2009 English National Championship - The adjudicators


There are three men to be impressed in the box at Preston, if bands want to get to Austria next year.

David HorsfieldDavid Horsfield:

David has figured in every facet of the brass band movement for fifty-five years; player, band trainer, adjudicator and music publisher. A cornetist, his first band was Clifton & Lightclife, but he soon joined the Brighouse & Rastrick Band where he stayed for nine years before moving “up the road” to the Black Dyke Mills Band, where he stayed for seven years. 

Three National Championships, one World Championship and two British Open titles were awarded to Dyke in this period.

When James Shepherd formed his Versatile Brass in 1972 David was among the original personnel, staying with this talented combination for twelve years, where he was the featured Flugel Horn soloist. Having been a member of such talented bands it is not surprising that David has toured many countries of the world, these including Australia, USA, Canada, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Norway and Switzerland.

His move to the other side of the brass band scene came in 1984 when he retired from playing in order to concentrate on his music publishing business Kirklees Music and since that time the family business has expanded to such an extent that today music and recordings from their catalogue find there way to all parts of the world. 

Over the years the Company has produced many high profile works from top composers Philip Wilby, Michael Ball and John Pickard and this has given David invaluable experience at the very top level of publishing.

He is a member of ABBA, working in a number of European countries as adjudicator including Belgium, France, Holland, Norway and Switzerland, together with numerous engagements for him to “sort out the bands” throughout the United Kingdom. In 1995 he was a founder member of the famous “Kings of Brass” and played in all its concerts and recordings including the final concert in the Isle of Man in 2001. 

July 2008 saw him once more playing in the memorable re-union concert by the James Shepherd Versatile Brass at the Brighouse Festival.

The year 2000 saw the birth of the Brighouse March & Hymn Tune charity contest which David created. He is a member of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and also a Freeman of the City of London.

Steve SykesSteve Sykes:

Steve Sykes is without doubt one of the finest soloists to emerge from the British brass scene.

His musical roots are firmly based in Yorkshire brass bands beginning with Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band. In 1978 he accepted an invitation by Elgar Howarth to join the famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band as Principal Tuba and Soloist. With Grimethorpe he performed as soloist throughout Europe and Australia. During this period Steve was awarded the prestigious title of ‘Granada Television Soloist of the Year’.

Because of an ever-increasing demand for Steve’s talent both as soloist, conductor and clinician, he works as a freelance musician appearing in the USA, Canada, Europe and Scandinavia and is a firm favourite with players and audiences alike.

Many compositions for solo tuba and orchestra/band have been inspired by, dedicated to and premiered by him, including major works by Ellerby, Golland, Ayma and Brand. One of the busiest soloists in the U.K, forthcoming engagements will see him performing in Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada and, of course, Europe.

Steve has been directing Championship section bands since the age of 22 - among his professional conducting appointments have been famous ensembles such as CWS (Co-op) (Glasgow) and SunLife (Stanshawe). He has directed bands at the National Finals, British Open, All England Masters and European Championships and, of course, has many commercial recordings and national radio broadcasts to his name.

Steve works with many bands as guest conductor, trainer and clinician throughout the year. Amongst these include BAYV (Cory), Leyland, Fairey, Tredegar, BTM etc. Whilst living in Cornwall he conducted the Camborne Band to three consecutive South West Championship wins and was responsible for the rise in prominence of the Mount Charles Band, bringing them ‘through the sections’ to Championship status.

He has presented British regional conducting workshops on behalf of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors and conducting seminars on behalf of the North American Brass Band Association in Washington DC.

He regularly appears as an adjudicator at leading music festivals throughout Britain, North America, Norway and Switzerland. As a measure of his standing in the brass band movement he was recently invited to adjudicate at the National Brass Band Finals in London’s Royal Albert Hall and in March 2001 Steve adjudicated at the Yorkshire Regional Championships - regarded by many has the hottest seat in brass band adjudication! Steve is included in the British Federation of Bands’ list of approved adjudicators.

Steve has appeared as guest artist with many famous ensembles including the U.S. Army Orchestra, HM Royal Marines, the Norwegian Navy Band, the Netherlands Brass Ensemble, the Canadian Air Force Band, Chicago Staff Band and UNC Symphonic Wind Ensemble. He has performed as soloist at the world renowned Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic (Chicago) – sharing the stage with jazz greats Bill Watrous and Arturo Sandoval. In 2002 he presented a solo recital in London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall.

As well as being a guest conductor of the Cory Band he also is a contesting member of their tuba section. The band is reining British Open Champions and European Champions – they are currently ranked as the world’s No1 brass band.

His first solo CD ‘Sykology’ has received acclaim not only from low brass aficionados but also from the wider musical world. Steve’s latest CD ‘Basso Bravissimo!’ is now in released and features accompaniments by The Royal Norwegian Navy Band, Brass Band De Bazuin (Oenkerk) – Holland and pianist Richard Phillips.

He is a member of the stellar ‘Brass Band of Battle Creek’ – a hand picked ensemble based in the USA that features the cream of the world’s finest brass performers.

Steve is also a member of the ‘World Of Brass’ Sextet which has amongst it’s ranks the finest members of both contesting and Salvation Army bands - i.e. Richard Marshall and Brett Baker (Black Dyke Band), Phillip Cobb (Hendon S.A./ International Staff Band) and Andrew Van Der Whele (New York Staff Band/International Staff Band) and Sheona White (YBS).

Steve has been engaged as clinician (and responsible for instrument development) by the Yamaha Corporation, Besson Musical Instruments and London Musical Instruments Ltd.

Wiliam ReltonWilliam Relton:

He is a trustee of ‘Brass Band Aid’, a charity involving brass musicians worldwide raising funds for ‘World Vision’. 

William Relton is a member of the Council of the Royal Albert Hall and is included on the Panel of Assessors for the Arts Council of England "Arts for Everyone" Lottery Fund.

His lifetime involvement in music started at the age of fourteen when he joined the Brighouse and Rastrick band, being appointed solo cornet at the age of seventeen. After National Service, he took up the post of Sub Principal Trumpet and Principal Cornet of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and left the CBSO after three years to take up one of the first £1,000 bursaries at the Royal College of Music.

During his studies at the college, William Relton played with all the major London orchestras and for one season was at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He joined the Orchestra of Sadlers Wells Opera (now ENO) where he was Principal Trumpet.

In 1957 he joined the BBC, first as a player in the BBC Concert Orchestra, being later appointed music producer. In 1970 he became Orchestra Manager of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and was promoted to General Manager in 1975. He has worked with all the great conductors of our day, from Ashkenazy, Bernstein and Boulex to Zender and Zinman, and was successful in appointing both Gennadi Rozhdesvensky and Sir John Pritchard to the post of Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He was responsible for all the Orchestra's activities including tours of Australia, China, Jpan and most European countries.

He left the BBC to take up the post of General Manager of the Eastern Orchestral Board, where he was responsible for the financing of some 250 concerts per year given by professional symphony and chamber orchestras.

Recently he has devoted more time to conducting and adjudication, and is on the Management Committee of the Donatella Flick Conductors Competition.

William Relton has been a familiar face in the "box" at the since he made his "debut" in 1977 with Havelock Nelson and Buxton Orr. Since then he has appeared on another 15 occasions, including 9 years in a row from 1986 � 1994 and a further four consecutive years from 1997 - 2000. 

He has also adjudicated at the Open, Masters and European Championships as well as contests at all levels throughout Europe and the World.


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