Excellence Award for Robert Childs

The Butlin's Mineworker's National Open Brass Band Festival celebrated its 15th year last weekend, an occasion marked with excellent concerts, contests and awards.

In 2009 the Festival created an annual award for 'persons who have served the Brass Band Movement with dedication and distinction over many years.' This award has since been won by such luminaries as David James, Ray Cunningham, Trevor Groom, David Read MBE, Tony Whittaker, John Berryman, Alan Needham, James Shepherd and Richard Evans, and this year was awarded to Robert Childs.

The presentation took place during the highly successful Black Dyke Reunion Band concert when Frank Renton, compere for the evening, surprised this year's recipient as he paid tribute to, "someone that started playing with Tredegar Learners when he was 7, before progressing to solo euphonium of the senior band. From Tredegar he moved to GUS where he played next to Trevor Groom, and at 19 years of age he joined Grimethorpe Colliery as Solo Euphonium. During the next 25 years he toured the world as a soloist and played with Yorkshire’s best bands, including Hammonds, Brighouse and Rastrick, Yorkshire Imps and Black Dyke, with whom he played solo euphonium for 10 years.

"Whilst at Black Dyke he formed the EYMS band who he directed from 4th to Championship section, and in 2000 conducting became his primary focus as he left Black Dyke and returned to Wales to become conductor of the Cory Band. After 12 years of unprecedented success, he left Cory in 2012 as the No.1 ranked band in the world, and in recent years has conducted the likes of Black Dyke, Grimethorpe, Foden’s, and Woodfalls. As both player and conductor, he has won every major title there is to win in the brass band world, and today shares his experience and knowledge as Director of Brass Band Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, visiting Professor at Tokyo's Senzoku Gakuen College of Music, and as Chairman of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain." 

Stan Lippeat presented this year's Award before Robert returned to his seat in the euphonium section alongside Morgan Griffiths and John Clough. However, more awards followed as Richard Evans (guest conductor for the evening) was presented with his 2017 Excellence Award, having been absent last year, and Stan Lippeat himself was presented with an award from Mark Walters for 50 years service.

Photo courtesy: Steve Jack

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