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Tongwynlais Temperance Band

Tongwynlais Temperance Band

Genre: Brass Band

Location: Cardiff

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About Tongwynlais Temperance Band

The Band was founded in 1888 by a few enthusiasts meeting at the Tongwynlais home of a Mr. Ted Rowlands – a cornet player with the band attached to the Melingriffith works, known as the Brooker’s Band. Mr. Rowlands as a conductor, aided by Mr. Albert Arnold, encouraged more interest from villagers as an alternative to the seven local public houses and taught each of them to play on a solitary cornet.

Band fever rapidly spread around the village of Tongwynlais which was also home to a thriving Temperance movement. So with numerous donations by the local gentry in Tongwynlais, Radyr, Whitchurch and Taffs Well, The Tongwynlais Temperance Silver Band was born. The late Colonel Henry Lewis of Greenmeadow kindly purchased a set of instruments and, in his role as president, with the dedicated assistance of Mr. Steve Evans, secured the immediate future of this newly formed band.

Rehearsals were held at the Tongwynlais Infants School and in the long room of the Lewis Arms public house until 1925 when the first band hall was built on Castle Road on ground donated by Col. Lewis. It was a wooden construction which was replaced in 1953 by a concrete building on adjacent ground. The third band hall grounds were provided by the builder of Castle View which passes through what was the second band hall.

Since its foundation and often against formidable odds, the band has achieved a position within the brass band fraternity of which its members and supporters can be justly proud. The activities of the band were suspended for the duration of the 1914-18 was; but struggled through the second world war despite the enlistment of some 18 of the 33 band members, by allowing ladies to play for the first time.

The fondly remembered conductor Harold Morgan was appointed in 1948 and led the band to many contest victories and to Championship Section status following their victory at the 1951 Welsh Regional Contest. Mr. Morgan, a prolific composer of Brass Band marches, dedicated one “ Belle Vue”, following the Band’s success at a National Competition at Belle Vue in Manchester.

In subsequent years fortunes varied, with the band confined to the Second and Third Section for the vast majority of the next half a century, although they did qualify for the National Finals on a number of occasions including following their victory at the First Section Welsh Regional Championship of 1992.

The band was promoted to the Championship Section in 1997, but was relegated after a two year stay. They returned again in 2002 following a series of strong performances.

The Band moved out of Tongwynlais to Lady of Lourdes church in December 2008 with kind permission from Father Madden, and flourished in the new surroundings becoming Welsh League Champions (Championship section) in 2008.

They unfortunately lost Championship status in 2009 which proved to be a turning point in the band’s fortunes, with the appointment of Philip Harper as Professional Conductor spearheading a remarkable return to contesting success.

The band won the First Section National title off the number 1 draw at Harrogate in 2009, followed by victory at the Harry & Margaret Mortimer Championship in Pontins later the same year. This heralded further success, with their first ever appearance at the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010 as well as qualification to the British Open – the first band to achieve the feat through each section of the British Open qualification structure at the revamped Spring Festival.

In 2010 the band joined forces with talented composer Paul McGhee who became their Composer in residence, whilst they also enjoyed critical success as part of the famous Ironbridge Festival.

Their return as a top level contesting force was further confirmed in 2011 by victory at the Scottish Open Championship in Perth.

In Summer 2012 the band said ‘goodbye’ to Philip Harper as our professional conductor, but continued to work hard, culminating in a fantastic 4th place at the National Championships in the Albert Hall under the baton of Steve Sykes. In 2013 the band celebrated its 125th Anniversary year and continued to hold its own in both local and national contests. In 2014 the band represented Wales at the European Brass Band Championship by securing the top sport at the 2013 Welsh Area competition in its anniversary year.

Since then it has cemented its place as one of the UKs leading brass bands with successive places at The National Brass Band Championship Finals each October.

The Band is in demand for concerts, both in Wales and throughout the UK and is committed to ensuring musical excellence, quality entertainment in the field of brass music with a traditional and unique style. Our repertoire includes the full spectrum from light popular music both old and new through operatic, film and light orchestral works to the serious original brass band music performed by outstanding soloists and supported by an enviable collection of fine musicians.

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