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Back Row Cornet
Bb Bass

Where to find us

York Railway Institute, Queen Street, York, YO24 1AD (close to York Station) map

Rehearsal times

Mondays and Thursdays from 8pm to 10pm

Contact details

Please telephone our Secretary, Martyn Williams, on 07921 568826 or e-mail



All photographs are by members and friends of the Band, unless otherwise stated.

York Railway Institute Band is a constituent part of York RI - a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, registration number 1165513. We are a contesting band, competing in the Championship Section in the North of England Region of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.

Recent News

The Year Ahead!

After a highly successful and enjoyable season of Christmas concerts the Band is now focusing on the year ahead. The hard work of preparing for the North of England Championships taking place on the 18th March has begun in earnest. The Band is also busy rehearsing completely new programmes of music for our upcoming concert season. There are many musical highlights to look forward to in 2018. In April we will have the huge honour of performing at a high profile concert in Howden Minster to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the RAF. In May we will be performing once again with the stunning Prima Vocal Ensemble at Selby Abbey whilst in June we will showcase the world class talents of Dan Thomas, the Principal Euphonium player of the Black Dyke Band.

Looking further ahead into the Autumn, the Band will perform two concerts at the Riley-Smith Hall in Tadcaster to mark the centenary of the Armistice and we will also welcome to the City of York the Footscray-Yaraville City Band from Australia when we perform a joint concert in November. With an almost full complement of players and a great atmosphere in the bandroom, now would be a great time for a back row cornet player and Bb bass player to join the Band and complete our team.

Lest We Forget

Remembrance Day Parade, York 2017

The Band is deeply honoured to have led the City of York Civic Remembrance Parade to honour all those servicemen and women who have died in the line of duty. We marched from Clifford's Tower to the Memorial Gardens through huge crowds who were very appreciative of our playing and then provided the music during the Service of Remembrance. The Last Post and Reveille were played note perfect by Principal Cornet player Ollie Abbey. After the service the Parade reformed on Lendal Bridge and set off to return to Clifford's Tower. Included in our music was the March 'Old Comrades' in tribute to all the veterans who were taking part in the Parade. Later, Solo Cornet player Jamie Highton departed with the military contingent to play The Last Post and Reveille in a Remembrance Service held at York Minster.

Norwegian Visitors

Jernbanens Musikkorps Oslo

We were absolutely delighted to welcome the Jernbanens Musikkorps Oslo on their visit to York from the 5th – 8th October. The band, consisting of 40+ wind, brass and percussion players, was ably led by their charismatic and highly skilled Musical Director, Maria Molund. On Thursday 5th October after a flight from Oslo to Manchester the band arrived mid-afternoon and settled into the Lady Anne Middleton Hotel. Jernbanens Musikkorps Oslo Friday saw the band perform concerts at York Railway Station and the National Railway Museum where their joyous playing made an immediate impact on their audience. With guests Martyn & Dawn Williams the band then enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Olive Tree Restaurant on Friday evening before going on to sampling some of York's finest real ale at the Golden Ball Pub!

Jernbanens Musikkorps Oslo On Saturday the band performed to a large and very enthusiastic audience in Parliament Street where their special brand of musical entertainment left the crowd cheering for more. Later in the evening the band and York RI performed a joint concert at Southlands Methodist Church. A particular highlight was the playing of two joint pieces - firstly a super-charged Lilly the Pink and then a rock version of the traditional Norwegian folk tune Ro ro til Siraland. After the concert the two bands enjoyed a party at York RI Bar and with friendships sealed came an invitation to York RI Band for a reciprocal visit to Oslo which we hope to take up in the not too distant future.

Dawn and Martyn's Wedding

Dawn and Martyn Williams outside the Treasurer's House

The wedding of Martyn Williams and Dawn Groves took place on Saturday, 22nd April 2017 and was conducted in a civil ceremony (followed by a wedding breakfast/reception) in Bedern Hall, York. The venue is a re-constructed mediaeval guild hall and this lent the occasion much style and atmosphere. As the guests assembled, music was played by a brass quintet under the banner of York RI Band, the players being Chris Hirst (bass), Richard Lovatt (euphonium), Sammy Latus (tenor horn), Andy Novell and Sam Lovatt (cornets).

Martyn Williams awaiting his bride Before the ceremony began, despite there being his three sons, Alistair, Angus and Toby, among the guests, the bridegroom took on the role of groomsman and did what he always does best i.e. getting everyone organised and into their places. In a rather fetching mid-blue three-piece suit, delicate pink shirt and complementary tie in rich plum with delicate floral motif, Martyn busied himself with last-minute arrangements, no doubt using this activity to disguise his last-minute nerves. Eventually he settled down to await the entrance of his bride.

And what an entrance it was! On the arm of her supporter, Ray Rochester (taking on the role of 'father of the bride'), Dawn appeared as no one had ever seen her before. With newly re-styled hair, semi-tiara and drop earrings sparkling in the sunlight as it streamed through the paned glass of the windows, Dawn was a picture of beauty in a backless, full length, traditional bridal gown of white and ivory with an impressive train, and clutching a bouquet of red and white roses.

The new Dr and Mr WilliamsFor those guests who have known and loved Dawn over many years, it was a moment and an effect that brought tears of joy and affection to every eye, and it did not go unnoticed that the 'father of the bride' wept copiously as he walked the bride down the aisle.

During the ceremony, at intervals, there were readings delivered by Alistair Williams, Vicky Hodge (long-standing friend of the bride) and Clive Marshall (Chairman of York RI Band Section). Angus and Toby Williams assisted with the presentation of the rings and Richard and Sharon Lovatt acted as Witnesses to the signing of the Register, whilst a guitar performance and further brass music added to the mood of well-being.

Dawn and Martyn's first dance At the end of the ceremony, the guests moved outside into a small but secluded garden bathed in sunshine, where drinks were served. After photos of the chief guests and the bridal pair had been taken, everyone moved back into the Hall and enjoyed a splendid three course meal with speeches and toasts proposed by Martyn and Ray. Later in the day, guests moved to the Hilton Hotel, York, and were joined by many friends and associates at a party to extend the celebrations - and observe the bride and groom take their first tentative steps as man and wife on the dance floor of the rest of their life together.

Area Contest 2017

Area Contest 2017

Whilst the Band was naturally disappointed with its Area Contest result, the adjudicators' comments were generally very supportive and they certainly don't read like those of a last-placed band; they both seemed to like what we did with the piece and were complimentary about a good deal of our playing. As is always the way with RI, we won't be crying foul - instead, we'll take it on the chin and will try even harder at our next contest.

In the context of where we were at the start of the year with depleted numbers, we see last Sunday as an achievement or at very least something that we can build upon over the coming months - and we will! We are very grateful to all the longstanding and loyal members of RI who have stuck with the Band through thick and thin because they care so much about our future. We will also be eternally grateful to all our guest players, not least our Principal Cornet player, Graham Walker, who when the Band was down stepped up to the plate like any good bandsman would and offered to help his old band out. Graham, as would be expected, played exceptionally well, especially at the start of the third movement which was utterly brilliant, and we’re sorry that we couldn't manage a better result to make his 71st Birthday complete!

We will now turn our attention to rebuilding the Band in those areas where we are still missing a few regular players so that we can return to Durham next year in a much stronger position to compete! If you want to be part of our future success under the excellent musical leadership of our Musical Director David Lancaster, please contact Ian Scott on 07930 165212 or email We currently have vacancies for Principal Cornet, Back Row Cornet and Flugelhorn players.

Finally, congratulations to our York neighbours the Shepherd Group Brass Band on their fine win in the 1st Section and we look forward to competing against you again next year.

York R I's First Class Return

Graham Walker

York Railway Institute Band is pleased to announce the appointment of Graham Walker as Principal Cornet. Graham returns to the Band 50 years after he first occupied the end chair in 1966, a position he took up after leaving the RMCM to pursue a career in teaching in the area. He joined R I with Margaret, his wife, and was with the Band through until 1969 when he left to take up the position as Principal Cornet of the Yorkshire Imperial Metals Band, establishing himself as one of the all-time greatest cornet players.

Having gone full circle, Graham's return to R I could not be better timed with his birthday coinciding with the North of England Championship Section that is taking place in Durham on Sunday 12th March. Graham is looking forward to the contest, having previously played the test piece Pageantry with great success, first at the British Open in 1970 and then again as the winning band with Yorkshire Imps at the Yorkshire Area Contest in 1977. Graham said "Lots of memories will abound at the Area Contest this year, a lifetime of enjoyable banding, over sixty years. I am grateful to R I for giving me this opportunity to create even more happy memories." Another coincidence will see Graham and Margaret's son Alexander and granddaughter Georgia also playing Pageantry on the 12th March with Newstead Band at the Midlands Area Championships.

Musical Director David Lancaster said "Graham Walker brings a wealth of experience to the Band and it is an enormous pleasure and a great honour to have him leading our cornet section. I look forward to every rehearsal because there are always magical moments when he is involved, particularly in the lyrical cornet solos of the second movement. Graham is an inspirational bandsman and musician and his support in helping to rebuild the playing strength of R I is much appreciated."

David Lancaster appointed as Musical Director

Dr David Lancaster

We are pleased to announce the appointment of David Lancaster as Musical Director. Originally from Wigan, Dr David Lancaster began his musical career on cornet with Pemberton Old Band. He won the Alexander Owen Memorial Scholarship which led to trumpet lessons with Michael Antrobus. David studied music at York and Cambridge universities where his attention shifted to composition, and he subsequently worked as composer and freelance trumpeter in the UK and around Europe.

David's music is performed regularly in concerts and festivals by some of the leading performers of new music all around the world; he has written for theatre, television and contemporary dance. David has won many awards for his work, including the Michael Tippett Prize and the LCM Centenary Award.

David has conducted brass bands at all levels and has adjudicated local contests, regional championships and National Finals. David Lancaster lives in York and works as Director of Music at York St John University, teaching composition and managing the university’s music programmes. David said of his appointment "I was delighted to be invited to become Musical Director of such a prestigious band. There is huge potential here and I can't wait to get started in the New Year. The challenge of consolidating the band's position in the Championship Section is very exciting and I am also looking forward to developing an innovative and attractive concert programme."

Band Chairman Clive Marshall welcomed the appointment saying "David is an excellent musician with an impressive pedigree as composer, player and conductor. York R I is very excited at the prospect of working with David and benefiting from his experience and inspiration in making wonderful music together."

Christmas Concert

Come and hear the three bands of the York Railway Institute celebrate Christmas in style. To reserve tickets, email

Poster for RI Christmas Concert
Poster for Concert with Michael Dodd


Ollie Abbey

We are absolutely overjoyed to hear the brilliant news that our former Principal Cornet player Ollie Abbey has achieved a 2:1 in mathematics at Cambridge University and we send him huge congratulations! Despite all the rigours and demands of a busy academic and student life, Ollie has continued his close association with the Band, playing for R I at every opportunity both in concerts and contests over the last three years he has been at university. Well done Ollie and thank you for being a top bandsman.

Whit Friday 2016

YRIB at Dobcross

The Band had a brilliant time playing at the world famous Whit Friday Marches across Saddleworth and Oldham District this year despite being soaked through after 8.00pm!

We managed to play at seven contests and achieved good results including 7th at Delph (80 bands), 9th at Greenfield (72 bands), 12th at Lees (46 bands), 16th at Diggle (59 bands) and 18th at Lydgate (71 bands). Our road march was Royal Trophy and our contest march Roll Away Bet. Special thanks go to our dep players Sam Lovatt, Anna Marshall, Sam Kind & Daniel Wilson.

This is our performance in the pouring rain at Greenfield - we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

North of England Brass Band Championships

North of England Regional Contest 2016

Photo by Keith Meadley Photography

After three months of hard work in preparation for the contest the Band came 6th from the dreaded No.1 draw, a result which secures the Band's Championship status right through to 2018! Playing the hugely challenging Cambridge Variations by Philip Sparke, the Band's soloists Bridget Scott (Flugel Horn) and Andy Novell (Principal Cornet) made excellent contributions and a huge thank you goes to Musical Director Chris Hirst for all his hard work in preparing us for the contest. If you would like to hear the Band's performance click on this link

With the area contest out of the way, we can look forward to a packed calendar of concerts starting with the first concert of the new season taking place at St Mary's Church in Hemingbrough at 7.30pm on Saturday 16th April (tickets available on the door). Other highlights in 2016 will include a concert featuring Michael Dodd, the Principal Euphonium of the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, and the Band's third annual performance with the acclaimed Chapter House Choir in York Minster in December. In addition to our concert work, the Band will once again compete at the Whit Friday Marches on Friday 20th May and at the Dr Martin Contest on Sunday 11th September.

Congratulations Ian Bruce

Ian Bruce

The Band performed to a sell-out audience at Howden Minster on Saturday 5th December with the Minster and St Helen's, Welton Church Choirs. The concert, organised by Howden Rotary Club, was to raise funds for Marie Curie and other supported causes. The Band's performance was exemplary from start to finish with notable solo contributions from Andy Novell (Principal Cornet), Kevin Moxon (Soprano Cornet), James West (Solo Horn) and Richard Lovatt (Principal Euphonium). We also accompanied the wonderful singer Deb Henderson in a rendition of the timeless classic Evergreen.

The absolute highlight of the evening, however, was the presentation to Ian Bruce of a fine glass sculpture to mark his election to the role of Honorary President of YRIB. Ian Bruce comes from a famous York brass banding family. His grandfather, Noah Bruce, had founded the Chaucer Street Mission Band in 1883 and when Ian, at the age of eleven, took up banding in 1946, he joined his father and his uncles in what had become York Home Guard Band. That name soon changed to Ebor Excelsior Brass Band, and Ian became a permanent member as an Eb Bass player. By 1952 the Band had become the York Railway Institute Band and Ian had established himself as the leading bass player in the city and earned a place in the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain in its inaugural year. For the next fifty nine years Ian Bruce was the beating heart of the York R I Band, not only as a fine instrumentalist but as an industrious committee man and, for ten years, a most conscientious Secretary, helping to found the Junior Band which eventually became the Golden Rail Band. Ian and his wife Linda, also a stalwart member of the Band for 40+ years, are much loved and respected and it was wonderful to have them in the audience with family to celebrate Ian's lifetime contribution to YRIB.

Congratulations Dawn and Martyn!

Dawn and Martyn

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the engagement of baritone players Dawn Groves and Martyn Williams. Huge congratulations to you both!

The Armed Man

The Armed Man concert

The Band recently collaborated with Prima Vocal Ensemble to perform the moving Sir Karl Jenkins' 'The Armed Man' to a large and appreciative audience at the Central Hall at York University. The Band's soloists Kevin Moxon, Andy Novell, Jamie Highton and Richard Lovatt all excelled. A very special mention goes to guest flugel horn player Paul Stamp who played 'Benedictus' so beautifully.

This is the second time R I have collaborated with Ewa Salecka and her choir in recent years and we look forward to more exciting collaborations in the future.

Musical Foundations Strengthened

Paul Jones

Following hot on the heels of other excellent recent signings, we are absolutely delighted to welcome Paul Jones into our ranks on Bb Bass in the run up to our first appearance at the Dr Martin Contest in September.

Paul has enjoyed a distinguished record of service with the Armed Forces as Principal Tuba player with the Grenadier Guards. His playing pedigree also includes appearances with the likes of Heart of England, Desford, Flowers, Faireys, Foden's, Jaguar and Brighouse & Rastrick, as well as with professional orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

New Players Come On Board

Kevin Moxon, Jayne Moxon, Tara Appleyard and Joe Bradford

York Railway Institute Band is pleased to welcome the signing of four new players who will greatly enhance the quality of the Band in the run up to our first appearance at the Dr Martin Contest in September. Bringing huge amounts of playing experience and real musical pedigree are the highly regarded Soprano Cornet Player Kevin Moxon and his wife Jayne who has taken up the Repiano Cornet seat. Kevin and Jayne are well known banding personalities, having played for a number of bands across the UK, and we are delighted they have chosen to join R I as the Band cements its Championship status credentials. On joining, Kevin said "We are looking forward very much to playing in the Band and working with Musical Director Chris Hirst." Also joining R I are young rising stars Tara Appleyard and Joe Bradford on back row cornet, having been developed through the excellent Otley and Tewit Youth Band structures.

Of the new signings, Musical Director Chris Hirst said "It's great to have youngsters with the quality of Tara and Joe so keen to join the Band. They have both shown great commitment so far, which is so important at York R I where we rarely sit down with less than 100% attendance. They join a band with many other teenagers, all completely focused on moving the Band forward, all with massive potential for the future and the desire to succeed. At the other end of the spectrum we are truly overjoyed to sign Kevin Moxon on Soprano Cornet along with his wife Jayne on Repiano Cornet. Both players bring a wealth of talent and experience to York R I and have really given the Band a boost in the realisation that we are now in a position to attract such quality players who would be welcomed with open arms by any band!"

Joan Sadler Memorial Concert

Joan Sadler Memorial Concert

Playing to an almost capacity audience, the Band was honoured to perform a joint concert with Shepherd Group Concert Band to celebrate the life of Joan Sadler. The first half featured the hugely entertaining Concert Band under their energetic MD, former R I player Mike Pratt. After the interval, R I took centre stage and was on sparkling form with featured soloists Andy Novell (Principal Cornet), Ian Scott (Bass Trombone), Richard Lovatt (Principal Euphonium) and Kevin Moxon (Soprano Cornet) all impressing the audience with their musical skill and poise. The concert finished with the Concert Band joining R I on stage to perform the rip roaring Tom Jones classic, Delilah. And so ended a wonderful night of music making to remember Joan, that will have raised a substantial amount of money for the nominated charities.

Dawn Groves

Dr Groves PhD, MSc (Med Eng),
BSc Hons (Physio), AMIMechE


We are overjoyed that baritone player Dawn Groves is to be conferred a Doctorate by the Institute of Medical & Biological Engineering part of Leeds University in December. Dawn has worked her socks off to achieve this whilst still meeting all her commitments to the Band. Of course with her PhD out of the way there will be even more time for home practice!

Whit Friday

Lydgate, Whit Friday 2015

Photo copyright © Bob Hindley 2015

The Band enjoyed a great time playing at the world famous Whit Friday Marches across Saddleworth and Oldham District villages including Delph, Diggle, Dobcross, Scouthead, Denshaw and Lydgate on Friday 29th May. Playing the road march 'The Royal Trophy' and the contest march 'Roll Away Bet', the Band turned in excellent performances and some notable results including Lydgate 6th (74 bands), Dobcross 13th (69 bands), Diggle 16th and Delph 19th (77 bands).

Thanks go to our guest players from the East Riding of Yorkshire, Shepherd Group, Carlton Main, Ferryhill and Skelmanthorpe Bands, Bb Bass player Paul Jones and Tenor Horn player Dennis Stamp. You can see and hear a short clip of the Band playing its road march here

The Band in Christ Church Stockton Lane YorkRegionals 2015

The Band was promoted to the Championship Section in January, the first time it has competed at this level since 1991. We all worked hard in preparation for the North of England Championships and enjoyed an incredibly successful concert at a packed Christ Church the week before. The audience of almost 150 heard the Band play the Area test piece, Peter Graham's "The Torchbearer", and we were all in good heart going to the Area Contest that took place in Durham on Sunday 15th March. Playing 5th, the Band was placed 8th out of a field of 9 bands and were just pipped by local rivals the Shepherd Building Group Band placed 7th. York R I soloists and featured players Andy Novell, Jamie Highton, James West, Richard Lovatt, Sarah Smith, Malcolm Watson, Pearce Abbey, Dawn Groves and Nathan Coope all excelled and we can now look forward with confidence to the year ahead and competing again in the Championship Section at the Area Contest in March 2016. Huge congratulations to the Reg Vardy Band who were crowned North of England Champions and to NASUWT Riverside Band who picked up the second qualifying place for the National Finals in October.

Pre-Finals Concert Success

The Band in St Chad's ChurchThe Band performed to a very large and appreciative audience at St. Chad's Church in York on Saturday 13th September. The concert was to raise funds for our upcoming appearance at the National Championship Finals. Featuring guest soloist Brett Baker, the Band was on scintillating form playing a wide range of music from the traditional overture "Poet and Peasant" to the very current "The Big Wide" composed by Hope and Social and arranged by David Lancaster. Recognition was given to former player Ian Bruce by playing the hymn tune "There is a Green Hill Far Away" composed by Ian's Grandfather and founder of York RI Band Noah Bruce. Brett's trombone playing was truly outstanding, displaying his wonderful sound, technique and extreme musicality in his solos "Fantastic Polka", "Smile", "Leona" and "You Only Live Twice". The main centrepiece of the concert, however, was the Band's performance of the National Finals test piece "A King's Lie" which from the first note captured the imagination of the audience, who greeted the final blazing chord with rapturous applause.

Musical Director Chris Hirst officially announced the appointment of Peter Byrom-Smith, who was in the audience, as Composer in Residence. Peter's first composition for band "The Poppies of the Field" was played during the concert, creating an eerie atmosphere where a pin dropping could have been heard as the final solo note played by Andy Novell faded away. Andy's playing, which featured extensively in Peter's music, was impeccable throughout the concert as he led the band with aplomb from the Principal Cornet chair.

The concert also welcomed VIP guests from York Cooperative Funeralcare who have supported the Band for over a decade. Mr Philip Taylor from Funeralcare presented a cheque which has allowed the Band to equip itself with a full set of professional quality Wallace Mutes.

Brett BakerConcert with Brett Baker

The Band is pleased to announce that the internationally renowned trombone player Mr Brett Baker will be guest soloist at the Pre-National Finals concert to be held at St Chad's Church in York on Saturday 13th September at 7.30pm. With only 160 seats in the venue, you are strongly advised to purchase your tickets in advance of the concert.

The concert is a fundraising event for the Band's appearance at the National Finals in Cheltenham this coming September. As well as showcasing the incredible talents of Brett, the Band will perform 'A King's Lie' - the finals test piece - and other music.

Brett Baker is viewed as one of Europe’s leading brass performers and educators. He is passionate about encouraging composers to write pioneering and challenging new solo repertoire for trombone as well as researching and promoting much of the forgotten repertoire of the past. Brett's extensive recording portfolio as an ensemble player and soloist is nothing short of remarkable having produced 40 solo albums, most recently under his own record label "White River Evocations" as well as appearing as a soloist on 70 recordings. Brett has served with distinction as the Principal Trombone of the world famous Black Dyke Band for almost 15 years, winning numerous national and international awards. He is a past trombone solo champion of Great Britain and an Associate of the Royal College of Music.

Tickets are £10 or £8 concessions (OAPs, Children under 16 and students in FT education).

To purchase a ticket you can either:
1) Send a cheque payable to YORK RAILWAY INSTITUTE BAND with an SAE to -
Martyn Williams
3 Princess Drive
YO26 5SX
2) Pay by direct bank transfer. Please contact Martyn Williams for further details -
Tel: 07921 568826

PoppiesPoppy Road Poppy Project

The Band is pleased to announce it will be participating in a Dedication Ceremony on the 26th July. The Poppy Road Poppy Project is a wonderful local community group who have planted sustainable wild-flower meadows in the heart of Holgate in York, in memory of all those who lived and suffered during the Great War. The Project said "One hundred years after it began, we are ensuring that those who lived and suffered during 1914-18 are remembered in a fitting and beautiful way."

Planting Day was 26 April 2014 and the meadows should start to flower in July – in time for the beginning of the First World War's centenary period. Strewn with wild flowers and Flanders poppies, the meadows will serve as a living commemoration and will remind us that we all have a job to do in preventing war in the future.

The Band will perform music of the period as well as a newly commissioned composition from the internationally renowned York composer Peter Byrom-Smith. This will be Peter's first composition for Brass Band and we are very much looking forward to playing his music as part of the Dedication Ceremony in July.


Chapter House Choir

The Chapter House Choir

The Band is pleased to announce that it will perform for the first time with York Minster's Chapter House Choir as part of their acclaimed 'Carols by Candlelight' concert later this year. The Chapter House Choir was founded by York-based composer Andrew Carter in the 1960s. As a member of the Minster Choir, he realised the potential for a concert to raise funds for a restoration appeal, and persuaded other Minster songmen and their wives to form a choir. As a result, the first 'Carols by Candlelight' concert was held in December 1965. The Choir has continued to contribute financially to York Minster over the years. The 'Carols by Candlelight' concert, to be held on Friday 19th December, will follow other high profile concerts by the Band in December including the BBC Radio York Annual Carol Service to be recorded in Selby Abbey and our annual appearance at Leeds Minster for the Cooperative Funeralcare. All in all, December is set to be a very busy month for the Band!

Regionals TrophiesNorth of England 1st Section Champions

North of England First Section Champions, Best Trombone, Best Percussion, qualified for the National Finals for the 5th consecutive year and promoted to the Championship Section for 2015! Phew - all that in one afternoon. Congratulations also to Kirkbymoorside Town who will be joining us at the finals.

Resounding Brass & Choir Triumph!

Band and Choir in St Michael-le-Belfry Church

Photo by Dave Marris

The Band was privileged to be part of an outstanding musical event on Saturday 16th November when it appeared with the York-based choir Prima Vocal Ensemble at St Michael-le-Belfrey Church.

Choir and Band had been rehearsing hard under the baton of the Band’s Musical Director Chris Hirst and the concert Artistic Director Ewa Salecka and everyone sensed that a very special evening was being created. There was a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation before the concert, as queues stretching 100 yards packed the church with an audience of almost 400, and what was to unfold was truly magical.

The Band featured music including Simoraine, Mack & Mabel, Mr Jums, Cortege from Mlada and three outstanding soloists - Andy Novell (Zelda), Malcolm Watson (Share My Yoke) and Richard Lovatt (La Cucaracha), with the first half of the concert ending with Paul Lovatt Cooper's Vitae Aeternum. The Choir, who were seated in a balcony and out of sight of the audience, joined the Band to sing the quiet reflective section of Vitae Aeternum in a heavenly and uplifting effect as brass and voice combined leaving the audience spellbound. Vitae ended with the huge sounds of the Band and the featured percussion section filling the church and bringing rapturous audience applause.

The second half of the concert, conducted by Ewa Salecka, had the Choir sitting behind the Band and featured show stopper after show stopper including O Fortuna from Carmina Burana, Amen from Messiah, Gabriella’s Song and One Moment in Time, as well as extended selections from Carmen and Verdi operas. The audience was once again spellbound and by the time the final piece, Skyfall, was performed it was obvious from the deafening ovation that there would have to be an encore! Ewa reprised One Moment in Time which brought the audience to its feet and the concert ended with a second encore conducted by Chris Hirst of the sung middle section of Vitae Aeternum and the thunderous brass and percussion finale which once more brought the audience to its feet.

We feel very honoured and privileged to have been part of such a memorable concert and look forward to working with Ewa and Prima Vocal Ensemble in future collaborations.

National Finals 2013

Our 4th consecutive appearance at the National Finals turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable occasion with the bonus that we improved greatly on last year's result by coming 10th out of 18 bands, all of which were Champions or Runners-up in their regional contests. It was very satisfying to do so well for Gordon Eddison in his final contest as Musical Director. comments:-
"Opening is controlled with confidence. Downie’s work has a nice feel to it. York’s approach has a nice feel to it. Sammy Latus does well on horn and the music gels together well, although there are some tiny blemishes. Bundles of energy comes from Gordon Eddison in the middle and the band responds. Well done for the nice lyrical playing from Principal Cornet, Ollie Abbey. The quieter, slower section is delivered with control from the middle. There are some tricky moments on show in the closing section but its not without passion and total commitment and closes well. Overall York gave a performance that certainly had plenty to admire, the best so far, but there were tuning issues in evidence. Star player: Goes to MD Gordon Eddison who led the band with a fine interpretation and his band responded."

We are now looking forward to a busy autumn under the baton of Chris Hirst.

Chris HirstChris Hirst appointed as MD

York Railway Institute Band is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Hirst as Musical Director. Chris will take over the baton from Gordon Eddison immediately following the Band's appearance at the National Finals in September. Unfortunately, Gordon has had to relinquish the position as a consequence of increased work commitments. From September his teaching workload changes so radically that he will not be able to devote the amount of time to the Band that Gordon believes it deserves.

Chris studied music at Salford and Birmingham Universities from 1984 to 1988 and won the prestigious Harry Mortimer Award in 1987, going on to become Principal Trombonist with Grimethorpe Colliery, IMI Yorkshire Imperial Metals and Brighouse and Rastrick Bands over a ten year period. He has extensive experience as a conductor and has enjoyed success with a number of different bands including the Nestlé Rowntree Band and subsequently the Shepherd Group Band, British Steel Teesside, EYMS, Old Silkstone and the Barnsley Building Society Band. Chris has been Head of Selby Music Centre for the last eight years and is now Assistant Head of the Music Service.

Chris is very much looking forward to taking over as MD and said of his appointment "I have thoroughly enjoyed being a playing member of the York RI Band; they are a wonderful group of dedicated musicians. The commitment of the players is truly remarkable, the like of which I haven't experienced since playing at the highest level, and the Band is managed with real professionalism. I am therefore very excited to be taking on the role of MD and hope to continue the success the Band has seen in recent years under Gordon Eddison." Band Chairman Clive Marshall welcomed the appointment saying "Chris is an excellent musician with an impressive pedigree as both a player and conductor. York RI is very excited at the prospect of Chris leading the Band into the 1st Section and to help us realise our ambition to regain Championship status for the first time since the early 90s."

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