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Reviews & Articles
Friday, 3 May 2002

1 How are you enjoying playing for BAYV Cory?
I played my first rehearsal with Cory back in April and since that time I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. The players in the band are not only fine musicians, but also great people. So far, the concerts and recordings have been tremendous – I've particularly enjoyed the varied repertoire the band has gone through over the last couple of months and also the thrill of standing up and playing solos with such a fine band.

2 How does Cory differ to other bands you have played in?
Cory is the fourth band I have been a member of. Until the age of 16, I played with the East Yorkshire Motor Services Band under my father, I then went to Brighouse & Rastrick for 2 years before spending 2 years with CWS Glasgow. Each band has been different in many ways. I had a lot of fun with EYMS, they were a fantastic social band. My mother, sister and girlfriend played in the band and my father conducted. Now I'm playing with BAYV Cory, the social ethic and camaraderie feels very similar for me. The big difference however is that BAYV Cory is one of the finest bands in the UK and performs to a high standard week in week out. This is the same trait I experienced at B&R. Apart from the fact that B&R do not allow women in the band (something I have never agreed with or supported) one of the biggest differences between Cory and the likes of B&R is their calendar. Cory appears at the big events and enjoys the odd tour abroad, but they are not out doing concerts every weekend. This gives the players in the band time to pursue other interests and spend time with their families. Although Cory's concert schedule isn't quite as busy as some of the top English bands, I think it will be a long time before their calendar resembles anything like CWS Glasgow's! In the two years I was with the band I played in 2 concerts, 1 recording and 9 contests. This gave me plenty of time to concentrate on other things like my BBC Young Musician campaign and a couple of tours. Like their fellow Celts, the Scottish certainly know how to enjoy their banding! To be fair to 'The Co' I believe their calendar has actually filled up considerably over the last couple of months.

3 What do you have planned for 2002?
I have a number of solo engagements with bands around the UK planned, but events that I'm particularly looking forward to include premiering Michael Ball's Concerto for euphonium and brass band with the Parc & Dare Band, premiering Alun Hoddinott's concerto for euphonium and orchestra with the Cardiff Bay orchestra, performing as a guest soloist with the Royal Philharmonic orchestra at the last night of the Welsh Prom and of course, playing with BAYV Cory at this years National Championships at the Royal Albert Hall.

4 Do you plan to do anymore conducting?
I very much enjoyed conducting the Abergavenny Band at their regional contest. It was the first time I conducted a band and it certainly won't be the last. However, at the moment my priority is euphonium playing. If I get a call to conduct a band and I am free, then there would be no problem, but it will be a long long time before a conducting opportunity will take priority over anything to do with playing. I still have so much more I want to achieve as a euphonium player.

5 For someone so young, your achievements such as National, Masters & European wins and your solo success, usually take a lifetime to accrue. What now motivates you to further improvement?
No matter what you achieve there is always more to do. With regard to banding, I have been lucky enough to win the competitions you have mentioned, but only once! Richard Clough of YBS has won 11 or 12 European titles – that's certainly something to aim for! Playing in a band that my father conducts is very special for me and now that I am doing this with BAYV Cory, my ultimate banding ambition would be to win the 'true' Grand Slam: European Championship, British Open Championship and the National Championship all in the same year - Then I'd like to do it again the following year! I have never won a British Open, so with September looming, I certainly have the motivation for further improvement in the short term!
As a euphonium player, I know my own level and have the motivation to keep on improving. Once I have improved as much as I think I can, my aim will be to tell someone off the street that I play the euphonium without them asking 'the what?!' - There is a lot of work to be done!

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