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Pritchard takes over Florida's key role

Gareth Pritchard has become the new Musical Director of Brass Band of Central Florida.

Gareth Pritchard

 

The Brass Band of Central Florida (BBCF) has announced the appointment of Gareth Pritchard as their new Musical Director.

The highly experienced Welshman moved to the US last year with his family and brings a CV that includes multiple title winning success at the highest level both in the UK and Europe.

Since the move to Florida Gareth has also worked in the local school system bringing the benefits of UK style brass band teaching to education boards.

Superb musicians

He told 4BR: "When we moved to Florida a year ago, this certainly wasn't on the agenda. It was only when Chad Shoopman announced that he was moving back home to Arizona, that the opportunity to conduct these superb musicians came about.

I have thoroughly enjoyed conducting the Youth Brass Band of Central Florida and being Musical Advisor to the main band. However, this is an amazing opportunity and I can't wait to see where this new journey will take us all.

I'm proud and honoured to accept the role as only the fourth Music Director of this wonderful organisation."

Arizona bound

It was also announced that Chad Shoopman is moving to Tucson, Arizona to be the Assistant Director of Music, Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Arizona, Fred Fox School of Music.

It is also something of a return home for Chad, who was born in Phoenix, and who studied at the same University.

Pleasure

He added: "The disappointment of leaving BBCF is tempered only by the rarity of the opportunity before me and the comfort of knowing the band will be in the wonderfully experienced and musical hands of Gareth Pritchard.

This past year, I've had the pleasure of calling on his counsel and musicianship, and he has given an extraordinary amount of time and talent to the band without agenda.

He has been a stalwart supporter of the BBCF from the minute he stepped foot in America, and to have someone with his immense brass band experience step into the MD role bears great hope for the future.

I could not be more honoured to pass the baton to someone I respect and admire so much. The Sunshine State shines a little brighter for the future."

However, this is an amazing opportunity and I can't wait to see where this new journey will take us all. I am proud and honoured to accept the role as only the fourth Music Director of this wonderful organisationGareth Pritchard

Top person

Meanwhile, Band President Dee McAfee, Band President added: "As per the Band's by-laws, a search for a replacement for Chad was undertaken after he announced his departure and we even received enquiries from overseas.

In the end, we auditioned four people and a secret ballot of all the playing members. Gareth easily came out on top as the person we at BBCF wanted to go forward with."

Gareth's first concert appearance in his new role will be leading BBCF at the prestigious St. Luke's Lutheran Church Music Festival, along with the likes of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Orlando Concert Wind Band in September.

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Rob Nesbitt

BSc, PG Cert. Ed.
Cartoonist , illustrator, writer