I grew up in Blaengwynfi in the 1950s/60s. My father was Don Davies, and he was band-master during most of those years. He'd joined the band in the 30s when he'd been forced to leave school at Maesteg on the death of his father, and learned to play the trombone and euphonium mainly. The band-master then was Mr. Wade, a Yorkshireman, who'd trained as a tailor originally. Dad went on to teach brass on a Friday evening at Maesteg grammar school, and later the new Sandfields comp in Port Talbot on a Thurs; on the way he taught my brother French Horn, who went on to play with the Scots' Guards' band for 25 years, and he still both plays and teaches in London schools. He in turn taught his two sons horn and trumpet.
One of the band's euphonium players in the 50/60s was Frank Loveday, obviously one of Philip's close relatives. Dad thought Frank was an exceptional player with a truly beautiful tone. When he was very old, just talking about it made him tearful! My stongest memory of the band is hearing it playing round the village on Christmas morning, stopping particularly outside houses where a baby had recently been born and playing Away in a Manger, or something else appopriate. That was a lovely celebration involving the whole community---so much better than the individualized Christmas behind closed doors that we have now. After playing all around the village, bandsmen would call into the 'Blan'-- the Blaengwynfi Hotel in Jersey Road for a swift pint; one local wealthier shopkeeper once met them in there, and said ''This is how you spend the money we all give you on the way round is it?'' John Blow, known as Johnnie or Jack, a terrific cornet/trumpet player with a very quick wit replied ''Oh just a minute Mr----, (rummaging in his pocket) I'll give you back your thruppence now''---much to everyone's merriment! As Dad once said, the village was 'brimful of talent'---several of those musicians could have made it on the national/international stage in a different place and a different time. Still, they gave us so much, and I, for one am grateful.
A memory shared byon Jan 22nd, 2011.
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