All England Masters
4BR Outstanding Instrumentalist at the 2002 All England Masters
- Morgan Griffiths of the Williams Fairey band.
It is always nice to get a prize isnt it? Just ask
Morgan Griffiths, the exceptionally talented euphonium star of the
Williams Fairey Band who on Sunday became the first recipient of
the 4BarsRest trophy as Outstanding Instrumentalist at the
All England Brass Band Championships.
Morgan had given the audience an exhibition of sublime euphonium
playing in the second movement of Philip Wilbys test piece,
Atlantic and on a day when fine players from very fine
bands found it hard going, the quality of his performance showed
once more that he is one of the foremost players of his generation.
Given that Wilby required the soloist to play an extended solo line
that demanded they finally climb from a bottom C# to a top D at
pp through a diminuendo meant difficulties a plenty, but then to
require the player to re enter with a top C# to B demi semi motif
meant that only the best could do it at all and only the very best
perform it with such style, control and musicality. Morgan Griffiths
performance showed just how good a player he now is.
We caught up with him after he had won our trophy and as he was
being led away to the band bus for
the long journey home. Both were happy as they could be given Williams
Fairey had just come second here once again, but he was delighted
to have become the first winner of the 4BR trophy.
I thought we played really well, he said. It was
about as good as we could have played and the second movement in
particular we thought was something special.
Was he disappointed that it wasnt enough to win then? Of
course, but Fodens put in a tremendous performance and at the end
of the day, two of the three judges thought they were the best,
whilst only one thought we had done enough to win. Thats contesting
for you, but Ive been fortunate over the years to win a couple
of times here, and if we continue to perform like that at the Open
and the Nationals I think we could be in with a chance of gaining
a title this year.
Morgan Griffiths also paid tribute to the work of Frank Renton and
the playing of his colleagues in the Williams Fairey Band who he
thought had pulled out all the stops. Kevin Crockford on sop
was outstanding as was Ian Porthouse on cornet and the rest of the
guys. Its a real pleasure to have the opportunity of playing
with people like this week in week out and I must say I thoroughly
enjoyed working with Frank Renton he made the rehearsals
interesting and constructive. I liked the test piece - although
it didnt look too hard on paper, the more you played it the
more detail became apparent I think it was a pretty good
Morgan Griffiths has been at Williams Fairey since the turn of the
year after he had decided to leave Yorkshire Building Society and
find fresh challenges. It was a very hard decision, but the
right one I think. I had some brilliant times with YBS and Dr. King
has been a major influence on me as a player an influence
I am deeply grateful for. The move to Faireys has given me
a fresh challenge and at the moment I am thoroughly enjoying myself
if only I could win the bleeding Nationals!
That aside Morgan Griffiths has had an amazing brass banding career
crammed into his 31 years so far, what with 3 British Open wins,
7 European wins, 2 All England Masters and 3 Yorkshire Area titles.
All this and he was awarded the Euphonium Player of the Year
in 1998 and holds the joint distinction of being the youngest ever
solo euphonium player with Black Dyke Mills when he took over the
position aged just 18.
Ive been very lucky so far, he said. I started
playing at the age of 7 on the cornet before my father thought it
better I took up the euphonium and sent me for lessons with the
great Geoffrey Whitham. Im so grateful for all he taught me
and with David King they remain the two greatest influences
on my development as a player my father remains the greatest
influence on me full stop though.
Morgan is also joined at Williams Fairey by his brother Geraint
on bass trombone.
I enjoy playing in the same band with Geraint, but we always
look out for how my dads band has done at local contests (Ted Griffiths
is the MD at the famous Dobcross Youth Band as well as being actively
involved with YBS). Linzi keeps my feet on the ground and it was
special for me to be able to win the solo prize with her in the
Asked how he was going to spend the 4BR prize of £100, he didnt
Morgan Griffiths is rightly seen as one of the very best euphonium
players in the banding world and going by the form he showed at
the All England Masters, he will remain one of the very best for
many years to come. Thoroughly nice chap as well just hope
he gets to spend a few bob of our money on himself!
Morgan Griffiths Fact File:
Age 7 first on cornet and then with persuasion to ephonium.
My father, then Geoffrey Whitam
Bands played for:
Yorkshire Bus Company, Brodsworth, Hammonds Sauce, Black Dyke, YBS
and now Williams Fairey
Hardest test piece:
Favourite test piece:
Variations on a Ninth Gilbert Vinter he wrote great
Geoffrey Whitham and David King
Brass Band hero:
John Clough the famous euph player with Black Dyke
To finally win the National Championships of Great Britain.
A few 3 Opens, 7 Europeans, 2 All England Masters, 3 Yorkshire
Area, Euphonium Player of the Year 1998.
Coronation Street or Eastenders:
Corrie of course although Im usually in band when its
Sovereign euphonium (medium bore) 966
Denis Wick 4AL
Huddersfield Town for my sins
None that I know of
Advice to young players:
you never get anything or anywhere for nothing.
[Note: This article was slightly modfied since its initial publish. August 2009]