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2014 4BR Awards — Special Award

Our 4BR Special Award this year goes to the great Mike Shenton, the Secretary of Black Dyke Band.

Mike Shenton
Waiting in the wings: Mike Shenton 

Every band revels in the glory of victory. However, success only comes with hard work and commitment - and it is not just the players and the MD who have to put it in either.

Unsung hero

The unsung heroes of the banding world are the administrators - the grafters who also sacrifice themselves to long hours in the bandroom, the dedication and the practice; the men and women who can never please everyone all the time, but do a remarkable job in keeping the vast majority of them in blissful ignorance of just what it takes to run a successful brass band.

One such man is Mike Shenton, Secretary of Black Dyke - the recipient of the 2014 4BR Special Award.

Integral part

Like hundreds of others at every level in the banding world, he is an administrator who has the love of his band running through his veins - and as a result his contribution to Black Dyke’s ongoing success (and especially in 2014), is every bit as integral as that of the Director of Music, Prof Nicholas Childs or any player.

He may well be the man you see on stage representing the famous Yorkshire band at all the major contests - the one who in 2014 had the joyful experience of getting his hands on the British Open and National Championship trophies before anyone else.

However, he is also the chap who has to deal with the reams of daily correspondence that flood into the Queensbury bandroom; concert requests and logistics, new uniforms and merchandise, visitors, CD bookings, player registration, day to day finances, book the buses, sell the CDs at concerts, and polish those trophies...

It is his job to ensure that the Black Dyke juggernaut is working at 100% efficiency, before a note is blown.  

Mike Shenton
Another job to do...

Central to this success has been the very effective working relationship with the Prof Nicholas Childs - one that the Director of Music knows is key to a band that undertakes a performance workload that would be the envy of a professional orchestra. 

Don’t be surprised to learn then, that he is also the bloke that most probably locks up the door to the bandroom after rehearsal each night and puts out the rubbish for the bin men to collect too.

National champion

A former cornet and euphonium player, Mike enjoyed banding success as part of the Ecclesfield Band that won the Fourth Section National title in 1978, before moving to enjoy further happy times with Stannington. 

His increasingly successful professional career limited his time he could give to his banding passions, but he became involved once more at Rothwell on the administration side of things.

Crowning glory
Crowning glory...

With his step-son Tom Hutchinson eventually joining Black Dyke in late 2006, and with a little more free time professionally, he was able to enjoy top class banding once more. 

When the role of Secretary at Black Dyke became arose following the retirement of Geoff Whitely, the band had found the perfect person for the role.

Highly professional

Ever since he has been a stalwart presence; a friendly, highly professional part of the Black Dyke team. He is always welcoming and supportive, is one of the first to offer congratulations to others, and one of the first to ensure that the spotlight of success, when it comes, is reflected directly to the MD and the band.    

Mike Shenton represents all that is good about brass banding - especially at what can be a very cut throat, elite level. He is the embodiment of countless others like him - selfless, passionate and dedicated.

In a year in which his beloved band claimed a historic ‘Double’, he is the most worthy of recipients of the 4BR Special Award. 



The Marple Band - The Marple Band presents Music from Musicals

Saturday 23 June • Stockport Grammar School. Buxton Road. Stockport SK2 7AF


Elland Silver Band - Elland Silver Band

Saturday 23 June • Blackley Blackley Church Prospect View Elland HX5 0TD


Blidworth Welfare Band - Organist Keith Hearnshaw

Saturday 23 June • St Andrews Church, The Green, Swanwick, Derbys DE55 1AN


Besses o' th' Barn Band - Charity Celebration Concert

Saturday 23 June • St Thomas Church, Warrington Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield WN4 9PL


York Railway Institute Band - Dan Thomas - Euphonium

Saturday 23 June • Central Methodist Church. St Saviourgate. York. YO1 8NQ YO1 8NQ


Frampton on Severn Silver Band

June 22 • We are a friendly non-contesting band in Gloucestershire looking for players, particularly cornets, baritone and basses, but all are welcome. We play at many local events and bandstand jobs, and practice on Tuesday evenings just off Junction 13 of the M5.


Crewe Brass

June 22 • Crewe Brass currently have vacancies for Eb and BBb Bass, Baritone, and Cornet. We are a friendly, social first section band with a good mix of concerts and contests, and rehearse on Monday and Friday evenings in Shavington, Crewe.


Lydbrook Band

June 22 • Lydbrook Band are recruiting a 2nd Trombone to our join our Championship section band . This is a great opportunity to be part of the premier band in the Royal Forest of Dean.


Christopher Houlding

MMus, GGSM, LRAM
Conductor, Performer, Educator