The Top 10
The ten most influential people in the brass band movement
This was always going to be a difficult one for us here at 4BR to
consider - for the simple reason - how do you measure influence?
Difficult enough if we only looked at the most well known, the most
high profile or the most successful - but there is so much more
to it than that. The word itself means "the effect of one person
or thing on another... to sway, induce or affect...the power of
a person." With this in mind we asked around and came up with
our list - a list of people who we think influence the very way
in which the brass band movement develops and progresses into the
21st century. Some are well known, others not so, whilst a couple
you may think are more personalities than architects of banding
All we have done is tell you who we think are the movers and shakers,
the opinion makers and guiding hands that move us along the road
of progress. We leave up to you whether or not you feel they are
good or bad, benign or malign, powerful or overbearing influences
on the movement.
Let us know what you think though, and whether we have missed out
a few names -there are surely more men (and women) out there who
are doing their bit. This is our list then of who we think are currently
the most influential people around.....
The President of the European Brass Band Association (EBBA) has
been one of the most influential movers in the developing the brass
movement in Europe over the last 25 years or more. Under his guidance
the European Contest has flourished into the premier event of the
brass band calendar - new innovations have taken place (such as
the introduction of the First Section
contest and composers competition) whilst his views and opinions
on dragging the movement as a whole into the 21st century have brought
him critics and plaudits in equal measure.
He remains a driving force for progressive change, yet he is seen
by many as an "outsider" - a man whose impeccable European
credentials sit uneasily with those of "Little England"
Not a name you would immediately recognise as being "influential"
to the banding movement, but Mr Rogers is the Sales and Marketing
Director of Boosey and Hawkes Musical Instruments Ltd, and has been
seen of late giving those little "time filler" speeches
before the announcement of the results at some of the major brass
His influence may not be direct, yet as a representative of a company
that for the past few years has found itself in terrible financial
strife, has moved production out of the UK and whose long-term viability
the lottery gravy train has all but ended) is in question, his role
as the "link" between the movement and perhaps its most
important and principal sponsor of major banding events cannot be
over emphasised. If Boosey goes
under, then God help us. Listen to what he has to say the next time
he appears on stage - his words of late have been very, very carefully
The organiser supreme. Philip Morris is the quiet man of the banding
world - unassuming yet very influential indeed. He is the man who
ensures that brass bands have their annual pilgrimage to the Royal
Albert Hall, and who has been an important conduit link between
the movement and Boosey and Hawkes - the movement's principal benefactor.
His skills are those of the businessman with a love for brass bands,
rather than the opposite way around, and whose interests encapsulate
both the British Bandsman newspaper and Kapitol Productions - the
people who bring
you the newly revived Gala Concert. He survived the demise of the
NCC with reputation intact - an achievement in itself, and has since
quietly developed his influence so that he has become an integral
player in the movement as a whole.
The brains behind the All England Masters Contest in Cambridge each
year (although this part in partnership with Richard Franklin),
but whose business acumen and genuine love for brass bands has seen
him develop into a
significant figure in the movement. The "Masters" has
now become one of the four "major" contests of the UK
banding year - an achievement in itself seeing that the contest
takes place in the "non banding" hotbed of Cambridge.
Apart from the ground breaking "Masters" he has used his
skills to revitalise the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain
and has become leading entrepreneurial figure in the banding world.
A "lone voice" in many respects - his determination to
encapsulate innovative ideas has sometimes brought him into conflict
with those whose interests he has very much at
There was a time when the Salvation Army and the general brass band
movement were separated by what seemed an impenetrable wall of suspicion
and distrust - not anymore - and one of the reasons for the most
welcome cultural symbiosis has been the work of the likes of people
like Trevor Caffull.
The Sales and Marketing Manager for SP&S Ltd has been a driving
force in opening out the Salvation Army's approach to brass banding
- so much so that SP&S joined forces with Doyen Recordings and
has become a principal sponsor of events such as the revived Gala
Concert. A man with an acute business mind and along term view towards
the progressive route banding should travel in the 21st century.
The Musical Director of the most famous band in the world has also
been the man who was behind the success of Doyen Recordings - the
principal brass recordings specialists in the banding world. Without
Doyen, brass band
recordings would have died a death as the major labels simply decided
to end their interest in the market.
His amazing successes as a player, conductor and entrepreneur have
also brought him critics as well as plaudits - but his influence
is backed by an insatiable appetite for hard work and detailed preparation
that invariably leaves rivals and the less talented in his wake.
A man who knows exactly where he is going in life.
A Welshman of an older generation - a man with a lineage back to
the supposed "Golden Age" of banding, but who to some,
seems out of touch with "modern" thinking concerning the
future progression of the banding movement. His influence however
has been, and is significant - be it as General Editor at Novello
Music Publishers or as the mastercraftsman arranger of "Les
Preludes" and other brass band works.
His advisory capacity on creative and musical matters for the British
Open has been widely acknowledged, as has his at times trenchant,
yet informed and entertaining views and opinions on the brass band
movement as a whole. Still a powerful voice in the banding world.
In the twenty year period that the Australian has been in Britain,
possibly no other man has had such an impact on the brass banding
world as David King.
As an immensely talented cornet player and then as a conductor of
irrepressible flair and skill, the antipodean's influence has been
significant - add to this his drive in making Salford University
the leading educational establishment for brass band related studies
and you have a man who is shaping the very future - both playing
and conducting of the movement
within the UK and most probably beyond, well into the century. Look
at any of the top bands in the country and you will see his influence
- the players and even the conductors. That takes some doing.
Our man at the venerable BBC has done more than most to try and
protect the ever-diminishing output of brass band music over the
past 10 to 15 years on the "Voice of the Nation".
A man with a background within the movement, he seems to have been
fighting impossible odds against the pseudo "luvvie darling
brigade" that now occupy the upper echelons of the Corporation.
He has however had numerous successes
in securing programme airtime and more importantly, commissions
for new major works for contests. Without him we wouldn't have had
the opportunity to listen to works from the likes of Philip Wilby
- an achievement of real note.
The Chairman of the British Federation of Brass Bands heads the
organisation that in effect runs the brass band movement in the
The BFBB has responsibility for the National Finals at all levels,
the Brass Band Registry, supports the Brass Band Heritage Trust
and oversees the Boosey and Hawkes Approved List of Adjudicators.
As the head of the Charitable organisation he heads a team that
now has the very future of the movement as a whole in the UK in
its hands. How he leads the BFBB will surely determine whether the
brass band movement flourishes or declines in the coming years -
now that is some influence to bear on matters isn't it?