2008 British Open Championships - Conductors Records


4BR looks at the track records of the 17 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 Hall17 men (no women yet again) will take the stage at Symphony Hall this year to try and become the winning conductor of the 2008 British Open Champions. Sixteen 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 2008 will be their year. 

Of the 17 on show, only three have tasted victory before - MDs, R. Childs, N. Childs and Cutt. It’s hard to win here, even if these three have notched up an impressive eight titles between them.

Of those who conducted here last year, the likes of Frans Violet, Mark Bentham, Richard Evans, Ray Farr, Allan Ramsay, Nigel Taken, Philip McCann and Philip Harper will spend the weekend sitting on the sidelines, whilst there are debut appearances for Selmer Simonsen, Ian Porthouse, Jason Katsikaris, Steven Mead and Morgan Griffiths.

Who will it be then, and will there be an addition to the rather small trio here who currently have a Mortimer Maestro Trophy to their name at home?   

Nick ChildsDr. Nicholas Childs
Black Dyke

Made his debut with Tredegar in 1994 and came close on four occasions before adding his first Open title to his CV in 2005 with Black Dyke.  He holds the curious record of five second places with three different bands (Tredegar, Fodens and Dyke) since his debut and this year will be his fifteenth appearance. 

Ten 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 Leonard Lamb in 1963 to be a hat trick winning conductor.

15th appearance 

2 Wins: 2005, 2006
5 Seconds: 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007
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, 2007, 2008   

Alan WithingtonAllan Withington
Grimethorpe Colliery

Made his debut as far back as 1991, but in 17 attempts so far he has won only one 3rd, three 4ths, a 5th and a 6th to his name. 

The early years were the struggle for him at the contest with Brighouse and he has yet to reproduce the winning formula here as he has done so frequently at the Royal Albert Hall (and just about everywhere else for that matter).  If he wins with Grimethorpe he will complete his personal "Grand Slam" of all major titles as a conductor. It is long overdue.

18th appearance 

No Wins:
1 Third: 1998
3 Fourth: 1999, 2002, 2003
1 Fifth: 2007
1 Sixth: 1995 
11 times unplaced: 1991 (16th), 1992 (15th), 1993 (10th), 1994 (11th), 1996 (20th), 1997 (10th), 2000 (12th), 2001 (8th), 2004 (12th), 2005 (12th), 2006 (9th)

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: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008     

Bob ChildsDr. Robert Childs
Cory Band 

Made his debut in 2000 and promptly walked off with the Gold Shield and the Mortimer Trophy. Since then he has won it twice more, has come runner up three times and third once. It is the best record of any conductor this century. 

He should be confident of adding fourth title to his CV this time around again on his ninth appearance.

9th appearance

3 Wins: 2000, 2002, 2007
3 Seconds: 2004, 2005, 2006
1 Third: 2001
1 Sixth: 2003

Bands taken at the Open:
Cory/BAYV: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008  

Andy DuncanAndrew Duncan
Scottish Co-op

A sixth appearance for the talented Scotsman, this time with the second of the Scottish heavyweight contenders, Scottish Co-op.

Previously he conducted Whitburn here, including a superb runner up spot in 2003 on his debut and a well deserved sixth place last year.  

6th appearance

No Wins
1 Second: 2003
1 Sixth: 2007
3 times unplaced: 2004 (13th), 2005 (11th), 2006 (10th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Whitburn: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 
Scottish Co-op: 2008   

Garry CuttGarry Cutt
Fodens Richardson

A Cutt above the rest as they say here. Made his debut back in 1988 with Point of Ayr before winning the contest at his second attempt with Kennedy Swinton in 1989 to become the youngest winning conductor in Open history.

Marple gave him his second win in 1996 at the Bridgewater Hall and three further prize-winning spots and in between he took Grimethorpe to three top six places too. He made an appearance with Leyland in 2002 but returned in 2004 with Fodens to take them to the title for the first time in 40 years and give him his hat trick of Mortimer Maestro awards. 

19th appearance 

3 Wins: 1989, 1996, 2004
3 Thirds: 1994, 2000, 2007
3 Fourths: 1992, 1993, 2001
1 Fifth: 1998
1 Sixth: 2005
7 Unplaced: 1988 (N/K), 1990 (N/K), 1991 (11th), 1997 (11th), 1999 (12th), 2002 (11th), 2006 (13th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Point of Ayr: 1988
Kennedy Swinton Concert: 1989
Marple: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
Grimethorpe Colliery: 1994, 2000, 2001
Leyland: 2002
Fodens Richardson: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008    

David RobertsDavid Roberts
Rothwell Temperance

David Roberts makes his fifth appearance at the British Open this year, after making his debut with Rothwell in 2004.

Its been a bit hit and miss so far though at Symphony Hall with a best of fourth in 2005 balanced with two midfield finishes, but an encouraging return to form last year when he led his band to ninth place.

5th appearance

1 Fourth: 2005
3 Unplaced: 2004 (15th), 2006 (14th), 2007 (9th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Rothwell Temperance: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008    

Phil ChalkPhilip Chalk

A fourth appearance for the talented Mr Chalk, and a second appearance with the band that he made his name with as a player. 

The first two appearances came with the Ashton Under Lyne who struggled somewhat to make a mark and were eventually relegated, but last year there was a solid performance from his charges that brought seventh place. A first top six showing may be on the horizon.

4th appearance

3 Unplaced: 2005 (17th), 2006 (19th), 2007 (7th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Ashton under Lyne: 2005, 2006
Fairey: 2007, 2008   

Russell GrayRussell Gray
Carlton Main Frickley Colliery

The sixth appearance at Birmingham for the talented Scotsman this year and he will be looking to see if he can add the Open title to a CV that includes just about every other major title.

Nothing of real note so far though, although sixth place in 2006 was a decent enough return. 12th last time out though so he will be looking to try and get another top six finish under his belt for certain. 

6th appearance

1 Sixth: 2006
4 unplaced: 2000 (21st), 2003 (9th), 2004 (18th), 2007 (12th)

Bands taken at the Open:
NSK RHP Ransome: 2000
Tredegar: 2003, 2004
Carlton Main: 2006, 2007, 2008   

MorrisonAlan Morrison
Brighouse & Rastrick

After a decade away Alan Morrison returned to conduct a band at the British Open last year and led Brighouse to eleventh place.

Made his debut with Sellers International in 1996 and had three appearances with them with a best of 11th and falling down to 18th.  Nothing to write home about as yet though, but this could well be his year.
5th appearance
4 unplaced: 1996 (11th), 1997 (12th), 1998 (18th), 2007 (11th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Sellers International: 1996, 1997, 1998
Brighouse & Rastrick: 2007, 2008   

HirstDavid Hirst

David Hirst made his conducting debut at the British Open way back in 1987, but in the intervening 21 years he has only appeared twice more – the last in 2000.

His debut came with the now defunct Lewington Yamaha Band on ‘Freedom’ in 1987 coming out of the prizes, whilst he returned in 1990 with Yorkshire Imps also failing to find favour in the box. Marple also failed to make a mark too coming 22nd in 2000. Hopefully a bteer return on his fourth time out then?
4th appearance

3 unplaced: 1987 (N/K), 1990 (N/K), 2000 (22nd)

Bands taken at the Open:
Lewington Yamaha: 1987
Yorkshire Imperial: 1990
Marple: 2000 
Flowers: 2008 

BoddiceNigel Boddice

A second appearance in a row for the Scotsman after making his debut with Kirkintilloch last year and unfortunately ending up in last place.

Won’t want a repeat of that this year and should be confident of amking much more of a mark if things go to plan.
2nd appearance

1 unplaced: 2007 (18th)

Bands taken at the Open:
Kirkintilloch: 2007
BTM: 2008   

SeamanNigel Seaman
Desford Colliery

A second appearance in a row for the Welshman and quite a record to uphold after coming 3rd on his debut with Desford in 2006.

Due to ill health he was unavailable in 2007 and so returns once again after leading the band to Master success earlier in the season.
2nd appearance
1 Third: 2006 

Bands taken at the Open:
Desford: 2006 

Ian Porthouse - Hepworth (Cookson Homes), Steven Mead - Whitburn, Morgan Griffiths - YBS, Selmer Simonsen - Kirkintilloch and Jason Katsikaris - Leyland are making their conducting debuts at the contest this year.


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