John THOMAS wife Susannah , & 2 children arrived at Timaru on the "Merope" in 1875.
Son William was 19 months old. Whether any ancestors in Wales were interested in music is unknown.
William's future wife Elizabeth NECKLEN (2.7 y.o.) was also on the Merope. The NECKLEN family was into music.
After marrying Elizabeth NECKLEN in 1899, William Thomas was a member of the Timaru Salvation Army Band. (left) with the bass drum. c.1900
William & Elizabeth were also members of a Timaru orchestra (William at right rear, Elizabeth with Mandolin front seated). Also present is son Victor (second from left standing in middle row, with wife Gert) and Elizabeth's sister Rose (middle seated on floor) c.1927
Elizabeth's eldest brother Henry Joseph (Harry) NECKLEN a member of the Timaru Garrison Band, won the Euphonium Solo at the 1894 Invercargill Contest, age 25.
The South Canterbury Regiment Timaru Garrison competed at the 1920 Ballarat (Australia) contest, and Harry won the Australasian Euphonium championship, winning 2 Alabaster vases (now in the South Canterbury Museum).
William & Elizabeth's two eldest sons were both brass band enthusiasts. Victor (Vic) was conductor of the Temuka Brass Band in 1937-50.
In 1960 Hon. Lt. Vic L Thomas conducted the Band of the 3rd Battalion Auckland (Countess of Ranfurly's Own Regiment (territorials).
Roland (Roly) was a member of the Timaru Municipa Band from 1925. In 1933 the band won the B Grade Contest. Roly is third from left, back row. Charlie NECKLEN (Harry's son) was also a member
In 1940 Roly won the Eb Soprano Cornet Competition at the Centennial Contest, with a score of 98%. described by chief judge Frank Wright "as probably not only the best player of that instrument in New Zealand, but one of the best soprano players in any part of the world."
In 1941 Roly was appointed Lieut. Bandmaster the Queen Alexandra's Own Band (1st WellingtonWest Coast Regiment) in camp at Wanganui Racecourse.
By 1942 the band developed into this
Wanganui Technical College Band 1945, Merv on trombone, Roly conductor.
At the 1947 Christchurch contest, the Queen Alex are still in military uniform.
Roly's elder son Mervyn aged 15 is third from left, middle row, on Euphonium.
Roly soon retired as conductor due to failing health.
In 1951: Roly (top right), Mervyn & Neville all played in the Wanganui Garrison. They won the A Grade Quickstep at the Wellington contest, and were asked to repeat the performance, Roly died in 1952.
1953 Neville played in the band of the CMT intake at Linton Military Camp. (front left), and continued at annual CMT camps.
Neville continued playing in the Wanganui Garrison until 1957, then moved to Auckland.In Auckland, Neville played in the Auckland Battalion band under conductor Uncle Vic. Thomas
Mervyn left the Brass Band genre to become a jazz musician. Photo of Pem Shepherd's band at Mount Maunganui. Merv. eventually became a dance band leader.
44 years pass ........
In 2004, Neville joined the Devonport Citizens Silver Band on Eb tuba. Mervyn on trombone helped the band from time to time.
The Devonport Band "folded" and Neville joined Kumeu Brass in 2006
Kumeu Brass 2007. Neville front right on tuba.
Kumeu Brass after competing in the 2011 ABA Regional contest.
In 2006 Kumeu Vintage Brass was formed under the Kumeu Brass umberella, comprising mostly retired bandsmen, who rehearse Thursday afternoons.
By 2017 the Kumeu Vintage Brass had grown to over 40 players and performed numerous concerts.
The Kumeu Vintage Brass at Couldrey House, Wenderholme in 2008
The Kumeu Vintage Brass in 2017 Napier Art Deco Festival concert
Neville's granddaughter Isabella Thomas commenced playing the cornet at Campbells Bay Primary School.
2011 Isabella busking with friends
2012 Isabella on trumpet at Murrays Bay Intermediate School. Neville Grenfell is tutor.
2013 North Shore Brass Academy solo comp.
2014 North Shore Brass Academy
2015 North Shore Youth Brass at ABA contest
2016 North Shore Brass ANZAC parade
2016 Rangitoto College Big Band at NZ School of Music Jazz Festival. Award: Trumpet: Bella Thomas.
On Flugel 2017 NSB quartet rehearsal fof BBANZ Contest (placed 3rd against allcomers)
NZ Youth Jazz Orchestra 2017.
NZYJO 2017 trumpet section, Isabella on lead.
Winner of ABA slow melody under 19.
Rangitoto's North Sea Jazz Combo, winner Best Jazz Combo 2017 KBB.
Although primarily a pianist, Isabella's cousin Ryan plays tuba at Westlake Boys College. Proms 2015
Westlake Concert Band at KBB Festival 2017. Ryan (left) on tuba.
Compiled by Neville