MUSICAL DIRECTOR : Chris Banks
I started my banding career at the tender age of 8 when my mother took me down to the village band following Dr Buchan’s famous advice when asked about my asthma; “ Get ‘im down t’ band – they’ll teach him t’ breath proper!!”
On joining my village band – Earby in the old West Riding – I progressed from cornet to euphonium to baritone before joining the Senior Band from the juniors on first baritone in 1982, when the band were in the second section. Then, following several invites to join Championship section bands, I moved in 1986 to join the Blackburn & Darwen Band following completion of studies on euphonium under Roy Curran and legendary euphonium player Robert Childs. With Blackburn and Darwen, I was lucky enough to work under the famous Wingates trombonist Gordon Clough, former resident conductor of the Besses O’ Th’ Barn Band the late Alec Evans and legendary percussionist John Anderson, then the resident of the Grimethorpe Colliery band before moving in 1990 to join the world famous Besses O’ Th’ Barn Band initially on baritone then Eb Bass, and it was during this time I made my first appearance as a conductor with Ripon City Brass Band, possibly being their youngest MD at the age of 21.
I then returned to local banding in the East Lancashire area in 1994, both playing and conducting Nelson Brass, and then a move to Oxford in 1997 signalled a break in my banding career, apart from very short spells with the Yarnton Band and Wantage Silver Band, when my career as a football referee took over, and the next few years were bandless. However, on meeting my second wife Debbie, I returned to the banding world in 2006, firstly joining Croft Silver in Leicestershire before moving to Amington Band as principal euphonium in 2009 and then Oddfellows Brass, in 2010 on euphonium and then Eb Bass I was then fortunate enough to be asked to join the Jaguar Landrover Band in December 2017 on Eb Bass, where I continue to play.
On a conducting front, I was MD of Coventry Festival Band from June 2014, introducing them to the contesting world at the Milton Keynes contest where they achieved a creditable 6th place in their section as an unregistered band, beating bands from both the third and fourth section, before taking over the baton at Syston Band in June 2015, taking them to their first contest win in twenty three years at the Oxford Contest and then to the National 4th Section Finals for the first time in their history by virtue of a second place finish at the 2016 Areas. There then followed several podium finishes at local contests before I took the decision to return to playing full time at Christmas last year.
Having taken over as MD of the Matlock Band, I look forward to a long and prosperous time with the band with the prime objective being to enjoy doing what we enjoy the most – good music played by a traditional brass band. I am fortunate to be linking up with a talented and capable group of players and am looking forward to some exciting times ahead!