Parc & Dare Band
Now over one hundred and ten years old
the Parc & Dare Band has a rich and proud heritage. In the following pages
visitors will find a Brief
History of the band, listing
it's main achievements from the band's inception in 1893 right up to the
present day, plus a more Detailed
History written in 1993 to celebrate the occasion of the band's centenary.
Also contained in this section of the
site is a list of the most eminent
Conductors which the band has
worked with over the years plus a number of documents which have particular historical significance to the organisation,
including an article on the band which was published in the
BBC Radio Times
and another page detailing the band's
connection to then
Treorchy Youth Band.
Parc & Dare Band
Originally formed as the Cwmparc Temperance Drum and Fife Band in 1893,
the band went all brass a year later to become the Cwmparc Silver Band.
They later began receiving financial support from the Ocean Coal Company
who operated the Parc and the Dare collieries in the locality, and the
Parc & Dare Workmen’s Silver Band was subsequently born.
proudly noted that much of the band’s early funding came from the miners working
at the collieries who each contributed one penny per week from their own wages.
contraction of the UK mining industry came the closure of the two collieries,
and the band’s main source of financial support subsequently ceased. Since that
time the band has been dependant wholly on its own resourcefulness to support
itself through concert engagements and competition success. The continuation of
the band has also been further assured through the adoption of a policy of
training young people in the art of brass playing through the Parc & Dare Junior
on its enthusiastic, outward looking policies, the Parc & Dare Band has become
one of the leading combinations in the banding world. Its success in competition
is legendary with literally dozens of Championship first prizes to its credit.
These successes include being the National Representative for Wales on over
twenty occasions, attaining the title of Champion Band of Wales on no less than
fourteen occasions, and representing the country at the European Championships
four times (being placed fourth twice).
years the band was pronounced Champion First Section Band of Wales in both 2004
and 2005, this landmark achievement of winning the title in two consecutive
years making Parc & Dare only the second band in the history of the contest to
achieve the unique status of Double Champions. In 2004 the band was also
proclaimed Runner-Up Champion Band in the Championship Section of the Welsh
League and Runner-Up Champion First Section Band of Great Britain. The band’s
success continues into 2006 with the band again attaining the right to represent
Wales at the Finals of the National Championships of Great Britain at London’s
Royal Albert Hall this October following their third prize placing at the 2006
Welsh Regional Championships.
addition to its success in competition the band also has a unique record in
terms of its appearances on television and radio. On radio the band has amassed
over 250 broadcasts on BBC Radio Two, Radio Three, Radio Four, Radio Wales and
Radio Cymru, while on television the band has featured in numerous programmes
for both the BBC and S4C: appearing most recently on “Songs of Praise”, in the
much-acclaimed BBC drama “A Light in the Valleys” and, in June 2005, on S4C’s
“Wedi 7” magazine programme.
competition on radio and television the band has also been pronounced BBC
Television “Best of Brass” finalists on numerous occasions and twice won the
title “BBC Radio Wales Band of the Year”. Parc & Dare also performed and
recorded the soundtrack for ITV Wales’ “Old Scores”, sequel to the much-loved
Welsh classic “Grand Slam” in 1993 and, earlier this year, recorded a number of
tracks for an album by Dawson Smith, inspired by the characters and stories in
the ‘Welsh’ Books Of Alexander Cordell.
addition to all of this Parc & Dare has been the focus of countless journal and
press articles and, through its busy concert schedule, has performed in
literally hundreds of events all over the country ranging from local charitable
events to concerts at the most prestigious venues, including St. David’s Hall,
the Millennium Stadium and Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, and the Royal
Festival and Royal Albert Halls, London.
for its unique and innovative artistic outlook and programming, Parc & Dare has
in the last year created and toured the groundbreaking film music and live
imagery show “Brass Tracks”, and performed alongside artists as diverse as the
Band of Her Majesty’s Grenadier Guards and the Russian Cossack State Dance
Company. The band hosts its own event, the Welsh Brass Arts Festival, at the
Parc & Dare Theatre in June each year, which has featured numerous acclaimed
guest artists including Royal Harpist Catrin Finch, trumpet soloist James
Watson, “the world’s favourite Phantom” Peter Karrie, BBC Young Brass Musician
of the Year David Childs, Channel 4 television’s “Operatunity” winner Denise
Leigh, BBC Presenter and opera star Beverley Humphreys, plus various leading
bands and choirs. More information on the Welsh Brass Arts Festival can be found
& Dare Band will continue to live up to its reputation as musical ambassadors of
the Rhondda, and of Wales. Following appearances abroad in Switzerland in 1988
and the Hamburg Police Show in October 2002, the band were delighted to appear
in the Nova Scotia International Tattoo in Halifax, Canada in July 2004,
representing Wales as a nation for the first time in this the largest indoor
show of its kind in the world. Such was the response to the band’s performance
that Parc & Dare was invited to perform again at the Tattoo in 2005 and returned
for a third consecutive year this July. The band has also this year twinned with
the Stadtorchester of the city of Ravensburg, Germany and welcomed the seventy
strong wind orchestra to Wales and Rhondda Cynon Taf for the first time this
June and now look forward to visiting Ravensburg in the near future.
Parc & Dare Band
Registered Charity No. 515764
The following in-depth history of the Parc &
Dare Band was written by Ron Watkins to celebrate the band's centenary in
How Green Was My
Before the discovery of its rich seams of coal, the Rhondda was a
verdant valley with just a scattering of hillside farms. The valley was
thickly wooded and one of its infrequent visitors observed that a red
squirrel could travel from the bottom of the valley to the top by hopping
from one oak tree to another. Then in the middle of the last century the
peacefulness of the rural scene was shattered for ever.
The lure of the black gold, as the coal was called, brought people
flooding into the valley from the border counties, from over the Bristol
Channel, from North and West Wales, and from Ireland. The population
explosion was one of the largest in the western hemisphere, and could be
compared with even that of the Klondyke. In 1861 the population stood at
3,305 and by 1911 it had rocketed up to 152,781. Most of the newcomers
were hard workers who had been scraping a living by working on farms and
saw in the Rhondda the answer to their dream for a better life for
themselves and their family. One such person who made his dream come true,
and who in the process became one of the first Welsh millionaires, was David Davies, who came from the
small village of Llandinam in Montgomeryshire.
David Davies, who was born in 1818, was a sawyer, at first working for
a local saw mill, and then working for himself by sawing up trees and
selling the planks. By means of frugal expeditions and wise investment he
soon owned several small businesses including a couple of slate quarries
in Blaenau-ffestiniog. He was attracted to the Rhondda by the stories of
its rapid development, and he leased some land from the large Crawshay
Bailey Estate and in 1868 began to sink shafts in the Maendy in Ton Pentre
and the Dare pit as it was to be called in Cwmparc. However they did not
strike coal, and as the shafts went lower, so David Davies’ capital
decreased. Finally he had no money even to pay the men their weekly wage,
and still there was no sign of coal. The workers held a meeting and
decided that they would work for a week without pay, such was their faith
in their employer. Happily they struck coal in Maendy colliery before the
end of the week and then in Cwmparc. When David Davies received the news
about the Dare pit in the form of a telegram, he told his manager, ‘ This
piece of paper is worth £40,000.’ His prophetic words were soon to be
proved correct. The Parc and Dare pits were the cornerstones on which he
built to amass his fortune.
Cwmparc is a narrow ‘cwm’, or valley which is an offshoot of the parent
valley - the Rhondda Fawr. It is enclosed on three sides by steep hills,
and along its south-west ridge runs the mountain road, the Bwlch, which
links the Rhondda valley with its neighbouring Ogmore valley. The Parc
River winds its tortuous course down the valley and on its right stood the
Parc colliery, while a couple of hundred yards lower down was the Dare
colliery. When the pits were in full swing, a constant procession of
coal-laden trucks, both night and day trundled down the railway which ran
along the left bank of the river. The grey, stone built houses were built
close to the collieries - huddled together as if for warmth. One of the
nearest of the terraced streets was Railway Terrace, or ‘Tub Row’ as it
was called. It’s nickname was derived from the habit of its occupants of
leaving bath tubs out on the pavement in the evenings. Thus endangering
the limbs on a dark night of unwary strangers.
Birth Of The Band.
The 1890’s in the Rhondda was a decade in which the separate
communities which had grown up around each pit began to achieve
respectability, and with it an identity. Many of the Rhondda’s chapels
were built at that time. There was also a demand for entertainment.
Theatres were built, and choirs and bands were formed. One such band was
the Cwmparc Drum and Fife Band, which was formed in April,
A Sober Start.
The band was originally a temperance band which drew its members from
the Parc and Dare collieries. Fines were imposed for drinking, which
helped to increase the funds. However the band soon severed any
connections with the temperance movement, they also went ‘all brass’, the
following year changing their title to the Cwmparc Silver
A Penny A Week.
When the collieries were in full production they employed approximately
3,000 men and boys. Being only a few hundred yards from each other they
worked almost as one pit, with one lodge, the Parc and Dare Lodge, looking
after the welfare of the miners.
Although the band received some financial support from the Ocean Coal
Company, most of the money to buy instruments came from the bandsmen
themselves and from friends and supporters working in the collieries, who
each contributed a penny a week from their wages. When the band had
collected enough money to buy their new set of instruments, the order was
placed with a Tom Price of Pentre.
The bandsmen eagerly awaited their arrival from France, and when they
received the glad tidings that the consignment had arrived, they ran down
to Pentre to seize their instruments. The more fleet of foot arrived first
and naturally took the smaller instruments like cornets, while the late
arrivals had to take the larger instruments such as the horns and
trombones. On this haphazard method of selection the band was
A Christmas Offering.
The band soon got down to the serious business of practicing, under
their first bandmaster, a Mr. Williams from Clydach. One of the first
pieces they learned was an arrangement of a march by the bandmaster
himself. On Christmas Eve the band sallied forth to demonstrate their
ability. They stopped outside the residence of a well known local
businessman. They proudly played their march, but there was no response.
It was only when the band decided to practice their scales that the
businessman came out with his Christmas offering
The first secretary was Dick Meredith, and the first president was Mr.
A. S. Tallis, M. E. Practices at first were held in the Pengelli Coffee
tavern, to the annoyance of some of the local residents, particularly a
Doctor Barrett, who often complained about the new, not always melodic
sounds which he had to put up with. The band soon moved however to the
Parc and Dare Workman’s Hall, where Tonic Sol-fa lessons were given by Mr.
John Thomas, A.C. for which he received an annual salary of
There was a band contest in Pontycymmer in the late 1890’s and the band
decided to compete. They walked across the mountains, a distance of about
six miles, with their supporters sharing carrying the instruments. Their
conductor was now Mr. Treharne, a well known cornet soloist. Fate seemed
to be against the band, since when they blew the first chord, the lights
in the hall went out. The local P.C. helped to relight them and the visit
ended on a high note with the band winning the first prize.
On The March.
In 1902 the nation was at war in South Africa with the Boers. The Seige
of Mafeking was on everyone’s lips and the nation held its breath until
finally relief came. The band played their part by taking part in a march
which was organised to raise funds for the national cause.
In The Open.
The band’s performances weren’t always restricted to playing in concert
halls and in 1904, with the opening of the new bandstand, they were given
a permanent outdoor site where they could entertain the public. The Band
Pavilion as it was called was a present from the Ocean Coal Company in
recognition of the band’s growing stature in the musical
A Leap Forward
In the beginning of this century the band competed in brass band
contests with undiminished enthusiasm. Their perseverance was rewarded in
1914 when they were promoted to Class A ( the equivalent of football's
Premier Division). Since that time the band has always retained its place
in what is nowadays called the Championship Section.
Between The Wars.
to become the life blood of the band, and in 1920 they achieved a
very creditable sixth place in the World Championship Competition at
Crystal Palace, in the process beating such household names as
Fodens and Black Dyke. In March 1931 they secured second place at
the Tonypandy Band festival. This was to prove an historic event,
since it was the first time the band had competed under their new
conductor, Mr. Haydn Bebb. Under his baton they went on to win
numerous other prizes in various competitions throughout the
country. In 1935 he was appointed full time conductor of the band.
The same year also saw the formation of the junior band under the
conductorship of Mr. Matt Evans. The junior band, as well as
supplying members to the senior band when they became of age, were
to be seen regularly at local functions, such as Church Parades on
Strife In The Coalfield.
The years between the wars had some serious and depressing aspects at
home for the now flourishing brass band. They were the years of the
depression. Of conflict in the coal industry. Of miners striking to
protect their standard of living. Of the 1926 General Strike which started
full of hope with other unions pledging support for the miners. But which
ended in a few days with the railwaymen deserting the miners and going
back to work. And so through that hot summer the miners stayed out. 1926 -
the year when the winding wheels at the top of the Rhondda’s forty six
collieries stopped turning. The year when the hob-nailed boots of the
Rhondda’s forty thousand miners no longer beat a tattoo as they walked to
work. The year when the colliery hooters fell silent. The year when the
endless chain of railway wagons loaded quality Rhondda steam coal stopped
rolling down to Cardiff and Barry docks. Their families suffered untold
hardships. They were hungry and suffered the indignity of the soup
kitchens. The coal owners predicted the strike would not last eight weeks.
That the miners would be forced to accept their terms which meant a cut in
the wages of those miners working in difficult seams. Most of the Rhondda
coal, although among the best steam coal in the world, was often difficult
to mine, and so most of the miners came into that category. In spite of
the coal owners predictions the miners did not stay out for eight weeks
they stayed out for nearly eight months. History records that the miners
lost their struggle. They were forced to accept the coal owners
conditions. But the struggle was not in vain since in a few years time a
Bill was passed in Parliament guaranteeing miners a minimum wage for
working in difficult seams. During these times of social strife many of
the Parc and Dare Band were to be found in various parts of the country.
They were the first of the buskers. But the money they were given for
playing in the street did not go towards extra pocket money for them, or
to buy a few pints of beer, it was sent back to their hungry families in Cwmparc.
A Brighter Note.
Under the influence of Haydn Bebb, the band’s repertoire increased
rapidly. He also stressed the importance of sight reading, and as a result
the band were able to read on sight a wide range of music which included
rhapsodies, symphonies and variations arranged for brass bands. In 1939
the band won three first prizes in contests and second prize in the
national Eisteddfod at Denbigh. Then the war came and brought another
chapter in the band’s history.
The Band Played On.
Since all the members of the band worked in the colliery, they were not
eligible for call-up, and so the activities of the band carried on.
However the emphasis of the band’s activities shifted and their first
priority was now not in competing, but in holding concerts. They were in
constant demand not just throughout the Rhondda, but further afield to
provide their particular brand of musical entertainment for a nation at
war. It was of national importance that the nation’s workers should have
various kinds of entertainment so that the workers’ could relax after
their hard graft for the war effort. And so the Parc and Dare Band ‘did
their bit’ to help in the struggle against Hitler’s Third Reich.
It was not only in the concert halls, but also on the wireless that the
band were in constant demand. By the end of the war they had been on the
air no less than eighty eight times. This included several ‘Music while
you Work’ programmes where the B.B.C. would bring their mobile unit
along and record the band in the Parc Hall. The band also raised several
thousand pounds for various charities. Later, in 1976, the band competed
for the first time in the
BBC2 Best of Brass televised competition and, prior to the competition, the band
featured in an article in the
The Horror Of War.
The horror of war struck closer to home on the night of April 29th,
1941 when German bombers dropped incendiary and high explosive bombs on
Cwmparc. There was chaos and devastation as the bombs rained down. One
eye-witness described the result as a 'horse-shoe of fire' on the Bwlch
mountain. No-one knows why the bombers attacked the sleepy village,
although the most likely theory was that they were off target: their real
target being Swansea docks. Some of the inhabitants ran down the valley in
their night clothes - the miners having first put on their hob nailed
boots. Others cowered in the ‘cwtch-dan-stars’.
The twenty-seven victims of the bombing were buried in Treorchy
cemetery later that week. By an ironic stroke of fate four of them were
evacuees who had been sent to Cwmparc to escape the horror of the bombing
in London. There were not enough hearses available and so they had to use
some of ‘Thomas and Evans’ floats, suitably draped for the occasion. The
procession was headed by the Parc and Dare Band who played the Dead March.
It was the saddest occasion on which the band had ever
A Lighter Note.
Towards the end of the war competitions were in full swing again. The
band competed wherever possible, travelling by bus. On most occasions they
would be waiting for a solitary late-comer: usually the same person. To
teach him a lesson the committee decided that at the next contest ( which
happened to be in Swansea ) the bus would start and leave on time - no matter
who was missing. And so it happened. The bus did leave on time - and left behind
three committee members who were forced to walk home! It also recorded
that a certain cornet player, being disgusted with an adjudication, and
having spent too long brooding over several pints of beer in the Pengelli,
on leaving the inn did throw his instrument in the river, having told the
world at large what he thought of the adjudicator. And that his friend,
Rhys Emrys, fetched it out.
Band uniforms which were regularly being worn to concerts and
competitions finally reached the stage when they had to be replaced. For
several years after the war clothing coupons were still in use and there
was no possibility of the band being fitted with a complete set of
uniforms - even if they could afford it. So they obtained a set of
ex-police uniforms, added a little braid for decoration and wore them for
several years. The uniforms still had a pocket for the police
It was several years later when the band, who used to play at the
annual garden party held in Llandinam, were presented with a set of new
uniforms by Lord Davies.
In the first contest to be held in the Albert Hall after the war, the
band achieved the outstanding position of third place in the National
Championships. A couple of years later, Haydn Bebb left to join Enfield
Band. Sadly shortly afterwards he died. Parc & Dare’s record in
the fifteen years he was conducting the band was a remarkable one. They
appeared regularly in the Championship Band Contest of Great Britain
sponsored by the Daily Herald - no small achievement since these were the
twenty best bands in Britain. Closer to home they set a remarkable record
by winning in 1944 every contest entered which included every competitive
event open to Class A bands in Wales.
In 1957, under the baton of
a Cardiff man, just to show that it was no fluke, the band repeated this
outstanding record. Harry Nuttall conducted the band until 1965, in a
period when the band were kept busy with eisteddfodau, competitions, B.B.C.
T.V. and concert engagements. The junior band was being moulded by Mr.
Ieuan Morgan, and in 1965, while
still in his early thirties, he took over the senior band.
Change Of Conductor
started as an instrumentalist with the Parc & Dare Junior Band, and then
joined the senior band where at seventeen he became principal euphonium
player. He attended the Cardiff College of Music and Drama and studied
euphonium under the renowned Aaron Trotman. He formed the famous Treorchy Secondary School Band
in 1953 which later became the Treorchy Comprehensive School Band and
which came to be regarded in band circles as one of the most successful
school bands in Britain. At the Albert Hall, in the Butlin's Youth
Championships of Great Britain they won first prize on three occasions,
second prize five times, and one third prize. This emphasis on young
players had been the focal point of Ieuan's career in both the School Band
and in Parc & Dare. When he started as conductor Parc & Dare in 1965 he
incorporated many of the school band into the senior band. The result was
that the Parc & Dare Band was the youngest band competing in Section A.
During his twenty years as Musical Director the band won
every major competition in Wales. They won the National Eisteddfod on many
occasions, including a hat-trick of wins, 1976, 1977, and 1978, being the
only band in Wales ever to have achieve this. They had been Welsh League
Champions many times, gaining a hat-trick in 1975, 1976 and 1977; a
hat-trick of wins at the Miner's Gala, Cardiff; Prize Winners National
Finals, Blackpool; B.B.C. Best of Brass Champions 1981 and Runners-up in
1979 and 1980. Ieuan conducted the band in hundreds of concerts, over 150
broadcasts, and many television appearances. In 1984 he was awarded the
Iles Medal, presented by the worshipful Company of Musicians of the City
of London. This medal is awarded annually to outstanding brass band
musicians. Ieuan was only the second Welshman ever to be so honoured but
his greatest honour came the following year when he attended a ceremony in
Buckingham Palace to receive an M.B.E. All bandsman who have been
associated with Ieuan over the years would agree that never was an award
given to a more deserving person.
‘See What The Boys In The Back-Room Will
the players in a band receive all the plaudits, no band
could survive without the back-room boys, the unsung heroes whose selfless
dedication to the band week-in and week-out help to provide the back-up
which a busy band such as Parc & Dare needs. Once such stalwart was Don
Humphreys who was on the committee from 1948-1970. The collieries closed
in the mid-1960's and the penny a week contribution from the two thousand
or so members of the two lodges vanished too. The committee were faced
with the daunting task of finding funds to keep the band running. They
decided to hold a weekly draw, and it became the band's only regular
source of income until they obtained sponsorship in 1985.
It was a tradition with the Parc & Dare Band that many
of the players introduced their sons to the musical discipline of band
playing. Over the years there have been many such father and son
combinations in the band, together with various uncles. Such family
connections were the Higgon family, where the father and two sons played;
the Thomas's where the three brothers, Ivor, Ceirion and Gwei were all
playing at the same time; and the Coombes family where the father and no
less than four of his sons were in the band. In 1978 Ieuan Morgan's two
sons, Kevin and Gregory were playing; Philip Morgan and his son, Jonathon;
Tommy Eveson and his three sons Garry, Chris and Tommy; Mal Pickin and his
son, Michael - in fact over half the band had another relative playing;
which could well be a record in banding circles.
‘Get Your Hair Cut!’
In 1984 the band were invited to appear on the television., a role which they
accepted with alacrity. They starred in an episode of the successful
‘District Nurse’ series starring Nerys Hughes, for which they had to dress
up as working men from the thirties. A slight problem arose when the band
were told they would have to have a haircut in accordance with the period
- a short back-and-sides. The band received an allowance from the B.B.C.
to go to the local barber. One member, Mal Pickin, turned up for rehearsal
only to be told be the producer that his haircut wasn’t short enough. To
the ribald comments of the other members of the band, he was told to get
it cut again and given the
extra chop on the set.
Some Are Born Bandsmen, Some Achieve It, And Some Have
It Thrust Upon Them.
Griff Higgon belonged to the latter category. When he
was a teenager, he and a few of his friends were playing cards on the
mountain above Cwmparc. There was nothing wrong in that, since the boys
would spend much of their leisure time on sunny days on the mountains,
away from the grit and grime of the coal busy valley. What they were doing
wrong was the fact that they were gambling. The valley in those days was
strictly non-conformist. And the non-conformists were strictly against
'the devil's cards', as they were called. The chapel deacons, who ruled
the valleys with a rod of iron under the covers of their bible, saw to it
that the law upheld the chapels. Sp when a policeman saw young Higgon and
his friends gambling, they ran for their lives, knowing that the wrath of
the chapel, the law, and their parents was pursuing them. By chance the
Parc & Dare Band were practicing in the bandroom. Griff, seeing a chance
of escape from the clutches of the law, dived through the door. He was
rather nonplussed to find that he had become the focus of attention of
twenty-eight bandsmen and the conductor. "Have you come to join the band?"
asked the conductor. "Oh, yes sir," stammered young Higgon. And join the
band he did. And become one of their longest playing members. Staying for
no less than forty years!
Band And Choir.
Side by side with the most successful Rhondda
brass bands there has always been the great tradition of male voice
choirs, such as Treorchy, Pendyrus and Cambrian. One of Ieuan Morgan's
lasting achievements is that he was instrumental in getting the band and
the Treorchy Male Choir for an annual Easter concert in the Park + Dare
History records that Ieuan persuaded John Hayden Davies,
the famous conductor of the choir, that a joint concert was bound to be a
success and provide much needed funds for the band and choir. However they
sold very few advance tickets and when the day of the concert loomed there
were still 500 tickets unsold. The story was a happy ending though and all
the tickets were sold. The annual Good Friday
concert has now become an institution in Treorchy and the band
and the world famous Treorchy Male Choir continue to perform to
capacity crowds each year (see the
Events itinerary for
The Parc & Dare Band is not only renowned in Britain,
but the band's fame has spread throughout Europe and now even the rest of
the world. The band has appeared in several European Brass Band Championships,
representing Wales at the highest level of brass band competition. To
reach this pinnacle the band first has to become Welsh Champions which
then entitles them to appear at the European Championships where they not
only compete with the best bands from England and Scotland, but also with
the best from Norway, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, etc. On their
appearances at the European Championships the band achieved the extremely
creditable position of fourth on two occasions. A
highlight of these appearances was the competition held in Lucerne, Switzerland, where the band
not only gained one of the creditable fourth placings, but also made many friends in the small
village of Gersau, which is located on the banks of Lake Lucerne at the
foot of Mount Rigi.
Congratulations On The Occasion Of
The Band's Centenary
'I still follow the fortunes of the band
with affection. I am delighted to see so many young payers in the band at
the moment and because of this I am sure that the Parc & Dare Band will
continue to be an exciting and interesting music-making force in the brass
'The band has seen its
personnel change somewhat and emerged with a talented team of younger
players blended with experienced bandsmen. The responsibility of
maintaining the healthy tradition of banding sustained for so long by Parc
& dare now rests safely in the hands of a band built for the future and
long may this continue. I wish everyone great success for the exciting
years to come.'
Nigel C. Taken
'I immediately felt at home
when I met the band at the first rehearsal, and have enjoyed my
relationship with them ever since. My contact with the banding movement
will remain strictly limited, but I hope to continue my relationship with
the Parc & Dare Band . I am proud to be associated with them, congratulate
them on their fine history and wish them every success as they move into
their next century.'
'The band worked hard to
achieve its success in the contest field. The band was always well
supported and deserved the reputation of an overall excellent and solid
sound in all its broadcasting and concert work. The band's consistency in
competition has earned it a place in the top bands in Wales. My
congratulations to the Parc & Dare Band on its Centenary and I wish them
success and happiness in music making in the future.'
'On my appointment as
resident conductor of the band, the first thing that entered my head was
the band's history and reputation. Decades of music making at the highest
level and national recognition combined with the thoughts of those whose
footsteps I was following in, made it a daunting task indeed. I consoled
myself with the fact that I had played with the ban, and was accepted as
one of them, because the band had always prided itself on its own sense of
Talk about bands often
focuses on conductors, so on this occasion I feel the players should be
saluted, for a band is only as good as each of its players, each one
contributes and each one counts. To have to spend ten to fifteen hours a
week with people in sometimes intense situations, calls for a lot of give
and take, and although bandsmen can be as stubborn as a troop of donkeys
with arthritis, they are long suffering and tolerant.
I know whose parrot has
died or whose garden shed fell down (just as he was leaving for practice)
and all the other flotsam and jetsam of their lives. Being aware of these
things is important, because making music involves feeling and emotions
and anything that affects a player can also affect his playing, therefore
an understanding of what makes each player 'tick is essential. With the
pressure of their jobs, families, mortgages and all the other stresses of
the world I am always amazed at the standard they constantly achieve. They
are all different, but what they all share is a love for the band and a
commitment to ensure its continuation and success, hopefully for another
There are good practices
and bad practices, people have to work or just cannot be there, but a full
rehearsal, when the band is on form, and the resulting sound sends me home
feeling a very proud and privileged person indeed. So to all the bandsmen
I say "you are fine people, a wonderful band and I offer you my heartfelt
Llongyfarchidau i Fand
Parc a'r Dar!
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