Following the departure of Russell Gray from the MD seat, Leyland has announced the appointment of Jason Katsikaris as its new Musical Director.
At the same time, his previous band BTM has commented on the move and has announced the Australian's replacement for the coming months ahead.
Talent and energy
Leyland Band Chairman Gary Westwood told 4BR: "Jason worked with the band towards the end of 2007 and we immediately recognised his talent and energy. These qualities are exactly what Leyland Band requires to progress in the coming year."
"Looking to the first half of 2008, Leyland has a full concert schedule, a tour to Norway and innovative recording projects, while important contest qualifiers will be a major priority for the band. Everyone at Leyland is extremely excited about our partnership with Jason."
Jason worked with the band towards the end of 2007 and we immediately recognised his talent and energy. These qualities are exactly what Leyland Band requires to progress in the coming yearBand Chairman Gary Westwood
Meanwhile Jason Katsikaris commented to 4BR: "I’m thrilled with the appointment. Leyland is a fine band with a distinguished history. I’m humbled to be leading a band I admired so much as a young musician growing up in Australia."
He added: "I was really impressed with the band when I worked with them before Christmas. There are some wonderful soloists within the ranks and the depth of talent is far-reaching."
Jason also set out what he hopes to achieve: "The band and I have set out our objectives for the coming year and I’m extremely determined to realise them."
The Australian will make his debut as Musical Director at the Stroud Brass Band Festival in February. His first contest performance will be at the North West Regional Championships in March.
Meanwhile the appointment has been accepted with regret at the Australian's previous band, BTM.
They told 4BR: "It is with regret, but by mutual consent, that Jason Katsikaris has decided to leave to take up the position of Musical Director with Leyland Band. Jason has conducted BTM Band since February 2006 and is leaving for personal and employment reasons."
Under his baton the Welsh outfit enjoyed a succesful period of contesting success having gained qualification to the Grand Shield in 2006, narrowly missing out on qualification to the Open in 2007 and gaining a credible 7th place at the National Finals last year as well as winning the title of Welsh League Champions 2007.
Jeff Hutcherson, Band Manager told 4BR: "We would like to thank Jason for all his hard work and commitment over the past couple of years and wish him well for the future but not too well, especially when we meet Leyland head to head in the Grand Shield!
Jason has told BTM that he is keen to keep in touch and is looking forward to his return to Wales in April when the Band has a number of concerts and CD recordings.
For the immediate contesting season, BTM has already announced that of Graham O’Connor will take the Band in the Yeovil and Porthcawl Entertainment Contests as well as the Welsh Regional Contest in Swansea in March. The Band is currently in negotiation with a number of other conductors to take over the MD baton from the Spring.
Jeff Hutcherson concluded: "This is indeed a sad loss for BTM as we have been one of the highest climbers in the 4BR World Rankings, currently standing at 22 at the start of the new season."