2007 Lower Section National Finals - The Adjudicators


These are the eight men in the box at Harrogate this year. Plenty of experienced ears in the mix too.

BuckleyC. Brian Buckley:
First Section

Brian holds regular appointments at major brass and wind band festivals throughout the United Kingdom, including the National and Pontins Championship Contests; these are an integral part of his busy schedule. 

Holding Conducting, Performing and Teacher Diplomas, Brian is a busy, widely travelled and experienced adjudicator and examiner. He is at present, the only member of the Association that has just been elected an Executive member of the Council of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators (ABBA) and who lives in Wales. He is also the Chairman of the N.A.B.B.C. (Wales Area).

For the past fifteen years, Brian has enjoyed the challenges of freelance conducting – a situation that has been strongly by his demanding and continuing role as a leading Consultant in Water Sciences and Risk Management.

Since taking up the baton I 1968, Brian has focused his attention on bands mainly within Wales and the West Country and has been extremely successful. Promotion form the lower sections through to the Championship Section status in successive years, collecting National honours en route has become the norm.

From his early teens, Brian established a sound reputation as a cornet and trumpet soloist of quality having occupied the Principal Cornet chair with one of Wales’ leading bands – Tredegar – for almost 25 years. One of the early products of the Youth Music policy in Wales much of his time is taken up with steering and acting as mentor to aspiring young musicians, to stimulate and benchmark their progress both musically and technically. 

Wing Commander Rob Wiffen OBE:
First Section

Rob Wiffen played the trombone in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, later becoming principal trombone with the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. He has directed the Band of the RAF Regt, the Western Band of he RAF and the Central Band.

His promotion to Principal Director of Music, Royal Air Force in 1998 made him the 12th in the line of distinguished musicians who have held this prestigious appointment. Away from the RAF he has enlarged his reputation by conducting orchestras, wind ensembles and brass bands. He enjoys playing the guitar and trombone, but of necessity now spends more time arranging and composing and visiting Spain. 

HardyColin Hardy:
Second Section

Colin began playing at Highfield School under Elizabeth Lumb and Arthur Atkinson before moving to Gomersal Mills Band, during this time he became a member of the National Youth Band for 5 years and in that time achieved both principal baritone and principal trombone. He has played in various championship Bands, 2 years in Crossley’s Carpets, 4 years in Brighouse and Rastrick followed by 12 years in Black Dyke Mills Band with whom he won 4 National Championships, 4 British Opens (including one Hat Trick and one Double) as well as touring the US, Canada, Switzerland, Holland and France. Also during this time he was also a regular member of the Virtuoso Band.

In 1983 he became the conductor of the Drighlington Band and during his 10 year reign took them from the Fourth Section to the championship section in 7 years, a record of which he is justifiably proud. During this time they qualified for the National Finals on 4 occasions winning both the 4th and 3rd Sections in consecutive years. In addition to this they won the 4th, 3rd and 2nd Sections of the Pontins Finals in consecutive years. In 1993 he left the band to concentrate on his business and freelance work.

For nearly 30 years Colin worked in the music business selling brass band instruments and music for Barratts, Kitchens of Leeds and until recently, his own business, Band Supplies Leeds, from which he has now retired.

His most recent pride and joy is being a member of the 'Kings of Brass', who gave regular Concerts and have made 3 CDs.

He now concentrates on freelance conducting and adjudicating and is on the official federation panel of Nationals Adjudicators as well as being a member of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators. Colin has adjudicated at many Area contests and the National Finals as well as local Contests in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. He recently adjudicated at a music festival and is also on the Pontins and CISWO official lists. In his spare time he is the national treasurer of the NABBC. 

HarperPhilip Harper:
Second Section

Philip Harper is regarded as one of the leading brass band conductors and composers in the UK. 

He is currently the Musical Director of the PolySteel Band and studied music at Bristol University. He lived in Japan for two years and conducted many of their leading brass bands.  In 2001 he became MD of the Flowers Band after a period conducting the Thornbury Band and has since led them to many prizes in all major contests including in the past two years, West of England Regional Champions, Grand Shield winners and Butlins Mineworkers Champion.

Philip is in great demand as a guest conductor appearing with many leading UK bands as well as being a guest conductor with the Cornwall Youth Band and Mount Charles Youth Band.

He is a prolific composer and arranger with numerous works used at major contests throughout the world. 

HopeAlan Hope:
Third Section

Alan Hope has been involved in the brass band movement for as long as he cares to remember. A former euphonium player in his native North East he took up playing the bass trombone while in the Royal Air Force. Alan started conducting in the 1970's and after success with a number of lower section bands he moved into the Championship Section where, for a period of fifteen years, he conducted a number of bands with considerable success. He has over the years been involved as player and conductor of many of the bands in the North of England.

A former teacher in Sunderland, he has experienced brass banding at all levels, having been involved with the School's band movement and also with the musical education of many hundreds of pupils. He was for some years the conductor of the North Regional Youth Band.

Alan has been involved with band administration for many years and has been the North of England Regional Secretary of the National Contesting Council and Chairman of the Music Selection Panel for the National Championships. He is in demand as an adjudicator and has in recent years adjudicated at many Regional Contests, National Finals, CISWO Finals and Association Contests all over Great Britain.

Alan is a member of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators and is on the list of Apporoved National Adjudicators. 

Chris DaviesLieutenant Colonel Chris Davis BA(Hons) MMus DMA LRAM RM:
Third Section

Born in 1959 in Eastleigh, Hampshire, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Davis took an early interest in music, playing in various combinations in and around the Winchester area. These included, from 1969, the Hampshire Youth Concert Band under the direction of John Knight, until he joined the Royal Marines Band Service in the September of 1975.

On completion of three years training at the Royal Marines School of Music he joined the Band of the Commander in Chief Naval Home Command as a clarinet and violin player. The next eight years, six as leader of the orchestra, saw continuous service on board Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia, including two circumnavigations of the world, two Royal Honeymoon Cruises and trips to the Americas, Australasia and the Far East.

Having completed the Bandmasters class of 1988 and receiving the Silver Medal of the Worship Company of Musicians he was promoted to Band Sergeant. There then followed a year as a member of the Band of the Commander in Chief Fleet, gaining his Licentiate from the Royal Academy of Music.

With a return to the Band of Commander in Chief Naval Home Command in 1989 came promotion to Band Colour Sergeant and further trips as leader of the orchestra on board Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia. 1992 saw a return to the Royal Marines School of Music as the leader of the Staff Orchestra. It was also during this year that he was successful on the Admiralty Interview Board and was commissioned on the 1 January 1993.

There followed two years study at University College Salford, where he gained a First Class Honours Degree in Band Musicianship, studying conducting with David King and composition under Ray Steadman-Allen and Peter Graham. On graduating from University College Salford he was appointed Assistant to the Principal Director of Music in July 1994.

He was appointed Director of Music, Royal Marines Band Scotland based at HMS Caledonia in Rosyth, in July 1995 and spent 3 years in charge of the band performing at venues throughout the United Kingdom.

With promotion to Captain and his departure from the Scotland Band, he undertook a period of training at the Joint Services Command and Staff College at Bracknell. On completion of this Initial Staff Course he was appointment as Director of Music Training at the Royal Marines School of Music in October 1998. He was promoted to Major 1 July 1999.

During the summer of 2000 he found himself returning to the Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth, the band in which he began his playing career, as its Director of Music. A Successful 2 year period followed, with tours to Thailand and Washington DC being the highlights of his tenure.

In July 2002 Lieutenant Colonel Davis assumed the position of Commandant of the Royal Marines School of Music and Principal Director of Music Royal Marines, the seventh in a line of celebrated musicians who have held the appointment.

Lieutenant Colonel Davis resides with his wife Helen and their two children Jamie and Sarah at Warsash near Southampton. 

HirstDavid Hirst:
Fourth Section

David Hirst began his musical career at the age of ten with the local village band playing cornet: he made rapid progress on the instrument, and, at the age of fourteen was accepted into the Yorkshire Imperial Metals Band on the solo cornet bench. 

Two years later David joined the Black Dyke Mills Band on Soprano Cornet, where he had four successful years including wins at the British Open, National and World Championships.

In 1972 David began studying music at the University of Huddersfield, being taught trumpet by Maurice Murphy. A growing interest in Orchestral and Big Band playing led him to being one of the early members of the James Shepherd Versatile Brass.

In 1978 David rejoined the Black Dyke Mills Band on Soprano cornet enjoying further contest success.

By the mid 70's he was conducting various village bands before being appointed in 1980 as the Musical Director of the Andrews Heat for Hire Band. After five successful years he then took over as Musical Director at the Lewington Yamaha Band followed by two years as the Resident Conductor at Black Dyke conducting the band during their historic tour of Australia in 1988. In 1990 David returned to the Yorkshire Imperial Band conducting them at the British Open, All England Masters and as prize-winners at the “Brass in Concert” competition over three successive years.

In 1994 David was invited to join the ‘World Famous’ Brighouse & Rastrick Band as Resident Musical Director. During this period the Band have been National Champions (1997 & 8), European Champions (1998) and All England Masters Champions (1997 & 2001) in addition to Yorkshire Area Champions (1995 & 1997). 

RamsayAllan Ramsay:
Fourth Section

Allan Ramsay is regarded as one of Scotland's most successful conductors in recent years.  

His formative musical tuition began in the Salvation Army at Govan Citadel and he went on to become the principal cornet of the then CWS (Glasgow) Band and in 1990 became the first, and to date the only, Scottish band to win the coveted National Championship title in the Royal Albert Hall.

In the mid 1990's Allan was appointed as musical director to the Kirkintilloch Band and for the next seven years, led the band through the most successful period in their history in terms of contest successes, culminating in winning the Grand Shield title in 2001.

Further successes followed with Unison Kinneil, Newtongrange and Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Bands. 


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