Gareth Ritter, the Musical Director of Ebbw Valley and Taff Vale Brass (right) has been presented with the Eric James Memorial Trophy as Welsh Conductor of the Year.
The much sought after honour is decided by a small group of dedicated brass band lovers, family members and aficionados in honour of Eric James, one of the most popular conductors of the Welsh banding scene, following his death in 1990.
His son Alyn told 4BR: "My father had expressed the view that, all too often, the hard work of 'grass roots' conductors can go largely unrecognised and that an award of some kind might go some way to remedy this.
During November each year our group meets to discuss the achievements of Welsh conductors throughout all the sections and choose a recipient for the award."
Force of nature
He added: "Gareth has been up against stiff competition for the title this year but the results of his work with Ebbw Valley and Taff Vale speak for themselves — he really is a force of brass banding nature!
We commend Gareth for his continuing commitment and formidable work ethic and feel confident his contribution to Welsh banding will provide us all with inspiration for years to come."
The presentation was made at the recent South East Wales Association Welsh League contest held in Cardiff marks the third time that the conductor has won the award.
Gareth has been up against stiff competition for the title this year but the results of his work with Ebbw Valley and Taff Vale speak for themselves — he really is a force of brass banding nature!Alyn James
1992: E.J. CLARK — British Steel (Port Talbot)
1993: HAYDN EVANS — Pontardulais Town
1994: BERNARD WILLIAMS — Cwmaman Institute/Blaina
1995: GERALD ROBERTS — Ammanford Town
1996: MICHAEL THORNE — Burry Port
1997: GRAHAM SHEPPARD — Treherbert
1998: C. BRIAN BUCKLEY — Pontardulais Town
1999: BRYN DAVIES — Blaenavon Town
2000: ALAN PHILLIPS — Aberystwyth Youth/Schools
2001: JIM DAVIES — Ammanford Town
2002: MIKE FARO — Briton Ferry Silver
2003: GRAHAM SHEPPARD — Treherbert
2004: CRAIG ROBERTS — Parc & Dare
2005: PAUL HOLLAND — Newbridge Celynen
2006: ALAN DAVIES — Llwydcoed
2007: PAUL HOLLAND — Newbridge Celynen
2008: GWYN EVANS — Beaumaris
2009: GARETH RITTER — City of Cardiff (Melingriffth)Band
2010: GARY DAVIES — Tylorstown
2011: DEWI GRIFFITHS — City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) 2
2012: MATTHEW JENKINS — Goodwick Brass
2013: GARY DAVIES — Tylorstown
2014: GARETH RITTER — Ebbw Valley
2015: MATTHEW JENKINS — Goodwick Brass
2016: LUKE JENKINS — Phoenix Brass (Goodwick)
2017: CHRIS TURNER — Llwydcoed
2018: GARETH RITTER — Ebbw Valley / Taff Vale Brass