Apr 28

Tongwylais Band reach Band Cymru Final

Tongwynlais Temperance book their place for final consideration after winning their televised semi-final battle on S4C

Although recorded in front of a live audience a fortnight ago at the Parc & Dare Theatre in Treorchy, the programme was not transmitted until Saturday evening at 9.00pm on the Welsh channel S4C.

Eclectic challenge

Under the direction of Steve Sykes, the band beat off the eclectic challenge of the Tryfan Jazz Band from North Wales, and the Symphonic Brass Ensemble from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

Their performance will now be considered against the winners of the other semi-finals which will be broadcast on Saturday evening over the next three weekends, featuring a further nine ensembles, including, Cory, Tredegar, Northop and Tylorstown against other jazz and wind ensembles.

The overall winner will receive a cheque for £10,000.


The adjudicators for the event are jazz conductor and composer Barrie Forgie, tuba virtuoso Oystein Baadsvik and Gareth Small, the principal trumpet of the Halle Orchestra, whilst respected music broadcasters Branwyn Gwynn and Geraint Cynan also give their opinion about the entertainment programmes for the benefit of the viewers at home.

Tongwynlais opened their programme with ‘Birdland’, before their American euphonium star Grant Jameson was featured on ‘A Troika Tidy?’. Elgar Howarth’s lovely arrangement of ‘The Bonnie Briar Bush’ was the prelude to the colourful ‘Wedding Dance’ by Jacques Press to close.


The talented youngsters of Tryfan Jazz Band certainly thrilled the audience with their vibrant playing under MD Owain Arwel, with items as diverse as ‘Velvet Rain’ and Lionel Ritchie’s ‘All Night Long’, whilst the Symphonic Brass Ensemble from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama under Kevin Price produced some wonderfully controlled playing with work by Robert Davies, Tylman Susato and Christopher Batchelor.

Wonderful panache

After the judge’s had taken time to confer, Tongwynlais were declared the winner and picked up the attractive trophy plus a further £500 prize, after the adjudication trio variously describing their programme as ‘socking it to the audience’ and being delivered with ‘wonderful panache’ and ‘great team spirit’.

With its impressive production values, Band Cymru has certainly captured the imagination of viewers in Wales and across the UK who can also tune in and enjoy the music making with the benefit of English language sub titles.

1st Semi Final:

Winner: Tongwynlais Temperance (Steve Sykes)

Also competing:
Tryfan Jazz Band (Owain Arwel)
Symphonic Brass Ensemble of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (Kevin Price)