Before you listen to our music, our check out one of our video performances, here’s a little about the history of the Tongwynlais Temperance Band.
The band hails from the small village of Tongwynlais on the outskirts of Cardiff. Once separate to the capital city of Wales, the village Tongwynlais sits under the shadow of the famous Castell Coch. The castle featured in its logo was the country home and folly built by the industrialist the Third Marquis of Bute. Castell Coch or in English the Red Castle also gives its name to one of T J Powell’s famous marches.
The band was founded in 1888 in the industrial heyday of south Wales by banding enthusiasts from the local Melingriffith works. It was a time when industry, trade unionism and nonconformism would dominate the cultural life of Wales. It was a time of revolution, innovation and change. The band gave members an opportunity to forget the workday and create its own musical expression. Its music was heady mix of militaristic marches, classical arrangements and popular musical hall tunes.
Making music for over 134 years the ensemble was originally known as the Brooker’s Band, they soon became a part of the thriving local temperance movement, eventually becoming the Tongwynlais Temperance Silver Band. Despite their temperance pledge the band in the 1920’s rehearsed in the long room of the local Lewis Arms public house until their own bandroom was built in 1925. You can still visit the village local today and a trip to Castell Cosh perched on the wooded hillside is a favourite tourist attraction.
Tongwynlais Temperance were one of the first bands in Wales to actively encourage women players although this was probably prompted by the start of the second World War and conscription of men to the ranks of the armed forces. After the war, Harold Morgan was appointed conductor in 1948 and led the band to many contest victories and to Championship Section status following their victory at the 1951 Welsh Regional Contest.
The village of Tongwynlais is now very much a part of the City of Cardiff and its musical and cultural life. Much has changed since those early days and industrial revolution. Like many bands Ton has had its ups and downs, experiencing the highs of contesting brass banding and competes in the fiercely contested Welsh Championship section. The band has represented Wales, Scotland, at the British Open, the National Finals and the European Championship.
It is in their home community of North Cardiff that the band is happiest as it performs in concerts, creates its online content and supports local events. It also works to develop the next generation of musicians through the Tongwynlais Music Academy, its partnership with local music tutors to deliver music education.