BB On the Record
Ian Porthouse on leading Tredegar to new heights, thinking outside the box - and having lunch with Bill Nighy | episode 8

Ian Porthouse on leading Tredegar to new heights, thinking outside the box - and having lunch with Bill Nighy | episode 8

July 16, 2020

Since returning to Tredegar Town Band in 2008, Ian has guided the Welsh band to new heights, enjoying considerable contesting success.

Under Ian, Tredegar hasn’t been afraid to think outside the box, from its involvement in the ballet Dark Arteries to recording for TV and film. From getting the thumbs up on Britain’s Got Talent to having lunch with actor Bill Nighy, Ian shares some of his fond memories with the band down the years.

He also looks back on some major musical influences, discusses conducting appointments in Austria and the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland – and explains why he doesn’t tend to use a baton. But first, Ian’s reflections on life in lockdown.

Lode Violet on his flourishing career, comparing the Belgian and UK band scenes and life in lockdown | episode 7

Lode Violet on his flourishing career, comparing the Belgian and UK band scenes and life in lockdown | episode 7

July 9, 2020

Still in his mid-twenties, Lode Violet has been around for some time; in fact, he’s already held the principal cornet chair in Brass Band Willebroek for around nine years.  

From studying with his dad to performing at the British Open, the holiday in France that ignited his desire to compose and his Piece of the Podcast, Lode provides a fascinating glimpse into his musical life.

Lode also lifts the lid on life in lockdown in Belgium. 

Edward Gregson on bands’ obsession with contesting, redressing the balance and the Ivors Awards | episode 6

Edward Gregson on bands’ obsession with contesting, redressing the balance and the Ivors Awards | episode 6

June 18, 2020

Over the past 50 years, the composer Edward Gregson has made a huge contribution to the brass band repertoire. Although his works for band only account for around 25 per cent of his compositions, it’s a world about which Edward has always been very passionate.

Edward also feels the time has come for brass bands to think seriously about what they want to be. Coming up, he chats about what he calls ‘the obsession with contesting’ and how it’s time to rebalance our thinking in order to ensure that bands can rightly be taken seriously in the wider musical world.

Edward began by giving his reaction to the news that the brass and wind band category has been omitted in the latest call for submissions from the Ivors Composer Awards.

Siobhan Bates on four years at Black Dyke, winning BrassPass Young Brass Award and sticking with the tenor horn | episode 5

Siobhan Bates on four years at Black Dyke, winning BrassPass Young Brass Award and sticking with the tenor horn | episode 5

June 4, 2020

She might only be in her early 20s but Siobhan Bates has already established herself with one of the most famous names in banding, and is celebrating four years in the principal horn seat at Black Dyke.

From her highlights with Dyke to winning the BrassPass Young Brass Award after nearly missing out and why she stuck with the tenor horn despite pressure to move elsewhere, you’ll hear it all in this podcast.

Anne Crookston on adjudicating, 30 years since that Nationals victory and her desire to see more women rising to the top | episode 4

Anne Crookston on adjudicating, 30 years since that Nationals victory and her desire to see more women rising to the top | episode 4

May 21, 2020

Who’d be an adjudicator? It’s a demanding and some might say, thankless task, but it’s a vital role. An adjudicator’s decisions can bring elation or desolation and a judge’s comments can make or break someone’s confidence.

Anne Crookston is relishing her role as an adjudicator, in normal times regularly travelling far and wide to run the rule over some of the best bands around. She has the experience to back it up; a career steeped in education, and a performer who played at the highest level for decades before channelling her energy into conducting – all of which she discusses in this podcast, as well as a certain victory at the National Brass Band Championships 30 years ago.

Tuba virtuoso Ross Knight on life as an orchestral musician in Switzerland - and how brass bands helped him get there | episode 3

Tuba virtuoso Ross Knight on life as an orchestral musician in Switzerland - and how brass bands helped him get there | episode 3

May 7, 2020

Tuba virtuoso Ross Knight chats to British Bandsman editor Mark Good about life with the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande and how the orchestra is adapting to life in lockdown.

Ross, a former winner of the former BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award, now run by BrassPass, reflects on how his grounding in brass bands has helped shape the musician he has become. He discusses life with the Carnoustie and District Youth Brass Band and fond memories at the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland, learning under the likes of Richard Evans, Craig Anderson and Les Neish.

Ross, who retains real affection for the brass band world, also discusses ways banding might be able to change for the better.

Russell Gray on driving up conducting standards, the highs, not-so-highs and how it all began | episode 2

Russell Gray on driving up conducting standards, the highs, not-so-highs and how it all began | episode 2

April 23, 2020

British Bandsman editor Mark Good hears from renowned conductor Russell Gray. From growing up in the once-famous Clydebank Burgh Band to performing with Black Dyke and conducting bands to victory all over the world, Russell enjoys a glowing reputation as a performer and conductor.

Russell discusses his new conducting manual, The Messanoic Method, and the need to drive up standards in brass band conducting. He also reflects on his conducting highlights to date and reveals the real reason he first picked up the baton as a youngster.

Sandy Smith on ‘lost’ test-pieces and the need to restructure | episode 1

Sandy Smith on ‘lost’ test-pieces and the need to restructure | episode 1

April 11, 2020

British Bandsman editor Mark Good hears from Sandy Smith following Sandy's appointment to the panel which selects music for the Regionals and National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. Sandy speaks candidly about 'lost' test-pieces, works which have fallen off the radar of contest organisers - and the need for them to return.

With the dust having settled on the 2020 Regionals, Sandy reflects on what he heard, offers his views on the gap between the Championship and First Section and says the time has come for change.