2006 British Open Championships - Conductors Records


4BR looks at the track records of the 19 men who will be trying to win for their bands and also get their hands on a prized Mortimer Trophy to put on top of the television.

Symphony Hall19 men (no women again) will take the stage at Symphony Hall this year to try and become the winning conductor of the 2006 British Open Champions. Eighteen of them will fail, and only one will get his name etched into brass band history for all eternity - but all will take the stage with sure-fire confidence that 2006 will be their year.

Of the 19 on show, 4 have tasted victory before - MDs, R. Childs, N. Childs, Cutt, and King have each had their moment in the sun here. Of those who conducted here last year, Messrs, Renton, Garasi, Parkes and Wyss are missing whilst Nigel Seaman is the only MD making their first curtain call.

Some of the non-winning MDs up to now have come close, but all will believe it is their destiny to win.

Who will it be then, and which of them has the best records here? This is what we turned up in our research. It makes for interesting reading.

Nick ChildsDr. Nicholas Childs
Black Dyke

Made his debut with Tredegar in 1994 and came close on four occasions before adding his first Open to his CV last year with Black Dyke.  He holds the curious record of four second places with three different bands (Tredegar, Fodens and Dyke) since his debut on "Salamander" and this year will be his thirteenth appearance. 

Nine prize winning performances to his name already on the record is an impressive return, and he will be looking to become the first man since Peter Parkes to win a successive Harry Mortimer Trophy as winning conductor.

13th appearance

1 Win: 2005
4 Seconds: 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001
2 Thirds: 2002, 2003
1 Fifth: 1999
1 Sixth: 2004
3 times unplaced: 1994 (16th), 1995 (13th), 1997 (9th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Tredegar: 1994, 1995, 1996
Fodens Courtois: 1997, 1998, 1999
Black Dyke: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 

Alan WithingtonAllan Withington
Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal)

Made his debut as far back as 1991, but in 15 attempts so far he has won only a 3rd, three 4ths and a 6th to his name the rest have been far out, including last year when an almighty impressive reading was somewhat mysteriously missed by the judges and his band came in 12th. 

The early years were the struggle for him at the contest with Brighouse and he has yet to reproduce the winning knack here as he has done so frequently at the Royal Albert Hall.

If he wins with Grimethorpe he will complete his personal "Grand Slam" of all major titles as a conductor.

16th appearance

No Wins:
1 Third: 1998
3 Fourth: 1999, 2002, 2003
1 Sixth: 1995 
10 times unplaced: 1991 (16th), 1992 (15th), 1993 (10th), 1994 (11th), 1996 (20th), 1997 (10th), 2000 (12th), 2001 (8th), 2004 (12th), 2005 (12th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Brighouse and Rastrick: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
Fairey: 2002, 2003, 2004
Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal): 2005, 2006   

Bob ChildsDr. Robert Childs
Buy As You View

Made his debut here in 2000 and promptly walked off with the Gold Shield and the Mortimer Trophy. Since then he has won it a second time, has come runner up in the last two years and come third once as well.

Only the draw conspired against him in 2004 and he was within a hairsbreadth again last time out, but he should be confident of adding a third title to his CV this time around on his seventh appearance.

7th appearance

2 Wins: 2000, 2002
2 Seconds: 2004, 2005
1 Third: 2001
1 Sixth: 2003

Bands taken at the Open:
BAYV: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006  

Ray FarrRay Farr
Reg Vardy

One of the strangest records at the Open for the multi talented Mr Farr.  A debut as far back as 1976 with City of Coventry, he didn't reappear until 1981 - this time with Grimethorpe whom he took to 5th place.  Another break until 1986 and this time Besses and a year off before a return with Coventry again in 1988 and a 6th place spot. 

In 30 years he's made just 12 appearances - it should have been so many more and deserves a better return than he has so far. Since taking over at Reg Vardy he has come close to getting in the frame again with three top 10 finishes in the past three years. More of the same or finally a nice bit of gold to celebrate his 30th anniversary here? 

12th appearance

No wins:
1 Fifth: 1981
1 Sixth: 1988
8 times unplaced: 1976 (N/K), 1986 (N.K), 1989 (N/K), 1995 (18th), 2001 (12th), 2002 (15th), 2003 (8th), 2004 (8th), 2005 (8th)

Bands taken at the Open:
City of Coventry: 1976, 1988, 1989
Grimethorpe Colliery: 1981
Besses o' th' Barn: 1986
Desford: 1995
Ever Ready: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005   

David KingProf. David King
YBS Band

The young David King made his debut at the Open in 1987 with Kennedy Swinton off a number 1 draw no less. He has had a bit of a hit or miss record since - but when he has hit, they have been four knockout punches and after last years fine 3rd place he should be confident of possibly adding a fifth title to his bulging CV.

Even though his record with YBS is superb, he has also been seen on the Open stage with other bands - including CWS Glasgow in 1994 and Black Dyke but without success. 
18th appearance

4 Wins: 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003
2 Thirds: 1995, 2005
1 Fourth: 1989
2 Sixths: 1996, 2000
8 times unplaced: 1987 (7th), 1988 (N/K), 1990 (8th), 1991 (10th), 1994 (10th), 1998 (10th), 2002 (9th), 2004 (14th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Kennedy Swinton: 1987, 1988
Black Dyke: 1989, 1990, 1991
CWS Glasgow: 1994
Yorkshire Building Society: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006  

Andy DuncanAndrew Duncan

A fourth appearance for the talented Scotsman with the Whitburn Band, and he will surely be looking for a repeat of his debut appearance in 2003 this time around instead of last year's 11th place.

That runners up spot was a tremendous result (the best ever for a Scottish band at the contest), but since then it has been midfield placings only. 

4th appearance

No Wins
1 Second: 2003
2 times unplaced: 2004 (13th), 2005 (11th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Whitburn: 2003, 2004, 2005   

Garry CuttGarry Cutt
Fodens Richardson

What a brilliant record for one of the most effective Musical Directors on the circuit. A debut as far back as 1988 with Point of Ayr Band from North Wales heralded a win at only his second attempt with Kennedy Swinton in 1989 to become the youngest winning conductor of the Open in its history.

His partnership with the Marple band was a model of consistent quality performances that led to his second win in 1996 at the Bridgewater Hall and three further prize-winning spots. In between he also took Grimethorpe to 3rd place in 1994 and 2000 and 4th in 2001. He made an appearance with Leyland in 2002 when they came 11th, but returned in 2004 with Fodens to take the title for the first time in 40 years and give him his hat trick of Mortimer Maestro awards.  That puts him in the highest company, and he hasn't finished yet and he recently added the English National title to his CV too.

17th appearance

3 Wins: 1989, 1996, 2004
2 Thirds: 1994, 2000
3 Fourths: 1992, 1993, 2001
1 Fifth: 1998
1 Sixth: 2005
6 Unplaced: 1988 (N/K), 1990 (N/K), 1991 (11th), 1997 (11th), 1999 (12th), 2002 (11th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Point of Ayr: 1988
Kennedy Swinton Concert: 1989
Marple: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998
Grimethorpe Colliery: 1994, 2000, 2001
Leyland: 2002
Fodens Richardson: 2004, 2005, 2006  

Philip McCANNPhillip McCann
Sellers International

The man who as a player won numerous Open titles is still searching for that first victory as a conductor since making his debut with Sellers College Brass as far back as 1988 on "Contest Music".

Four prize winning performances have come his way with the baton - first with Sellers in 1991 and again in 2004, whilst he has also got bands in the frame in 1996 with Fodens and again with Whitburn in 2001.  All gained 5th placed, so he will be keen to improve on that this year.

He returns once more with his Alma Mater full of confidence a confidence that is not misplaced and a growing reputation for producing interesting readings of test pieces. He will need to produce something this year though as last year's 14th place may signal relegation danger if his account doesn't tweak the ears of the men in the box.

16th appearance

No Wins:
4 Fifths: 1991, 1996, 2001, 2004
10 Unplaced: 1988 (N/K), 1989 (N/K), 1990 (N/K), 1992 (14th), 1993 (16th), 1994 (14th), 1995 (7th), 1999 (11th), 2000 (17th), 2002 (10th), 2005 (14th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Sellers International: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2004, 2005, 2006
Fodens: 1996 
Whitburn: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002  

BastableSteve Bastable

2005 sees the sixth appearance at the Open for the talented man from Birmingham. He made his debut with Tredegar and gained 8th place on "Ceremony" in 2000 but then followed with a disappointing 13th in 2001.  His final appearance with Tredegar was in 2002 when he directed the Welsh band to 8th place for a second time.  He didn't appear in 2003 but on his debut with Kirkintilloch he gave them a stunning 4th place performance that really made its mark. 

Last year was a bit disappointing though and 13th place will see the partnership casting a rueful glance over their shoulders if they don't both perform as they know they can.

6th appearance

1 Fourth: 2004
4 Unplaced: 2000 (8th), 2001 (13th), 2002 (8th), 2005 (13th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Tredegar: 2000, 2001, 2002
Kirkintilloch: 2004, 2005, 2006

David RobertsDavid Roberts
Rothwell Temperance

David Roberts makes his third appearance at the British Open this year, following his debut with Rothwell in 2004 when he directed them to a solid 15th place and last year's fantastic 5th spot.

2006 has been a superb year so far and he will certainly be looking for something of the same this time around or even better. Watch out for the quiet man, because he may well be shouting with celebration come results time. 

3rd appearance

1 Fourth: 2005
1 Unplaced: 2004 (15th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Rothwell Temperance: 2004, 2005  

Phil ChalkPhilip Chalk:
Ashton under Lyne

A second appearance for the talented Mr Chalk and he made a fine impression last year with a very sensible approach and an astute marshalling of his resources. 17th may on paper not be a great result but in reality it was a fine achievement. They may need the MD to try and do even more this year, but he is certainly a conductor who is not out of place at this level.

2nd appearance

1 Unplaced: 2005 (17th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Ashton under Lyne: 2005, 2006 

Simon StonehouseSimon Stonehouse
Fairey Band

A second appearance for another talented young conductor, and his debut last year showed just why he is held in such high esteem by the critics. He really brought the best out of his young band to claim 4th place and you sense he may well do the same again this year too. Another MD with a big future at this event.

2nd appearance

1 Fourth: 2005

Bands taken at the Open:
Fairey: 2005, 2006 

Mark BenthamMark Bentham:
Hepworth (Persimmon Homes)

Another of the young guns returns this year looking to improve on what is fast becoming a very impressive CV of achievement. 8th place last year was a fine effort on his debut and he has a band that couold very well go even better this time around.

2nd appearance

1 Unplaced: 2005 (8th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Hepworth: 2005, 2006  

Ian McElligottIan McElligott
Brighouse and Rastrick

2006 will see the fourth appearance for one of the busiest MD's at various levels, anywhere in the country and one who has a happy knack of getting his bands into the prizes wherever he goes.

A pretty good return as well here, what with three top six spots in his three appearances so far. Re-united with Brighouse the odds could well be in his favour to make it four out of four.

4th appearance

1 Third: 2004
1 Fourth: 2002
1 Fifth: 2003

Bands taken at the Open:
Brighouse and Rastrick: 2002, 2003, 2006
Scottish Co-op: 2004 

Russell GrayRussell Gray
Carlton Main Frickley Colliery

The fourth appearance at Birmingham for Russell Gray but the talented Scotsman has yet really to make any sort of mark at the contest so far. Elsewhere he has a golden touch, but not as yet here in Birmingham. Can that change this year?

4th appearance

3 unplaced: 2000 (21st), 2003 (9th), 2004 (18th)

Bands taken at the Open:
NSK RHP Ransomes: 2000
Tredegar: 2003, 2004
Carlton Main: 2006 

Nigel TakenNigel Taken
Aveley and Newham

A fourth appearance at the British Open for Nigel Taken some fifteen years after his third in 1991. He made his debut with the then Asphaltic Newham Band in 1989, but in their three appearances he couldn't get them in the prizes and their best result was a 13th place in 1991. Nice to see him back.

4th appearance
3 unplaced: 1989 (N/K), 1990 (N/K), 1991 (13th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Asphaltic Newham: 1989, 1990, 1991
Aveley and Newhan: 2005 

Allan RamsayAllan Ramsay
Scottish Co-op

A second appearance for the hard working Scotsman after his only other appearance coming in 2001 when he led fellow Scots Kirkintilloch to a solid 16th place on their Open debut.

2nd appearance

1 unplaced: 2001 (16th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Kirkintilloch: 2001
Scottish Co-op: 2006 

Chris HouldingChris Houlding
Yorkshire Imperial Urquart Tarvel

A nap hand appearance for the talented Chris Houlding who first made his debut back in 1992 with the Stocksbridge Band who he directed to 11th place. A couple of years later he took Dodworth to 19th and then had a couple of goes with Whitburn. Nothing too impressive to report so far, but you never know his luck might change this time around.

5th appearance

4 unplaced: 1992 (11th), 1994 (19th), 1995 (12th), 1996 (17th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Stocksbridge: 1992
Dodsworth: 1994
Whitburn: 1995, 1996
Yorkshire Imperial: 2006 

Nigel SEAMANNigel Seaman
Desford (Aggregate Industries)

Nigel Seaman is making his debut at the contest this weekend.


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