California dreaming as McKenzie takes NABBC title back to USA

American conductor Craig McKenzie claims the National Association of Brass Band Conductors Conductor Competition title after a high quality battle of the batons.

  The American conductor Craig McKenzie took the title

The American conductor Craig McKenzie has claimed the 4th National Association of Brass Band Conductors Conductor Competition title.

The high quality event at Eccles Town Hall saw entrants from across the UK and Europe lock batons in pursuit of the title, but it was the Californian who triumphed and secure the opportunity to work with the likes of National Champion Foden's and European Champion Cory in the future.


Craig McKenzie told 4BR: "I was delighted to be able to be a part of the phenomenal brass band tradition here in the UK, and it was such a thrill to have the opportunity to conduct the talented Rainford and Eccles Borough Bands. I was both humbled and awed to win."

Craig faced stiff competition from the 11 rivals, including runner-up Bjørn Breistein from Norway and third placed Daniel McLaughlin from the UK.

The other finalists were Matt Green (UK), Pascal Maillard (France) and Luke Pallister (UK), whilst the semi-finalist line-up consisted of Andrea Durante (Italy), Dexter Drown (UK), Robert Fraser (UK), Mark Good (UK), Patrick Marshall (UK) and Andy Wareham (UK).

Very impressed

After judging alongside Mark Heron, Paul Hindmarsh told 4BR: "We were very impressed by the overall standard and delighted to support the NABBC in discovering and developing talented conductors worldwide."

He added: "It was fantastic to see such an international entry, with the winner Craig MacKenzie coming over from California.

He's already very experienced conducting school and college wind bands and we hope that the growing brass band community in the USA makes use of his well honed skills and musicianship."

I was delighted to be able to be a part of the phenomenal brass band tradition here in the UK, and it was such a thrill to have the opportunity to conduct the talented Rainford and Eccles Borough BandsCraig McKenzie

Superb job

In response to the success of the event NABBC President Russell Gray thanked Yamaha for their support and added: "I was delighted with how smoothly the competition ran, with team at the NABBC doing a superb job.

Both bands gave every contender a wonderful platform to showcase their skills. The international appeal this competition has and the fact that we have conductors re-applying each year tells me we are doing something of importance to help the brass band movement throughout the world."

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    


Result: 2022 Scottish Open

November 26 • the cooperation band claims the honours in Perth


Performance accolade for Easington

November 25 • Easington Colliery help provide one of the highlights of the Durham BRASS Festival to gain deserved accolade.


Kennedy boost for cooperation ahead of Perth

November 25 • The cooperation band will take to the stage at the Scottish Open boosted by their new signing.


New contest for Birmingham

November 25 • The ConsTest — Birmingham Open Brass Band Competition hopes to attract bands to the heart of the city in 2023.

Contest: Swiss National Championships

Saturday 26 November • Stravinski Hall, Montreaux. Claude-Nobs 5, 1820 Montreaux, Switzerland 1820

Boarshurst Silver Band - Diggle Community Brass

Sunday 27 November • Boarshurst Band Club. Greenbridge Lane. Greenfield. Saddleworth OL3 7EW

Mereside Brass - Tatton Park Farm when Father Christmas is visiting

Sunday 27 November • Tatton Park Farm. Knutsford. Cheshire. WA16 6QN (Sat Nav WA16 6SG) WA16 6SG

Dobcross Silver Band - The Hammonds Band

Sunday 27 November • Dobcross Band Club. Platt Lane. Dobcross. Saddleworth OL3 5AD OL3 5AD

Regent Hall Concerts - Band of the RAF Regiment Symphonic Brass Ensemble

Friday 2 December • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C2DJ

Bilton Silver Rugby Band

November 26 • Bilton Silver (Rugby) Band invites applicants for the role of MUSICAL DIRECTOR of the senior band. Contesting in the first section, the band has a varied programme of concerts throughout the year. The organisation also boasts a thriving training programme

Greenfield Brass Band

November 24 • We are a friendly, progressive 3rd Section Band based in Saddleworth and are looking to fill the following positions prior to the North West Area.. Bass Trombone,. Solo Baritone,. Percussion (Tuned or Kit) . . Rehearsals Mon & Thurs at Friezland Bowling Club

Mereside Brass

November 23 • Mereside Brass (Rudheath, Northwich) are looking for a front row CORNET, possibly PRINCIPAL for the right player. We are a friendly 4th Section band, currently not contesting but with a sensible calendar of jobs and band social events

Rob Nesbitt

BSc, PG Cert. Ed.
Cartoonist , illustrator, writer


 © 2022 4barsrest.com Ltd