Following a relaxing Christmas break, Black Dyke principal cornet Richard Marshall has enjoyed a busy start to 2019 with a visit to both Norway and Skegness already stamped on his banding passport.
As soon as the New Year celebrations were over, Richard took up an offer from his former Queensbury colleague Joe Cook, to help prepare Fjell Brass for their appearance at the forthcoming Norwegian National Championships.
Joe told 4BR: "We were delighted to welcome Richard for what has become a great annual visit — and one that certainly helps the band with its National preparations.
We had a weekend of intensive sectionals and rehearsals followed by a successful concert in Bergen, where we shared the conducting and solo duties. It was a great start to the year for the band."
With support from the Royal Northern College of Music, Richard also visited Manger Følkøyskole to work with cornet students, before presenting a performance masterclass and conducting their award winning brass band.
Commenting on the Besson artist's visit, Henning Anundsen said: "Our students enjoyed a full and inspiring day with Richard. It was great to hear him talk about his development as a player and about student life at the RNCM, which certainly informed our students of what they could go on to achieve. Everyone left uplifted by the experience."
Richard also found time to visit Skodvin Skulemusikk, where he worked on Eric Ball's 'Contest Day' as well as give tips to the payers on how to both approach and improve their practice regimes.
"It was a great way to start the year," Richard said. "The desire, enthusiasm and talent that forms the basis of the Norwegian brass banding movement continues to go from strength to strength — helped by the likes of Joe and Henning.
It's always a visit I enjoy and I wish the all the very best for the year ahead."
On his return Richard swapped the fjords for the flatlands of Lincolnshire with a mini-break with his family to the Butlins Mineworkers Championships in Skegness where he adjudicated at the revived British Open Solo & Quartet Championships.
"That was also a great weekend — mixing brass bands and family time. It's such a well run event and the playing in the Solo and Quartet Championships was both encouraging and excellent — especially with the Intermediate performers.
I really hope this takes off as Butlins is offering wonderful support for an event that provides invaluable experience for players of all ages."
Now though it's back to work with Black Dyke with another busy year in what will be his 14th year sat in the most famous cornet seat in the banding world.
"It remains the greatest honour to be principal cornet Black Dyke," he said. "However busy you with the band you never get bored and I'm sure there are going to be plenty of memorable experiences to look forward to this year."