This is one of the earliest photos of Neville John’s musical activities, taken with Carmarthen and District Orchestra in 1949 at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Dolgellau.
Neville John is in the back row, 3rd from left. Also in the back row are Luther Lewis (2nd from left), Tommy Lewis (5th from left, slightly forward) and Llew Owen, (8th from left, at the back). In the front right corner is Sid Jones. At the time Neville was a violinist, his cellos days starting a few years later, and the youngest member of the orchestra.
In his time as a music teacher, Neville John has led and participated in many music groups, leading a generation of Merthyr school children to success in Eisteddfodau.
The Merthyr Tydfil Youth Orchestra was awarded first prize in the Ammanford Eisteddfod of 1970. The orchestra was conducted by Neville John (centre) and led by his son, Steven (front right) who was 13 years old at the time. In addition to the performance prize, Neville also won first prize for his composition March for School Orchestra, a piece written specifically with school orchestras in mind, and suitable for use on school speech day and similar occasions.
Penydre High School also had an orchestra, pictured here in 1973, led by Steven John. All these pupils, both strings and woodwind, were taught by Neville John. The string quartet won first prize in the Urdd National Eisteddfod in 1977.
Neville formed an Opera group in Merthyr Tydfil, a combination of youth and adults, which was the only group in Merthyr devoted entirely to opera. It was one of the two musical contributions to Merthyr’s Festival ’71. The group ran for 5-6 years until changes in the LEA boundaries made it no longer viable.
Neville was also active in the Merthyr Tydfil Chamber Orchestra, pictured below with his cello. The orchestra was conducted by Michael Bell, standing on the left.
Neville was a member of the orchestra for Blackwood Musical Theatre Society, putting on musicals for 25 consecutive seasons, ending in 2009 with Oklahoma! when he was also Musical Director. Steven John led the orchestra throughout this period.