Llwydcoed Band 1912

It was formed in 1912, after a meeting of local musicians, the first conductor was Mr J. Oliver from Aberdare who was then playing with the Aberdare Band under Mr J. Manly.

The first rehearsal was in the Old Stable, at the rear of Exhibition Row. Then later in the school yard and the Vestry of Horeb Chapel. For a while it was known as the Dyllas Colliery Band then reverted to Llwydcoed Silver Band. They later built a band-room which later became the Old Welfare Hall under the auspicious of the S.W.M. Welfare Scheme.

Founded in 1911 or beginning of 1912, the conductor James Rees Oliver (who played with the Aberdare Band under Mr Manly)   it consisted of 35 men of which number, only four or five knew anything about music. It was first named Dyllas Workmen’s Band, and miners contributed towards it up keep.

When the band was formed, the original set of second-hand instruments were purchased for the sum of £200. The money was loaned to the band by Gwilym Howells and James Beddoe, provided that it would paid back in the following four years.

Over the years they played carnivals, marches (one form Llwydcoed to Mountain Ash, and was a Means Test to support the plea for work by the unemployed). The band kept on playing during World War I, the reason for this were exempted from conscription was because most of them were miners.

Tea and Concert 28.06.1913

On Thursday last the second annual tea and concert in connection with the Brass Band was held, when a splendid spread had been prepared at Horeb Vestry. The ladies who rendered invaluable help at the tables were: Mrs M. A. Owen, Mrs T. Jones. Mrs Whiting, Mrs Thomas Morris, Mrs Henry J. Davies, Mrs M. H. Williams, assisted by Misses S. Hopkins, L. M. Davies. Gladys Edwards, Sarah Owen, A. Owen. M. J. Hopkins, Mary Beddoe, Annie Thomas, and Miss Davies. Tea brewers, Messrs. J. George, J. Barton, and Abiah Jones. Cutters, Messrs. D. Watkins, T. Jones, Mrs John Davies, Mrs Joseph Polly, Mrs Eva Davies, and Mrs B. Griffiths. Door- keepers, Messrs. David Owen, Tommy Owen, David Edwards. T. P. Griffiths, and Thomas Morris. Superintendents, Messrs. William Hopkins. David Hopkins. Gwilym Howells. James Beddoe, and Thomas Davies. Ticket-sellers, Messrs. D. H. Phillips and Phillip Jones. The caterer was Mr Tom Jones. After tea all retired to the Council School, where a splendid concert was held. The chair was occupied by Mr William Kenshole, Tanglewood. Appended was the programme:—

BAND.—The Llwydcoed Silver Band (led by Mr. T. Smith) played excellent selections of music at the Aberdare Park on Thursday evening, August 28th. Mr. Smith has relinquished his position in the Aberaman Silver Band in order to .devote his time to the Llwydcoed Silver Band.

Welcome 31.05.1919

A welcome home social to all the local boys who joined H.M. Forces, was given last Thursday evening at Horeb Vestry by the Heroes Fund, when a good muster of the boys with their friends enjoyed the spread. The tray-holders were:—Mrs. John Griffiths Mrs. John Burton, Mrs. D. John Edwards, Mrs Win. Williams, Mrs. Dan Davies, Miss Baker, Mrs. David Davies, Miss Williams, ALTS. Edward Davies, and Miss Blodwen Davies, Mrs. J. T. Davies, Annie Davies, Miss Olwen Edwards; assisted by Miss Harriet Burton, Miss A. M. Griffiths. Miss Edna James, Miss Violet Cross, Miss D. Morris, Miss Maud Owen, Miss Maggie Davies, and Master J. D. Davies; tea brewer. Miss Catherine George; bread and butter cutters, Mrs. James Owen, Mrs Thomas Davies; carvers, Mr. John Lewis, Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins and Mr. James Owen; Ticket sellers and collectors Messrs. D. E. Watkins. Dd. Davies, Wm. Hopkins, Evan Edwards, Dan Jones, and W. R. Davies.

After tea, games and waltzing (to the accompaniment of the Silver Band, conductor Mr. Tom Smith, was indulged in, and the younger element thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In the evening an open air concert was held in Llwydcoed Park, when Mr. Hywel Jones, M.E. presided, and the following contributed to the programme:—

Solos, by Miss N. M. Davies, Merthyr. Mr. Tom Davies, Merthyr, Mr. John Griffiths, Trecynon; penillion singing by Miss Davies, Trecynon; and selections by the Llwydcoed Silver Band. Accompanist, Mr. H. Rees W alters. The Chairman called on Mr. W.J. Hodges to make the following presentations:—Treasury notes to Mr. Hywel Hatcher from the Llwydcoed Heroes Fund, and on behalf of the soldiers and sailors of Llwydcoed. The chairman, treasurer and secretary respectively are Messrs. John ‘Griffiths, D. R. Davies and W. R. Edwards, M.M. He presented the treasurer and secretary of the Llwydcoed Heroes Fund with a silver-mounted walking stick and gold albert, both of whom responded. Mr. Dan Jones and Mr. George James, stationmaster, as auditors of the Llwydcoed Heroes Fund, gave their report. It was explained that the people of Llwydcoed had contributed £255 towards the Heroes Fund, and had a balance in hand on May 21st of £60.

After paying for the social and presentations, the remainder will be used in raising a memorial to the fallen heroes of Llwydcoed. During the evening the discharged soldiers and sailors present, headed by the Llwydcoed Silver Band, marched to Penyard and back. The N.C.O. was Mr. David. Jenkins, Corner House St. Miss Annie Thomas & Miss Gwladys Edwards, as secretary and treasurer of the Ladies Committee worked energetically to make the social a success.

The “Lock Out”

In the 1920’s when the mine owner created a “lock out,” and as most of the men of Llwydcoed worked in the pits were placed in dire straits. The Llwydcoed band decided to help and they walked to Abercrave where they started playing and collecting using sealed collection boxes they had taken with them, from there they walled on to Ystradgynlais, then Ystalyfera, and onto Pontardawe and Ammanford sleeping at night in barns, billiard halls, schools, pubs or anywhere there was shelter.

The people of West Wales were very sympathetic and supportive of the people of Llwydcoed. They, fortunately, were not on strike at this time, and were able to help the cause. The money was taken back regularly to the Village Committee by one of the Committee members of the band. The Village Committee in turn would distribute the funds to all the needy families of the village.

It must be remembered that without the hard work of the Band many villagers would have starved to death during this time, as it was, only one young woman was actually reported to have suffered such a tragedy.

They won about four 1st and four 2nd four 3rd prizes, and under the direction of Mr James Rhys Oliver they took part in many contests. On September 30th 1922, they won the “City of Cardiff First Challenge Cup,” for Brass Bands Affiliated, to the South Wales & Monmouthshire Brass Bands Associates.

The officials of the band were: Secretary Rees James: Treasurer, James Beddoe; Chairman, Gwilym Howells; Committee man, Tom Hopkins. (Some of above supplied by his son Henry T. Oliver, 48 Herbert Street, Aberdare, June 2nd, 1948.

Llwydcoed Band
Llwydcoed Band
Then it was restarted under the conductorship of Mr Ben Griffiths one of the original members. They continued until the 1939-45 war, when owing to players getting called up for service, and was later reformed as the Llwydcoed Boys Band, under Mr W. Woods of Cwmaman which period had a limited success, winning the Welsh National Eisteddfod at Caerphilly. Mr W. Woods later resigned and the committee approached Mr Bryn Davies who was one of the players of the previous band.

1953 the band came third in Manchester, this competition was for the championship of Great Britain, not long after they came back from Manchester the conductor Mr W.J. Woods finished and within a couple of weeks Mr Bryn Davies became the conductor, he stayed with the Llwydcoed Band in the fifties and sixties during these years the band won many competitions, as well as giving concerts.

Under his baton the band progressed to win the 4th Section of the S.W.M.  Brass association, then promoted to the 3rd Section from which they again won promotion to the 2nd Section. A standard they maintained for many years winning the Championship of Great Britain, 2nd Section at Blackpool 1973 in the Finals of the C.I.S.W.O. Mineworkers Contest also appeared in many of the Championships under the “Old Daily Herald.” They also won the National Eisteddfod under Mr Davies at Swansea and won the S. Wales Officers Gala many times to qualify for the Finals at Blackpool. The secretary at that time was Mr W. Jenkins, then semiretired then they had a few conductors until they appointed the present conductor Ne K. Fetham of Mardy. A few of the present Band are sons and grandsons of the founder members, such as Jack Davies, brother of the old conductor Mr B. Davies, also Dilwyn Davies  son of Mr H.J. Davies also a founder member whose grandson Geraint son of Dilwyn is a playing member.

In 1973 the band won the Miner’s Championship in Blackpool, they won it again in Blackpool in 1983. In 1990’s the band could not compete for any competitions due to lack of members. Then in 2002, Mr Alan Davies came to conduct the band, in the first competition that Mr Alan Davies conducted they won first prize.