2011 Archived Leyland News

Champions broadcast to start 2012 – 28th December 2011

Leyland’s winning performance at the 2011 Brass in Concert Championships will be broadcast on the 4th January on BBC Radio 2.


BBC Radio 2’s “Listen to the Band” hosted by Frank Renton, presents Leyland Band’s 2011 Championships winning performance with conductor Richard Evans.

BBC Radio 2,

Wednesday 4th January 2012, 9.30pm – 10.00pm


Lewis stars on “Friday Night is Music Night” – 17th December 2011

Principal Euphonium Lewis Musson is guest soloist with the BBC Concert Orchestra in a seasonal broadcast of Radio 2’s flagship “Friday Night Is Music Night”


Building on his award of “Radio 2’s Young Brass Soloist of 2011”, Leyland’s Pirncipal Euphonium star Lewis Musson, was invited to perform as featured soloist with the renowned BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Richard Balcombe.

The show recorded at the Mermaid Theatre, London on the 9th December featured a festive repertoire including “Troika”, “Sleighride” and “A Christmas Festival Overture”.

Lewis took full advantage of this wonderful showcase for his talents performing three solo items accompanied by the orchestra – for which he was full of praise and admiration.

First up “Variations on Rule Britannia” by Thomas Arne, followed immediately with the Irish melody “Macushla” by Dermot MacMurroch.

Other featured solists on the night were singers Janis Kelly and Graham Bickley. Lewis’s third item was the 3rd Movement of Vladimir Cosmo’s “Euphonium Concerto”.

The program introduced by Ken Bruce was broadcast on Friday the 16th December and is available to listen to on the BBCi Player (link below) until Friday the 23rd December.


Chairman Littlemore recognised by the Palace! – 14th December 2011

Leyland’s long standing servant and chairman, Allan Littlemore has been invited to Buckingham Palace.


Allan and wife Janet have been invited to attend The Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palce in May 2012. The invitation was received from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and is in recognition of Allan’s “extraordinary service to cricket and music”.

Allan’s work with Leyland over many years has laid the foundations for the healthy future of the band, and before that he also held the position of band manager of Fodens Band.

All at Leyland value Allan’s substantial contribution and guidance to the band, and we are thrilled and delighted at this recognition – made all the more special to be taking place in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year.

It’s Leigh for Leyland – new Musical Director – 25th November 2011

Leyland are delighted to announce the arrival of Leigh Baker as Musical Director – completing a trio of top conductors who will steer Leyland through 2012 and beyond

Hot on the heels of their victory at the Brass in Concert Championships, Leyland Band are delighted to announce the appointment of Leigh Baker as their new musical director. Originally from Leicestershire, Leigh is head of Creative and Expressive Arts at Honley High School near his home in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. After a nineteen year playing career with the Brighouse & Rastrick Band, Leigh retired in 2009 to concentrate on conducting, composing and arranging. He previously held the position of resident conductor at Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band, alongside his many successes as conductor of South Yorkshire Police Band and is well known for his outstanding output of band music.

Band Administrator, Iain McKnight commented: “We are thrilled that Leigh has accepted the position of musical director. All of the band were thoroughly impressed with his work in the bandroom and with his attitude and professionalism.

I initially contacted Leigh to take a few rehearsals in preparation for our Brass in Concert appearance, and he ended up contributing a significant amount of music and ideas to what turned out to be the winning programme! What better start could you ask for?”

Leigh added: “I’m delighted to be joining Leyland at such an exciting time. I’m looking forward to the quality concerts planned for next year as well as some contest work in the near future.  The band is a very ambitious outfit with such a forward looking approach and I can’t wait to get started.  I’m also full of ideas for new music to enrich the band’s repertoire.


I’ve had a most enjoyable stay at Carlton Main and I would like to thank them for their hard work and teamwork but the prospect of taking the steering wheel at Leyland, working alongside Michael Bach and Richard Evans is a fantastic opportunity.”

The news of Leigh’s appointment follows the announcement of Michael Bach as the band’s professional conductor and the approval by South Ribble Borough Council of the band’s application to create a permanent rehearsal facility in Leyland.

“Given all of our recent news, coupled with the Brass in Concert win and some great new signings, I believe Leyland Band will be an exciting place to be in 2012,” concluded Iain. “We look forward to working with Leigh to further strengthen the band’s musical standing through next year and beyond!”


Top Cat’s! – Leyland claim 2011 Brass In Concert title – 20th November 2011

Leyland Band conducted by Richard Evans become Brass in Concert Champions for the 5th time.

Richard Evans – the most successful conductor in the history of the Brass in Concert – steered Leyland to a fantastic win at the 2011 Championships.

With an outstanding program backed up with excellent musical performance Leyland  to 1st prize ahead of a high class international field, scoring 196 (200) for quality of performance, and 10 out of 11 for entertainment.

Richard made his own history in a remarkable career – with this win he has notched up victories at the annual premier entertainment competition in 4 separate decades.

Not only that, this was his ninth win at the competition having won twice with Grimethorpe Band, twice with Brighouse and Rastrick, and now 5 times with Leyland. He was deservedly awarded the Peter Hartley Memorial Trophy as the winning musical director.

Performing last of the 11 bands competitng, Leyland opened with a snappy minute long version of the “Top Cat” cartoon theme to pay homage to their own top cat – Richard Evans – already the most successful conductor at the Championships, this was to be another triumph. Next up was Leyland’s march entry, “Imperial Echoes” (Safroni) which was performed with due swagger that few can match. Nobody did on the day, and Leyland took away the prize for the Best Own Choice March – for the second year in succession.

John Doyle then took to his feet to bring a tear to Richard’s eye with a sumptious pefomance on trumpet of “People” (in the Stanley Black setting).

More trumpets and a change of pace next. Leigh Baker’s terrific arrangement of the Beatles song “Gotta to Get You into My Life” inspired by the Earth, Wind and Fire version featured 4 trumpets joined by 4 trombones – Lewis Musson swapping his euphonium to join the bone section (for 1 item only!).

From this to reflective mood, with Stephen Bulla’s gorgeous setting of the hymn “Melita“, a standard of Leyland concerts which evokes high emotion for audiences and band alike.

And so to the finale, a brilliant brand new arrangement by Iain McKnight (Leyland’s Eb tuba player) of “Francesca Da Rimini” (Tchaikovsky) which brought the performance to a fittingly exciting finale – or so Richard thought!!

As he headed off stage with the cheers of the audience ringing around the hall, the band struck a mini reprise of the opening number “Top Cat” at half tempo in thanks of Richard’s incredible efforts – maybe a slight indulgence, but the proof of the pudding……..

Richard commented after the result – “This victory is fown to them (Leyland Band) today. They are such a great bunch, and so willing to work for the Leyland cause. I can’t thank them enough.”

John Doyle echoed those comments – “It’s been amazing to work with the great man again. You just want to enjoy playing your best for him when he conducts, he’s such an imspiration”.

Leyland also took the award for the first time in their history of the Youngest Player competing – Richard Kaye aged 14 and making his competition debut with the band on percussion.

John said – “We are a relatively young band but are a very ambitious one. If you are good enough, Leyland will give you that chance to experience and contribute to top class music making”.


That wasn’t the end of the awards going Leyland’s way. Danny Brooks featured heavily in “Gotta Get You into My Life” and earned the Don Lusher Trombone Award for the best trombone performance of the day. Danny said – “Leyland produce fantastic concerts all over the country week in week out, so we are thrilled that we could back that up today on the competition platform”.


Leyland Band is coming home! – 11th November 2011

The world-famous Leyland Band is coming home! Originally established as the Leyland Motors Band in 1946, the ensemble has had a nomadic existence for the last few years, now it is set to return to its roots after working with South Ribble Borough Council to find a suitable rehearsal space in it’s home town of Leyland

At the council’s November planning committee, the green light was given to convert an empty industrial unit into a fully-soundproofed rehearsal room. The committee voted unanimously to approve the application.

Mayor Jim Marsh said the town should be proud of the band, which as well as carrying the good name of the town far and wide through it’s performances, also appears at a number of civic events throughout the year – the next one being on Sunday 13th November when the band will provide the musical backdrop to the Rememberance Service.

Speaking after the meeting, Leyland Band chairman Allan Littlemore said: “Coming home to Leyland means the world to myself and the band and we can’t wait to move in.

“I’m absolutely over the moon, and overwhelmed by the sheer number of well-wishes and congratulations we’ve received in the short time since our planning application was successful.

“We will do everything we can to be a good neighbour and look forward to entertaining the people of the borough and becoming a full part of the South Ribble community again.

“I’m very grateful for all the help we received from South Ribble Borough Council.”

Lewis Musson accepts Principal Euphonium position – 23rd September 2011

Leyland Band is proud to announce the arrival of Lewis Musson on Solo Euphonium. Lewis is the current BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Musician of the Year and is currently studying in his fourth year at the Royal Northern College of Music.


Principal cornet John Doyle summed up the band’s excitement at the Lewis’s arrival, “Leyland Band is extremely excited about Lewis. He is an outstanding player with a great attitude.”

Lewis will make his debut this weekend when the band performs in concert at the Central Hall, Grimsby.

Lewis is sure to impress audiences throughout the country with his stylish playing, and he commented, “I am very excited to be joining Leyland Band. They are a friendly bunch of people who have made mefeel very welcome. I am looking forward to working with some outstanding players and conductors. I would like to thank the Wingates Band for all their help and support over the past two years and wish them all the best for the future.””

New CD Released – 18th September 2011

“It’s A Musical Life” featuring music chosen by, and conducted by Richard Evans is launched at a special concert given by Leyland Band.

The long association between Richard Evans and the Leyland Band is celebrated in a new recording.

For over 30 years, Richard Evan’s has been the consumate entertainer at the top of the brass band world, with a mix of showmanship and musical variety and excellence. Leyland’s new recording, “It’s A Musical Life” gives a perfect platform for Richard to show just why he is held is such high regard.


His trademark programming of excting and accessible repertoire has taken him all over the world, and the foundations of this were firmly laid with Leyland Band. So, the band were delighted to join Richard in this project, and gave over concert 3 of their popular Matinee Concert Series (Chorley Town Hall) to release the CD. Such is Richard’s reputation  and popularity that copies were being sold even before the concert had begun.


Leyland fanfare opens the Great Northern Brass Arts Festival – 10th September 2011

Leyland rise to the challenge of opening the annual Great Northern Brass Arts Festival


The Great Northern Brass Arts Festival, held in the magnificent Bridgewater Hall complex brings together brass musicians of all standards to present a day of great brass music making.Leyland were given the responsibility of opening the proceedings in the concert hall with an hour and quarter set of contrasting repertoire.

Following the critical acclaim given to the band’s recording of “The Scorcer’s Apprentice” (“The Age of Chivalry“), to open the event Leyland turned to another Paul Dukas work and a new transcription of his fanfare to the ballet “La Peri“. Richard Evans directed the performance, which continued with another new transcription, this time of the little known R B Hall march, “The Imperial Guards“.

Next up was one of Richard’s personal favourite overtures, the Mozart overture to “Il Seraglio“, sensitively and beautifully arranged by Darrol Barry.

The band’s first soloist of the day, John Doyle (trumpet) hit the perfect style with his performance of the Stanley Black classic “People” conjuring up powerful images of Broadway. So it was fitting that the next work picked that theme up, and on this the most poignant weekend for the city. Nigel Hess wrote a suite titled “East Coast Pictures“, and Leyland chose the finale to that work, “New York” to celebrate the vitality and energy of the city that never sleeps.


John Maines compered the concert and struck some lively banter with Richard in introducing the next item, a great symphonic arrangement of Ron Goodwin’s classic theme to the movie “633 Squadron“.

Danny Brooks was next on his feet performing superbly in Mark Freeh’s arrangement of the “Dark Eyes“. This and John’s solo offering of “People” feature on the band’s latest CD recording due for release this month, “It’s A Musical Life“.

Earlier this year the music world lost one of it’s most prolific contributors, when the composer, arranger and performer Goff Richards passed away. Goff, Richard and Leyland Band had a long a fruitful association and the next item, Goff’s arrangement of the Ralph Vaughan-Williams hymn “For All the Saints” proved a lively hommage to Goff’s great talent.


Another prolific contributor to brass repertoire is Peter Graham. Richard chose one of Peter’s earliest works to feature in the program. Original and accessible, “Dimensions” demonstrates all the hallmarks of Peter’s huge body of work for bands.

The concert concluded in traditional manner with a hymn setting and finale. Stephen Bulla’s lovely setting of the hymn  “Melita” set up the contrasting finale to Tchaikovsky’s 2nd Symphony, “The Little Russian“.


British Open result – 4th September 2011

Jason Katsikaris brings Leyland a 10th place finish at the 2011 British Open.


A performance few would have thought possible after the bands summer of change ultimately fell short of a place in the top six order of merit but guaranteed Leyland’s invitation to next years compettiton.

In a competition many thought to be of the highest standard for many years, Philip Wily’s work, “Red Priest” also delighted many in the audience, with it’s none standard band stage formation through to it’s use imaginative use of generic Vivaldy themes.

Leyland want to post special thanks to Steve Walsh and Riki McDonnell for their superb efforts in covering the euphonium positions. Both showed just how high class performers they are and also what great people.


The day also marked the end of an era for star baritone player, Kristy Rowe. This was her last contest appearance with Leyland after three and half years, as she prepares now to return her home in Australia. Kristy has been an exceptional asset to Leyland Band, and all wish her every happiness in her new “old” life down under. Plans are being made for Kristy and Leyland to join up and perform again next year when she visits the UK.


Leyland to be featured in the revamped Museuem of Lancashire – 26th August 2011

When the Museum of Lancashire reopens in Preston in November, Leyland Band – Lancashire’s finest – will be featured in the exhibits.


The band’s signature march “Royal Tiger” (Harold Moss) has been chosen by the museum to be featured in the sounds of Lancashire audio gallery, representing not just Leyland, but the rich heritage of brass bands throughout the county.

The museum is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment program, and is due to reopen in November 2011 in time to help celebrate “Lancashire Day”.

New euphonium pairing for the Open – 10th August 2011

Leyland Band are pleased to announce that the all-star Euphonium pairing of Steve Walsh and Riki McDonnell will join them for next month’s British Open Championships.

The band have moved quickly to fill the vacancy created by the sudden departure of David Thornton, and wasted no time in contacting Steve, who until this summer was the principal euphonium with the Brighouse & Rastrick Band.

Jason Katsikaris, who will be conducting Leyland at the Symphony Hall competition, said “Steve is pure class. I’m thrilled to hear that he will be lending his talents to Leyland in Birmingham!” Jason also suggested that Kiwi virtuoso Riki McDonnell might be able to ‘catch a lift’ with him from Down Under!


“Riki has a reputation that, quite rightly, is revered by musicians around the world,” said band administrator, Iain McKnight. “We are delighted to welcome him, and Steve, to the bandroom for what is unquestionably the highlight of our contesting calendar.”

Bridgewater Hall program announced – 3rd August 2011

Leyland will present a typically entertaining and eclectic selection for their showpiece appearance at the Great Northern Brass Arts Festival.


Fanfare to the ballet ‘La Peri’ Paul Dukas
The Imperial Guards March R B Hall
Il Seraglio W A Mozart
People Stanley Black
New York Nigel Hess
633 Squadron Ron Goodwin
Dark Eyes arr. Mark Freeh
For All The Saints R Vaughan-Williams
Dimensions Peter Graham
Melita arr. Stephen Bulla
The Little Russian Tchaikovsky


John Doyle (Trumpet) and Danny Brooks (Trombone) are the featured soloists in “People” and “Dark Eyes” respectively – both solos being featured on Leyland’s latest recording – “It’s A Musical Life” – which will be released in September.

Thornton resigns – 21st July 2011

After the briefest of tenures as the Principal Euphonium of the Leyland Band, David Thornton has resigned.


Leyland regret to announce that Daivid Thornton has left the band with immediate effect.

David advised Principal Cornet John Doyle of his decision, explaining that another top band had approached him with a substantial financial inducement to sign with them and he had agreed to accept their offer.

Although all at Leyland are disappointed, we wish David well in his new position

Top Six Order of Merit at English Nationals – 27th June 2011

Two performances to be proud of as described by conductor Richard Evans, good enough to secure top six slot at the English Nationals.


Leyland Band demonstrated the its flexibility and potential with two super performances at the 2011 ENBBC held at the Guild Hall, Preston (25th June), which earned the band 6th place in the order of merit. Avoiding being drawn 1st in the morning by just one place, the band took to the stage for the first session to perform the set test work “Elgar Variation” by Martin Ellerby. A most musical and cultured performance, with highlights from soloists John Doyle (cornet), Nicky Longden (flugel) and David Thornton (euphonium) proved to be a little too subtle for the judges tastes.


UK Premiere

The second session gave the competing cream of English bands an opportunity to perform their own choice of work. For Leyland, Richard Evans chose to give the United Kingdom premiere to a work by Peter Meecham titled “The Legend of King Arthur”. Peter wrote this piece the Lucerne Band and Michael Bach, and the piece was an instant hit with the audience in Preston, for its dramatic and colourful scoring. It was also a personal triumph for David Thornton on principal euphonium, for his playing of the extended solo passages.


New format

The 2011 championships marked a departure from the old format, with a limited invite going to 10 bands, each required to perform a set work and own choice work. This certainly allowed the bands more scope, and whilst there were concerns that judging the own choice session could be like comparing cats and dogs depending on the music chosen, Leyland at least throughly enjoyed the new format.

Count down to English National Championships – 22nd June 2011

Leyland open the doors to friends and supporters with a public rehearsal in the build up to the English National Championships.


Thursday 23rd June – 8.00pm – Lostock Hall Community High School and Arts College


Two major works are in advanced preparation for the bands appearance at the English National Championships (Preston Guild Hall, Saturday 25th June 2011). Martin Ellerby’s “Elgar Variations” is the set work for the competition held to find England’s representatives for the 2012 European Brass Band Championhships. Leyland’s own choice work is in complete contrast with Peter Meechans “The Legend of King Arthur“.

Friends and supporters are invited to witness the bands preparations, with a public rehearsal held in the Assembly Hall, Lostock Hall Community High School and Arts College.

Richard Evans is conducting the band in a national competition for the first time since 2001, and there is great anticipation across the banding world to hear the how the renewed partnership is developing.

“Wizard” Whit Friday sees Leyland take 2nd in Saddleworth – 18th June 2011

Under the direction of the wizard himself, Richard Evans, Leyland claim overall 2nd spot in the Saddleworth area.


Playing George Allen’s fabulous march, “The Wizard , Leyland enjoyed huge success at the annual Whit Friday March Festivals. The band competed on the Saddleworth circuit, performing at 9 out of the 11 available venues, on night when the forecast rain (thankfully) held off till the later hours.

Kicking off at Denshaw, around 4.30pm and finishing off at Delph past midnight, the band’s six hour marathon gained rewards with 2 first prizes at Lydgate and Diggle, and 2 seconds at Greenacres and Dobcross. Completing the six counting results for the area competition, the band gained a 3rd place at Lees and a 5th at the final performance in Delph.

That wasn’t the end of the scoring with Billar Millar winning the Best Euphonium prize at Diggle, and Principal Cornet John Doyle picking up the Best Cornet prize at Greenacres. Not to be outdone, Leyland’s bassess and trombones being awarded the Best section prizes at Lydgate.


Leyland’s 5 “Live” on Tony Livesey show – 10th June 2011

Leyland quintet feature on BBC Radio 5Live show playing and talking


Broadcaster Tony Livesey invited Leyland players on to his national radio show for a touch of late night music and chat on Thursday 9th June. Self confessed sports and brass band fan, Tony got the best of both worlds with a select group of Leyland players performing a couple of famous sports themes – “Out of the Blue” (the Sports Report theme) and “Match of the Day“.

Interspersed with the music, Tony chatted with Iain McKnight (Leyland tuba player) about the band and its music making.

Try a Sample of Swiss publishing – 29th May 2011

John Doyle conducts Leyland through recording sessions for Swiss music publishers, Musikverlag-Frank.


Musikverlag-Frank are music publishers based in Luterbach, Switzerland and their new catalogue will feature a CD selection of samples recorded by Leyland Band. The band recorded 45 items, ranging from marches, original music for band, solos and transcriptions.

Among the titles were three items arranged by Leyland cornet player, Gary Westwood – “Calamity Jane Overture“, “ Jig (from St Paul’s Suite) and “Her Majesty, the Queen” from John P Sousa’s suite “At the Kings Court“.

The recordings were over 3 evenings, 23rd, 24th and 25th May.


Samples recorded include – Kosaken Mussen Reiten, Precious Thoughts, Because My Baby Don’t Mean Maybe Now, Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Das Grune Korps, Chevaliers De La Table Ronde, Marinja Estudiantina, Jig, Her Majesty The Queen, The Streets Of San Francisco, A Fine Day, Calamity Jane Overture, Feelin Good, Golden Gate, Uskudur A Gidier Iken, Triumph Of The Optomists, A Little Gospel Suite, Mama, The Deadwood Stage, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Dona Nobis Pacem, Three Choral Arrangements, Grell Pastell, Viribus Unitis, Simonetta, From The Depths, Monks Gate, Tiger Rag, The Music Of Jean Michael-Jarre,

Manx Marvels – 17th May 2011

Rushen Silver Band and Leyland Band serve up Isle of Man treat. John Doyle and John Kinley take the baton on a night of great music and great fun, following two days of workshops.


At the invitation of the Rushen Silver Band – click here to view the band’s website – Leyland enjoyed a fabulous weekend of music on the Isle of Man (13th/14th/15th May 2011).

Long time member of Leyland’s percussion section of the 1990’s, John Kinley is now the condcutor of the Rushen Band, and with the help of professional musical advisor Richard Evans, he is forging the band into the most entertaining on the island. Through the connection with John, Leyland were delighted to be asked to join Rushen for a weekend of music making, culminating in a joint gala concert in the Gaiety Theatre Douglas.

John said  – “I can only say what a thrill it was to conduct my ‘old band’ along with my ‘new(ish)’ band – never thought when I played for Leyland all those years ago that I’d ever get to stand in front of them with the stick (no jokes about giving brass players a pair of sticks when they can’t play anymore and then when they can’t do percussion , take another stick away, thank you 🙂 It was also an unexpected privilege to rejoin the ranks of Leyland’s percussion section temporarily on Saturday night again.

It was also lovely to see how the spirit of the band is still the same , it was like I’d never been away – Nice people – all so supportive of my players as well which was great!”


John Doyle was accompanied by Leyland Principal Euphonium Philippe Schwartz, percussionist Ben Thomas and horn player, Andy Moore, flying to the island on Friday 13th (!) to attend Rushen’s rehearsal, in preparation for the joint concert. The following morning the quartet were out and about holding workshops with Rushen’s training band, an experience John  particularly enjoyed. The rest of Leyland Band flew out Saturday in time for an afternoon rehearsal with, and first chance to meet our hosts. Both bands hit it off and it was clear the evening concert was going to be one to remember.

Rushen took to the stage first, and featured euphonium soloist Martin Norbury performing Bravura by Peter Graham. Martin had a huge hand in organising the event and Leyland’s participation, and all at Leyland offer sincere thanks to him for his efforts.

Leyland then served up their solo offering, begining with the exciting “Le Corsair“. Leyland’s own euphonium virtuoso, Philippe Schwartz thrilled the audience with his performance of “Harlequin“, and not to be outdone, soprano Matt Balson showed his great musicality in his solo “Flowerdale“. John Doyle put the baton down to pick up his trumpet and breeze the “People” (from Funny Girl) joined then by 3 others on trumpet in “All Night Long” – which turned out to be an accurate prophecy of the after concert party!!


Leyland warm to Dresden’s Cold Hands! – 8th May 2011

Indie group Dresden and Leyland come together to create new track, “Cold Hands” guided by ex “Ministry of Sound” director, Tony Rigg.


The resulting collaboration will be released as part of a new venture, produced by Tony, called the Laboratory Project on a compilation album called “Taste Masters Volume 2”. The album will also feature ex-“Happy Mondays” star, Rowetta, Clint Boon of “Inspirational Carpets”, M C Tunes of “808 State”, and “Dust Junkies”. The album release is scheduled for 28th May 2011.


Mix is a unique experience

Linking traditional brass with contempory electronic outfit Dresden (www.dresdenmusic.com) provided a a unique experience for all concerned, and confirmed the fantatsic flexibility of the Leyland players. Dresden, Tony and Leyland were brought together by University of Central Lancashire Lecturer in Music, Simon Partridge:-

“The University has been working successfully in partnership with the Leyland Band now for an extended period. When we met with Gary and Allan from the band they were extremely enthusiastic about taking part in producing new, creative work. They were keen to widen the experience of the band and see what they could do when working outside of their comfort zone. Obviously they have a huge pool of skills and talent; what could this achieve when taken into a new arena?


The project began to take shape early this year when speaking with UCLAN Graduate and Industry mogul Tony Rigg about the Laboratory Project and his involvement with numerous bands. I mentioned the approach from the Leyland Band and let us say from there on the ball was rolling! It was a delight and an inspiration to hear and see the two ensembles come together – what a fantastic sound..

As always the skills and sheer professionalism of the band met and exceeded expectations. I look forward to working with them again in the not too distant future.”


New Principal Horn for Leyland – 30th April 2011

Leyland Band is pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca Landon as their principal horn player. Originally from the banding heartland of Saddleworth on the Lancashire-Yorkshire border, Rebecca now lives in Leyland and until recently held the same position at the Hepworth Band.


“I’m delighted to welcome Rebecca to the band,” commented Richard Evans, Leyland’s professional musical director. “She is a player of great quality and commitment, and her appointment is a tremendous boost for Leyland Band!”

“To sign a player of Rebecca’s calibre is fantastic news,” added band administrator Iain McKnight. “Of course, we have been lucky to have a superb solo horn player for the last eighteen months in the form of Andy Moore, and we are pleased that he will remain with us. His move to first horn will allow him to devote more time to his university studies, and is a commendable display of bandsmanship on his part.”

Penlee and Leyland enter Classic FM Hall of Fame – 26th April 2011

Simon Dobson’s fantastic composition for brass band – “Penlee” – has been voted into the Classic FM Hall of Fame.

The ultimate chart of classical and the world’s biggest survey of classical music has just been revealed, and Leyland are thrilled that the band’s Composer in Residence has been recognised for his work.

“Penlee” from the critically acclaimed recording of the same name by Leyland, has been voted in at 106 of the Classic FM top 300 works for 2011.


Making waves


Leyland’s recording of Simon’s work is the first brass band recording to be recognised in the Classic FM Hall of Fame series, and coming in at 106 in the list, it is also the highest placed new entry in the chart this year.

Thank you to all who voted.


Richard Evans returns to the middle – 10th April 2011

Leyland are delighted to announce that Richard Evans has accepted the position of Proessional Conductor.


Following the departure of Principal Conductor, Philip Harper for logistical reasons and the announcement that Jason Katsikaris will be conducting the band at the 2011 British Open, Leyland are delighted to have secured the services of Richard Evans for the forthcoming English National Championships, to be held in Preston at the end of June.

Richard will also be taking the baton with Leyland at the Whit Friday competitons and the Brass in Concert Championships at the Sage, where he has enjoyed unparralled success over the many years.

Following the recent CD recording sessions of “It’s a Musical Life”, the band were unanimous in wanting Richard to increase his involvement, building on his existing role as Conductor Emeritus.

“Richard and Leyland go back over thirty years,” commented Iain Mcknight, Band Administrator. “He has the same drive and determination that he had when the band were ranked number one in the world. His enthusiasm and positivity is infectious and audiences simply love him. We are all very excited about working with him on various projects, contests and concerts.”

John Doyle, Associate Musical Director also told 4BR: “Mr Evans is simply a legend. His musicality and ability to get the utmost from players is second to none. He is respected around the world as an outstanding musician, and I for one am very excited about working closely with him to shape the future of this great band.”


New beginnings


Richard is equally enthused by the return, which will see him direct the band on the contest stage for the first time in over a decade. “Leyland Band runs in my blood, so to be able to return has given me a huge infusion of energy and excitement,” he said as 4BR caught up with him in the Isle of Man. “There is such talent here that it was an opportunity not to miss. I think it could be a very exciting musical period for us both.”

Jason Katsikaris for the Open – 5th April 2011

Australian will direct Leyland at the 2011 British Open.

Following his emotional departure at the 2010 RNCM Festival of Brass, when he returned to take up a work opportunity in his homeland, Jason Katsikaris will return to spearhead Leyland’s appearance at the 2011 British Open.

Jason lead the band to Open qualification by winning the 2008 Grand Shield, and followed that up with two subsequent 4th place finishes in 2008 and 2009. Although enjoying his legal career in Sydney, Jason was quick to respond to the band’s request to lead it at the Symphony Hall.

John Doyle, the band Associate Musical Director said “It’s been a busy week with the departure of Philip Harper, and it is important we move quickly to put in place our immediate plans for the remaining competitions of 2011. On that score we couldn’t think of anyone better qualified to lead us at the British Open. It’s great to be able to team up with such an excelent musician once more. Jason’s musical reputation is second to none and his track record speaks for itself. All at Leyland have been boosted by the news”.

Work is currently underway to finalise details of the appointment of the bands new musical director.

Philip Harper and Leyland Band part company – 3rd April 2011

After just over a year, The Leyland Band and Phil Harper have parted company.


Band Administrator Iain Mcknight commented, “The band has had a great year with Phil. His enthusiasm and hard working ethos have produced some memorable performances and an outstanding CD, ‘The Age of Chivalry’.


The reason for the split is simply logistical. Phil lives 5 hours from the band room and even though he has worked very closely with our associate musical director John Doyle, the distance has been a factor which has limited the opportunity to bring Phil to the band regularly.”

Philip Harper said: “I’ve enjoyed my year with the band, which has a fantastic potential to achieve big things. Whilst I’m sad to relinquish my post, I’m sure it will enable the band to achieve some much needed consistency too. I wish everyone at Leyland the very best for the future and look forward to working with them again soon.”


It’s A Musical Life – 27th March 2011

From Bach, to Beethoven (sort of) and on to ….. Lionel Richie!! Leyland’s latest CD project takes shape.


Leyland’s “Conductor Emeritus”, Richard Evans directed the band through a two day recording session (26th/27th March 2011) of the latest CD offering.

Working title “It’s A Musical Life”, Richard has put together a selection of music drawn from his wide range of musical tastes taking in a brilliant old arrangement of the “Salterello” from Mendelssohn’s ‘Italian Symphony’ by William Halliwell, through to a more recent take on Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”.

Leyland’s soloists were given free reign to choose their contributions – John Doyle with “People”, Matt Balson and “Flowedale”, Danny Brooks chose Bill Geldard’s arrangement of “Dark Eyes”, Andy Moore recorded the Sandy Smith setting for Tenor Horn of “Capriccio Brillante”, whilst Kristy Rowe’s pick was the little known “Anna Karenina” by Helen Johnston.


Recorded works – Washington Grays (CS Grafulla), Salterello (arr. William Halliwell), People (arr. Alan Catherall), Beethoven’s Beano (arr. Howard Snell), In Thee Is Joy (J S Bach), Dark Eyes (arr. Bill Geldard), Music (John Miles), Flowerdale (Philip Sparke), Breezin’ Down Broadway (arr. Goff Richards), Capriccio Brillante (arr. Sandy Smith), All Night Long (arr. Leigh Baker), Anna Karenina (Helen Johnston), Reflections in Nature (Robert Redhead), and Vitae Aeturnum (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

The band would like to pass on their gratitude and thanks to Phil for an enjoyable year, and also look forward to the chance to work with Philip on future projects.

Leyland players help Tsunami appeal – 29th March 2011

Members of Leyland Band will join with others from Fulham, Hammonds, Faireys and Fodens in a special event to raise money for the British Red Cross Japanese Tsunami Appeal.


A special concert will take place on Sunday 3rd April, 2011 (7.00pm) in Peel Hall, University of Salford in aid of the appeal. The evening will be conducted by Richard Evans and Roy Newsome.


The Age of Chivalry is upon us – 3rd March 2011

Leyland’s latest CD offering invoking images of kings and queens… of legendary knights and honourable battle… is due for release


Philip Harper and Leyland Band recorded this concept CD in Novemebr 2010, and it is now about to be put on general release.

Comprising 17 eclectic tracks, the CD depicts in music all the elements of the legendary times gone by, Kings, fair maidens, knights and battles, queens and magic. Featured solists are Danny Brooks on trombone in the second movement of “Tintagel” and Philippe Schwartz in “Midnight” which was written for him and Leyland by Lucy Pankhurst.

Leyland will return to the recording studio over the weekend of 26th/27th March under the baton of the bands Conductor Emeritus, Richard Evans

Disapppointment at Regional qualifyer – 28th February 2011

Leyland suffer at the 2011 North West Area Championships

For only the 2nd time in eight years, Leyland failed to qualify from the regional rounds of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. Depstite two weeks of intensive work, the band’s performance did not find favour with adjudicator John Berryman, and the band were placed 5th on the day.



The day saw the Fodens Band from Cheshire complete a quite remarkable feat by winning the event for the sixth consecutive year – a double hatrick – and all at Leyland want offer their congratulations to Fodens on achieving this unique record.



No time to dwell on the disappointment as Leyland head to Somerset this coming weekend for a Sunday matinee concert at the Regal Theatre, Minehead.

Leyland on Air – 21st January 2011

Leyland feature in highlights of the 2010 Brass in Concert Championships broadcast on BBC Radio 2.


Witch of the Westmerlands” opened Leyland’s contribution to a special broadcast (20th January 2011) of highlights of the 2010 Brass in Concert Championships recorded at The Sage, Gateshead. The beautiful arrangement by Philip Harper featured Kristy Rowe (principal baritone) and John Doyle (principal cornet) who were both earned awards at the competition.

The band took away the “World of Brass Award” for the best performance of a march with a performance of George Allen’s “The Wizard“, and this was the fitting finale to the BBC Radio 2 broadcast.


Leyland ‘Lock Horns’ for 2011 – 14th January 2011

New year heralds exciting times for Leyland with new repertoire, performance venues and personnel.


The year begins with preparation for the 2011 Royal Northern College of Music Festival of Brass – 29th January – where Leyland are delighted to be performing more of the work of Composer in Residence, Simon Dobson. His groundbreaking march “Lock Horns, Rage On” is featured alongside “And When The River Told” – the chosen test piece at the 2010 Scottish Open Championships. The band directed by Principal Conductor, Philip Harper will also be performing works by Derek Bourgeois and Peter Meehan.

February sees the band expand its highly successful “Matinee Concert” series, with Valentines concerts in Chorley and Colne, as well as making its first link up with the acclaimed University of Central Lancashire Chamber Choir.

The band welocmes new players to the cornet section with Matt Sales and Aussie Andrew Power, and Dave McLeod joins the trombone section.

In March Leyland will make its debut at the Regal Theatre, Minehead, and a further highlight in April, when the band performs at The Sage, Gateshead with the Reg Vardy Band and guest soloist, Brett Baker under the baton of Ray Farr. The video below is from Leyland’s performance of “Lock Horns, Rage On” at the Sage in 2009:-


Help Penlee make waves on air! – 14th January 2011

Leyland Band are delighted to have received word of the inclusion of Penlee in the voting process on Classic FM’s Hall of Fame 2011.

One of a select handful of band works, Penlee, by the band’s composer-in-residence Simon Dobson, is the title track of our critically acclaimed 2010 CD. This exciting news comes hot on the heels of Simon’s recent nomination for a British Composer Award, in recognition of his most recent major work, Torsion, which Leyland premièred at the RNCM Festival of Brass last year – the same day as Penlee was released and MD Jason Katiskaris gave his swansong performance with the band.

If Penlee makes it in to the top 300 of the poll, it also means that Simon and the band will receive airplay for the work over the Easter weekend when the chart is officially announced. However, this can only happen with your help! To vote for Penlee, please visit the link below and search for either “Penlee” or “Dobson” and make sure you select is as your first choice!