Local musician Byron awarded the British Empire Medal
Local resident Byron Jones, commonly known as the Welsh Wizard, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to his community.
Byron was nominated for the ward by his partner Terry, who tragically died before he could see the award be given.
Born in Risca, South Wales, in 1949 Byron has been a professional musician for 55 years and has lived in Bristol for the last 27 years and previously owned an organs and pianos store on Whiteladies Road. He fondly remembers being interested in music from the age of three when he was able to reach to the keys of the piano. Within a year he was sitting and starting to play and showing great promise on the piano and then the organ. He played in a local church, and developed his style over the years. Whilst still at school, Byron played at the local chapel and then progressed to the working mens clubs of Wales where an organ demonstrator gave Byron his first job, three nights at a local rugby club where he was paid £3 a night.
He later progressed to the larger clubs, where he would be engaged to play for artistes straight from the London Palladium. Since then, over the last thirty years, Byron has played for many Summer Season Spectacular shows, made countless radio broadcasts and made many television appearances in Great Britain and America, as well as producing his own recordings on CD and DVD. Byron has his own Music Society of loyal fans and friends from all over the world.
Throughout his glittering career Byron has raised many thousands of pounds for a range of different charities and puts on regular concerts at Horfield Methodist Church in Eden Grove for the benefit of MacMillans.
Byron has also played most of the major theatre pipe organs in Great Britain, namely, Comptons, Christies and Wurlitzers including the famous Blackpool Tower WurliTzer. He is a much-sought-after concert performer, and travels all over the country, giving concerts on many of the loved and cherished Theatre Cinema Organs that have been preserved and held in affection. He also cannot resist the temptation to sample all kinds of Church Organs when he has the opportunity. There are hundreds of Organ Societies around the country today having guest organists in concert, and Byron is among the tops, being sought after for these events, even as far as Spain and Jersey.
In recent years Byron has achieved an increasing international success, with many new friends in Canada, the USA and Holland who look forward to seeing him during his visits there. Never happier than when seated at the console of some of the world's finest organs, Byron's magic touch is appreciated all around the world.