Member: Musical Director - Jeff Hutcherson
Most brass bands have histories going back to the middle of the 19th century, and in Wales are often associated with collieries or slate quarries. Indeed, there is history of a band in Bedwas dating back to the early 1900's. The present band was formed in 1972 when Cynan Jones, a native of Blaenau Ffestiniog, came to work as a brass teacher in the Caerphilly area and decided to try and form a band. Cynan Jones decided to name the band “The BTM Band”, after the three villages around which they were based (Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen). The bandroom that BTM Band acquired was originally a chapel, and some of the instruments had been inherited from the old Windsor Colliery Band in Abertridwr and in some cases had to be shared by players. The BTM Band decided to start competing in 1975 in the Welsh Regional Championships, where they achieved a credible 5th place.
The Band steadily progressed through the various leagues, gaining Championship status in 1985. Since then, BTM has established itself as one of the foremost bands in the United Kingdom. In 1994 the Band became the Champion Band of Wales, winning 3 out of the 4 regional contests. With this title came an invitation to represent Wales in the European Championships held in Montreux, Switzerland, this being the second such occasion that the Band has competed in the European Championships. BTM have also represented Wales at the National Championships of Great Britain a total of 10 times (and counting).
The Band has made many radio broadcasts, the highlight being awarded the title of Radio Wales Champion Band for 2 consecutive years. In addition to radio broadcasts, the Band has also made numerous appearances on TV – including being the subject of 3 separate documentaries. On the contesting front, the Band have established an enviable reputation for competing in entertainment contests – including the infamous performances of the Full Monty by five fearless members of the Band's cornet section which has since gained international recognition!
As well as its contesting work, the Band also undertakes a wide range of concerts in various parts of the country. It also supports national and local charities such as Leukaemia Research Fund, the British Heart Foundation, The Charity for Sick Children, The Joshua Foundation and The Caerphilly Children's Centre.
The Band is very proud of its talented soloists. Mark Hutcherson was the first brass player to win the coveted instrumental Blue Riband at the National Eisteddfod of 1987, a feat which he repeated in 1988 and 1993. He became the British Open Solo Champion in 1990, going on to represent Great Britain in the Brass International Musician of the Year Contest held in Auckland (New Zealand), achieving 2nd place. Mark was also a founder member of the National Youth Brass Band of Wales along with 4 other members of BTM. Since that time, approximately 40 members of the Band (past and present) have been selected for the NYBBW so far.
In 2010, the Band was extremely fortunate to receive a substantial grant from the Welsh Assembly’s Community Facilities and Activities Programme (CFAP) to refurbish its bandroom. The grant enabled the bandroom to be completely renovate an upper floor was installed, complete with a designated library, meeting room, sectional rooms, office, and a conductor’s quarters. Downstairs, the ceiling was lowered and the bandroom floor space expanded, and a state-of-the-art recording studio was installed. Thanks to another grant from CFAP, the building also underwent substantial exterior work, including the installation of solar panels and rainwater harvesting facilities. The bandroom has since been renamed “The BTM Centre of Excellence”, and it will become a unique resource for many local ensembles and schools.
The BTM Band realises the importance of youth, and in the last couple of years has reinvigorated the Youth Band (otherwise known as BTM Band: Next Generation). Several members of the original Youth Band progressed to the Senior Band and performed in such prestigious venues as The Royal Albert Hall, The Symphony Hall and St David’s Hall. The BTM Band believes that investing in The Next Generation will ensure the sustainability and longevity of the band as well as offering high quality tuition and performance opportunities to children and young people not otherwise available.
The BTM Brass Band