First of all friends, I’d like to say what a privilege it is for me to have the opportunity to become BYBA Chairman. I would like to start by saying thank you to Paul Cartwright for all he has done for BYBA over the past 9 years as its Chairman. Paul has steered the association through a very difficult period and his leadership during this time has been invaluable. It is also right that we express our heartfelt thanks to Christine; she has supported Paul all the way and many of you will know her friendly face from running the BYBA stall.
For those of you who don’t know that much about me and my marching band roots, they go right back to the 1970’s. I went as a young boy to the first British Youth Band Championships at Wembley in 1978 and many more since. I was always involved in traditional style marching bands and TYMBA, until I formed Trinity School Show Band back in January 1998. My first band was the Newark Corps of Drums – originally a traditional drum and bugle band – who eventually changed their name to the Reds and Greys Youth Marching Band and became TYMBA National Champions in 1997.
My early involvement in marching banding fostered a love for music and youth marching bands, and gave me a desire and the ability to go on to later study for a degree in music and qualify as a secondary school music teacher. I would love to see us now enthusing and inspiring some of the next generation to go on a similar journey.
My wider music background is very varied. Most of my teenage years were spent playing drum kit and percussion for various ensembles. I count amongst them playing for several years in the Magnus Swing Band, Nottinghamshire Schools Stage Band and playing percussion for the Newark Ransome Band, a championship section brass band, as well as various concert bands and orchestras. I now tend to play mainly brass.
I believe very firmly that the ‘Y’ in BYBA stands for Youth. The thing that interests me most in marching bands and banding in general, is the youth; giving them a firm foundation, discipline and a set of life skills which will help build and shape them for a stronger future which will benefit us all. This is my most important focus. With this in mind, it is essential that we look to our future with BYBA, and ensure all youngsters coming through are given the same exciting opportunities we were afforded. It is essential that we build BYBA again from the bottom, helping younger bands to flourish and train their members, and that we are open to any style and any ideas that may present themselves. I am very interested to hear your views for the future of our organisation and that includes you younger members.
I look forward to seeing many of you over the course of this year, in whatever format that takes.
Chair – British Youth Band Association