Following Martyn France's move to pastures new Richard Graves has agreed to help at Watford for the forthcoming Leicester and Butlins contests. Richard is a man of many talents and is well known for his cornet playing. He was born in LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY, where he still lives with his partner & their daughter. At the relatively late age of 14, he began taking Cornet lessons from his godfather, Bernard Gurden. Eventually he joined Letchworth Town Band, playing Flugelhorn, Soprano Cornet and Euphonium and in due course he became their Principal Cornet. In 1975 he went to study Trumpet at the Trinity College of Music, London, where one of his tutors was Norman Burgess, Principal Trumpet of the BBC Concert Orchestra. During his time in the capital Richard played in many West End shows, including ‘Me & My Girl’ & ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. He left college with numerous qualifications, F.T.C.L., L.T.C.L., and A.R.C.M. In 1978, Richard was invited to join The Luton Band (you had to be invited in those days) as their Principal Cornet player, a position he has held ever since. The Luton Band at that time was one of the most successful Bands in the southern area. Between 1979 and 1984, out of 16 competitions, they notched up 12 wins. As a soloist he has won the Cholsley Challenge Trophy at the Reading Contest, the Stephen Howard Memorial Trophy at the ‘area’, the Howard Cook Memorial Trophy at the Watford Open and the inaugural Derek Stillwell Memorial Trophy at the Southern Area Regional Qualifying Contest. With Luton, Richard has appeared on BBC Radio’s Listen to the Band and Friday Night is Music Night, BBC Television’s Best of Brass and a promotional video for MGM Cinema’s. At this time Richard was also guesting with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Radio Big Band. He has also played with many of the top Brass Bands as guest player, including Grimethorpe, Black Dyke, Desford Colliery, Brighouse, G.U.S. and Foden’s Motor Works. Richard also studied conducting whilst at college. In 1980 he became the Musical Director of the Royston Town Band, moving ‘down the road’ (the A10 actually) to Ware Brass in 1990. He steered Ware Brass to the finals of the Pontin’s Brass Band Contest and a very successful tour to the U.S.A. (1995) to celebrate the Band’s centenary, where he also appeared as a soloist. In 1999, he was appointed the Musical Director of the RUSHDEN WINDMILL BAND (formally Rushden Temperance). During his time at Rushden they qualified for the finals in Harrogate as 4th section Champions, won the Leamington Spa Contest 3 times and the Milton Keynes Festival once. This was achieved with a band made up of varying abilities and NOT always the fullest of rehearsals. In addition there were many high profile concerts - including several with the late Don Lusher and the taking part in the inaugural Malcolm Arnold Festival in October 2006. Richard left the ‘Windmill’ Band in May 2007. As a player Richard has played solos with the ‘Windmill’ Band and has recently kept his lip in by playing soprano with the Bedford Town Band and Bb Cornet with Royston Town.