2007 Spring Festival - Adjudicators


Here are the six men who will be in the box in Blackpool this weekend.

ReadDavid Read:
David Read was born in Wales and did his Military service with the Regimental Band of the Welsh Guards. His playing career came to fruition with the Askern Colliery Band, followed by a spell with Carlton Main Frickley Colliery. He later joined the Munn and Feltons Band (later named GUS) later becoming Principal Cornet. During his time with the band, GUS became National Champions on four occasions and World Champions once.

He was also assistant principal cornet for the Virtuosi Band of Great Britain and Kings of Brass and was three times Champion Cornet Player of Great Britain and once outright Solo Champion. He was also a member of the famous GUS quartet that with John Berryman, John Cobley and Trevor Groom who on a number of occasions were British Quartet Champions.

He has been an educationalist as Senior Instrumental Teacher for Cambridge Area Education Authority, and in 1983 was honoured by the Worshipful Company of Musicians and in 1996 by receiving the English Masters Dedicated Service Award.

BrownbillIan Brownbill:

Ian started playing the cornet and piano at the age of ten and his career as a performer with brass bands culminated in him joining the Black Dyke Mills Band on flugel horn in 1993. Hi-lights with ‘Dyke' included winning The British Open, European and National titles in 1995, under James Watson. In more recent years, Ian has ‘guested' in some of YBS's recent successes, with his former cornet tutor and great friend, David King.

With the baton, Ian enjoyed successful spells with Ifton Colliery, Rhos and  Co-op Milnrow, gaining major prizes in National finals with all of these bands.  In 2001, Ian was delighted to be asked to conduct one of his local bands in St Helens, The Haydock Band. In 2003, following numerous contest successes, Haydock made it to The Royal Albert Hall for the championship section finals of The National Championships of Great Britain.

Ian has adjudicated at numerous contests and music festivals across the UK, including the North West and Yorkshire Regional Championships, The British Open Championships (Senior Cup), The British Open Solo Championships and the inaugural Scottish Open Championships.
Having gained a degree in the performing arts, he enjoyed many years teaching and mentoring young musicians, including five fantastic years at St. Vincent's School for the Blind in Liverpool.

Ian now works with ‘Metal', helping to develop large and small scale creative projects, across artistic disciplines. In September 2007, The Lowry and Liverpool Culture Company are producing ‘King Cotton', a piece of music-theatre which tells a powerful story of ‘Tom', a mill-working bandsman from Lancashire and of ‘Sokoto', a cotton slave in the deep south of America. The two men's lives collide dramatically, during the American Civil War. It's a project Ian conceived and has been developing with the screenwriter, Jimmy McGovern for several years and which Jude Kelly OBE will direct.

RentonFrank Renton:

Born in 1939, Frank was brought up in Yorkshire. He began to study the piano at age seven, and had his first trumpet lesson on his tenth birthday.

Frank first earned a living as a professional trumpet-player, gaining conducting experience where possible. In 1967 he won a Competition for Young Conductors at the Edinburgh Festival. Appointments followed in Germany and in Singapore, where he conducted the first performances of the country's fledgling symphony orchestra. He also worked throughout the Far East.

After his return to England in the mid-70s, Frank variously ran a music school in York, played with Versatile Brass, and eventually began working with the BBC Concert and Radio Orchestras. He also worked with the famed Grimethorpe Colliery Band.

In 1985 Frank returned to London to become Principal Conductor of the Royal Artillery Orchestra, London's oldest professional orchestra. For three years Frank and the Orchestra toured the country giving concerts in venues large and small, and to all kinds of audiences.
In 1988 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the British Concert Orchestra after critically acclaimed recordings with the American soprano Carol Vaness. He also began to broadcast regularly on BBC Radio, writing and presenting his own musical programmes. In 1992 he made the decision to concentrate entirely on conducting and broadcasting.

He is a member of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, and in 1989 became a Freeman of the City of London.

He remains one of the leading freelance Musical Directors in the UK, working with many of the very best brass bands in the country, whilst his high profile presentation of BBC Radion 2 Listen to the Band has given the programme new life and vitality.

MeadSteven Mead:

Steven Mead is today considered one of the best professional euphonium soloists, having turned professional 12 years ago after a successful amateur career with some of the top British Brass Bands and as a full time music teacher.

He is currently principal euphonium with the Brass Band of Battle Creek (USA), but previously enjoyed this role with four of the finest British brass bands: Sun Life, Desford Colliery Band, Rigid Containers and the CWS Band in Glasgow (1996 British champions). On two occasions, 1986 and 1993, he won the prize for best soloist at the BBC's "Best of Brass" competition. He was a member of Desford Colliery Band when they won the National Brass Band Championships for three years running (1987- 89).

Steven is much in demand both as a soloist and teacher all over the world, seeking to promote and develop the euphonium whilst at the same time encouraging young people to take up this versatile instrument. In the United Kingdom he presently teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester), the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (Glasgow), in addition to giving private lessons. Steven has been responsible for the development of a new teaching methodology for the euphonium in many countries outside the United Kingdom.

Three times Artistic Director of the National Tuba/Euphonium Conference, Steven founded the British Tuba Quartet eight years ago - one of the most popular Brass ensembles in Europe, thanks to its combination of technical skill and fun. To date he has released some 20 albums as a soloist with pianoforte, brass quartet and symphonic bands.

The rich expressive approach to musical performance has been admired by professional musicians around the world and as a result Steven is performing increasingly with orchestras and chamber ensembles in addition to brass and wind bands. Steven plays exclusively on Besson Sovereign instruments and with a mouthpiece designed with the famous Denis Wick - the SM3.

GourlayJames Gourlay:

James Gourlay was born in Scotland and began to play in his local brass band at an early age. He took part in numerous solo competitions at that time and soon became Scottish Champion at junior and open levels. After studying at the Royal College of Music James Gourlay became principal tuba of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra where he remained for four years. There followed posts in the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Orchester der Oper in Zürich where James worked with most of the World's top conductors.

As a soloist and chamber musician, James Gourlay has won international acclaim. He is a former member of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and has toured the World performing concertos with major orchestras and giving countless recitals. He has also broadcast Harrison Birwistle's ‘The Cry of Anubis' with the BBC Philharmonic and has recorded three CD recordings, which cover all of the major works for tuba. James is a featured artist for both the Doyen and Polyphonic labels for whom he has recorded as a soloist and as a conductor of wind and brass bands. He has also recorded the Gregson and Vaughan-Williams concertos for the ASV label.

James Gourlay has always had a strong commitment to new music and has given premières of works by Bingham, Gorb, Gilbert, Lachenmann, Gregson, Horovitz, Sparke, Penderecki and Newton to name but a few.

James's conducting career is as active as his solo playing. He has appeared as a guest conductor with both wind and brass ensembles all over Europe and as far away as Brazil. He is a regular guest conductor of the National Youth Wind Orchestra Great Britain and has conducted all the UK's top Brass Bands. He has made a number of recordings with the RNCM Wind Orchestra and is the Musical Director of the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band.

Currently, James Gourlay continues his lifelong dedication to music education with guest-teaching engagements in Lyon, Weimar, the Eastman School of Music, the Juilliard School and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He is Head of Wind and Percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he been awarded an honorary Fellowship.

MorrisonAlan Morrison:
Alan started to learn the cornet at the age of seven. He was taught to play by his father Arthur Morrison and enjoyed the support of his parents and sister through to him becoming a professional musician and beyond.

He was born and bred in Middlesbrough and developed an interest in trumpet playing as his father was a semi-professional trumpeter in a local dance-band. At about the same time he became a fan of Middlesbrough Football Club and to this day is an ardent supporter of `The Boro`.

His first band, who also supplied his first cornet, was the Cargo Fleet Works Junior Band, a company that later became part of British Steel Teesside. This was as Principal Cornet when the band was reforming in 1967. He later became a member of the senior band and played 2nd cornet at the London Finals Section 3 - his very first brass band contest in 1968. The family soon progressed to other local bands becoming prominent members of the Billingham Silver Band and then in 1971 Alan`s father reformed the defunct Haverton Hill Silver Band of which Alan was Principal Cornet for several years during which the band developed into a very successful organisation.

Alan also joined the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain in 1972 and completed 11 courses in total, working his way through the cornet section ending up as Leader for the two courses in 1977. It was at one of these courses in 1974 that he was approached to join a leading championship section band in the Durham area and made his Royal Albert Hall debut later that year on the front bench of Patchogue Plymouth Amoco Band. Several months later he became the bands Principal Cornet at 15 years of age.

In his earlier years he used to enjoy competing in local music festivals and won literally hundreds of prizes. He also played trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and piano as well as studying theory to diploma standard. He played semi-professionally in a local dance band on saxophone for a period, then took over from his father on lead trumpet on his retirement.

This led to many prestigious engagements in the area, backing big-name entertainers in local night-clubs and the Town Hall etc. However his first love in music was always the cornet and brass bands, and in 1976 he won the coveted title of Champion Soloist of Great Britain at Oxford when he beat all the big-names of the soloist circuit and was presented with the award and trophy by Harry Mortimer. Then, in 1978, he traveled to Australia and came away with the Champion of Champions title in Queensland for good measure.

After spells with the Amoco Band, Ever Ready Band and Fishburn Band, Alan joined the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band in April 1980, initially as second-man on the solo cornet team. He toured Italy, Austria, Germany and Australia with them before being promoted to Principal Cornet in mid-1982.

This was the launch-pad for a brilliant solo career that has taken him the length and breadth of Great Britain and many overseas tours and visits to all parts of the world.

During his time as Principal Cornet, Grimethorpe won the British Open twice, the National Championships at the Royal Albert Hall, Granada Band of the Year, Brass in Concert at Spennymoor several times, National Mineworkers Championships every year between 1983 & 1994, Yorkshire Area Championships twice and several other competitions including the UK Entertainments at Doncaster in 1991. They toured extensively throughout Europe and played at many International Festivals including Henry Wood Promenade Concerts at RAH, City of London Festival, Edinburgh Festival and many more. Alan was often the featured soloist in these programmes and over the years played dozens of different solos with the band.

Individual awards were also plentiful having won the best soloist award at Brass in Concert 3 times, (a record), and the best Principal Cornet award on no fewer than 6 occasions including 5 times in succession between 1990-94.

At the end of 1994 Alan left Grimethorpe Colliery Band to concentrate more on conducting, however he remained in demand as a soloist playing several major festivals as guest soloist including the All-England Masters Gala Concert and the Pre-Festival Concert of Enfield Citadel Band at St.John Smiths Square, London.

At the beginning of 1999 Richard Evans persuaded Alan to return to mainstream playing and he joined the JJB Sports Leyland Band as Principal Cornet - regrettably this turned out to be only a relatively short appointment due to the loss of sponsorship and in August 2000 Alan joined the Travelsphere Holidays Band, formerly known as GUS. 

Alan accepted the position of Principal Cornet with the world famous Brighouse and Rastrick Band, and took up his responsibilities at the beginning of 2003 and had latterly become Professional Conductor of the band leading them to success at the 2007 Yorkshire Regional Championship.


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