2009 Butlins Mineworkers Championship - The Adjudicators


There is a very experienced mix of musical knowledge in the box on the weekend from Frank Renton to Simone Rebello.

Compere/First Section:

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 Radio 2 Listen to the Band has given the programme new life and vitality.   

Championship Section:

SparkePhilip Sparke: (Set work/Entertainment)

Philip Sparke was born in London and studied composition, trumpet and piano at the Royal College of Music, where he gained an ARCM.  It was at the College that his interest in bands arose. He played in the College wind orchestra and also formed a brass band among the students, writing several works for both ensembles.

At that time, his first published works appeared - Concert Prelude (brass band) and Gaudium (wind band). A growing interest in his music led to several commissions, his first major one being for the Centennial Brass Band Championships in New Zealand � The Land of the Long White Cloud.

Further commissions followed from individual bands, various band associations and the BBC, for whom he three times won the EBU New Music for Band Competition (with Slipstream, Skyrider and Orient Express). He has written for brass band championships in New Zealand, Switzerland, Holland, Australia and the UK, twice for the National Finals at the Albert Hall, and his test pieces are constantly in use wherever brass bands can be found.

A close association with banding in Japan led to a commission (Celebration) from and eventual recording of his music with the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. This opened the door worldwide to his wind band music and led to several commissions, particularly from the United States. In 1996 the US Air Force Band commissioned and recorded Dance Movements, which won the prestigious Sudler Prize in 1997. In 2005 Music of the Spheres won the National Band Association/William D. Revelli Memorial Band Composition Contest.

His conducting and adjudicating activities have taken him to most European countries, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the USA. He runs his own publishing company, Anglo Music Press, which he formed in May 2000. In September 2000 he was awarded the Iles Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians for his services to brass bands.

MorrisonAlan Morrison: (Set work)

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.

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.

HarperPhilip Harper: (Championship Entertainment and First 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.  

First Section:

Denis Wilby:

Denis Wilby was born in Horbury, Yorkshire. He began playing the cornet at the age of seven. During his National Service he was Principal Cornet with the Staff Band of the Royal Army Service Corps. He followed this by becoming Principal Trumpet with the BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra in Belfast.

He taught at the Belfast School of Music and conducted Agnes street Band during his period there. On his return to Britain he continued to play as a freelance trumpet player.

He was Resident Conductor of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band and first Musical Director of the James Shepherd Versatile Brass.He also had two years with the Wingates Band and worked on a freelance basis with Brighouse and Rastrick, Yorkshire Imperial Metals, Hammonds Sauce and Stocksbridge Engineering. He has also conducted in Norway and adjudicated at all Regional contests, the National Finals, Pontins and many other events in the brass band calendar.

He has arranged over 50 titles for brass band and in 1992 wrote the test piece for the youth bands at the Haukas Brass festival in Norway. For 23 years he was employed full time as a brass tutor with Wakefield Metropolitan Education Authority. In 1992 he became editor of the quarterly brass magazine "Brass Review".

Paul Norley:

Paul Norley began his musical career learning to play the cornet and, later, tenor horn with the Totnes Band.

In 1982 he joined the Army and it was here that he learned clarinet, saxophone and violin. On completion of training he joined the Regimental Band of The First Royal Tank Regiment and was posted to Germany and served with 5 Armoured Field Ambulance in the first Gulf War.

In 1994 Paul was posted to The Band of The Royal Lancers as Sergeant in charge of musical training and enjoyed two years as MD of Hungerford Town Band. In 1996 he attended the Royal Military School of Music, graduating in 1998 with prizes for instrumental performance and composition. He was also awarded a LRSMD in Bandmastership and a BA Degree in Music. During his time at Kneller Hall he became MD of Thames Brass.

In 2000 Paul took up position as Bandmaster of the Band of The Light Division, studied with the University of Salford and was awarded the Licentiate Diploma in Brass Band Adjudication in 2002.

Paul is currently the Staff Bandmaster at the Headquarters Directorate Corps of Army Music, Kneller Hall and has been the MD for Verwood Concert Brass since April 2003. 

Second Section:

RobertsPeter Roberts: 

Peter Roberts needs no introduction to brass band audiences all over the World. He has long been regarded as the finest exponent of the soprano cornet in the history of the brass band movement and his talents have seen him perform on all the major contesting and concert stages in the UK, Europe and abroad.

He was born in Grimethorpe in 1950 and his early musical career was linked that famous band, where he played soprano cornet for many years. A miner by trade, he lost his job following the end of the pit closures, but immediately retrained himself in music to gain professional qualifications and an honours degree from Barnsley College under Major Peter Parkes.

His roll of honour of contesting wins reads like no other – 7 British Open victories, 1 National Championship, 7 European titles, 2 All England Masters titles, 2 British Open Solo Championships, 6 Granada Band of the Year titles, 4 British Open Eb/Bb solo titles, 1 Granada Band of the Year Soloist Award, 1 Swiss Open Soloist award, 2 Brass in Concert Soloist awards, 3 Mineworkers Senior Solo Champion titles and 1 New Zealand Champion of Champion s title.

Recently he released his eagerly awaited solo CD, entitled appropriately "Legend" which has become a phenomenal best seller by brass band standards. The book of the same name has also been bought by his legion of many fans.

Since 1997 he has been part of the amazingly successful Yorkshire Building Society Band and was a member of the famous Virtuosi Brass Band of Great Britain and the Kings of Brass, whilst in the USA he has been a member of the famous Brass Band of Battle Creek. In 2005 he joined the Black Dyke Band, retiring from playing at the end of 2007.

SouthcottDerek Southcott:

Derek is a talented and highly respected musician having a rich variety of experience in performance, teaching and adjudicating.

Always dedicated to his art, by the age of 18 Derek was awarded the Champion Trombone Player of Great Britain. In the same year he was also a member of the Champion Trombone Quartet of Great Britain alongside his fellow band members from Black Dyke Mills Band.

No stranger to the world of entertainment, for 22 years he has played with the world renowned Syd Lawrence Orchestra as principal trombone and toured with international artists such as Johnny Mathis and Shirley Bassey. 

He has played in over 4000 recording sessions playing with the BBC Northern Radio Orchestra, James Shepherd Versatile Brass as principal trombonist, and Yorkshire Television, Granada, Welsh Television BBC and many independent television companies as a session musician and as a soloist.

As a teacher Derek spent six years as a Professor of Brass Instrumental Teaching for the British Army. He has spent three year as trombone tutor and examiner for Leeds College of Music. He still continues to work with young people and has been responsible for the development of music in schools, setting up and conducting successful wind bands and dance bands in a number of schools in the Yorkshire and Lancashire areas.

As a consultant and clinician Derek has traveled extensively and still regularly visits Norway and Switzerland to lecture and perform.

His credentials as an adjudicator are equally impressive. Derek has been adjudicator at the Stavanger Festival in Norway and on home soil at Spennymoor Brass in Concert and Whit Friday.

He continues to perform with the Derek Southcott Sextet, running his own Calder Valley Youth Dance Orchestra and teaching in 7 different schools and conducting all their musical ensembles.  

Third Section:
BuckleyC. Brian Buckley:

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. 
SwainsonTony Swainson:

Tony came from the ranks of the Salvation Army, based at the Chester le Street Corps in the north east of England. 

His professional debut came with the Halle Orchestra in 1968 and he was appointed principal Tuba with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra 3 years later where he remained until December 1997 when he decided to develop his career as a conductor, composer and teacher. 

Tony has enjoyed considerable success conducting bands in Scotland, England and Norway and has several TV, radio and commercial recordings to his credit. 

Associated with the Bon-Accord Silver Band since early 1999 he has twice led the band to victory in their section at the Scottish Championships. His teaching activities focus on the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where he is Professor of Tuba. 

Fourth Section:

RebelloSimone Rebello:

Simone regularly performs with the internationally renowned BackBeat Percussion Quartet of which she is a founder member. The group tours extensively in Japan and America and have also given concerts in Zimbabwe, the Cayman Islands and throughout Europe. 

In addition to recording 2 CDs and numerous international TV and radio broadcasts the group has won several competitions including the Royal Over - Seas League Ensemble Prize (1997), The Osaka International Chamber Music Festa (1999) and The USA Concert Artists Guild (2001) which led to a USA debut at The Weill Hall - Carnegie Hall. The group has commissioned several new works and its 2002 Proms debut was broadcast live on BBC television. 

In 1997 Simone formed Equivox with leading saxophonist Rob Buckland and this contemporary music group record and perform internationally. They have commissioned several new works and are releasing their latest CD in 2005. Simone collaborates with various musicians on projects and continues to work as a solo recitalist with pianist/organist Julian Wilkins.

Simone devises and presents concerts and workshops to children of all ages and works annually with Young World UK who produce concerts featuring large choirs (up to 8000 children) in UK arenas including the Manchester Evening News Arena. 

She is frequently asked to adjudicate at national and international brass and wind band competitions, percussion festivals and events for BBC Radio, and speaks regularly at events concerning performance skills, the development of concerts and workshops for children and general percussion topics. 

Simone Rebello is a solo artist and endorsee for Yamaha- Kemble UK.

NicholsonLynda Nicholson:

Lynda was born in London into a banding family and played cornet in several bands in the South of England. She was appointed Leader of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain on six courses, later becoming involved, as a member of the tutorial staff and in 2004 as the Music Director of the inaugural course of the National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain.

She studied trumpet at the Royal College of Music, gaining the A.R.C.M. diploma, and the G.R.S.M. (Hons.) degree and followed this with post-graduate teacher training. She is a highly respected brass teacher, with many of her present and former students playing in top-flight bands and orchestras. She lectured on 'The Art of Brass Teaching' at the Royal Northern College of Music and has been a Mentor for the Associated Boards' Certificate of Teaching course.

Her distinguished path as a cornet player has seen her play Principal/Assistant Principal with The Foden Band, The Desford Colliery Band, The Wingates Band and The Black Dyke Band.

Since 1988, she has been Music Director of The St. Helens Youth Brass Band, steering them to many concert and competition successes, including six National Championship titles. Under Lynda’s leadership, SHYBB has flourished to the extent that a Training Band and a Beginners Band have also been formed.

She was the 1999 recipient of the prestigious Harry Mortimer Medal awarded annually by the Worshipful Company of Musicians.


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