Another legend gone

Discussion in 'Obituaries - Unregistered visitors can post here' started by Paddy Flower, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Statto

    Statto Member

    Well said, Sandy.

    One of my own treasured memories of playing under the Major was when Whitburn played the whole of Eric Ball's arrangement of 'Enigma' in a concert in Hexham Abbey (c 1983 I think). Several times during the performance the Major was actually crying tears of emotion such was his incredibly strong connection with the music.

    The Major had a superlative knack of 'connecting' with the music he was conducting and delivering sublime interpretations, which won over both the audience and adjudicators!. A perfect example was that same year (1983) when the top section areas piece was Images, a 'modern' work by John McCabe, which had proved almost universally unpopular, resulting in several bands withdrawing from the areas in protest!

    The Major delivered a fantastic interpretation and performance in the 'Scottish' to secure Whitburn's 4th title in a row and several of us were so enamoured that we travelled to Bradford next day to witness an equally emphatic win by Grimethorpe!

    Without fail the Major would always comment in the build up to important contests that it was "the best band we've ever had". It was kidology quite often of course but we all believed every word. A truly inspirational man and no doubt like hundreds of others, I feel privileged to have spent many hours under his magical baton.

    RIP Major Peter Parkes

    Gordon Simpson
  2. RussQ

    RussQ Member

    Another sad loss

    Another sad loss to the music world. I only had one contest under his command but from the first rehearsal you knew that he was in total control of the score and how he wanted it interpreted. It just so happens the 2 best CD's in my collection were directed by him too....
    Dyke's Complete Champions and Faireys Works of Berlioz, playing of the highest order which IMO won't be bested for a long time.....what a Bass section!!
  3. nigeb12

    nigeb12 Member

    north west
    Well said Sandy. What an inspirational guy! lets not forget the fantastic fun times too!! U were a chief contributer to kiddies corner if my memorey serves. Such enjoyable times. such a sad and huge loss.

    He never got to me at band cos he would have had to get to his pal Pete C first lol

    love him
  4. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Leeds - Yorkshire - UK
    I only played under "The Major" once on a depping gig for Sellers. What charisma, what power in those eyes that flickered everywhere and noted everything.
    I was present when Maurice Murphy played his last gig for Dyke at Huddersfield Town Hall back in the 60s, I think he played "Zelda", and I knew Jimmy Watson in the NYBBGB.
    The band movement has suffered a triple "Whammy".

    - Mr Wilx
  5. JR

    JR Member

    the major

    Very sad news

    The major taught me an awful lot about all sorts of aspects of conducting, technical, psychological, motivational, you name it.

    He was one of an extremely rare group of post-war conductors who had absolutely everything - enormous musical talent, inspirational leadership qualities and extraodinary communication skills with players of all levels - thats why you won't meet anyone who ever studied with him who has a bad word to say.

    He also leaves a legacy of great performances and interpretations, much copied, that have quite rightly now entered the canon as definitive versions e,g Un Vie de Matelot, The Wayfarer, Connotations, Epic Symphony, Volcano, Pageantry, Blitz, Cloudcatcher,Contest Music, Salute to Youth, Masquerade, Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

    He was always very approachable and had a great sense of humour - I'll mss him. I can see him now conducting the last few bars of Connotations, arms held high with the enormous albatross-like wingspan

    John R
  6. NickyJ

    NickyJ New Member

    Halifax, West Yorkshire
    The Major

    My Dad played under the Major during the 90s while at Dyke and Faireys, and phoned me on Saturday, very upset, to relay the terrible news.

    I would like to post something from a listener's point of view, as someone who sat through many practices leading up to major contests during the above period.

    Most memorable for me was 1993, when Faireys took the double at the Open and Nationals with blistering performances of Masquerade and Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Sandy is right, the 'arms outstretched and hair flying' was a sight to behold, even from the other side of the stage. He reminded me of a magician, waving his wand in the air and conjuring some of the most beautiful, awe inspiring music I have ever had the privilage of listening to.

    I particularly enjoyed how, when he knew things had gone perfectly, he would indulgently draw out the last note (Masquerade) when there was no rall. on paper, just because it felt like the right thing to do. It was probably a 'you had to be there' moment, but I've never heard an audience erupt like that before or since - it was a perfect 'it's in the bag' unforgettable moment.

    He was a true gentleman with a wicked sense of humour, who would always make time for the supporters, jokingly letting us know how and when he wanted us to applaud - always led from the front by his wife Birgit.

    The Major will be missed by many - my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.
  7. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    West Midlands
    I was at the Open in 1993 when Major Parkes was conducting that day i have to say it was a fantastic performance and the Major led from the front from the very first note to the very last anyone who was there on that day and heard that magical performance will know what i mean.
    The audience just went wild and The Major turned a player in the band and seemed to say how do we get off here they arn't going to let us go.
    In the end the band walked off the stage and if a victory was deserved by any band it was on that day with a 4 point margin.
    Im so glad i was there to see The Major conducted that winning performance.
    Major Parkes.

    I would just also like to add Faireys Band came to a church near by where i used to live in the 90's The Major had not been with the band long then my Dads company who he worked for sponsored the concert in the interval Major Parkes came over and started chatting to us we found him to be a really nice friendly man who was so pleased that someone from my Dads company played in a brass band (although my Dad had not played for sometime)
  8. rosolino

    rosolino Member

    I remember the Hexam Abbey job really well Gordon. It was my first concert with Whitburn and it was amazing. The man was a genius and I was so glad that evening that I joined Whitburn. It was a marvellous experience ..... not sure I've played in a better concert since ...... that may just be old age and the passing of time talking!

    btw it was 1984.
  9. Brassbones

    Brassbones Member

    Excellent tribute Sandy.
  10. bigsound

    bigsound Member

    A wonderful tribute by Sandy Smith
  11. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Hinckley, Leicestershire
    Rather late, I'm afraid, but I've only just sat down to read Saturday's Times (26th February) and it contains a warm, full page obituary of Peter Parkes, illustrated with a dramatic photograph of him in action from his younger days.

    I was slightly surprised to read that Deep Harmony was 'widely regarded as Parkes's signature piece' - is that really correct? And there is no mention of the colourful episode from the 1970s which brought him to the attention of the national press - but there we are. The most important thing is that he has left us with a treasury of recordings which in my opinion contains some of the finest interpretations of the band repertoire, ancient and modern.
  12. Beesa

    Beesa Member

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