Well Known Guest Conductors.


Any of you had any well known guest conductors coming to help out at rehearsal? How did you feel? Did they improve the Band? Do you think its a good thing?
I've had 3 experiences of well know conductors coming to help us before a contest.
Roy Newsome and Roy Curran came to conduct Eagley years ago just before a contest. Roy Newsome was very patient with us and put us all at ease whereas Roy Curran terrified us but , on the otherhand, the Band certainly played better. I'll never forget his words of wisdom on crescendos and de crescendos and still remember them today.
At Crewe we were lucky enough to have a rehearsal taken by James Scott. I was really worried before the rehearsal and dreading playing badly but he soon put us all at ease and we had a fantastic rehearsal, we learnt alot but it was full of humour too which put us at our ease.
Personally I feel it raises your self esteem to be conducted by a top conductor , as they were at the time and its great that they are willing to give up their time to help a lower section band try to reach their full potential in a particular piece.


I think that a guest conductor is a great thing. Whilst we are fortunate to have a great resident MD at our band (John Roberts), we have also had some rehearsals taken by others when John has been away. In particular, Duncan Beckley, when he took a sectional for the areas and a recent concert, was fantastic and it is easy to see why Newstead are enjoying success under his leadership.

It is amazing what a change of baton does for bands on just the basics of coming in together on the first note and how it can change a piece that you thought you knew inside out. I am all for it!
best guest conductor I have played under has to be Steve Sykes, i felt he really knew how to get the best out of the band at the time.....Admitedly it was a few years ago, but i'd love him to take the band i'm with now for a practice! might actually shock a few ppl into practicing their parts!


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yeah ditto that one..
he just took us at the masters.. amazing guy
garry cutt and elgar howarth are two other conductors i've had who know how to get things out of a band.
Had Arthur Butterworth for a few rehearsals about a month ago too, very musical bloke!


Have got to agree about Steve Sykes, he came up to us to do a workshop weekend a few years ago and conducted the concert at the end of it. The guys knows his stuff and the band really responded well to him.


Yes, Steve Sykes took Staines Band to a contest on Checkmate, brilliant !

Years ago, Ifor James took Hanwell (who had a reputation as being the graveyard for conductors, we even sacked Bram Tovey !) to an area win on Spectrum. He was one of the best, absolute prof. and a gentleman as well.

He was not available for the finals that year (Wayfarer) and suggested Tony Randall, a friend of his also a Horn player. What a disaster ! He was useless !



well known guest conductors

What do people think about two md's.
At Murton we have two and I think it's a real benefit for the band to see two different perspectives of a piece of music, but when we played music for a festival one took it dead slow and the other to the full tempo. At the contest we didn't get a good position


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Many years ago, when I started banding at Rowntrees, they used to be conducted by Trevor Bousefield (father of a certain Ian Bousefield). However, just before the Areas every year, they would get Trevor Walmsley down to the band to polish up the performance. Looking back, I wish I'd been a little bit older, I could have learnt a lot more.....

Ray Farr was known to take a rehearsal or two as well.



Staff member
We have invited a number of guest conductors to take one-off rehearsals in recent years, notably Eiliv Herikstad from Norway, Andrew Blythe and Dudley Bright. These have been helpful, as it is always good to get someone else's view of how the band is doing, but we never seem to have enough time. The session with Dudley was first class, with a good mixture of advice and playing, but we could really have done with holding a workshop on a Saturday, maybe concluding with a public concert.

satchmo shaz

Active Member
My band have been lucky enough to have had Duncan Beckley and Walter Ritchie to come along and help before contests. they really gave the band a boost and me too! :wink:


Ray Farr was known to take a rehearsal or two as well.

Ray would really lift our game at Kirkbymoorside a few years back. Recently I've found a great reaction to Richard Evans (Great talent and down to earth soh.) and Alan Morrison creates a great atmosphere.
Although we have our own David Evans who certainly knows how to "manage" the band for stamina, balance and getting the sound he wants.

Sam, congrats on the century mate....who's a "friend" then?


New Member
We had a very well known guest conductor take a rehearsal because he was in the area. It was just before the area contest and when he asked where one of the back row cornet players was he was told she had a cesarian birth just 4 weeks previously.

When he uttered the words "shouldnt have bloody women in bands anyway" I thought we were going to be faced with a mass female exodus, luckily the girls stayed put on the condition that he kept his thoughts to himself!


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Thanks. It just shows that I don't have enough work to do.If you keep trying, you'll achieve it soon to.

Last year at the regionals, we kinda NEEDED a guest conductor :oops: and we had Christopher Mowatt come down to take a few rehearsals, but we ended up with Nigel Seaman conducting us on the day :D and we won :D


Before the area this year we had a weekend of rehearsals taken by our usual conductor Johnny Webster along with guest spots from Alan Wycherly and Glynn Williams. It was a fantastic weekend and really benefitted the band. We've also been known to have Nick Childs down once or twice!!
The different ideas really help and instead of having the benefit of one excellent conductor we've had the benefit of four during the past year!


My old band, Douglas Town Band in the Isle of Man have Gordon Higginbottom over every year before the areas. Although we all think we know the piece inside out, this guy comes along a week before and totally transforms us!! We have been lucky enough to have him conduct us in the actual competition nearly every year as well. To say he makes a massive difference is a mega understatement!


well known guest conductors

Once we had Steve Malcolm from the ever ready band. That was a good practice.
Now we have two conductors, one of them plays for Black Dyke and he's a great MD, I think that were very lucky to have him. Our other MD isnt hugely well known but he certainly is fantastic

Keppler: Duplicate Post Deleted


Active Member
We've had several guests for our practices over the years.
Elgar Howarth came to take us through The Bandsman's tale which he wrote for our centenary. It was certainly different at that time ( especially for the basses) and his humour helped us in it's performance.
Erik Silverberg took one practice rehearsing just his music and the man matched his music...ordinary!!!
Bill Himes was brilliant and a great guy as well.
One surprisingly good weekend was spent with Len Ballantine, the major work being Pastoral Symphony, the band giving a performance we previously believed was not possible of us.

More recently Chris Mowatt and Robert Childs have taken rehearsals and their attention to detail has been exemplary and even the best section (the horns), have got something out of these times.


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oooooh Roy Curran!

*shudders with memories

He is a might scary isn't he? I saw him at Pontins last year, not having seen him for about 7 years. i nearly had a funny turn!

Best guest conductor i've played under bar Roy Curran has to be Chris Houlding who once took a rehearsal at my old band. it was really useful.

I think a guest conductor every now and then can be good for the band. A different point of view can help and stops the banding becoming immune to the usual md saying the same things over and over. It can keep the band fresh and on their toes.


Active Member
not a guest conductor but a conductor for a little while -
couple of years ago when i was part of drighlington youth band william rushworth conducted us - he didn't stay long

our senior band has geoff whitham at the odd rehesal to fill in

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