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Gordon started his musical career at the age of 10 playing Tuba when he was encouraged to join the Hammonds Sauce Works Junior Band by his brass teacher Geoff Whitham. In this band over the next three years he appeared in the National Brass Band Championships three times and met his future wife – Sheila. This was followed by a two year stay with Haworth Band – including a National Championship win, he was then invited to join the famous Band of the Yorkshire Imperial Metals under the leadership of Trevor Walmsley DFC. This band was, at the time in the 1970’s one of the foremost Bands in Yorkshire and Nationally and helped him achieve an early ambition – to play in the Royal Albert Hall by the age of 17. Recordings and successes in both the British Open and National Championships followed over the next few years. Gordon’s interest in the ‘Dark Art’ of Adjudication was sparked when he had the chance to discuss, at length with Trevor Walmsley, the practicalities, pitfalls and Trevor’s ideas on improving remarks and their content. A career in the Police Service intervened and he spent a few years playing with The Hawley Band (part of the Hammonds Sauce family of bands) alongside his wife Sheila as they gained promotion from the Fourth Section up to the Championship. During this time his interest in conducting was sparked when he took The Queensbury Band to the Yorkshire Area Second Section (gaining 4th place) and started the second of the Hammonds Junior Bands – which developed into a 4th section contesting band. Over the following years he went on to play with Hammonds Sauce Works Band conducted by Richard Evans and latterly by Geoff Whitham, Black Dyke conducted by James Watson, Yorkshire Building Society conducted by David King. Yorkshire Imperial under Jim Davies and Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band under William Rushworth and Brian Grant. Numerous foreign tours, recordings and competitions have developed Gordon’s strong belief that Banding should be enjoyable and exciting. His most influential musician is most definitely Geoffrey Whitham. A master musician as a player, conductor and adjudicator. Gordon is particularly proud that Geoff taught him and then his son Dan who has recently gained his M Mus in performance and now plays solo trombone with The City of Bradford Band. Gordon feels very fortunate that Geoff took a good deal of time helping Gordon in his early experiences of adjudicating with advice (and a few unrepeatable anecdotes!). Gordon took up full-time brass teaching on his retirement from the Police fifteen years ago and currently teaches, as does his wife, in the Leeds and Bradford area. Gordon has conducted numerous brass bands in and around Yorkshire on a freelance and permanent basis. In a period of just four years, he took York RI Band from a struggling Third Section band to the National Finals four years consecutive with two Area Titles and gained promotion to the first section. Gordon has no real desire to conduct Championship Bands despite having received opportunities to do so – “I enjoy the challenge of building bands by hard work and motivation, getting the best out of the players there and definitely valuing everyone’s contribution. You can’t make a band, you have to grow it”. Although still playing at the highest level in the Championship Section, ‘Grass Roots’ Banding is his passion, he has worked with bands who were nearing extinction and led them to a healthy sustainable condition – having fun and offering a satisfying musical experience. His thoughts on his acceptance onto the Association’s Trainee Adjudicator Scheme are; “The world we live in today is so open to general comment through social media, and this has opened the adjudication of band contests to ‘instant punditry’ via the media. This has led to greater scrutiny and questioning of the decisions made by our adjudicators. Scrutiny and transparency is good, so there is even greater need to have thoroughly competent, trained, supported, forward-thinking and credible adjudicators available to contest organisers. An adjudicator's decision and comments on a performance have a massive impact on a band and have to be fair and positive. I am excited to be part of the scheme, it is so thorough and skills-based. I am looking forward to working with my new mentors and adding to the knowledge and experience passed on to me by my mentors of my banding past”.
6 Menston Old Lane, Burley in Wharfedale, Ilkley. LS297QQ