4BR Dinner Guests - Alan Wycherley gives us his ultimate dinner guest list

3-Sep-2009

Alan Wycherley tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag...


WycherleyGiven the opportunity, the wish list, the ability to mess about with the Space-Time Continuam like Doctor Who, and the skill to cook like Heston Blumenthal, who would you like to invite around to your place to enjoy a meal and chin wag with?   

4BR started it all off a few days before Christmas 2007 with our 10 dinner guests, so we thought we had better ask a few more brass band personalities who would be on their all time dinner list too...  

This time it’s Alan Wycherely, one of the brass band movement’s finest ever soprano cornet players, winner of majors and solo awards all over the world, to choose his dinner guest list.

Alan wasn’t daunted by having to pick just ten guests, or for that matter, the cooking arrangements.

”I would have had to have a house the size of Buckingham Palace to get all the friends I’ve made in banding around for the night, so choosing ten was difficult, although very interesting and enjoyable.”

As for the menu?

”I’m not too bad a cook and the traditional Sunday roast is my forte – so that’s what they will be getting – and plenty of it!”

And what about the entertainment?

”With the people I’ve invited I don’t think there will be time for anything else other than talking well into the small hours of the night. Definately no disco or Karaoke that’s for sure, although it will be an open invitation for any friends after the food is out of the way to come along and enjoy themselves.”    

So here goes:


1. Sir Edward Elgar

He really is one of my favourite composers. His music is quite beautiful and melodic – things I like. 

He knows how to write a good tune, and I would want to get to the bottom of whether ‘The Severn Suite’ is all his own work, or did he get a bit of extra help.


2. Emlyn Bryant

I played my first contest with Fairey in 1973 at the Wills Contest in London, and afterwards this oldish man in a mac came into the dressing room and came up to me and simply said, ‘Well played’.

I didn’t know him from Adam, but the rest of the players said that I must have played well for the great Emlyn Bryant to come up to me and offer congratulations.

I later learned more about this amazing man and was saddened to hear of his death many years later. I never got to meet him again, so this would be a real treat.   


3. Brian Evans

The finest soprano player I ever heard. He was a true artist and such a gifted performer who could make music from just about anything written in front of him.

He always took time to talk and encourage me as a player and was still performing to such an incredible standard right up until his untimely death. They don’t make them like him anymore.


4. Richard Evans

A dinner party without Richard Evans to keep things going? 

I have so much respect for this man. I enjoyed every moment of playing under him at Fairey and BNFL for over  12 years. Perhaps the greatest motivator in banding history and someone who had the knack of drawing the very best out of players.

Some of the stories will have the guests in stiches I’m sure…


5. Sibelius

I had to ask him even if it was just to find out what he thought about so called brass band composers who write everything by the computer programme that bears his name.

I wonder if he would be a bit miffed by the lack of royalties too.


6. Melanie Sykes

Looks aren’t everything – but they do help. Miss Sykes is a beautiful woman who also happens to be very knowlegeable about brass bands and plays the baritone too. 

Who can ask for more?

She is also better looking by a mile than my old friend and fellow baritone player Peter Christian, so he shouldn’t be too put out that he didn’t get an automatic invite.


7. Fred Mortimer

Even 50 years after his death, Fred Mortimer and Foden’s are inseperable. It is still his band.

It would be fascinating to pick his brains, and to see what he thinks about the modern movement. I also wonder how he felt his lads, Harry, Alex and Rex – all as different as chalk and cheese, turned out.  


8. Bram Tovey

Simply the finest musician I have ever played under – and I have been lucky enough to play under quite a few over the years.

A great man away from the conductor’s rostrum too – so full of life, with a mind that just flows with ideas.


9. Jimmy Leggett

The finest bandsman I have ever known – he eats, drinks and sleeps banding – and Fairey Band in particular. He is also the type of bloke who will volunteer to do the washing up for me afterwards too. 

He is also one of the best back row cornet players you will ever hear as well – I never heard a single conductor criticise the 3rd cornet playing when he was in the band. He also knows where just about every banding skeleton is buried too, so that will come in handy on the night.


10. Muriel Newsome

I know she won’t mind me saying this, but Muriel doesn’t know a chrotchet from a hatchet, but is still one of the best judges of a performance in the banding world.

Perhaps the ultimate brass band widow, she has supported Dr Roy all over the world and remains one of the great enthusiasts for brass banding of anyone I have known.

She will also keep the lads in check, just in case they get a bit rowdy. 


Previous dinner guest lists: 

Previous guests have included the 4BR selection; Chris Wormald; David Read; Pete Meechan; Alan Jenkins; Derek Broadbent; Philip Harper; Peter Roberts; Frank Renton; James Shepherd; Dr Roy Newsome; Paul Lovatt-Cooper; Bramwell Tovey; Kevin Crockford; Morvern Gilchrist and Lesley Howie; Richard Evans; Simone Rebello; Ian Porthouse; David Daws and Alan Morrison.

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