New faces at Grimethorpe
Grimethopre Colliery Band has announced that its former professional conductor, Allan Withington, will return to direct the band at the forthcoming British Open Championship, following the resignation of Philip McCann. Having enjoyed appearances with Grimethorpe at the Brass in Concert Championship, RNCM Brass Band Festival and Yorkshire Regional Championship, Philip announced his resignation on 12 June via social media stating: “For some months I had been looking forward to conducting the band at the British Open, but recent developments have made that impossible.” In his statement Philip also thanked the players who had supported what they set out to achieve together and wished them success in the future.
As Grimethorpe bid to regain the coveted British Open title it won just two years ago under Robert Childs, the band have made a handful of signings in key positions, including Chris Robertson (solo euphonium), Martin Britt (soprano cornet), Helen Varley (solo horn), and Jamie Smith (flugel horn).
Paying reference to its recent personnel changes, on 13 June Grimethorpe issued the following statement: "In its centenary year, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band is committed to preserving the traditions of excellence and innovation created by its past members, and also to building an inclusive, forward-thinking team that can ensure a solid and sustainable organisation for future generations. With this in mind, there have been a few personnel changes recently, with the latest being the renewal of the band's relationship with Allan Withington who will lead the band at this year's British Open."
Allan previously led Grimethorpe to National Championship victories in 2006 and 2007, and ahead of his reunion told BBW: "Returning to Grimethorpe has always felt like an inevitable part of my conducting career. The British Open is one of the most prestigious competitions in the world. A return at this juncture therefore, felt like an extremely interesting proposition. I am looking forward to the reunion, the challenge, the contest and once again, the opportunity to get involved with this great band."