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Treorchy entertainment contest 2001:
BTM win Treorchy as Burry Port become new Welsh Champions


The BTM Band under the baton of David Stowell won the Treorchy Entertainment Contest on the weekend and in doing so completed their rehabilitation back to becoming one of the leading bands in the top section in Wales. Meanwhile, the traditional end of year contest in the Principality saw the Burry Port Town Band become the newly crowned Champion Band of Wales.

Over the past three years BTM had found themselves losing their status in the top section when they were relegated to the First Section for Welsh contests, but within a year they have leapt back and have now won their first Championship Contest for over four years in the Principality. Burry Port however have had a rise in the opposite direction and have crowned only their third year in the top section by winning the Championship Title.

The Welsh Championship had become a somewhat disjointed affair this year as both BAYV Cory (who did not enter any of the three contests that make up the Championship) or Tredegar (who only entered two) were not a full part of the title hunt. Burry Port however had a record of one win, one second and a fifth and so took the Welsh title home with them for the first time in their history. Runners up were the Tongwynlais Band. Winning the title however will not mean that Burry Port will represent Wales at the European Championships as Champion Band as in Wales the invite goes to the winners of the Regional title – this year won by Tredegar. The win however confirms that Burry Port have made remarkable progress under the baton of Michael Thorne and are a band with many gifted individual players and a fine team spirit – they will wear the title with justifiable pride in 2002.

Back at Treorchy, BTM’s highly deserved win also saw them eclipse favourites Tredegar, who although didn’t play anywhere close to recent form could have no complaints with the result. BTM’s programme consisted of a super arrangement of “Blue Midnight” (complete with bower hats), the xylophone solo, “Xylofrolics” played with panache by Alan Hathaway, “Scarborough Fair” and ended with Peter Graham’s “Shine As the Light”. It was a programme that adjudicator, David Read thought was excellently played and well thought out and proved that the band are back on track to becoming a force once again in Wales.

Jeff Hutcherson on solo cornet was the deserved winner of the best instrumentalist prize and Kevin Gibbs of Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda once again took home the best trombone prize.

The First Section saw a well deserved victory go to Cwmaman Institute under Graham O’Connor who emphasised that they were a class above the rest of the field (as they have been throughout the year) by winning the contest by a clear two point margin. Second place went to Treherbert and District who once again showed that they are an ever improving outfit, whilst third place went to Rogerstone under the direction of Ceri Thomas. The overall title went to Cwmaman as well.

The Second Section saw victory go to Ynyshir Welfare (Stack of Tiles) who beat off the challenge of RAF St. Athan and Markham and District to win the contest. Markham however had the consolation of winning the overall title as Champion Band of Wales in the Second Section for their consistency during the three contest competition.

The Third Section saw a win for the upwardly mobile Blaenavon Town Band under the direction of the evergreen Bryn Davies who has made them into a real force in the lower sections. Next year they will be plying their trade in the Second Section, as the win also gave them the overall title as Champion Band as well. Second place at the contest went to Newbridge and Celynen under trombone prize winner Kevin Gibbs and third place went to Llanelli and District under Robert Owen.

The Fourth Section was held on the Sunday and saw a famous old name in Welsh banding take the first prize and the overall Championship title. Severn Tunnel are a band that has for many years struggled along in the lower sections without much reward and so under the baton of Hugh Bamford they have secured a fine series of victories that has given them the title. Second place at the contest went to Briton Ferry Silver under Michael Faro whilst third place went to Newtown Silver by David Evans. Darren Williams was the winner of perhaps the greatest named trophy ever – The Evan Evan Bevan Trophy when he took home the cup as best instrumentalist on the day.


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