4BarsRest logo



news desk

articles & features


results archive


classified ads

your comments

go shopping




royal albert hall banner

Nationals Championship of Great Britain 2003

The Conductors Records.

Here’s the list they don’t like you looking at. Each of the twenty conductors at the National Championships will have some sort of form at the Royal Albert Hall – some good, some nearly great and more than a few making up the numbers.

Of the twenty on show, some have been around for longer than you might have expected, whilst just the two will be making their debuts. However they do, they join a very select band of conductors who have actually directed a performance from the stage of perhaps the famous concert hall in the world. That is something to be very proud of indeed.

John Clark

3rd time
Debut: 1991

Bands taken at Finals:
Redbridge – 1991, 1992, 2003

No Wins
2 Unplaced: 1991 – 18th, 1992 – 19th

John Clark makes his third appearance at the Albert Hall – 11 years after he last took to the stage here. On each occasion he has been with Redbridge, or London Electricity Redbridge as they were called back in the early 1990’s.

Perhaps it will be third time lucky, as both appearances so far on “Energy” and “The New Jerusalem” resulted in his charges being close to the bottom of the pile. They 18th out of 23 in 1991 and 19th and last in 1992.

Paul Murrell
Camborne Town

2nd Time
Debut: 2002

Bands taken at Finals
Camborne – 2002, 2003

No Wins:
1 Unplaced: 2002 – 19th

Just the second consecutive appearance here for Major Paul Murrell and he will be hoping for better fortune than last year when on his debut he was drawn number 7 and could only direct his band through to last but one place.

David EvansDavid Evans
Burry Port

2nd time
Debut: 1999

Bands taken at Finals
Glossop Old – 1999
Burry Port – 2003

No Wins
1 Unplaced: 1999 – 20th

We may be wrong with this one, but we think David conducted Glossop Old here in 1999 on “Concerto No 1” by Derek Bourgeois. It was certainly someone with the same name, and even though he is a young man now, he would have been a lot younger then!

If so, he will be hoping for a better return than the last place on that occasion with his new band Burry Port.

Ian McElligottIan McElligott
Brighouse and Rastrick

2nd time
Debut: 2002

Bands taken at Finals:
Brighouse and Rastrick – 2002, 2003

No Wins:
1 Fifth: 2002

The urbane and suave Major Ian McElligott makes his second appearance at the Albert Hall, and he will surely be hoping for an easier time than he had to endure on his debut when he was faced with the number 1 draw.

They did put on a very fine show on “Masquerade” though to come 5th, so if the Brighouse rep at the draw is a bit luckier this time then he could be adding something a bit higher to his CV.

Thomas WyssThomas Wyss
Fodens Richardson

4th time
Debut: 1995

Bands taken at Finals:
Northop – 1995, 1996
Tredegar – 1999

No Wins:
1 Third: 1999
2 Unplaced: 1995 – 18th, 1996 – 16th

The Swiss born Thomas Wyss makes his fourth appearance on the stage here this year, but this time with an English band under his direction. On his three previous attempts to win here he directed the Welsh bands of Northop and Tredegar, and although the North Wales band couldn’t catch the adjudicators ears on “Songs for BL” AND “Isaiah 40” the South Wales one did.

Tredegar came third in 1999 on “Concerto No 1” and so he will be hoping to improve on that this time with one of the favourites under his command.

James ScottJames Scott
Scottish Co-op

22nd time
Debut: 1964

Bands taken at Finals:
Cammell Laird – 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970
Rochdale – 1972
Brighouse and Rastrick – 1973, 1974, 1975
Fodens – 1976, 1977, 1978
Grimethorpe – 1980, 1983
Yorkshire Imperial – 1985, 1987, 1988
Whitburn – 1989, 1990, 1991
Scottish Co-op - 2003

1 Win: 1973
1 Second: 1965
4 Thirds: 1975, 1985, 1987, 1989
5 Fourths: 1964, 1966, 1980, 1983, 1988
3 Fifths: 1974, 1978, 1990
1 Sixth: 1969
6 Unplaced: 1967 – N/K, 1970 – N/K, 1972 – N/K, 1976 – 13th, 1977 – 15th, 1991 – 10th

What a record. 39 years ago no less, James Scott made his debut with the now defunct Cammell Laird band when they were drawn 24th and last band on to play “Variations on a Ninth” by Gilbert Vinter. They came 4th.

After that he directed any number of impressive performances at the Albert Hall and crowned it all in 1973 when with Brighouse and Rastrick he won on “Freedom”. Looking at his record you can see just why he loves this place – just 6 times out of the prizes. He has taken some impressive bands too as well as a couple of lesser lights, but the last time he directed a performance here was in 1991 with Whitburn on “Energy”. He returns 12 years later to make his 22nd appearance.

Nicholas ChildsNicholas Childs
Black Dyke

10th time
Debut: 1994

Bands taken at Finals:
Tredegar – 1994, 1995, 1996
Fodens – 1997, 1998, 1999
CWS Glasgow – 2000
Black Dyke – 2001, 2002, 2003

2 Wins: 1999, 2001
1 Third: 1997, 2002
1 Fourth: 1998
1 Fifth: 1994
1 Sixth: 2000
2 Unplaced: 1995 – 9th: 1996 – 11th

The Welshman, and younger of the Childs brothers makes his 10th appearance here this year and his third with Black Dyke. He has won here twice before – with Fodens in 1999 and with Dyke on “Albion” in 2001, but last year he had to contend with an early number 4 draw, and although his band played well they couldn’t hold off the challenges of Williams Fairey and BAYV Cory.

Just the twice has he failed to come in the prizes though – both with Tredegar after gaining a fifth place on his debut, but this year you feel it may be the time for the hat trick of victories.

Allan WithingtonAllan Withington
Fairey FP (Music) Band

11th time
Debut: 1992

Bands taken at Finals:
Brighouse and Rastrick – 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
Williams Fairey – 2002, 2003

3 Wins: 1997, 1998, 2002
1 Seconds: 1999
2 Fourths: 1995, 2000
1 Fifth: 1992
2 Sixths: 1993, 1996
1 Unplaced: 2001 – 11th

Three times Allan Withington has won here, and this time around he will be seeking to repeat the feat of retaining the title with Fairey just as he did with Brighouse and Rastrick in 1997 and 1998. It would be a greater achievement for him as well, as Fairey, even though they have won the title seven times, have never held onto it for a second year.

The record of the MD now living in Norway is superb though, with just the one blip in 2001 when Brighouse came 11th spoiling 9 top six finishes. It could well be another one at least to add to his record book.

Robert ChildsRobert Childs
Buy As You View Cory

6th time
Debut: 1996

Bands taken at Finals:
EYMS – 1996, 1997
BAYV Cory – 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

1 Win: 2000
1 Second: 2002
1 fifth: 2001
2 Unplaced: 1996 – 8th, 1997 – 12th

Robert Childs makes his 6th appearance at the Finals, and many people forget that he didn’t just fall into the BAYV Cory MD position without gaining experience elsewhere.

He made his debut here back in 1996 with the EYMS band – the band he helped create and on his debut they came a very creditable 8th on “Isaiah 40” and 12th on “On Alderney Edge”. A couple of year away from Kensington and then the return with such a force in 2000 as BAYV Cory completed an historic double. The last couple of years has seen his band being one of the favourites, and that doesn’t appear to change this year either. It could be a second title and a tie with his younger brother in the record books.

Gareth PritchardGareth Pritchard
East Yorkshire Motor Services

5th time
Debut: 1999

Bands taken at Finals:
Bodmin – 1999, 2000
EYMS – 2001, 2002, 2003

No Wins:
4 Unplaced: 1999 – 16th, 2000 – 15th, 2001 – 14th, 2002 – 20th

A nap hand of appearances this year for the Welshman in charge of the band from the North East and he will be hoping for slightly easier ride than last year when his young band found the going tough on “Masquerade” from an early draw and propped up the prize list.

He made his debut with the baton in 1999 with Bodmin, but his best so far was 14th place with EYMS on “Albion” in 2001. More of the same, or better? – we will have to wait and see.

Garry CuttGarry Cutt

8th time
Debut: 1994

Bands taken at Finals:
Marple – 1994, 1998, 1999
Grimethorpe – 2000
Leyland – 2001, 2002, 2003

No Wins:
1 Sixth: 2001
5 Unplaced: 1994 – 8th, 1998 – 11th, 1999 – 7th, 2000 – 10th, 2002 – 15th

The talented Garry Cutt hasn’t really enjoyed his seven appearances at the Albert Hall it seems. Where he was won twice at the Open and once at the Masters, the best he has been able to direct here was 6th place with Leyland in 2001. He has been around the fringes of the prize list a couple of times, but last year he could only direct Leyland into 15th spot.

On his day though he has the ability to make the most of even the most uninspiring score, so this time we may well see his name back in the top six.

Frank RentonFrank Renton

13th time (including 2 appearances at the 1998 contest)
Debut: 1989

Bands taken at Finals:
Grimethorpe – 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993
Kirkintilloch – 1990, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002
Sellers Engineering – 1995
Desford Colliery – 1998
Travelsphere Holidays - 2001

1 Win: 1992
1 Third: 1991
2 Fourths: 1993, 1997
8 Unplaced: 1989 – 9th, 1990 – 19th, 1995 – 7th, 1998 – 12th, 1998 – 12th with Kirkintilloch, 15th with Desford, 1999 – 11th, 2001 – 16th, 2002 – 14th

No National line up would be complete without Frank Renton. This year he makes his 13th appearance with his fifth band, and although he has just the one win to his credit, it was something very special wasn’t it?

1992 was a long time ago now and since that Grimethorpe victory the best he has done is a couple of fourths – one in defence of the title and one with his current charges Kirkintilloch on “On Alderney Edge”. Other than that it has been midfield places only, but you just never know with him do you? Could this be the year of the Renton renaissance?

Melvin WhiteMelvin White
Redbridge Brass

17th time
Debut: 1982

Bands taken at Finals:
Newham – 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1992
Hendon – 1989
BTM – 1990, 1991, 1993
Aveley and Newham – 1993, 1995, 1997
Woodfalls – 1996
Redbridge – 1998, 2002, 2003
Travelsphere – 2000

No wins:
1 Fifth: 1991
1 Sixth: 1985
14 Unplaced: 1982 – n/k, 1984 – n/k, 1987 – 10th, 1989 – 7th, 1990 – 12th, 1992 – 13th, 1993 – 10th (BTM) and 15th (Aveley), 1995 – 17th, 1996 – 15th, 1997 – 9th, 1998 – 20th, 2000 – 12th, 2002 – 11th

Melvin White is the third most experienced MD in terms of Albert Hall appearances here this year – he takes his 17th bow this time around, and although he has yet to better the fifth place he achieved with the BTM band on “Energy” in 1991 he has always been good value for money.

He has been closely associated with London based bands since his debut back in 1982 with Newham on “Contest Music”, and to be fair, many of them haven’t been the strongest contenders, but his record with them has been good. This is his seventh different band and last year Redbridge were good value for their 11th place. Perhaps a bit higher this time may well be on the cards.

Peter ParkesPeter Parkes
Desford Colliery

25th time
Debut: 1975

Bands taken at Finals:
Black Dyke – 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
Ever Ready – 1988
Williams Fairey – 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
Desford – 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003
Grimethorpe – 1996, 1997
Whitburn - 1998

7 Wins: 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1993
7 Seconds: 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1994, 1996
2 Thirds: 1992, 1995
4 Sixths: 1984, 1988, 1990, 1991
4 Unplaced: 1997 – 8th, 1998 – 13th, 2000 11th, 2002 – 8th

The Daddy. It’s a Silver Jubilee event this year for the Major, and the man with one of the greatest records here ever should enjoy himself with Desford.

On his first four appearances he didn’t lose – he was runner up on his fifth and went on to win the title three more times to boot. In addition he has seven second places and a couple of thirds and he has only been out of the prize list four times. However, they have all been on his last four occasions (something of an inversion of history you may say), so he will be determined to put a stop to that continuing. You would never bet against him doing it would you.

Ray FarrRay Farr
Ever Ready

12th time
Debut: 1976

Bands taken at Finals:
City of Coventry – 1976, 1988, 1989
Grimethorpe – 1981
Rogerstone – 1982
Parc and Dare – 1984
Newham - 1986
Hanwell – 1987
CWS Glasgow 1991
Williams Fairey - 1995
Ever Ready – 2002, 2003

No Wins:
1 Third: 1988
1 Sixth: 1986
9 Unplaced: 1976 – n/k, 1981 – 10th, 1982 – 18th, 1984 – n/k, 1987 – 14th, 1989 – 19th, 1991 – 12th, 1995 – 8th, 2002 – 9th

Amazing to think that Ray Farr made his debut here as far back as 1976 (just one year after Peter Parkes), but where as the Major has won seven times, Ray Farr has just the one third place in 1988 and the one sixth place in 1986 to show for his efforts.

He has also had a go at winning here with no less than nine bands, but it must be said his latest partnership with Ever Ready seems to be developing very nicely indeed. 9th last year was a good return and this time it could well be something higher if they play to recent form.

Russell GrayRussell Gray
The Ransome Band

3rd time
Debut: 2000

Bands taken at the Finals:
Ransome – 2000, 2001

No Wins:
1 Second: 2000
1 Unplaced: 2001 – 13th

Just the third appearance for the Scotsman at the Albert Hall with the baton. Having missed out with Fodens he returns with Ransome to try and repeat the amazing performance of 2000 on “Harrison’s Dream” that gave them a well deserved second place. That day he used just about every trick in the book (including some amazing effects with submerged tubular bells), so he knows what it takes to catch the judges ears.

2001 saw the band come 13th under him, so he will be determined to do better this time. A repeat of the Millennium perhaps?

Steve BastableSteve Bastable

3rd time
Debut: 2000

Bands taken at the Finals:
Tredegar – 2000, 2001, 2003

No Wins:
1 Fifth: 2000
1 Unplaced: 2001 – 7th

Steve Bastable returns to Tredegar to spearhead their attempt at the Albert Hall this year, after a twelve month away in which time he directed Williams Fairey at the North West Regional Championships amongst others. He seems to like the Albert Hall though and on his debut on “Harrison’s Dream” he directed the band into a merited 5th place.

The following year they played very well again under his direction but just missed out on the top six, so look out for them come results time if the renewed partnership plays to form.

Philip HarperPhilip Harper

2nd time
Debut: 2001

Bands taken at Finals:
Flowers – 2001, 2002

No Wins
1 Unplaced: 2002 – 9th

The talented and hard working Philip Harper will lead Flowers for the second time this year, and he will be hoping to make an even better mark this time than the promising 9th place he achieved in 2001 on “Albion”.

At certain contests – the Masters especially, the band and the MD come to life, whilst at others such as the Open they have performed well below form, so it will be interesting to hear how they do here. When the muse is there the MD can really produce a thrilling performance from his charges, so they could well be worth listening out for.

Ian Brownbill with Haydock and Derek Renshaw with Stocksbridge are making their debuts this year.

© 4BarsRest

back to top

print a bandroom copy


  copyright & disclaimer

Fax: 01495 791085 E-Mail: