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As part of their prize in winning the 1974 Butlins Youth Brass Championships of Great Britain, Tredegar Junior Band was invited to record an LP on the Decca ‘Sounds of Brass’ label.
It was made at University College in Cardiff in November 1974, just a month after their triumph under the baton of their inspirational conductor Tudor Williams, a 29 year old computer engineer, and the principal cornet of the senior Tredegar Town Band.
Included on the release were the two test-pieces they played at the Royal Albert on Hall on October 5th to win the title: ‘Patterns for Brass Band’, which was commissioned for the event from composer Edward Gregson, and ‘Torch of Freedom’ by Eric Ball, who along with Edward Gregson and Geoffrey Brand was one of the adjudicators on the day.
There is also a euphonium solo, ‘Watching the Wheat’ by the then 17 year old Robert Childs, the eldest son of John Childs, who oversaw the musical development and training of the Junior Band.
Interestingly, no less than 26 of the players that featured on the recording were already, or went on to become, playing members of the senior Tredegar Town Band, whilst two; Nigel Weeks and Nicholas Childs (as well as Tudor Williams) later became its conductors.
Robert Childs (solo euphonium) and Nicholas Childs (second baritone) also went on to gain international success as conductors of the Cory Band and Black Dyke Band respectively, whilst Nigel Weeks won top flight National titles as a conductor of the Dalewool Auckland Band in New Zealand.
The trophy is now presented to the ‘Most Entertaining Band’ in the Championship Section at the annual Butlins Mineworkers’ Championships in Skegness, whilst the bass drum on which it stands is still used by the band for marches and outdoor concerts. The framed certificate can be seen hanging in the main rehearsal room of Tredegar’s bandroom.
The image was taken during the recording by local photographer Raymond Hawkins of Abertillery.
The aim of this Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) supported project is to provide an on-line multi-media resource that will celebrate and interpret the historical importance of the social, cultural and musical achievements of Tredegar Town Band over a time-line of the past 170 years – from the earliest reported origins in 1849 to date.