Steven will be conducting the Whitburn Band at the British Open this year.
"As a young boy, I was taken up to the British Open by my father to listen to the bands. It was an amazing experience for me. Just hearing the great bands at King’s Hall such as Black Dyke and Brighouse made a huge impression – as did the sound they made and the brilliant playing – especially of the euphonium players.
That really kick started my playing – wanting to try and emulate what I had heard. The King’s Hall really was a special banding place.
A memorable occasion as a player was with CWS Glasgow on ‘Masquerade’ in 1993, conducted by Frans Violet. Everyone said the piece was close to being impossible, but we drew very early (number 2) and produced a cracker – and I played one of my best individual performances ever at the contest. We came 3rd, but it was one of the best performances I have been involved in."
When I was principal euphonium at Desford we were unbeatable at the Royal Albert Hall, but never seemed to be able to get any luck at the OpenSteven Mead
The flip side
"Unfortunately I have never been part of a winning performance at the British Open as a player, although I have come close a couple of times.
When I was principal euphonium at Desford we were unbeatable at the Royal Albert Hall, but never seemed to be able to get any luck at the Open. I don’t know why – perhaps it was that the sound of the band was more suited to the London contest.
Even though we played very well at the Open at times, we never really found any favour in the box. It’s strange that two different contests can throw up such differences."