2005 Lower Section National Finals - First Section Runners and Riders


4BR has a look at all the runners and riders in the First Section hoping to be crowned National Champions this weekend.

Aldbourne BandAldbourne

Conductor: Melvin White

Qualified: Winners of West of England Championships

Principal Cornet: Chris Lewis
Euphonium: Stephen Didcott
Soprano: Jim Bell
Flugel Horn: Claudia Tomkins
Solo Horn: Clare Smith
Trombone: Simon Ridge
Eb Bass: Lyndon Baglin
Percussionist: Luke Barnes

Melvin WhiteMelvin White:
Melvin White has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of the most successful conductors and band trainers of recent years.

He has conducted over 20 bands to qualification for the Finals of the National Brass Band Championships alone, and has also been a successful conductor with the BTM in Wales whom he won the Pontins Championships as well as the Welsh Regional Championships. He has also conducted at the European Championships and at the National Finals on numerous occasions.

In 1998 he conducted the SWT Woodfalls band to victory at the West of England Regional Championships and has been MD of the Redbridge Band since 1998. He was also the conductor of the GUS band and of the Cory Band and conducted both bands at the British Open Championships. At the All England Masters Championships he has conducted the GUS (Travelsphere Band) into two consecutive 4th places in 1999 and 2000.

Band history:
Aldbourne Band was formed in 1860 by the village church organist, Richard Brown-Bunce. Aldbourne is a small village located 10 miles east of Swindon in Wiltshire and the Band draws in players from Aldbourne village, locals towns and villages and further a-field including Bristol and Southampton.

Aldbourne, whilst, retaining its local values, has always been a strongly competitive Band competing locally and nationally in many different contests and venues

Ashton Under Lyne Ashton under Lyne

Conductor: Philip Chalk

Qualified: 2nd place in North West Championships

Principal Cornet: Claire Chalk
Euphonium: Bob Gee
Soprano: Phil Ramsden
Solo Horn: Gary Ashworth
Trombone: Dave Priestley
Flugel:  Helen Ramsden
Eb Bass: John Clough
Percussionists: Nigel Lawless, Mike Edge, Tim Riggs, Wilf Manford

Phil ChalkPhilip Chalk:
No info available

Band history:
The band was re-formed in 1996 after being disbanded in the early 1980's, rising from the 3rd to Championship section in consecutive years and winning National titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Other major content achievements include 2nd place at the 2005 Grand Shield earning the band it's first appearance at the British Open on 17th September. The band is also the current Tameside Open Champions and have been placed in the top six at the Harry & Margaret Mortimer Championships at Pontins in Prestatyn for the last 5 years. The band has great support from Tameside Council and recently moved to a brand new band room in Ashton under Lyne.


Conductor: Colin Randle

Qualified: 2nd place at Midlands Championships

Principal Cornet: Steve Lilly
Euphonium: Rachel Gowland
Soprano: Ian Perry
Solo Horn: Alistair MacKenzie
Trombone: Melvin Knight
Flugel: Jason Purkiss
Eb Bass: Roy Clay
Percussionist: John Stretton

Colin RandleColin Randle:
Colin Randle started his banding career under Albert Chappell. Colin quickly progressed and in 1966 made his debut with the City of Coventry Band at the National Finals. This was followed by 13 consecutive appearances at the Albert Hall, with further appearances for Desford Colliery Band and for Bedworth Brass in 2000.

Colin served more than 15 years with the City of Coventry Band and was a member of their famous quartet that won the National Quartet Championships at Oxford in 1973. In 1974 Colin moved onto Solo Trombone and in 1974-1976 won the prestigious Champion Trombone Player award at the Oxford Solo Championships becoming only the second player to achieve this hat trick. Colin also served as Solo Trombone for the GUS Band and James Shepherd Versatile Brass.

In recent years Colin has developed a conducting career that has seen him conduct many local bands and is delighted have qualified in 2005 with his home town band Bedworth Brass.

Band history:
Bedworth has had a competing band since 1927. In the late 1960s, the Rector of Bedworth Parish Church obtained funds from the Nicholas Chamberlaine Trust to form the Bedworth Parish Church Silver Band. In 1985 the two bands merged to form the Bedworth Town and Church Silver Band and in 1992 became independent of the church to become Bedworth Brass.

The band began contesting in 1989 in Section 4 with promotion to the Section 2 by 1996. In 1998 the band became the Midland Area 2nd Section Champions and competed at Harrogate achieving 6th place. In 2000 they again qualified for the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall coming in 6th place. The band was promoted once more in 2001 to the First Section.

Cinderford BandCinderford

Conductor: Dave Lea

Qualified: 2nd place at West of England Championships
Principal Cornet: Phil Turner
Euphonium: Anthony Murrell
Trombone: Ian Whitburn
Horn: Ruth Davis
Soprano: Ian Tomlins
Flugel: Mike Wilkinson
Eb Bass: Stan Jones
Percussion: N/K

Dave LeaDave Lea:
Having been born into a Salvationist family, Dave Lea was introduced to brass banding at the early age of five when he began to learn the cornet. Many years were spent in Salvation Army banding, culminating in a period of fifteen years as principal cornet of the Coventry City S.A. Band. During this period he attained a Diploma for Trumpet Playing at the London College of Music and took an active interest in conducting brass and choral groups.

In 1988 Dave was appointed Musical Director, signaling a period of unprecedented success in the Bands history, which has included many prestigious concert engagements, overseas tours, many successful competition results and recording contracts.

May 1999 saw Dave lead the band to its greatest achievement yet, qualifying for the right to compete at the British Open contest by leading the band to the Runners up prize in the fiercely contested Grand Shield Contest. Already under the Jaguar name Dave has lead the band to be runners up in both the Pontins and Senior Cup competitions. Dave is delighted to be associated with Jaguar and looks forward to future successes with the band.

Band history:
The band went into the First Section in 1999 and appointed Lyndon Baglin to the position of Musical Director.  Lyndon had previously both played and provided professional tuition for the band and had ambition to return the glory days to Cinderford Band.

A plan of long term success was drawn out and that was brought forward following the achievement of winning Gloucestershire Champion Band on two consecutive occasions, being in the winning frame at the Regionals which resulted in an appearance at the Finals in Preston in 2000 and immediate promotion back to the Championship section nationally, one year ahead of schedule.

The Band appears at approximately 25 engagements per year all over the country and these concerts range from the traditional brass band concert to an evening of popular music at local Social Clubs. The bands music strategy of melding traditional with modern, classical with popular, allied to a mindfulness of the need to choreograph the experience of the presentation, has found favour with all of their audiences.

Clacton On Sea

Conductor: Melvin White

Qualified: 2nd place at London & SC Counties Championships

Principal Cornet: Philip Skuse
Euphonium: Trevor Laird
Trombone: Mark Skuse
Horn: Chloe Mallett
Soprano: Ellis Ward
Flugel: Lauren Cave
Eb Bass: Gareth Hughes
Percussionist: Dennis Hollingworth

Melvin WhiteMelvin White:
Melvin White has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of the most successful conductors and band trainers of recent years.

He has conducted over 20 bands to qualification for the Finals of the National Brass Band Championships alone, and has also been a successful conductor with the BTM in Wales whom he won the Pontins Championships as well as the Welsh Regional Championships. He has also conducted at the European Championships and at the National Finals on numerous occasions.

In 1998 he conducted the SWT Woodfalls band to victory at the West of England Regional Championships and has been MD of the Redbridge Band since 1998. He was also the conductor of the GUS band and of the Cory Band and conducted both bands at the British Open Championships. At the All England Masters Championships he has conducted the GUS (Travelsphere Band) into two consecutive 4th places in 1999 and 2000.

Band history:
1948 marked the beginnings of The Clacton Town Silver Band with Conductor Captain Nimmo. Many prizes have been won in competitions including in 1977, the title of 2nd Section Champion Band of Great Britain.

Until 2003 the Band was a firmly established Championship Band - twenty odd years at this level was a great achievement. Currently the band is First Section nationally and maintaining a high standard of playing. In the 70's and 80's the Band were broadcast on numerous occasions by the BBC in many popular broadcasts such as Listen to the Band, Friday Night is Music Night, Bandstand and Among Your Souvenirs and also appeared on BBC TV's Best of Brass series.

The Band's members travel from Essex, Suffolk and Bedfordshire to play with the Band. Most concerts are given in and around Clacton-on-Sea and a series of Summer Concerts are given in the town's Princes Theatre. We have travelled extensively in Europe including trips to France, Belgium, Germany and Hungary and more frequently to Winschoten, Holland to perform with the Nieuw Leven Band.

Easington CollieryEasington Colliery

Conductor: David Hirst

Qualified: Winners in North of England Championships

Principal Cornet:  Dennis Todd
Euphonium: John Oates
Soprano: Rebecca Copping
Solo Horn: Jonathan Collins
Trombone: Amy Lonsdale
Flugel: Caroline Irwin
Eb Bass: Ben Cauldwell
Percussionist: Louis Sara

David HirstDavid Hirst:
David Hirst is probably recognized one of the best band trainers in the country. He began his musical career aged ten with his local village band playing cornet and made rapid progress on the instrument, and, at the age of fourteen was accepted into the Yorkshire Imperial Metals Band.

Two years later David joined the Black Dyke Mills Band on Soprano Cornet, where he had four successful years including wins at the British Open in 1972, Nationals 1973 and World Championships in 1970.

In 1972 David began studying music at the University of Huddersfield, being taught trumpet by Maurice Murphy. A growing interest in Orchestral and Big Band playing led him to being one of the early members of the James Shepherd Versatile Brass.

Band history:
Easington Colliery Band was formed in 1915, from players with band experience from the local colliery.  The band was supported financially by the joint board of unions till the closure of Easington Colliery in 1993. 

The band has been in the Championship Section for most of it's life and 1979 probably marked the band's most successful year when they became the Tyne & Wear Band of the Year, the B.B.C Radio Newcastle Band of the Year, the Northern Area Coal Board Champions and the Vaux Breweries Invitation Contest winners. 

Since the 90's the band has been unable to achieve former glories, but with the appointment of a new resident Musical Director in 2003 the tide has turned with some fine results at competition since.  This year the band were the Northern Area Champions at the regional finals, won the Fife Brass Festival for the second year running, and have been placed at Whitehaven.

Freckleton BandFreckleton

Conductor: Paul Dalton

Qualified: Winners at North West Championships

Principal Cornet: Mike Pritt
Soprano: Phil Symonds
Euphonium: Pat Howard
Horn: Chris Redman
Trombone: Steve Lord
Flugel: John Evans
Eb Bass: Rob Thompson
Percussion: Dave Hogg

Paul DaltonPaul Dalton:
Paul Dalton, began his musical life at the age of eight studying the Piano. Within a few short years he was learning to play the cornet but later transferred to the trombone. At University he was taught by Eric Jennings.

During this time he has played in the Northern Dance Orchestra as well as other local Big Bands before  moving to Freckleton Band as a player. After two years he became Resident Conductor and during this time the Band progressed from the Fourth to the Championship section.

In 1992 Paul was appointed MD of the Blackburn & Darwen Band and took them from the First Section to the Championship Section before he returned to the Freckleton Band as Principal Conductor in 1995. Since his return, the band has been the North West Area, First Section Champions, National First Section Champions, and has dominated the Preston & District Championships.

The band has also been a Prize-Winner at the 'Land O' Burns' Contest in Troon on each of its visits, including Champions in the year 2000.

Band history:
Freckleton Band was formed in 1886. The earliest known outside public performance of the band was at the laying of the memorial stone of the new Primitive Methodist Chapel in August 1891. In 1955, two surviving members of the original band, Robert Rawstrone (aged 89), and James Hawthornthwaite (aged 87), recalled that they and their friends 'used to meet in a cottage in Kirkham Road', and that it was at one of these social gatherings that someone suggested forming a band.

Since that time the band has enjoyed many successes and has provided entertainment both at home and abroad at numerous concerts and contests.

Hatfield BandHatfield Main

Conductor: Graham O'Connor

Qualified: Winners at Yorkshire Regional Championships

Principal Cornet: Trevor Kendall
Soprano: Donna Ramsden
Flugel. Rebecca Nixon
Horn: Lisa O' Connor
Trombone: Andrew Groome
Euphonium: John Smith
Eb Bass: Andrew Garbutt

Graham OconnorGraham O'Connor:
Graham O'Connor was born in Dodworth, and started playing the comet in the local village band at the age of seven. When he was 13 years old he joined Grimethorpe Colliery Band and progressed under the guidance of George Thompson to become assistant principal comet.

In 1967 he joined Brodsworth Colliery Band as a principal comet and simultaneously started conducting the Brodsworth Junior Band. In 1977 he became musical director with Andrews Heat for Hire Band and in 1980 gained success at Pontins and Grand Shield contests.

In 1988 he was appointed musical director of Dodworth Colliery Band. In 1991 they moved to the first section and in 1992 moved up to the Championship Section. Since then Graham has achieved contest successes with many Championship Section Bands.

Graham's ability as an adjudicator and band trainer is well known and his success rate has put him in demand with bands all over Europe.

Band history: 
Hatfield Band was formed in 1947 as the 'Hatfield Colliery Band', based in Stainforth near Doncaster. Hatfield retained its colliery links under various guises (including 'Wilfreda Beehive Hatfield') right up until 2004, when sponsorship from Coalpower UK ended.

The band has always considered itself a friendly, but forward-looking band and this is reflected all around the stand, with a real mix of youth and exuberance and age and experience! Graham O' Connor has conducted the band since 2000, winning many contests along the way, including the 2003 Nationals (Section 2), and the Area contest in Section 1 the following year.

Through little more than hard work and perseverance, the band has progressed from Section 3 to the top of Section 1 in a little over 5 years and recently won the First Section at the Butlins Mineworkers Championships as well as the Yorkshire Regional Championships.

Johnstone SilverJohnstone Silver

Conductor: Gavin Lindsay

Qualified: Winners at Scottish Championships

Principal Cornet: Sarah Findlay
Euphonium: John Stark
Trombone: Gus MacIntyre
Horn: Laura Mullen
Soprano: Claire Thomas
Flugel: Fiona Macluskey
Eb Bass Tom McCrane
Percussion: Douglas Young

Gavin LindsayGavin Lindsay:
Gavin started playing at the age of 12 and played for various bands in Lancashire where he grew up. At the age of 17 he joined the band of the Royal Highland Fusiliers and soon become principal cornet.

After leaving the army he moved to the island of Islay to begin his teaching career and in 1985 Gavin joined CWS (Glasgow) band where by the following year he had taken up soprano cornet. Successes include 7 Scottish championships, 2 National Championships, the Grand Shield and twice runner-up at the European Championships.

His conducting experience has included bands such as Whitburn. Bo'ness and Carriden, CWS, Kinneil, Kingdom Brass and Lochgelly.

Band History:
Johnstone Silver Band was formed in 1834 by workers in the local textile mills. At that time Johnstone and Paisley were second only to the North of England in the manufacture and processing of cotton and the workers were keen to take up music as a new leisure pursuit.

By the 1850's the Johnstone Brass Band were only one of about nine bands that existed within a six mile radius but by the end of the Second World War were the only band to survive.

The "Silver" part of the Band's name was adopted to encourage  the public to donate silver, rather than copper coins when public collections were taken in the late 1900s. In recent years, the band has enjoyed a number of successes within the contesting arena, culminating in their success at the regional championships in 2005 where they won the first section in the Scottish region.

Kirkintilloch KelvinKirkintilloch Kelvin

Conductor: Alastair Orr

Qualified: 2nd place at Scottish Championships

Principal Cornet:  Jamie Hood
Euphonium: Ranald Rixson
Soprano: Richard Pugh
Horn: Gemma Gardiner
Trombone: Chris Pugh
Flugel: Laura Hall
Eb Bass: Adam Wilson
Percussionist: Rhona Barr

Alastair OrrAlastair Orr:
Alastair Orr was born and educated in Edinburgh. After attending the RSAMD, where he won the subject prize for tuba playing, he pursued post-graduate work in London.

He secured his first successful conducting post in 1989 with the Bo'ness and Carriden Band, subsequently became MD of Kelty and Blairadam Brass, now Kingdom Brass, winning a rare double of 3rd Section Scottish and National Mining Championship titles. During the mid-nineties he continued to guide various bands throughout Scotland, making regular appearances on the concert and contest platform.

In 2003 he was appointed MD of Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass and recently guided them into the Championship Section alongside their sister organisation, the Kirkintilloch Band, where he took up the position of Musical Director in 2004.

Band history:
Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass was formed in 1994 as the result of many years of teaching brass instruments in Kirkintilloch by a number of tutors. Its first contest was the Scottish Championships in 1995. The band takes its name from the river Kelvin which flows through the town, and the identity with the town and the senior band with the name Kirkintilloch.

Promotion was gained from 1995 and in 2000 they came 2nd in the 3rd Section Scottish Championships and go on to the 3rd Section National Finals. There they were crowned 3rd section champions of Great Britain, which is to this date their greatest contest result.

In 2004 the band competed in the first section of the Scottish Championships gaining 3rd place conducted by Alistair Orr, and in 2005 they went one better, qualifying both for the First Section National Finals and reaching the Championship Section - all within 10 years of being formed, and it maintaining their proud record of bettering their result at the previous regionals for 10 years in a row!

Langbaurgh BandLangbaurgh Brass

Conductor: Tim Oldroyd

Qualified: 2nd place at North of England Championships

Principal Cornet: Mark Sidwell
Euphonium: Ian Wright
Soprano: Kevin Moxon
Horn: Eileen Dering
Trombone: Ray Rose
Flugel: Alison Colman
Eb Bass: Trevor Bateman
Percussionist: Gary Douglas

Tim OldroydTim Oldroyd:
Tim Oldroyd learnt to play in the Salvation Army and has been a member of many bands including Yorkshire Imps, Carlton Main, Polypipe, British Steel Teesside and York Railways.

He now devotes more time to conducting and has been with Langbaurgh for the past seven years and taken the band from the 3rd to the 1st Section.

Band history:
The band was founded in 1983 as the junior section of the North Skelton Band, it's sole purpose to provide players of suitable standard for the senior band.

Over the years the band exceeded all expectations and won many competitions around the region and in 1990 separated from Skelton, gaining their present identity, Langbaurgh Brass.

In the early 90's the band was featured in the Channel 4 film "God on the Rocks" filmed in the nearby Victorian seaside town of Saltburn, starring Bill Paterson, Sinead Cusack and the then little known Minnie Driver!

In 2001 the band recorded a CD of marches with three other local bands including the Reg Vardy Band written by the famous North Eastern composer George Allan. This year the band has helped raise funds for the Redcar War Veterans who some of the band met while on holiday at Arromanche in Normandy last year. The band were Northern Area finalists in 1999 - 2001 in the 3rd Section, Northern Area finalists in 2002 - 2003 in the 2nd Section, and Northern Area finalists in 2005 in the 1st Section.

Parc and DareParc & Dare

Conductor: Craig Roberts

Qualified: Winners at the Welsh Championships

Principal Cornet: Robert Samuel
Euphonium: Rob Burnett
Trombone: Iwan Williams
Horn: Lee Drew
Soprano: Paul Eddy
Flugel: Andrea Lewis
Eb Bass: Chris Eveson
Percussion: James Andrews

Craig RobertsCraig Roberts:
Formerly a baritone player, Craig has been conducting since the age of 19. Since that time he has worked with a number of bands and ensembles including the University of Salford, Adelphi Brass and Wind Bands, the Woods Manufacturing Company Brass Band in Canada, Burry Port and Northop Silver.

Craig gained his BA (Hons) and Masters degree at the University of Salford, studying under Dr. Roy Newsome and Prof. David King  and was awarded the Roy Newsome Conducting Prize in 2000.

Since graduating Craig has returned to Wales where he is currently employed, to co-ordinate the Rhondda Young Brass Scheme which currently offers free brass tuition to over 200 children throughout the Rhondda valleys.

Craig was appointed MD of Parc & Dare in 1999 since which time the band has seen something of a rebirth of the band. As Artistic Director of Parc & Dare's annual Welsh Brass Arts Festival, Craig has commissioned and premiered works by numerous noted composers.

Band history:
Originally formed as the Cwmparc Temperance Drum and Fife Band in 1893, the band went all brass a year later and became known as the Cwmparc Silver Band. They later began receiving financial support from the Ocean Coal Company who operated the Parc and the Dare collieries in the locality, and the Parc & Dare Workmen's Silver Band was subsequently born.

Today Parc & Dare, building on its enthusiastic, outward looking policies has become one of the leading combinations in the banding world. Its success in competition is legendary with literally dozens of Championship first prizes to its credit. These successes include being the National Representative for Wales on over twenty occasions, attaining the title of Champion Band of Wales on no less than fourteen occasions, and representing the country at the European Championships four times.

Raunds TemperanceRaunds Temperance

Conductor: John Fletcher

Qualified: Winners at Midlands Championships

Principal Cornet:  Lee Rogers
Euphonium: Russell Booker
Soprano: Jason Glynn
Horn: Barry Turner
Trombone: Steve March
Flugel: Lynda Fletcher
Eb Bass: Peter Herbert
Percussionist: Samantha Goswell

John FletcherJohn Fletcher:
Born in the Rhondda Valley's, John started playing trombone with Cory Junior Band at 8 years of age. He also helped the Upper Rhondda Comprehensive Band win the National Youth Finals in 1981 and still based in Wales he joined the Mid-Rhondda Band.

John was accepted into the Forces in 1996 and went on to be Principal Trombone for 7 years in the Queen's Royal Lancers. He played at the Royal Tournament at Earls Court, the Monte Carlo Rugby Sevens, but above all being honoured for his service in the First Gulf Conflict.

Leaving the Forces in 1993 John returned to his brass band roots and accepted the Solo Trombone Chair at the Kibworth Band. Late in 1995, John was approached by the Raunds Temperance Band to help as a player and in January the following year was offered the Conductors position. Pushing the band hard and raising membership and morale, the RTB arrived back on the contest platform in 1998. They have since become 2000 and 2002 Midland Area Champions and John hopes the RTB can maintain progression and take on their hardest challenge, promotion to the First Section.

Band history:
The Raunds Temperance Band was formed in 1886 in the village of Raunds in Northamptonshire. The village was primarily a footwear making base and the Band is believed to be the second oldest Temperance Band in the country.

In 1905 it led the footwear workers on a march to London to fight for decent conditions and working wage. The Band has taken part in many Contests over the years held in De Montfort Hall, Leicester; Town Hall, Nottingham and in its heyday reached Championship status.

Over the years, the Band has had many ups and downs and with the decline in the footwear industry, lost many players. Over the past 20 years the Band, like countless others throughout the country, has struggled for its very existence, but in the early 1990's due to a dedicated core of personnel it was able, with the help of players from the area to take part in the Music Festival and Twinning Ceremony between Raunds and Kamp-Bornhofen; two villages along the banks of the River Rhine in Germany.

The turning point in the Band's fortunes was the appointment of John Fletcher as Musical Director. John started to rebuild immediately and in 5 years the Band's strength had reached it's present level with players traveling from Northampton, Peterborough and Leicester to be part of the 'Raunds Experience'.

Staines BrassStaines Brass

Conductor: Major Ian McElligott

Qualified: Winners at London and Southern Counties Championship

Principal Cornet: Gav Hall
Euphonium: Andy Porter
Soprano: Richard Evans
Horn: Simon Angel
Trombone: Lewis Henaghan
Flugel: Gareth Lancaster
Eb Bass: John Truscott
Percussionist: Nick Cornock

Ian McElligottIan McElligott:
Ian McElligott was born in Yorkshire into a musical family. At the age of seven, Ian commenced studying the trumpet before undertaking professional tuition with Jack Mackintosh, Denis Wedgewood and John Wilbraham. In 1974, Ian joined the Army as a professional trumpet player. 

Later, he successfully completed a three-year course in advanced music studies at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. Upon graduation, he won awards for arranging and compositional skills, choral works, conducting, and academic achievement.  Additionally, he became an Associate of the Royal College of Music, London and Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music, London.

By 2000, Ian had risen to the rank of Major, and upon completion of a particularly successful and rewarding career as a Service musician, he relinquished his final appointment as the Director of Music to the Band of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards.

Band history:
Staines Brass was formed in July 1930 by a small group of brass players living in and around Staines who were keen to share their talents and pleasure in playing good music.

The band has continued filling that main objective ever since. The band recently celebrated their 75th anniversary with a concert along side The Black Dyke Band and the wonderful trumpet playing of Ben Godfrey.

The band has enjoyed a successful 2 years by winning the area in 2004 and 2005, and our principal cornet, Gav Hall also won the soloist prize. In May this year, they made the long journey to Buxton, where the band gained 2nd place in the Championship Section and were also awarded the trophy for highest placed 1st Section band.

The band are enjoying working on Pageantry and are really looking forward to the challenge and hope to do better than the 3rd place they gained at last years finals.

WantageWantage Silver A'

Conductor: Philip Harper

Qualified: 3rd place at London and Southern Counties Championship

Principal Cornet: Steve Chapman
Euphonium: Jonathan Crane
Soprano: Brian Thomas
Horn: Judith Chapman
Trombone: Pauline Kowalski
Flugel: Ian Barnes
Eb Bass: Martin Taylor
Percussionist:  Nicola Johnstone

Philip HarperPhilip Harper:
Philip Harper was born in Oxfordshire before moving to Essex. He played principal horn with Castle Point and Aveley Bands as well as the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. He appeared on BBC TV's Young Musician of the Year, and studied music at the University of Bristol.

The Wantage Band's first contact with Philip was playing his test-piece 'Sword, Jewel and Mirror', in the Second Section of the London & Southern Counties Area Contest in 2000.
Between 1998 and 2000, Philip was the Musical Director of the Thornbury Band, and under his leadership the band became West of England First Section Champions in 2000 and 2001 as well as achieving 4th place at the 1st Section National Finals.

Philip was appointed the Musical Director of the Flowers Band in 2001. Under his direction they have become one of the leading bands in the country, winning prizes all major contests. 

Band history:

The present Wantage Silver Band began as a children's band in 1972 and has now grown to a large organization of approx 200 members, many of them schoolchildren. 

The top band, (known as the A' Band) has this year reached the  1st Section National Finals  . There is also a B' band that competes in the 4th Section; a Youth Band; two full Training Bands; an Adult Beginners Band; and various groups associated with local Schools.

The  'A'  band  is  indebted  to former MD Michael Pegram for greatly advancing the playing ability of the band, winning the 2nd Section London &  Southern Counties Area in 2003, which gained a trip to the Finals and  promotion  to  the  1st  Section,  and this year coming 3rd in the 1st Section. 

Although disappointed that Mike has since resigned, the Band is delighted that Philip Harper is able to take them to the Finals in Harrogate.

Wrexham Brass (NEWI)

Conductor: Wayne Ruston

Qualified: 2nd place at Welsh Championships

Principal Cornet: Graham Taylor
Soprano: Rachel Morris
Flugel: Nerys Cook
Horn: Alison Ruston
Baritone: Mike Amplett
Trombone: Aled Davies
Euph: Chris Aubrey
Eb Bass Peter Smith
Percussion: Chris Ruston

Wayne RustonWayne Ruston:
Wayne was born in Telford and stared playing trombone in 1971 at the Abraham Darby School. In 1977 he joined the City of Coventry (Jaguar) Band who he played with until 1985.

During his time here the band won the British Open in 1981 and he was also a member of Harry Mortimer's Men 'O Brass. After this he turned his attention to conducting with Jackfield Band who he brought from a non-contesting band up into the First Section, achieving four National Final appearances in six years.

After this he conducted several championship section bands such as Woolly Pritchard Sovereign Brass, Flowers, Lydmet Lydney, and the Desford Colliery Band. Wayne is also a peripatetic brass teacher, and the conductor of the very successful Abraham Darby School Brass Band.

Band History:
Wrexham Brass, formerly Rhos Silver Band was formed in 1884. The band was formed under its original name of the Rhos Prize Silver Band, became known as the Hafod Colliery Band. After the closure of Hafod in 1968 the band was renamed Rhos and District Silver, reflecting the change in playing personnel and the extension of outreach of the band to the surrounding Wrexham area.

In 1986, the band gained promotion to the Third Section and in 1991, under Lindsay Lawrie, the band enjoyed contest success competing in the both the North West of England and North Wales.

In 1997, Rhos Band won the National Championships for the first time in the bands history.

The band is currently led by Wayne Ruston. Wayne came to the band early in 2001 and took over the position of MD. Wayne has led them to several credible results in his short time at Rhos including the Pontins Championships. Throughout its history Wrexham Brass have enjoyed the benefits of a number of conductors who are famous in the brass band world including John Hudson, James Scott and Malcolm Brownbill.

Yorkshire ImperialYorkshire Imperial Urquhuart Travel

Conductor: Chris Houlding

Qualified: 2nd place at Yorkshire Championships

Principal Cornet: Mark Walters
Euphonium: Bill Lyon
Soprano: Richard Hanson
Horn: Simon Thewlis
Trombone: Les Webb
Flugel:  Martin Trowman
Eb Bass: Will Evans
Percussionist: David Dixon

Chris HouldingChris Houlding:
Chris Houlding is a graduate of London's Guildhall School of Music and studied with Denis Wick, Eric Crees and Peter Gane.
Chris was appointed Principal Trombone of the Orchestra of Opera North, when he was 21 and has since appeared with most major UK orchestral ensembles.
He is the MD of the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra. As well as Senior Tutor in Brass at the RNCM, and regular Trombone Professor with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Chris also gives recitals and master classes throughout the UK and Europe and has appeared at Julliard, Eastman and Boston University in the USA.
His adjudicating have taken him throughout Europe including the Norwegian Championships and recent engagements have included representing the UK in the World Orchestra for Peace under Valery Gergiev in Russia, tutoring on the Joseph Alessi Summer Seminar in New York and recitals and master classes in Texas, California and St Petersburg.

Band history:
The Yorkshire Imperial Band is one of the biggest names and brands in the brass band world with over 100 years of rich musical history. Yorkshire Imperial is proud of its heritage but also looks to the future with enthusiasm and confidence.
The band has always been quick to rise to new challenges and has not fallen short in terms of contest success. The Imps, as the band is known, have been crowned National Champions of Great Britain, British Open Champions and have been awarded BBC Band of the Year and achieved a first with their triple success at the Edinburgh Festival Invitation Contest. The Imps have also been crowned Yorkshire Champions - the home of the brass band - on numerous occasions.
Major contest achievements include; National Champions of Great Britain 1978; British Open Champions 1970, 1971, 1980 and Yorkshire Area Champions 1968, 1970, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1988, 1993.


2016   2015   2014   2013   2012
2011   2010   2009   2008   2007
2006   2005   2004 (1)   2004 (2)   2003
2002   2001