Dinner Guests - Kevin Crockford's ultimate brass band dinner guest list


Soprano superstar Kevin Crockford tells us who he would like to invite to come to dinner...dead or alive.

CrockfordGiven 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 Kevin Crockford, one of the greatest soprano players ever to perform in the banding world...
We've been fairly generous with our criteria too: The 10 people can come from any time in history, but must have some link, in however tenuous a form, to the brass band movement.

The budget for the meal and drinks comes out of their own pockets though (or possibly Grimethorpe's expense account...)


Kevin revealed to 4BR: "My first thoughts of selecting 10 guests for an evenings dining and conversation were initially somewhat daunting, until I started to pen a few names together, then it turned out to be very simple indeed.
I have attended several dinner parties over the years, as I’m sure we all have, some with banding friends and many with business. 

Sadly, in the main, I have to say I have enjoyed very few.

Generally there are always people there of a mixed bag, some saying just what others want to hear, some with delusions of grandeur talking nonsense in their pathetic attempts of impressing people who are perceived to have so called more favourable influence, and some who hardly utter a word in shear fear of saying the wrong thing and potentially letting themselves and possibly their friends down.

Genuine and honest

So, my idea of a great dinner party would be to dine with only genuine, honest people who have their own minds and have no need to feel they must say things just to impress. I’m talking about people who have nothing to prove, people who have achieved so much and also, people who have endless classic stories to relate.

I could invite so many more people, but 10 were my limit. I’m sure any bands people who know most of these legends would agree, this would be an evening never to be forgotten.

So, my choices for a guaranteed, fun packed evening with top-drawer conversation would be - " 

1. Dick Evans 

I have enjoyed nigh on 30 years of genuine friendship with Dick, we have worked together on many occasions and always when in his company, the time flies.

Dick is one of the best man managers I have known too, he never gets flustered and he always has a cool head and a calming influence. Ideal if any of these guests get too excited!

He’s done it all, he knows so much, he is the real thing and he is always full of great stories. No dinner could be complete without him.

2. Frank Renton

Another man in the Dick Evans mould, Frank loves to talk, he again has so many fabulous stories and his company and conversation is always so enjoyable.

He too has done so much, from conducting classic winning performances (Paganini at the ’91 Open in particular for me), hundreds of great concerts and with his comparing skills would, I’m sure, keep the evening alive.

3. Derek Jackson

Jacko has been a dear, personal friend since the day I walked into Dykes bandroom in late 1983. His welcoming words:  “Are you this Soprano player? I hate Soprano players”,  have always warmed me with endearment to the man - seriously, Jacko is his own man.

He’s a real legend too, nobody could make the stage floor rumble like he could with his BBb and nobody has paralleled his talents still.

Jacko of course, comes complete with the mandatory dry sense of humour that can kill at 100 yards. He is very funny company.

4. David Pogson

David took me under his wing in those early Dyke days, he was a tower of strength for me, such a genuine, lovely man who has been a close friend ever since.

Occasionally he stills plays with Grimey and when he does, I always room with him. He still makes a good cup of tea in the morning.

Poggy speaks his mind, I recall him threatening to wrap his flugel around the Principle and bumper up cornet players necks once, (no names mentioned, but I’m sure they’ll remember).

5. Lee Rigg

Lee was my playing partner for so many years at my three main bands, Dyke, Faireys, and Grimethorpe. Lee is a very special guy who again, speaks his mind, is extremely entertaining, and is as good a friend as one could ask for.

Lee is also the finest Rep player I have ever worked with. He is such a natural talent and possesses a huge sound unique only to Lee.

Lee has no falsehoods, everything is just the ways it is and for me, that’s just how it should be. Wonderfully, Lee is so funny without even being aware that he is.

6. John Hicks

John is probably not so well known as the previous guys, but anyone who has met “Hicksy” will never, ever forget him.

John is an amazing percussionist, all disciplines, and has always shown huge enthusiasm and dedication to the cause. His dedication to his ever-growing number of pupils is also a true testament to the man.

Hicksy is ex RAF, he likes a beer, a bigger character you could not meet, in fact, he is as mad as a box of frogs, but for a more genuine man and for sheer entertainment value, nobody comes close.

7. Bob Blackburn

Probably the finest baritone player in history, just retired, a great loss to brass bands.

Bob is never short of a word, and he’ll always tell you the right words, whether it’s what you want to hear or not. He pulls no punches. A  fantastic character with a great sense of humour, he also possesses a strong memory so is ready at the drop of a hat to spin a good old yarn.

It would be advisable though to ensure nobody slips any lager in his alcohol!

8. Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong, The long and dearly departed legend of the trumpet. The guy who had the face you’d give anything to talk to.

If we were all to be given the opportunity to meet one person in your life, my choice would be Satchmo. I would have loved to meet this man. The guy had so much talent, truly inspirational.

I reckon, Louis would have loved to spend an evening in the company of these guys.

9. Mr Young

Mr young (I never knew his Christian name) was my old junior schoolteacher in Pompey, whom I first started to learn the cornet with.

I would like him along as he once told me in front of the whole class: “You’ll never be a brass player young Crockford, not with those crooked front teeth, try the recorder”.

If he were still alive, I’m sure he’d share in the joke and thoroughly enjoy his evening.

Problem could be that Perhaps some of the guests would agree with him though.

10. Kerrie York

Lastly, I could not have an evening with these great guys without my long-suffering partner of 20 years there.

Kerrie certainly tells it as it is, she is always herself and couldn’t spell pretence if she tried. She has always been so popular with so many bandsman over the years and joins in whenever possible.

Over the years, I have been so lucky to enjoy her genuine support and massive understanding.

A brass widow she is, but never a complaint ever heard. (Besides, someone has to do the cooking!) (Ouch!!) 

 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 and Bramwell Tovey.


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