The Old Masters Versus The Young Guns:
featuring the three most experienced men going about their business
at the Open and three young men who have just started on the road
to possible fame but no fortune.
The 2001 British Open sees 21 conductors vying to win the ultimate
prize in the banding world and to get their names in the record
books and their hands on a Mortimer Maestro award to stick on the
Major Peter Parkes:
No other conductor at these years Open comes close to the record
of the Major. Six victories starting with Black Dyke in 1976 to
Williams Fairey in 1993 have shown that he has the winning touch.
Not only that but hes won the National Championships on seven
occasions and the European eight times. Countless other prizes have
also come his way in a banding career that started with a win at
the Nationals in 1975 and the Open in 1976.
Dyke, Faireys, Grimethorpe, Desford, Whitburn and many more
have all won contests under his direction and even though he hasnt
won at the Open since 1993 he continues to be a force in the Major
contests as his performance at the European with Trieze Etoiles
of Switzerland proved.
Six wins (1976, 77, 83, 85, 86, 93): 4 Seconds (78, 84, 88, 91):
1 Third (92): 2 Fourths (79, 98): 2 Fifths (95, 97): 1 Sixth (90):
If ever a man should have won the Open then its Howard Snell.
Countless brilliant performances under his direction have either
by hard luck or even more brilliant performances from others have
conspired to rob him of the one title he needs to achieve a personal
His first appearance at the Open was with Grimethorpe in 1977 before
he linked with both Desford and Fodens to come in the prizes year
after year after year without ever winning the top prize. Two Nationals,
four Europeans and four Masters titles are perhaps a fraction of
the honours he really deserves.
No wins: 2 Seconds (79, 87): 4 Thirds (80, 81, 85, 97): 3 Fourths
(82, 86, 91): 3 Fifths (84, 86, 88): 4 Sixths (83, 84, 92, 94):
Unplaced 15 times
On a number of occasions Howard Snell took two bands at the Open
in the same year.
1977 saw the first appearance of Frank Renton with Wingates at
the British Open and what an appearance drawn number
1! The following years he appeared with the declining CWS (Manchester)
and took the famous band to their last prize winning in coming 5th
The mid 80s saw a break away from the Open, before a return
with Grimethorpe in 1988 heralded prize winning performances that
culminated in the famous Paganini win of 1991. Since
then he has been seen with Desford on a few occasions and this year
will lead the way with Travelsphere. 1991 and 1992 when he stood
top of the world with Grimethorpe may be a while ago, but he remains
a maverick at heart with the talent to win any contest.
1 Win (1991): No Seconds: 1 Third (90): No Fourths: 3 Fifths
(80, 89, 92): No Sixths: Unplaced 8 times
As Musical Director of Tredegar Band, Steve Bastable is one of
the clutch of talented and exciting breed of aspiring young conductors
who are now forcing their way to the top of the banding tree.
A product of Salford College and the tuition of David King and
Roy Newsome, he played at the top level with Black Dyke and Williams
Fairey in Major contest winning performances before concentrating
on his conducting first with the Flowers Band and since late 1999
with Tredegar, whom he took to the Welsh Regional title this year.
2001 sees his second appearance at the Open following last years
8th place with the band.
Another highly talented musician, who has not only made a name
for himself as a brass band composer, but also as an exciting conductor.
A product of Bristol University he played with bands such as Sun
Life before moving to Japan for two years. Here his composing skills
came to the fore and he returned home in 1998 with a batch of highly
rated compositions for both band and soloists under his belt. He
gained conducting experience with the Thornbury band before becoming
Musical Director at the Flowers band.
2001 sees his debut at the Open following a highly rated direction
of the band at the recent All England Masters where they came 5th.
The most experienced of the trio we have featured, Dennis Hadfield
has been the driving force behind the spectacular rise of Todmorden
Old from the depths of the Fourth Section to qualification to the
British Open in 2000 in the space of five years.
A fine tuba player his talent and commitment has resulted in Todmorden
Old becoming an established contest competitor in the toughest area
of them all Yorkshire, where the band under his direction
secured 4th place at the 2000 Area Championships, won that years
Grand Shield contest and came 6th at the All England Masters.
Further solid performances in 2001 sees him hoping to steer the
band to improve on last years 15th place.