Powell was born in Tredegar in 1897 and was a member of Tredegar Workmen’s Band
and Tredegar Salvation Army Band prior to the outbreak of the First World War.
He left to
join the Royal Marines, where he graduated as a Bandmaster, serving at HMS
Nelson in Portsmouth.
On his return to Wales, Powell was appointed conductor of the impressive
Melingriffith Band in 1920 (above), and soon built a reputation as being a prolific and
much admired conductor and composer, especially of marches.
This led to
the great Harry Mortimer referring to him as ‘The Welsh Sousa’- with his bold
compositions such as ‘Castell Coch’ and ‘The Contestor’, as well as a plethora
of lighter items and concert works, still played to this day.
He died in 1965, whilst conducting the Cory Band in a radio broadcast.
is known of his composition ‘Burbling Brook’, other than it was written to be
played either as a virtuoso triple-tonguing flugel or corent solo, and hails
from around the early 1940s.
is no record of it being ever being published, in research undertaken for the project, it
was found that it was publicly performed, with Brian Buckley, a former principal
cornet of Tredegar Band, recalling playing it in either the late 1940s or early
Powell did return to conduct Tredegar around this time- most notably in 1948 for a joint concert with Melingriffth Band, in which his other work 'The Glory of Victory', written by him for the band was performed once more.
Brian Buckley became principal cornet of Tredegar Workmen's Band aged 14 in 1946, holding
the role with distinction for 25 years, whilst the performance recorded here, for inclusion on one of CDs for the band's Heritage Lottery Fund project, is splendidly given
by current principal cornet, Dewi Griffiths.
work remains a treasured possession of the City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) Band,
where it was saved for posterity by a former player Geoff Atkins who played with Melingriffith as a youngster, under Powell.
It was subsequently transcribed onto a computer programme by former BBC
producer and T.J. Powell archivist Dave Howard, so that it could be preserved.
Band is grateful to City of Cardiff (Melingriffth) Band for allowing the piece to
be performed once more.