Collection.  Click
here for our glowing adjudication!

12th November - Two more engagements completed by the band.  We participated in the Remembrance services of both St Cynog's and the Temple of Light.

3rd November - Our third major concert of the year took place at the Abercrave Welfare Hall.  Children from Caehopkin and Abercrave schools joined us on this occasion and Wyn once again displayed his vocal talents.  For the last item, the schools joined us in a performance of the song YMCA.

29th September - St Cynog's Concert.  We gladly left the three-ring circus of the competition scene behind as we performed at another local concert - this time with the Gyrlais choir.  Our soloists for this concert were Catryn and Elin.  Highlight of the evening was our performance of the "James Bond Collection", which was greeted with particular enthusiasm by the audience.  A special thank you to Greg for rushing back from Aberystwyth for the concert!

23rd September - Ammanford Contest.  Not much can be said about this contest, other than the fact that it was a total and utter shambles.  Only five bands entered our section, but it still took the contest controllers over twenty minutes to announce a result after the adjudicator had left his tent. 

13th September - We got into the festive spirit even earlier than usual this year, recording Christmas carols for a CD being produced by local musician Andrew Griffiths.

27th August - We played at the Dan Y Bryn nursing home summer fete in Pontardawe.

13th August - The first band pool tournament!  Greg beat Rhodri in the final.

5th August - National Eisteddfod, Llanelli.  The band was chafed by a very dubious result at this competition.  The event was broadcast live on S4C, and the video evidence speaks for itself!  The adjudicator who was responsible for this abomination was Mr Tony Small.  On a lighter note, the highlight of the day was provided by Rhodri and Wyn who pushed aside a queue of eager five year olds to participate in a 'Gladiators' style duel for the chance to win Catryn's affections...  Wyn triumphed by two knock downs to one but has he managed to win Catryn over yet?

21st July - Band Summer Barbecue.
  Another successful event organised by the band.  Both senior and junior bands provided entertainment and when the gnats started to bite, we went indoors for the quiz, which was won by the "Has Beens" (captained by Charles) with a score of 35.  The wooden spoon went to the "Saucy Sisters" led by Catryn.  They only managed a score of 21 and even managed to spell their team name incorrectly!  Two teams incorrectly said that there were eight semiquavers in a semibreve and one thought that there were 24.  I'm sure that these teams didn't have any band members in them...

15th July - The first ever #Strad festival was held at the Gorsedd Park in Ystrad.  We again delighted the assembled crowd with our carefully chosen selection of music, which included pieces short-listed for the forthcoming entertainment contest in Llanelli.

8th July - Community Hospital Fete:  The band participated again this year in order to help raise funds for our local hospital.

30th June - More filming with the BBC.  Radio Cymru broadcast live from the Co-operative store in Ystrad.  The band played a couple of items and Alud was interviewed by the presenter.

29th June - We played at the Gymanfa Ganu at Ystradgynlais Rugby Club.  Five hundred children participated at this event, part of which was televised live on S4C Digital.  'Heno' will also be showing some of this concert on their programme next week.  Immediately after the Gymanfa, we went to the Welfare Hall where we took part in a second concert!  This was broadcast on Radio Cymru at the end of October.

23rd June - We performed in a 'massed bands' concert in Seven Sisters.  We were joined by Briton Ferry and Parc and Dare bands and Onllwyn Choir.

17th June - Cwmtwrch Concert.  Today was also the hottest June day for 24 years...  Fortunately, our soloists seemed to be unaffected by the sudden change in climate and performed admirably.  Catryn played "Clowns"; Rhodri played the second movement of Haydn's "Trumpet Concerto".  Wyn left his cornet on stage and sang "Galwad Y Mor" - much to the delight of the girls in the school choirs!  With us for this concert were pupils from Cwmtwrch and Gurnos schools.  Our final band and school combined item was "
A Whole New World" from Aladdin.

10th June - Ynyscedwyn Scout Fete.  A battle between the wind and the band.  Eventually the band came out on top.  Owain improved the sound coming from his horn in the second half by eating four ice-creams in the break.  Daniel decided half way through that perhaps Cwmtwrch carnival would be more entertaining.  And when we finished, the 'Sced was closed!!  Still, at least it didn't rain...

13th May - Ebbw Vale Contest:  More success for the band at our favourite contest venue!  We came second, playing "Caledonian Journey".  Winners of the competition were Newtown, who are graded a section above us nationally.  Summing up, the adjudicator said that it was very difficult to choose between the top two bands, who both played to a noticeably higher standard than the others on the day.

7th May - Harold Leadbeater's 80th birthday celebrations at the Church Hall in Ystrad.  The band was there in force and we made our presence felt early on with a rousing fanfare as the guest of honour arrived.  Afterwards, we stayed behind to help them polish off the uneaten food.

15th April - A concert in "The Bomb", Glanrhyd.  The band revelled in the relaxed atmosphere of "The Bomb" and reeled off twenty one pieces of music (from Sospan Fach to Strawberry Fair, from Memory to the Muppets) to the delight of the audience.  The soloists were once again on good form, particularly Aled Hopton - whose drumming was excellent throughout.  Catryn was our host for the after concert celebrations.

19th March  - Our first contest of the new millennium.  We performed "Haslemere Suite" at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea.
To celebrate the occasion, we posed for our first official band photograph since the same contest back in 1993.

2nd March  - We performed at the St David's Day concert at Maesydderwen school.  It was a cosmopolitan event with a 113 strong choir from the five local primary schools, the male voice choir and performances from Maesydderwen school pupils.  Members of the junior band joined in with the music making.  We were pleased to again be playing to a packed hall and look forward to participating in more events like this in the future.

10th February  - The Band AGM was held at Sardis Chapel. All went according to expectations and the new committee showed
it's committment to promoting a feeling of community spirit within the band by popping in to the 'Sced after the meeting for a game of pool.  The Gwyn Alexander Memorial Shield was presented to Catryn in recognition of her achievement in being selected for the National Youth Brass Band of Wales.

4th February  - The first concert to be organised by the band in five years was held at the Welfare Hall in Ystradgynlais.  There was not a spare seat to be found as the band started the concert with a rousing performance of "Masters of the Universe". The band played arrangements of tunes well known to the audience who were fully entertained throughout the night.  We were also proud to show off the talents of some of the younger members of the band.  Solos were performed by Catryn Lawrence
(tenor horn), Rhodri Jones (cornet), Stephen McNicholas (flugel horn) and Daniel Jenkins (trombone).  The concert was also supported by choirs from Ynysgedwyn and Penrhos schools.  Our final item was "I Will Follow Him" from the film "Sister Act".  There was rapturous applause as the choirs from both schools took on the roles of the singing nuns and joined us in the performance of this piece.


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