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Cornish Pope awarded Empire Medal

The inspirational Cornish conductor Alan Pope has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours List.

Alan Pope
  It will now be Alan Pope BEM after the inspirational conductor is awarded his New Year's Honour

The whole of the brass band movement will be joining in celebration after it was announced that Cornish conductor Alan Pope has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours List, for services to music and young people in Camborne.

Inspiration

Alan has been the inspiration behind the remarkable success of the Camborne Youth Band, and later its sibling off-shot Camborne Junior Contesting, since taking on the role as Musical Director in 1999.

During his period at the helm his bands have notched up a series of remarkable successes — including seven title wins at the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain — from Junior to Premier level.

Since 2007 he has also led the band as Camborne Junior Contesting against adult rivals — winning the West of England Regional Fourth Section title in 2013 and coming runner-up at the Fourth Section National Final in 2015.

They also claimed a hat-trick of wins at the famous Bugle Contest between 2013 and 2015.

Countless players

In addition he has helped to encourage and inspire countless youngsters to enjoy playing in a brass band — with many going on to play with bands up and down the length and breadth of the country.

In 2008 Alan was awarded the Harry Mortimer Medal from The Worshipful Company of Musicians in recognition of his services for the teaching of young people in the brass band movement.

Amazing

"It's amazing," he told 4BR when we managed to catch up with him in-between answering a host of telephone calls and e-mails from all around the banding world.

"I knew absolutely nothing about this until a letter came through the door in November. It's been incredible. I am very proud of course, but more thrilled for my family and especially for my wife who has been an amazing support to me."

Seven players

Alan revealed that when he first came to Camborne in 1999 they were down to just seven members — but with the support of the band committee and the enthusiasm of the players who started to come through the door, he has enjoyed every minute of it.

There are now 45 players in the two ensembles with more coming through from two training bands and a Beginners Section.

I knew absolutely nothing about this until a letter came through the door in November. It's been incredible. I am very proud of course, but more thrilled for my family and especially for my wife who has been an amazing support to meAlan Pope

Key to success

"That has been the key," he added. "And that is why they have deserved all the success. The youngsters have been are amazing — and it's been a joy to be able to conduct them. They have inspired me really. The award is for everyone involved in the band."

Alan is now looking forward to yet more success and will lead his youngsters to the Whit Friday contest for the very first time in June. "It's something we have wanted to do for a long time, so it will be great to go up there and show people that brass banding is alive and flourishing in our part of Cornwall.

And as for the presentation? "I don't know the exact date yet, but hopefully we will have a wonderful day at Buckingham Palace. That is going to be a day to remember."

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Howard J Evans

MA (Dist), Mus.B (hons), ARCM (hons), LRAM, LTCL, PGCE
Conductor, composer, arranger, tutor and pianist