2012 Archived Leyland News

2012 in retrospective – 22nd December 2012

It has been quite a year at Leyland Band! Read all about our achievements in 2012…

I hope you enjoy reading my retrospective of all that we have been up to this year – from arrivals and departures to concert and contest highlights I hope that I have captured everything that has gone in to making 2012 one of the band’s most successful years in recent times.

On behalf of the band, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our supporters a happy and peaceful Christmas and new year.

Iain McKnight

Chairman, Leyland Band

McLeod to replace Musson as principal euphonium – 17th December 2012

Leyland Band are delighted to announce the appointment of James McLeod as their new principal euphonium player.

James replaces Lewis Musson, who leaves to begin an exciting career as a musician in the Royal Air Force.

“Lewis will be sorely missed at Leyland,” commented Musical Director Leigh Baker, “but we wish him all the very best in his new musical career. James is a fantastic talent, with superb technique and a mature style; much like Lewis, he is one of the very best of his generation. The initial recommendation from David Childs was full of praise and we know he has built up a well-deserved reputation at Cory. We are excited to welcome him to the band.”

Cory MD Philip Harper echoed Leigh’s praise. “From my first rehearsal with Cory six months ago I became fully aware of James’ talents and qualities as a euphonium player. He has been an entirely dependable member of the Cory team, and the band wish to thank James for his dedicated service over the last few years whilst studying at the RWCMD. His appointment to the end chair of one of the UK’s top bands is richly deserved, and we wish James and the band a long and successful association.”

“I am delighted to join Leyland on principal euphonium after two happy and successful years with the Cory Band,” added James. “I would like to thank Cory for their support and good wishes, and wish them continued success in the future. I look forward to working with everyone at Leyland and am excited about the new challenges I will face as a soloist in one of the world’s finest bands.”

Leyland are also pleased to announce another new arrival in the form of percussionist Owen Middlemas, who joined the band from north-west rivals Milnrow following the recent Scottish Open competition.

“I am thrilled to formally welcome both James and Owen to the band,” concluded Leyland Band chairman Iain McKnight. “Both represent significant talents and are wonderful additions to our team as we look to build upon our numerous achievements in 2012. I wish them both a long and rewarding time at Leyland.”


Top award for ‘Preston Passion’ featuring Leyland Band – 20th November 2012

The BBC’s flagship live Easter broadcast featuring Leyland Band scoops the ‘Best Live Event’ award at the Royal Television Society North West Awards 2012


A cast of thousands lead by the music of Leyland produced the first stunning event of the Preston Guild – The Preston Passion.


Broadcast live on BBC1 television on Good Friday, the event drew an audience of millions.

See “Cast of thousands, Audience of millions

The programme was hailed a huge success by city leaders, and the award of ‘Best Live Event’ underlines that.


The award coincides with the release of the official Preston Guild DVD featuring highlights of the year long festival, including the Preston Passion. Copies can be obtained from Visitor Information Centre, Lancaster Rd, Preston.

Brass in Concert 2012 runners up! – 19th November 2012

Leyland’s strong defence of its Brass in Concert title ends in the runners up slot, whilst taking the honours for ‘Best Entertainment and Presentation Performance’ award


Program – Oh When the Saints God Only Knows On the Quarter Deck – Black is the Colour of my True Loves Hair Finale from New World Symphony – and Hootenanny!


Defending champions, Leyland Band and conductor Richard Evans put up a tremendous effort in trying to retain the title which was ultimately rewarded with an overall runners up placing, as well as taking the awards for ‘Best entertainment and presentation performance’ and the ‘Best performance of a march’.

Opening the performance, soprano maestro John Doyle took to the Gateshead Sage stage alone to ease into a fabulous ‘Dixie’ style arrangement of ‘When the Saints’, as the rest of the line up joined him. This was pure John Doyle showmanship to add to the splendid playing. Someone less used to the Brass in Concert atmosphere is Romana Halstead (flugel) making her debut at this prestigious event at the age of 15. Not only that, but second piece into the program and she too was on her feet performing the Beach Boy’s hit, ‘God Only Knows’ (arranged Leigh Baker) backed by the trombone section augmented by principal euphonium Lewis Musson demonstrating his versatility.


March Kings


Next the whole band were on their feet, metaphorically at least with the march. Richard and Leyland hold an unparralled record of wins at Brass in Concert in the march category, and added to that this year with a fantastic rendition of ‘On the Quarter Deck’ (K J Alford). This year’s win brought up a hatrick of success following from ‘The Wizard’ (2010) and ‘Imperial Echoes’ (2011), to add to many previous successes.

The mood became much more reflective with the next offering, Stephen Bulla’s beautifully sensitive arrangement of the American folk song ‘Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair’, before Leyland launched into the finale. Keeping with the predominantly American flavour of the program, Dvorak’s Finale to the New Word Symphony brought a fabulous reception from the packed Sage audience at the end (or so it appeared!) of the program.


Hootenanny Hystreria!


Just when they thought it was all over, Leyland launched into an encore which it’s fair to say has divided opinion across the banding world, but not it seems in the vast majority of the Brass in Concert faithful who were rapturous in their reaction.

How dare Leyland perform Hootenanny some have cried, it’s not music we should be offered at such a prestigious event.

Well, Leyland dared!!!

And, in the context of the whole program it was a perfect rousing 2 minute encore, picking up the folksy/Dixie opening to the show that was ‘When the Saints’, and the reception it received from the packed audience spoke loud and clear. What is the right music for any event, well Leyland’s view (which we carry into the many concerts we perform at each year), is that any music which connects with the audience is, and this certainly did!


Leyland set their sights on two-in-a-row! – 15th November 2012

This coming Sunday, 18th November, the band will once again travel to the north-east to take compete at the Brass in Concert Championships.


Now in its 36th year, the contest is the world’s leading entertainment competition for brass bands, and Leyland is looking to notch up its sixth win since first competing in 1982. The contest has changed a lot in thirty years, particularly since it moved to the Sage, Gateshead from the slightly less glamorous surroundings of Spennymoor Leisure Centre in 2005.


2012 not only marks thirty years since Leyland first took part at the event, but it is also twenty years since the band last celebrated back-to-back wins (1991/92). With Leyland going to the contest as reigning champions, hopes are high amongst the band!


The band will be conducted by the undisputed ‘king of entertainment’, Richard Evans, our charismatic and vibrant musical director emeritus . With nine titles to his name (and hoping to make it a round ten in 2012), Richard has won the Brass in Concert title more times than any other conductor, and has led Leyland to all of its existing five wins.


If you can’t wait until Sunday, you can hear the band’s programme in concert on Saturday night (17th) at the Salvation Hall, Sherburn Terrace, Consett starting at 7:30pm.

Top six placing at the British Open! – 2nd September 2012

The most competitive set work competition of the year saw Leyland affirm its quiality and form with a top six order of merit result


Maestro Michael Bach led Leyland to a worthy sixth place at the 2012 British Open with a very cultured reading of the new work by Martin Ellerby – “Electra”.

Drawn to play 11th out of the 17 top British bands at the stunning Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Leyland followed on directly after the two bands who were to eventually finish champions and runners up and our congratulations go to them.

Michael conducting Leyland at the ‘Open’ for the first time guided a number of debutants at this, the most competitive event of the year, within the ranks of the band:-


15 year old Romana Halstead (flugelhorn) enhanced her reputation yet further with a flawless performance, including some exquisite solo playing in the middle movement. The band were delighted for her, as she blossomed in the heat of competition. She wasn’t the only debutant to excel.

Hannah Platt (Solo Baritone) and Lewis Musson (Principal Euphonium) both made their ‘Open’ debuts and both demonstrated what great talents they are. Again the middle movement provided the ideal platform for Lewis to show some great melodic control.


In total, Leyland fielded 9 first timers at the ‘Open’ including 2 cornets, Ruth Stone on 1st horn, Colin Doran on Bb bass and 2 percussionists. And all will be having another exciting 1st time experience when the band competes at the National finals in the Albert Hall, London in October.



One for whom this was not his 1st ‘Open’ arguably produced the finest cornet playing of the day. Iain Culross was sublime in his performance of the cornet solo, seemingly effortlessly navigating awkward intervals whilst maintaining a pure melodic flow.

Conductor Emeritus, Richard Evans who listened to the performance was full of praise for Iain and the band, and had special mention for Michael – “I thought Michael’s reading of the work was exceptional, so much detail and flow without over playing the dynamics”.

Resident MD Leigh Baker, who worked the band hard for 3 weeks in preparation for Michael’s arrival was similarly impressed with the band’s performance – “The really tough fast first and last movements were so well controlled and the detail was great, but the quality of our soloists in the slow movement was what really shone through. I had a tear in my eye! A podium finish is another great step forward for a very young band, and puts us amongst the very best”.

Chris and Elaine in a new kind of harmony – 28th August 2012

After 7 years together, Leyland players Chris Doran (principal Eb bass) and Elaine Skupham (2nd cornet) tie the knot.



The happy couple were united together on the 20th July at a ceremony  held at Farington Lodge, Leyland, and of course members of Leyland Band provided the musical contribution to the a wonderful day. Elaine said “It really meant so much to have our band play during the wedding service, making the day even more personal”.

The couples’ great friend and past Leyland tenor horn player, Lucy Pankhurst composed two new pieces of music for the wedding – Elaine walked down the aisle to “Amethyst” and after the ceremony Mr and Mrs Doran processed to the sound of “Eternity“.

Chris said “it was a truly amazing day, made even more so by the efforts of our families and friends. A huge thank you to everyone who helped make it so special”.


Everyone at Leyland wishes Chris and Elaine every happiness for their future together.

Leyland gild the “Guild”! – 28th August 2012

The city of Preston’s unique once every 20 year event, The Guild, gets a shine from Leyland Band.


Leyland’s Fanfare Team helped kick off the count down to the 2012 Preston Guild, performing at the first of 3 ‘Proclomation’ events on the steps of The Harris Library in front of hundreds of people and the assembled media.

Having already starred in the televised “Preston Passion” (broadcast on BBC1 on Good Friday), Leyland are heavily involved in marking this unique celebration of heritage, people, sports, trade, arts and culture.

With a history stretching back over eight hundred years to 1179, when Henry II granted a charter which empowered the Burgesses of Preston to hold a Guild Merchant, 2012 will be the first Guild since Preston was awarded City status in 2002.



Over ten days Preston will celebrate as a City and over 800 years of Guild history. Leyland will next be providing the fanfares for the third and final ‘Proclomation’ on the 1st September 2012 held on the ‘Flag Market’, which marks the official start of the ten days of celebration.

The band will be hoping for it’s own celebrations later that day when we compete in the 2012 British Open Championships in the Symphony Hall, Birmingham.


On Sunday the 2nd of September, a 14 strong Leyland ensemble will perform at one of the showpiece Guild events, the “Guild Ecumenical Service” lead by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and narrated by Welsh singer and former presenter of BBC TV’s “Songs of Praise”, Aled Jones.




The traditional finale to any Preston Guild is the spectacular “Torchlight Procession” through the centre of the city. Leyland Band are delighted to have been asked to represent the University of Central Lancashire in this unique event on Saturday the 8th September which will draw to a close with a massive fireworks display.


For me details of all the events taking place, visit www.prestonguild.com


Adoo charity CD released – 15th August 2012

The much anticipated disc of music by Erik Leidzen, featuring Leyland Band is now on sale!

In February, Leyland Band spent a weekend in the company of a trio of outstanding soloists, conductor John Ward and the specialist recording team at KMJ Recordings (see news article). Now, the fruits of the weekend’s hard work are available to buy direct from the band!

Songs in the Heart is a ground breaking recording of the varied music of composer Erik Leidzen (1894 – 1964). His enduring works for brass band include demanding solos, festival selections, stirring marches and an outstanding series of hymn meditations, selections and hymn tune arrangements that have maintained their place in the active repertoire. The music presented on the recording embraces all these areas, standard favourites as well as premiere recordings of lesser known, or newly restored works.

Songs in the Heart was made in support of the Clarence Adoo Trust. The solos are provided by three of the finest brass musicians around, Kevin Ashman (cornet), Davur Juul Magnussen (trombone) and David Childs (euphonium).


Visit http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/leylandband to order your copy for only £11.99 (including P&P)

Man on the run! – 3rd August 2012

Doyle limbers up for Fleetwood half marathon in a fundraising bid for Oslo 2013.

Team GB’s track and field athletes aren’t the only ones undergoing intense preparation in foreign climbs this summer as John Doyle – Leyland’s answer to Mo Farah (or is it Paula Radcliffe?) – is training hard for his appearance at the Fleetwood half marathon on Sunday 26th August.

To fully prepare himself for the notoriously hot and unforgiving climate on the Fylde, John has been taken away to the Greek island of Rhodes for a radical training regime. Renowned for it’s punishing terrain, Fleetwood’s 13-mile course is a test of endurance and determination which starts and finishes on the town’s legendary promenade.

John’s Olympian effort is all in a good cause though, as he is raising funds to help Leyland Band compete at next year’s European Championships in Oslo. Please support him (and the band!) by donating via http://www.justgiving.com/runningdoyley.


Vanguard to set sail! – 22nd July 2012

Principal cornet Iain Culross’ début solo CD available to pre-order

Recorded over the weekend of 19th and 20th May, the debut solo CD from Leyland Band’s principal cornet, Iain Culross, is now available to pre-order. Featuring a wide range of repertoire from classic cornet solos such as Charivari and Hejre Kati to new music from the pen of, among others, Darrol Barry and James McFadyen – who provides the title track, Vanguard – this exciting release is set to provide over an hour’s worth of top quality music from one of the world’s leading cornet soloists. Iain is accompanied by Leyland Band conducted by Russell Gray and musical director Leigh Baker.

Priced at £13.35 (inc. P&P) for UK orders and £15.45 for overseas customers, the CD is due for release on Monday 30th July. To hear preview clips, and ensure you are amongst the first to receive a copy by pre-ordering, visit:


Everyone at Leyland Band sends congratulations to Iain on the completion of this exciting project, and wish him well as he leaves the UK at the end of this month for an exciting concert tour of Japan.

Romana shows the power of youth! – 4th July 2012

Leyland’s young flugel starlet, creates a fantastic impression ahead of her succesful competition debut with the band.

Ahead of her debut on the contest stage with Leyland at the English National Championships, Romana Halstead made another successful appearance in the “Future Champion” competition run in conjunction with the Halle Orchestra and the Future Talent Charity by Oldham Music Service.


Having joined Leyland earlier this year, Romana has shown great potential and just why she is regarded as one of the finest musical prospects of her generation. All at Leyland are delighted to support her and give her the opportunity to demonstrate her talents with Leyland’s large and varied work.


The “Future Champion” competition required Romana to perform two solo works in front of a judging panel of Halle Orchestra principal players, and audience, and included dozens of young talented musicians.


Along with the winners trophy, Romana received a prize of £2000 to be used to further her musical education. The presentation was made at a concert presented by the Halle Orchestra at the end of May 2012, by the “Future Talent” President, Sir Mark Elder and it’s Royal Patron, Princess Michael of Kent (pictured above with Romana).


Congratulations from all at Leyland, where we are rightly proud of our committment to supporting and developing young talent – and to that end we also highlight young percussionist Richard Kay, who at just 14 shows again that if you are good enough, you’re old enough. Richard joined the band towards the end of 2011 and as well as performing brilliantly in concert, has picked up two wins and 2nd place in his first three competitons, and also taken the “Youngest Player” award at the “Brass in Concert Championships” and the “English National Championships”.

Leyland are runners up at English National Championships – 24th June 2012

Leyland Band take 2nd prize at the 2012 English National Championships, and with it the coveted invitation to represent England at the 2013 European Championships in Oslo, Norway.


After a massive effort by the band, Principal Conductor Michael Bach, and resident conductor Leigh Baker, Leyland were delighted to earn the runners up spot at the English National Championships (23/06/12) held in Preston’s Guild Hall.

Performing Philip Wilby’s fiendishly difficult “Masquerade” in the morning ‘set test’ piece section, combined with tackling the own choice work in the afternoon session, left all drained but highly satisfied.

Michael Bach, in his second competiton with the band, built tirelessly on the ground work done by Leigh Baker, with an intense week of preparation in before the contest day. The efforts were rewarded with a 3rd place in the morning session, leaving the band well in contention at the half way stage.

The band’s own choice work, described by Michael as the outstanding piece of original writing for brass band of the last 20 years, was by Swiss compatriot Oliver Waispi – “Audivi Media Nocte“. It was the perfect vehicle for the band’s soloists heavily featuring Lewis Musson, Iain Culross, Ben Thomas, Chris Doran and Danny Brooks in the showcase trio passages, as well as Rebecca Landon, Lucien Rey, John Doyle and debutante flugel player Romana Halstead.


The afternoon performance of this was rewarded with 2nd place, resulting in an overall aggregate score of 2nd place. Our congratulations go to the Black Dyke Band who took 1st place in both the morning and afternoon sessions to claim the champions title.


Leyland in the ‘Euros’ – Norway bound!


Yesterdays’ winners are reigning European Champions also, and as such had already qualified for next years competition. That means that as well as keeping Leyland’s current excellent form going (two firsts and a second place in the last three competitons entered), the band recieves an invitation to represent England in the 2013 European Brass Band Championships to be held in Oslo, Norway. Watch out for more news on this.


Thank you to all who have been in touch with messages of congratualtions after yesterday’s result

Principal Cornet Iain completes latest recording – 21st May 2012

Iain Culross and Leyland Band complete solo recording sessions ahead of Iain’s Japan visit

Leyland’s talented Principal Cornet and the band took to the recording studio over the weekend of 19th/20th May 2012, to complete a 12 work recording of cornet solos.

Fresh from visiting Denmark on the previous weekend where Iain performed as guest soloist and presented a number of workshops, he was on top form throughout two days of ambitious recording.

Under the baton of his great friend and mentor, Russell Gray for ten of the items, and that of Leyland’s Resident Musical Director Leigh Baker for the remainder, Iain demonstrated just how accomplished and versatile a performer he has become.


The chosen repertoire was very imaginative, combining some well known solos, “Charivari” (arr. Iveson), “Bring Him Home” (from Les Miserables, arr. Wilkinson), and “Hejre Kati” (in a new arrangement by Leigh Baker), with new and less familiar music.

Leigh also contributed a new arrangement of the Willy Brandt “Concert Piece No.1“, one of 4 major works including “Suite for Cornet” (by Darroll Barry), “Concertino (Caprice, Elergy and Vivace)” by Jonathon Bates, and James McFadyen’s “Vanguard“.

Iain also recorded two pieces by the hand of his father Frank. Firstly a lovely arrangement of the ballad “Mary of Argyle“, and an equally attractive original melody “Arietta“.


Japan date


In August this year, Iain will be following in Leyland’s footsteps with performance visit to Japan (the band having toured there in 180 and 1995), and this recording will undoubtedly boost his already blossoming international reputation.

Full details and release date to follow.

Charity donations and CD sales go on-line – 5th May 2012

Some of Leyland’s most popular recordings are now available to purchase online, along with a new charity donations facility


It’s now possible to make donations to Leyland Band (Registered Charity No. 1129485) via a new facility at “eBay for Charity”. Relying on performance fees earned and donations, the band maintains a full committment to building bridges in communities far and wide, with an emphasis on developing young talent.


Please click here for more information on how you can help through “eBay for Charity”.


Recordings online


The first clutch of recordings to be made available for purchase online has been released. Four of the bands most recent and popular recordings can now be bought through Leyland Band’s new eBay account.

Cast of thousands – Audience of millions! – 8th April 2012

“The Preston Passion” acclaimed as a huge success for the city of Preston, and all those fortunate to be invloved, with Leyland at the heart of the event.

Thousands of people gathered under grey Preston skies on Good Friday to take part in “The Preston Passion” – a mix of celebration of the Christian church’s calendar with a modern day interpretation – traditional music, dramas, mass spectacle movement and singing with hundreds of voices.

Hosted by Fern Britton, and televised live on national BBC1 television the “Passion” also marked the first mass partcipation event of the 2012 Preston Guild.

Leyland sat at the heart of proceedings throughout, accompanying the massed community choirs under the direction of Paul Leddington-Wright. The event was two years in development and a massive outside broadcast undertaking. Only the weather was left to chance, and thankfully that behaved reasonably for the important hour of live broadcast.


As Seen On TV – Leyland and the “Passion” – 1st April 2012

Leyland Band will take a central role in the BBC1’s centre piece television broadcast on Good Friday (6th April 2012).


The “Preston Passion” is being broadcast live on BBC 1 on Good Friday from 12.00pm to 1.00pm and will re-tell the Passion story in a contmporary setting, featuring a combination of live performance and innovative drama.

Hosted by Fern Britton and featuring around 3500 local people, the event is huge undertaking.

Leyland will be playing a central role in providing the musical accompaniment to a 600 strong choir in 4 items from “Jerusalem” to “Morte Christie” all of which will be directed by “Songs of Praise” regular conductor, Paul Leedington-Wright.


Preparations have been taking place across the city for a number of weeks now, with some pre-filming which will be merged into the live broadcast, featuring Tom Ellis (former “Eastenders” star) in the role of Samuel Horrocks, Samantha Bond, Christine Bottomley, Pooky Quesnel, Ronald Pickup and Paul Barber. Also singing live will be Heather Small, and the event combines traditional Holy Week choral music with modern day celebration of Easter, marking the start of the historic Preston Guild festivities.


The band is delighted to have been asked to perform, and will also be active later in the year in more of the Guild celebrations.

Event Management students orchestrate major musical success – 28th March 2012

Students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)donned top hats and dickie bows as they greeted guests attending Leyland Band’s sell-out “Brass on Broadway” concert.

As part of an ongoing partnership with the University, Leyland Band entrusted eleven first year BA(Hons) Event Management students from UCLan’s School of Sport, Tourism and the Outdoors to organise a Broadway themed concert held in the Mitchell & Kenyon Theatre.


In organising the event the students gained a host of essential skills to aid them in their ambitions to be successful event managers of the future.

Tania Callagher, Fundraising Officer for the University, said “The students did a very professional job, not only selling every seat in the house, but also in their fundraising efforts too”.

Rod Train, Course Leader for the Event Management degree, added “Preparing our students with the employability attributes to become skilled event managers is at the heart of all we do. Gaining relevant work experience is a key factor in this process as it hones the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary for them to become self-motivated, self-confident and self-managed graduates ideally suited for potential employers”.




The evening, under the musical direction of Leigh Baker, was a triumphant success with the audience giving a well deserved standing ovation at the close of a hugely enjoyable concert. Leigh said “We are extremely proud of our association with the University, and tonight was a great example of how we can work together to enhance the student’s course experience and at the same time give the band a great platform to entertain a full house. I hope the student’s could take as much pride in their efforts as we did with the instant feedback from the audience being overwhelming warm and positive”.

Young flugel star joins Leyland – 21st March 2012

Romana Halstead, one of the brightest young players in the country adds to Leyland’s great line up of soloists.

At just 14 years of age, Romana has already made a huge impression in the banding world. She is a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and the Junior RNCM where she is a pupil of Helen Williams and has worked with American trumpet virtuoso, Rex Richardson.

Leyland’s resident musical director Leigh Baker says – “Romana is a player with massive potential, is already a great soloist and possesses confidence well beyond her years. We are excited to add  her to the young line up of talent the band enjoys, and look forward to helping her to flourish.”

Rex commented – “It’s simply fantastic that she is being given this opportunity. Of course Leyland is one of the world’s top brass bands, and as everyone will soon know, Romana is a rising star of the brass band world. Despite her tender age, I expect her to make a huge impression in her role. Her lovely sound and mature musicianship will speak for themselves”.

Champions – Leyland take North West title – 26th February 2012

Under the direction of Michael Bach, Leyland produced a stuinning rendition of the set work – The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea – to win the North West Area competition and qualify for the finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.

North West Area Champions 2012

Leyland regained the title of North West Area Champions for the first time since 2005 with a fantastic performance of Derek Bourgeois’s powerful work, “The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea“. Adding the Area title to the Brass in Concert win last November is a remarkable feat for a young but maturing band.


Swiss precision!


Competitng for the first time under the baton of Swiss maestro Michael Bach, Leyland wowed the audience with playing which captured the ‘devilment’ and the beauty in the music. Adjudicator, Jim Davies said “There was some wonderful playing today. I was in no doubt about the winner, Leyland and Micahel brought out so much of the beautiful music.”


A delighted Michael Bach was full of praise for the band’s efforts – “I loved working with such a fine band on  this great composition. I wanted to draw the music out of the score as it can sometimes be lost in the amazing technical challenges”. The band responded immediately to Michael’s approach, and he commented how the whole week leading up to the competition had been so enjoyable to make great music in such a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Michael, who was apppointed Musical Director of the band in the New Year, and will work alongside Resident Conductor Leigh Baker, who contributed so much in the preparation, adding to the bands work with Conductor Emeritus, Richard Evans provides exciting potential for Leyland.

That potential is also seen in a clutch of young talent helping to drive the band forward. Amongst those is Hannah Platt (solo baritone) was outstanding, negotiating the first solo of the piece beautifully, settling everyone’s nerves in the first few bars of the piece. At the other end of the scale two members of the cornet team could reflect on this latest win to the band’s first win in the competiton 30 years ago in 1982. Andrew Blackledge (tutti cornet) and Gary Westwood (3rd cornet) both played that day, in Leyland’s performance of “Essay’ by Edward Gregson. That win took Leyland to the National Finals (Championship section) for the first time in it’s history, a feat repeated regularly since then including 9 Area titles.

Leyland look forward to more great music making and the trip to the capital in October.

Clarence gets a Leidzen lift from Leyland – 5th February 2012

Leyland complete new recording of Erik Leidzen music in support of the Clarence Adoo trust, featuring guest soloists Kevin Ashman, David Chlds and Davur Magnusson.

The story of Clarence Adoo is a remarkable one.

Born of Ghanian parents and raised in Essex, Clarence began his musical development in the Salvation Army as a cornet player. His exceptional talent propelled him to a blossoming professional career as a trumpet player. At the age of 35 a freak road accident left him paralysed from the neck down. But those who know him best say that’s when the story of how remarkable a man Adoo is, really began.

The project was conceived and driven by John Ward, who also conducted Leyland in the recording sessions which took place over the weekend of the 4th/5th February 2012 in the Darwin Lecture Theatre, UCLAN.

John, long standing friend of Clarence was delighted the band agreed to help. Of the music chosen, John said “We wanted to recognise that Clarence is a retired Salvation Army bandmaster. So choosing the music of Erik Leidzen, sophisticated and accessible, yet a number of years since a recording was devoted exclusively to his music seemd an excellent fit.”

It was also very fitting that Kevin Ashman – principal cornet of the International Staff Band (of the Salvation Army) should be one of the guest soloists, here making his first solo recording with a none SA band.

The recording – “Songs in the Heart – The Music of Erik Leidzen” – includes contributions form three outstanding soloists, all of whom were happy to give their services in support of Clarence.

The soloists:-

More details can be found at http://www.leidzen.com/ where the recording can also be pre-ordered.

Leyland put youth in the spotlight to start 2012 – 28th January 2012

Leyland Band began 2012 with their annual Patrons’ concert on Saturday, 21st January, and featured young musicians from Childer Thornton Primary School, Ellesmere Port joined with the band to conclude the first half of the concert.

After a highly successful conclusion to 2011, Leyland Band kicked of its 2012 calender with the annual “thank you” concert for the bands many patrons.

The concert marked the debut performance of Musical Director Leigh Baker, as well as new Principal Trombone Chris Jones.

Leigh commented “It was an honour to debut with the band at our patron’s concert. The program included the winning Brass in Concert repertoire as well as some gems from the Salvation Army composer, Erik Leidzen, which will be featured on the bands next CD recording. The most encouraging part of the evening though was performing alongside a the group of very keen (and superbly focussed) Childer Thornton Primary School musicians! Leyland has quite a ‘young guns’ make up itself, and are developing new initiatives to encourage young people to foster a love for brass playing. Hopefully this will be the first in a series of projects involving young musicians.”

The pupils who took part are all aged between nine and eleven and are taught to play trumpet, trombone, clarinet or glockenspiel at school as part of the “whole class instrumental tuition scheme” (also known as “Wider Opportunities”), which is operated by Cheshire West and Chester Music Service. Leyland Band administrator Iain McKnight is also the school’s brass tutor and developed the link up. Together Leyland and Childer premiered “Big Gig Blues”, a new composition by Iain written especially with the young musicians from the “Wider Opportunities” initiative in mind.

Stephanie Raynor, headteacher at Childer Thornton added “This was a wonderful opportunity for our children to experience the thrill of playing with a live world class brass band. We were extremely proud of them and hopefully it will inspire some of them to join their own band in the future!”

“What an inspiring experience for these young musicians right at the start of their instrument learning journey” concluded Alison Corten, Music Service Leader at Cheshire West and Chester Council. “Thank you to the Leyland Band for providing such an amazing opportunity and congratulations to the children of Childer Thornton for rising to the occasion and performing so professionally”.

Iain Culross takes Principal Cornet seat – 8th January 2012

Brass in Concert champions strengthen with a quartet of New Year signings headlined by the arrival of Iain Culross on Principal Cornet.

Leyland is delighted to announce the immediate appointment of Iain Culross to the band’s Principal Cornet position.


Iain is vastly experienced having held principal positions with YBS, Brighouse & Rastrick, Carlton Main, Seller and most recently the Fairey Band.

He takes over from John Doyle who has moved to the Soprano cornet seat following his “trial” run in the successful Brass in Concert performance. Brian Heyes, who deputised the principal seat magnificently at the competition will take up his usual role as 2nd man to Iain.


Iain commented on his appointment – “I’m really looking forward to working with Leyland. They are a great band and have a very well run organisation in place as well as a number of exciting projects on the horizon.” He added – “I would also like to thank my former band and especially my good friend, conductor Russell Gray for my time at Fairey, and wish them all the best for the future.”

The bands new musical director Leigh Baker welcomed the appointment of Iain – “The appointment of a stylish and experienced principal cornet and three further high quality signings will reinforce the band in readiness for 2012”.


And three more…


More new arrivals are welcomed as the band returns from the festive break.

Jonti Smith joins the band to partner star soloist Lewis Musson on the euphonium bench. Manchester University student Jonti has been a long term target for the band and we are delighted to have his services.

Meghan Quane is one of the brightest new cornet talents, hailing from the Isle of Man, she is studying at the Royal Northern College of Music, and joins Leyland on Repiano cornet.

The band is also delighted to welcome its first ever Japanese member, Hiroko Koizumi and Tenor Horn. Hiroko will be with the band until the end of February when she will return to her native Japan, and rejoin her band there, Tokyo City Concert Brass.