Grimethorpe Colliery Band has stunned the banding world with the announcement that Dr. David Thornton has become their new Musical Director with immediate effect.
A spokesperson for the band said: "We're thrilled that David has agreed to accept the role. He is rightly regarded as one of the foremost euphonium players and teachers of his generation, but his reputation as a soloist has been increasingly matched by his work as a conductor.
His ambition and professionalism has greatly impressed the band and we're looking forward to working with him to help achieve our artistic and performance objectives over the coming years."
They added: "He is without question the right person to lead the band through the next stage in our development."
The news will certainly shock fans of Brighouse & Rastrick after he led the band to the Yorkshire Regional title in Huddersfield earlier this year and had just completed an eagerly anticipated CD recording with the band and Steven Mead. His last contest appearance was at the recent UK Band of the Year event in June.
David Thornton is currently the Senior Tutor in Brass Band Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, as well as holding teaching roles for the euphonium and chamber music at Chetham's School of Music.
He has also gained increasing critical acclaim for his conducting accomplishments and musical outlook, which has included successful freelance work with the likes of Hepworth, Aldbourne and Redbridge.
Speaking about his appointment he said: "I'm honoured to be offered such a hugely exciting opportunity.
Within the banding world Grimethorpe is an iconic name with a reputation for musical excellence. I'm looking forward to working with a great team to build upon their unrivalled ability to entertain and their desire for success. I can't wait to get started."
As for the last two and half years at West Riding with Brighouse he added: "The time at B&R has totally shaped everything I've become as a conductor. I am hugely grateful for the decision and trust they invested in me and their commitment, dedication and support was always superb."
He added: "My thanks go to all the players and especially to Prof David King whose influence and support has been inspirational."
I'm looking forward to working with a great team to build upon their unrivalled ability to entertain and their desire for success. I can't wait to get startedDr David Thornton
Major championship lead
Grimethorpe confirmed that Dr Thornton will lead them to the forthcoming British Open and National Final.
"We believe that this presents an opportunity for David to work closely together with the band and to develop the level of understanding which perhaps only the 'white heat' of competition can allow.
We would also like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to Sandy Smith. Sandy has performed the role of MD since 2017 and has worked tirelessly for the band throughout a challenging period.
We thank him for his dedication and effort in sustaining the band's performance standards throughout his tenure."