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Nationals Championship of Great Britain 2003

The three wise men in the box this weekend have loads and loads of experience to fall back on, and even though they are getting on in years, their ears themselves are more than capable of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

David Read and William Relton have become something of a Nationals adjudicating double act, whilst it is nice to report that Geoffrey Whitham makes his debuut in the box. Strong opinions then could be the order of the day.


David ReadDavid Read

David Read made his debut as adjudicator at the National Finals way back in 1985 when he shared the adjudication on “Cloudcatcher Fells” with Bram Gay and Sir David Willcocks. Since then he has been the most regular of judges at the Finals in addition to adjudicating at the British Open (debut 1982), the Masters, the European and many other major brass band contest all over the world.

2003 sees his 14th appearance as adjudicator and his 9th in a row in the box at the Royal Albert Hall.

He is a most highly respected judge, who’s written comments are constructive and detailed and who has an acute ear for musical shape as well as technical clarity. More importantly he is seen as a “safe” adjudicator in the eyes of the bandsmen themselves, in that he invariably gets the vast majority of decisions concerning the prizewinners correct. This has been further emphasised by the bands themselves voting him as their first choice to judge them at the All England Masters for the past few years.

David Read was born in Wales and did his Military service with the Regimental Band of the Welsh Guards. His playing career came to fruition with the Askern Colliery Band, followed by a spell with Carlton Main Frickley Colliery. He later joined the Munn and Feltons Band (later named GUS) later becoming Principal Cornet. During his time with the band, GUS became National Champions on four occasions and World Champions once.

He was also assistant principal cornet for the Virtuosi Band of Great Britain and Kings of Brass and was three times Champion Cornet Player of Great Britain and once outright Solo Champion. He was also a member of the famous GUS quartet that with John Berryman, John Cobley and Trevor Groom who on a number of occasions were British Quartet Champions.

He has been an educationalist as Senior Instrumental Teacher for Cambridge Area Education Authority, and in 1983 was honoured by the Worshipful Company of Musicians and in 1996 by receiving the English Masters Dedicated Service Award.

National Championships Adjudicating Record: 14 appearances.
1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003


David ReadWilliam Relton

William Relton is a member of the Council of the Royal Albert Hall and is included on the Panel of Assessors for the Arts Council of England “Arts for Everyone” Lottery Fund.

His lifetime involvement in music started at the age of fourteen when he joined the Brighouse and Rastrick band, being appointed solo cornet at the age of seventeen. After National Service, he took up the post of Sub Principal Trumpet and Principal Cornet of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and left the CBSO after three years to take up one of the first £1,000 bursaries at the Royal College of Music.

During his studies at the college, William Relton played with all the major London orchestras and for one season was at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He joined the Orchestra of Sadlers Wells Opera (now ENO) where he was Principal Trumpet.

In 1957 he joined the BBC, first as a player in the BBC Concert Orchestra, being later appointed music producer. In 1970 he became Orchestra Manager of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and was promoted to General Manager in 1975. He has worked with all the great conductors of our day, from Ashkenazy, Bernstein and Boulex to Zender and Zinman, and was successful in appointing both Gennadi Rozhdesvensky and Sir John Pritchard to the post of Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He was responsible for all the Orchestra’s activities including tours of Australia, China, Jpan and most European countries.

He left the BBC to take up the post of General Manager of the Eastern Orchestral Board, where he was responsible for the financing of some 250 concerts per year given by professional symphony and chamber orchestras.

Recently he has devoted more time to conducting and adjudication, and is on the Management Committee of the Donatella Flick Conductors Competition.

William Relton has been a familiar face in the “box” at the since he made his “debut” in 1977 with Havelock Nelson and Buxton Orr. Since then he has appeared on another 15 occasions, including 9 years in a row from 1986 – 1994 and a further four consecutive years from 1997 – 2000. He has also adjudicated at the Open, Masters and European Championships as well as contests at all levels throughout Europe and the World.


National Championships Adjudicating Record: 18 appearances.
1977, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003


Geoffrey Whitham Geoffrey Whitham

Geoffrey Whitham was born in Queensbury, in the heartland of brass banding, and started playing with the Black Dyke Junior Band at the age of 11 on the euphonium. After a year with the band he moved to the Canal Ironworks Band and returned to Black Dyke Mills Band on baritone at the age of 15. He later took over the solo euphonium position at the age of 18 and held this position for 13 years.

As a player he was regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, whilst his performance as solo euphonium during Black Dyke’s win on “Le Roi D’Ys” at the Royal Albert Hall in 1959 has become the stuff of legend. Besides his work in the brass band world he also gained considerable experience playing tenor and bass tuba with some of the country’s leading orchestras including the Liverpool Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham and the Halle, where he played under the famous Sir John Barbirolli.

Following this period he took over as bandmaster at Black Dyke and in 1966 he was appointed as Musical Director of the Hammonds Sauce Works Band (the now Yorkshire Building Society) and this was the start of another period of high profile success in the banding world. He was the Musical Director there for 18 years during which the band won prizes at the British Open and many other leading contests in the UK.

After leaving the band he conducted the James Shepherd Versatile Brass for a short period before returning to Hammonds Sauce to direct them for another 5-year period in 1988. During this time the band won the Grand Shield contest, came second at the British Open and became the first band to complete a tour to Lithuania.

Although now semi retired he is stil busy passing on his expertise and advice to numerous bands and players. He was for some time the co – conductor of the “Kings of Brass”. In 1979 he was awarded the Iles Medal by the Worshipful Company of Musicians for his outstanding contribution to the brass band movement, and in 1999 he received the All England Masters Dedicated Service Award.

He makes his debut this year as an adjudicator at the Championship Finals.

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