facebook twitter rss vimeo


Report & Results: 2012 Miner's Welfare Entertainment Contest

City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) 2 claim the trophy and the prize money at Porthcawl.

Melingiffith logo


Exactly one year after the tragic accident at the Gleision Colliery in the Swansea Valley overshadowed the inaugural Miner’s Welfare Entertainment Contest, there was a much happier atmosphere to be found at Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion as 10 Second, Third and Fourth Section bands battled to claim the South Wales Miner’s Challenge Cup and first prize of £600.

Stark reminder

However, even the welcome news that thanks to the assistance of CISWO working with the Swansea Valley Miner’s Appeal Fund, nearly every penny of the £1.09 million raised would go to the families of the four men killed, the impeccably observed minute’s silence before the announcement of the results was still a stark reminder of the real cost of producing coal in Wales over the years.

M2 triumph

After a day of enjoyable entertainment it was City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) directed by Dewi Griffiths who headed home with the magnificent trophy (worth over £6,000) and the bumper cheque in their possession.

In a close run battle for the title, they pipped rivals Ebbw Valley by single point, with RAF St Athan two points further back in third.


There were a number encouraging performances throughout the day, with the rebuilding Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda winning the £200 on offer as the highest placed Third Section band not in the prizes, whilst the rapidly improving Oakdale took the equivalent Fourth Section award.

The £200 to the band producing the most entertaining stage presentation went to Ynyshir for a second successive year, after they delighted the audience with a programme that opened with invading aliens from Mars and ended with three sturdy trombonists and a flugel player in full Nun’s habits!

Very musical

M2’s winning 20 minute programme was described by adjudicator David Read MBE as, ‘A very musical performance throughout’.

The band’s euphonium soloist Gareth Ritter enjoyed a memorable contest as he picked up the ‘Best Soloist’ award in addition to leading the emerging Ebbw Valley to a deserved second place, claiming the £400 prize and the Wales TUC Challenge Cup in the process.

With RAF St Athan showing their solid qualities under Alan Bourne to come third (with the MD’s seven and a half year old son Oliver picking up the ‘Youngest Player Award’), the main prizes were shared by the last three competitors of the day.


"I thought we produced a very solid performance," the winning MD Dewi Griffiths told 4BR.

"We played to our strengths but also pushed ourselves both musically and technically with our programme. The victory is down to the hard work and commitment of the band and the players. This win gives us another solid foundation stone to build on for the future."

That future will now see the band compete in the Welsh Open in February next year against the likes of reigning champions Tredegar and M2’s own senior outfit City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) 1.

"That’s going to be something to really look forward to," the MD added.

Last Olympic burst

M2 opened with a last burst of London 2012 musical spirit with ‘Olympic Fanfare & Theme’ before moving though ‘Duelling Xylos’ featuring the talented teenagers Amy Herman and Heledd Gwynant.

A smoothly delivered ‘Irish Blessing’ segued into the upbeat ‘Celtic Cocktail’, before they rounded off with two movements from ‘ Windows of the World’ with Gareth Ritter on prize winning form on ‘Celtic Dream’.


David Read’s thoughtful on stage remarks pinpointed both the strengths and weaknesses of all the competing bands.

He congratulated the top three for what he called ‘very good performances that also had noticeable lapses at times’, and made sure that each of the competitors, in what he termed ‘a very good contest’, were aware that the need to entertain didn’t excuse them from ensuring that good banding basics were not forgotten in the process—especially when it came to slow melodic playing.

The victory is down to the hard work and commitment of the band and the players. This win gives us another solid foundation stone to build on for the futureDewi Griffiths


Ebbw Valley, who was only formed in September 2011 with a merger between the Cwm and Ebbw Vale Town Bands, certainly delivered a performance of note under Gareth Ritter’s purposeful direction.

An ambitious set that featured eclectic choices from the march ‘Goldcrest’ and ‘Blue Sleeve Step’ to ‘Eve of War’ complete with Richard Burton ‘War of the Worlds’ voice-over, synthesizer sounds and video clips from the Tom Cruise blockbuster movie, certainly made an impression to claim second place.

Want to improve

Gareth Ritter told 4BR: "It was an ambitious programme, but we are a band that wants to work hard and wants to improve, so we really pushed ourselves today."

RAF St Athan claimed their second successive podium finish at the contest thanks to a well worked American themed programme.

They opened with the slow swagger of a New Orleans funeral parade on ‘A Closer Walk to Thy’, before ending via a musical trip through the Appalachian Mountains and the Salvation Army to a Las Vegas inspired Elvis Presley trilogy.

Happier circumstances

Speaking later to 4BR, Contest Controller Rob Gowing was certainly delighted that the happier circumstances surrounding the second Miner’s Welfare event had led to the event being a success.

"There were excellent performances from all the bands, and the audience here is growing year on year. It’s been a very encouraging day and shows that bands at this level can produce highly enjoyable brass band entertainment."

A gallery of images of the 2012 event can be found at:


Adjudicator: David Read MBE

1. City of Cardiff (Mellingriffith) 2 (Dewi Griffiths)—191
2. Ebbw Valley (Gareth Ritter)—190
3. RAF St Athan Voluntary (Alan R Bourne)—188
4. Blaenavon Town (Andrew Protherough Jones)—187
5. Briton Ferry (Rhodri Griffith)—184
6. Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda (Alan F Gibbs)—183
7. Tata Steel (Port Talbot) (Ceri Thomas)—181
8. Ammanford (Glyn R. Davies)—179
9. Ynyshir (Graham Sheppard)—177
10. Oakdale (Adrian Browning)—175

Best Instrumentalist: Gareth Ritter (euphonium)—City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) 2
Youngest Player: Oliver Bourne (RAF St Athan Voluntary)
Most Entertaining Stage Presentation: Ynyshir
Highest Placed Third Section Band not in prizes: Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda
Highest Placed Fourth Section Band not in prizes: Oakdale


It's All About You at Bolsover...

March 22 • The Bolsover International Brass Band Summer School will have plenty of attractions for its delegates this year... led by Steven Mead.


EEBA announces adjudication swap

March 22 • Ian Porthouse and Russell Gray asked to swap roles to ensure EBBA's perception of anonymity in adjudication in Utrecht.


Regional thanks as well as concerns from AoBBA

March 22 • The Association of Brass Band Adjudicators has expressed its gratitude as well as their concerns following the recent series of Regional Championship events.

Flemish Open

Strong line-up for Flemish Open

March 22 • There is a strong line-up of competitors for the forthcoming Flemish Open in Mechelen.

Black Dyke Band - Mirfield Parish Church

Thursday 22 March • Mirfield Parish Church, 38 Church Lane, Mirfield WF14 9HX

Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Brass Band

Friday 23 March • Regent Hall. (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C 2DJ (opposite RESERVED) W1C 2DJ

The Fairey Band - Ensembles from Bramhall High School

Friday 23 March • Bramhall High School. Seal Road. Stockport SK72JT

Croydon Citadel Band - The International Staff Band of The Salvation Army

Saturday 24 March • The Salvation Army. Booth Rd. Croydon. CR0 1XY CR0 1XY

Black Dyke Band - Newtown (Powys)

Saturday 24 March • Theatre Hafren, Llanidloes Rd, Newtown SY16 4HU

Cheshire Constabulary Band

March 22 • We are still looking for a Tenor Horn, Cornet and snare drummers (for our Corps of drums). Smart friendly well run band with varied engagements, just one rehearsal a week. Open to all walks of life (you do not need to work for the Police!)


March 22 • Do you want to be part of one of the best run brass band organisations in the North West of England? Then look no further. The Pemberton Old Wigan DW organisation are holding auditions for the position of Conductor for their B band. The band is currently well placed in the 2nd section North West area and are looking for an ambitious and forward looking candidate who can take the band forward. No time wasters please.

Chelmsford Silver Band

March 22 • Chelmsford Silver Band require the following. Bb bass, Cornet and 2nd Baritone players. A non-contesting band, established for over 50 years and enjoy a good reputation performing at local and regional events plus organizing our own concerts.

David Frame

Bass/Tenor Trombone Player, Adjudicator (Member of AoBBA) Occasional Conductor