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 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
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
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
Recently he has devoted more time to conducting and adjudication,
and is on the Management Committee of the Donatella Flick Conductors
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
1977, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993,
1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003
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
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