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NYBBGB at The Stables

The NYBBGB has been working on a special project this year in collaboration with The Friends of Bedfordshire Youth Music.

The NYBBGB Ambassador Ensemble will be touring Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes for the week of 8th to 12th July delivering music education concerts in local primary schools. During that same week on Wednesday 10th July, the Ambassador ensemble will also be performing a joint concert with young people from local community bands under the baton of Dr Robert Childs at The Stables Theatre in Wavendon, Milton Keynes.

During their week long stay in the area, the Ambassador Ensemble is expecting to play for over 3,000 school children across ten primary schools. The hope is that the concerts will inspire the primary school children to go on and learn to play an instrument themselves and eventually go on to play in a band.

The concert on 10th July will include children from two youth bands, Bedford Town Band Brass Academy and Amersham Youth Band, as well as a group of advanced young brass musicians drawn from throughout Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes. All of the children taking part in this event will attend a music workshop with Dr Robert Childs, the NYBBGB’s Director of Artistic Planning, and world renowned brass band conductor and euphonium player.

This project has been a significant part of FBYM’s programme this year and we are delighted to have been given the opportunity of working with them to bring this wonderful opportunity to local children.

Tickets are available on line at The Stables Box Office : The Ambassadors or from the box office 01908 280800.

New Horizons for National Youth

A joint ambition “to increase understanding and widen opportunity” will see The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain (NYBBGB) and The National Youth Brass Band of Switzerland (NJBB) spearhead a new reciprocal musical partnership.

Supported by Besson, Horizons will see two players given the opportunity to experience each other’s annual course — starting with two NYBBGB Ambassador Band players heading to Switzerland in July to join their senior band led by conductor Florent Didier.

In August the arrangement will be reversed, with two Swiss players heading to Stonyhurst College in Clitheroe to work under Guest Conductor Prof David King.

The only stipulation being that to apply for the exchange players must be over 18.

Speaking about the ‘Besson Horizons’ programme, Mark Bromley, CEO of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain told 4BR: “It is a shared ambition of our organisations to offer talented youngsters the opportunity to enjoy new experiences — both musical and cultural.

With this incredible support from Besson it is about enhancing what we all hope will be a lifelong passion for music by making connections and friendship that last just as long.”

It is an ambition shared by Monika Bandi Tanner, President of The National Youth Brass of Switzerland.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer incredible experiences for both Swiss and British players — ones that we also believe will ignite a lifelong passion for brass band music making.

We are a community that works best together — inspiring each other, learning from one another by understanding and respecting our cultural differences, but also what we share together in music.”

Supporting this programme allows us not only to help inspire talented young musicians but to also increase understanding and widen opportunity — broadening horizons for youngsters in so many ways through brass banding.

The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain was established in 1952 by Dr Denis Wright, whilst their Swiss counterpart was formed in 1976 by Markus Bach.

Over the years they have offered countless youngsters the opportunity to express their talents under inspirational conductors.

It is believed that the ‘Besson Horizons’ programme is the first official partnership link between the organisations, and builds on the other opportunities youngsters have enjoyed in participating in the European Youth Brass Band.

As Besson spokesperson Euan Meikle explained to 4BR, it is a collaboration that also shares their desire to build lasting links between brass band movements across Europe.

“The future is in the hands of young brass musicians wishing to achieve their potential.

Supporting this programme with the NYBBGB and NJBB allows us not only to help inspire talented young musicians but to also increase understanding and widen opportunity — broadening horizons for youngsters in so many ways through brass banding.”

Karl Jenkins World Premiere

The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain (NYBBGB) is looking forward to providing the world premiere of ‘Fragile Earth’, its major new commission that has been written by Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins.

In his first major work for the brass band medium, Sir Karl Jenkins the multi award-winning, best-selling composer has embraced the challenge of highlighting climate change and the healing power of nature.

Climate change

The commission sees the NYBBGB partnering The Wildlife Trusts, to bring together young people through the power of music with the hope that it will shine a timely light on climate change and biodiversity loss, and how it affects them.
Speaking to 4BR, Mark Bromley NYBBGB’s CEO said: “In a world that is alarmingly fragile, I hope that through the combination of Sir Karl’s captivating music and the invaluable advocacy of the Wildlife Trusts we will raise awareness about the state of our planet and contribute to fostering positive change for the environment we cherish.”

Meanwhile, Wildlife Trusts CEO Craig Bennett added: “Nature can be enjoyed and appreciated in a million different ways, including through music.

It’s fantastic that Sir Karl Jenkins is shining a light on the importance of nature in tackling climate change and giving young people an opportunity to express their feelings about these issues.

We can all play our part in reversing nature loss, from practical action to supporting campaigns to inspiring others to join the cause. Fragile Earth is a brilliant way of helping to spread a positive and important message.”


Having met young people from both organisations, Sir Karl has used their discussions to inform his three-movement work, stating: “I hope that my music and their advocacy can in some small way help to highlight the importance of the issue and provoke change.”

The three movement are entitled, ‘Scorched Earth’, ‘The Blue’ and ‘Flight’ — each looking at the effects of human interaction with nature.

‘Scorched Earth’ reflects on man’s rapacious exploitation of natural resources — one that leaves little or nothing behind of value, except a please for hope that the cycle can be broken.

‘The Blue’ offers a reflection of the oceans and the effect on its most glorious inhabitant, the Blue Whale. Again the music reflects both of it majesty as well as its fragility.

Finally, ‘Flight’ — and the movement of all living animals, including man, across the planet to secure safe havens. The work ends in optimism that the very power of nature can be harnessed for good, although it must now be helped with its own recovery.


‘Fragile Earth’ will receive its world première performance by the NYBBGB on Saturday 6th April at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff and will be performed again at Liverpool University’s Tung Auditorium on Saturday 13th April.

“I hope that my music and their advocacy can in some small way help to highlight the importance of the issue and provoke change.” Sir Karl Jenkins.

More Information

For more information and tickets please go to What’s On.

Parkhill shines to claim Young Conductors title

24-year-old Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduate Joshua Parkhill has won our second Young Conductors Competition.

In a high-quality final hosted by British Army Music in Tidworth and sponsored by The Garrick Charitable Trust, Joshua was joined by Andreas Ashkikis, Felicity Cliffe and Craig Sanders as they were in turn asked to work on one of four demanding compositions.

British Army Band Tidworth musicians not only worked alongside the conductors but also with the musicians of The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain who were part of the day. Army Director of Music Captain Andrew Porter and Principal Director of Music Lieutenant Colonel Dave Barringer were also on hand to put the band through their paces and assist in the adjudication process.

Super day
At the end of a super day it was Joshua who won the cash prize of £750. He will now get to work as Assistant Conductor to Prof David King on the Youth Band’s 2024 summer course at Stonyhurst College, as well as conduct a work at the summer course concert in Blackburn Cathedral.

Speaking to 4BR, Joshua said: “I’m thrilled of course, and my congratulations go to the other superb finalists. Prof King is a bit of a brass band musical icon for me, and I regularly go through a play list of works he has conducted to get inspiration.”

He added: “It was fantastic to work with such great musicians from both the youth band and British Army on Peter Graham’s ‘Shine as the Light’ — and I was so lucky that I was able to ring him for a quick pep talk before I took to the stage.

I think it really gave me an extra boost of confidence. My thanks also go to the adjudicators for their helpful feedback and constructive comments which will help me continue to improve my brass band conducting skills.”

Earlier there was a draw for the order to direct with the bands, as well as for the music they would work on, with the other finalists showcasing their qualities on Eric Ball’s ‘Resurgam’, ‘Music for a Festival’ by Philip Sparke and ‘Dimensions’ by Peter Graham.

Speaking about the excellent overall standard, NYBBGB Artistic Director and competition judge chair Dr Robert Childs told 4BR: “All four finalists were excellent and demonstrated elegance, clarity and great communication skills.

Joshua had clearly done thorough research of the score and not only guided the band through a very efficient and musical interpretation of ‘Shine As The Light’, but he also gave the band great insight into the deeper meaning of this work.”

This competition has also benefitted me enormously and I would recommend any young conductor to enter in the future.”

Joshua Parkhill conducting Peter Graham's Shine as the Light
Joshua Parkhill conducting Peter Graham’s Shine as the Light

Bright and busy future
The future is certainly bright and busy for Joshua as he balances a freelance trombone playing career with his brass band conducting.

He added: “Since graduating I’ve managed to build up playing and conducting commitments and I’m really enjoying working as MD with Brass Sounds Inverclyde and Johnston as well as with UNISON Kinneil as Resident Conductor.

It has also meant getting to grips with some pretty demanding test-pieces for the Regional Championships, so that has also helped me a great deal in my conducting. This competition has also benefitted me enormously and I would recommend any young conductor to enter in the future.”

Foundation stone support
Adding his congratulations, NYBBGB CEO Mark Bromley commented: “Congratulations to Joshua and to Andreas, Felicity and Craig, all of whom have outstanding conducting careers ahead of them.

My thanks also to our partners British Army Music and The Garrick Charitable Trust who have recognised and supported the importance of this competition as a foundation stone to developing future brass band conducting talent.”

Congratulations to our 2024 Ambassadors

After more than a year of piloting, thought and refinement, we’re excited to officially launch The NYBBGB Ambassador Band!

The Ambassador Band will be a standard sized brass band (which may be broken down into smaller ensembles for certain performances and events) and will comprise the best musicians of The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.

“Nurturing young talent in all of its forms is an integral part of The NYBBGB’s mission, with young people encouraged to develop their confidence and leadership skills, so each member of the Ambassador Band has been chosen not only for their musical talents, but also for the example they set to other members of the Youth and Children’s Band.” said Mark Bromley, CEO.

The Band’s inaugural performance is a collaboration with the National Youth Orchestra (NYO) for the youth world premiere of Gavin Higgins’ Concerto Grosso in Liverpool and London, and promises to be an exceptional event. Of the collaboration Gavin said: “I am truly honoured that The NYBBGB and NYO will showcase my Concerto Grsso in London and Liverpool next Easter. These remarkable institutions, comprised of exceptionally talented young musicians, embody a promising future in the world of music.”

NYBBGB Director of Artistic Planning Robert Childs reflected on the historic project: “I’ve been associated with The NYBBGB for fifty years and this collaboration with NYO on Gavin Higgins’ composition is the most prestigious event I can remember. Being a member of the Ambassador Band is the highest accolade a player can receive from The NYBBGB. It is membership of a truly elite ensemble.”

The members of The 2024 NYBBGB Ambassador Band are: Elizabeth Chung, Lewis Barton, Stephanie Jonas, Katie Skey, Isabel Deans, Ciaran Reiff-Marganiec, Alexander Rebel, Nerys Davies, Phoebe Mallinson, George Fearnley, Alice Clarke, Molly Clough, Matthew Hurst, William Bennett, Malachy Cullen, Thomas Hall, Rosa Shepherd, Nathaniel Wardroper-Hughes, Jake Bartlett, Harry Porthouse, Imogen Fewster, Ben Russon and Eleanor Gaskell.

Details and tickets of our collaboration with the NYO on Gavin Higgins’ Concerto Grosso in Liverpool and London can be found on our What’s On page.

NYBBGB Garrick Conducting Competition finalists announced

After a three month competition, The NYBBGB’s search for new conducting talent has closed and the finalists announced. Mark Bromley, NYBBGB CEO said:

“This is now our second young conductors’ competition and I am pleased to announce that this year it is funded by the Garrick Charitable Trust.

I’m also delighted that British Army Music are hosting the competition which will also include an open brass workshop in the afternoon to introduce our new members to the band.

If you can get to Tidworth and would like to support the young conductor finalists in the morning and spend the afternoon listening to the NYBBGB under the baton of Lt Col Dave Barringer in the afternoon we’d love to see you. Admission is free.”

The competition had a wealth of entries, including young people from China, Belgium, Cyprus, the USA and UK.. Alongside Professor David King, Dr Robert Childs had the task of judging all entries and said:

“The standard of conductors this year was very high. Both Professor King and myself had a very difficult task reducing the high quality field down to just four finalists.

Both of us would like to thank all the entrants for their interest in The NYBBGB and wish them all the best of luck in the future. We’re sure the final will be exciting, and a close contest between the top four conductors.”

From the fifteen who entered, the final four have been selected and are: Andreas Ashikkis (25), Felicity Cliffe (29), Joshua Parkhill (24) and Craig Sanders (28).

The competition final will be held on 13th January 2024 and hosted by The NYBBGB’S partner British Army Music at at the Garrison Theatre in Tidworth, Wiltshire.

Each of the finalists will be given 35 mins to rehearse one of the following well known brass band works; Resurgam – Eric Ball, Music for a Festival – Philip Sparke, Shine as the Light – Peter Graham, Dimensions – Peter Graham.

For more information on the day go to our WhatsOn page.

Conducting Competition Final Four

Andreas Ashikkis

Andreas’ conducting journey started in Corfu, Greece, where he pursued his first Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Ionian University. During his time there, he conducted the student orchestra, the choir, and some smaller ensembles, and held two significant positions: Assistant Conductor of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor of the Ionian Conservatory Youth Orchestra.

In 2021, he relocated to Slovakia with the support of the Erasmus+ to continue his studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Slovakia. There, Andreas was mentored by Marián Lejava and completed his final presentation with the ensemble Cappella Istropolitana.

Since 2022, Andreas has been based in the UK, where he has conducted student, amateur, and professional orchestras such as The Hallé and Manchester Camerata. During his time in the UK, Andreas has discovered the joy of conducting brass bands, and has had the opportunity to perform with them multiple times – one of the most memorable moments was when he conducted the RNCM Brass Band at the Brass Band Festival in early 2023.

Felicity Cliffe

Since 2015 Felicity has been involved with numerous conducting programmes and courses, recently culminating in a masterclasses with the Royal Opera House Orchestra, Richard Hetherington and Paul Wynne Griffiths on excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’.

Felicity completed her undergraduate degree at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with oboe as a first study and cello as a second study and is currently studying for a Master’s in conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Mark Heron and Clark Rundell. She’s conducted the RNCM Young Explorers’ Orchestra in a children’s concert and assisted renowned conductors such as Vasily Petrenko and John Storgårds with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Later this term she will continue to undertake assistantships with these orchestras as well as conduct the RNCM Repertoire Orchestra and give concerts with the Salford Symphony Orchestra and Leeds Haydn Players.

It’s Felicity’s ambition to develop her conducting experience and skills as much as possible. In the future she hopes to perform with professional orchestras around the world as well as the youth and community ensembles who form such a vital and inspiring part of our musical ecosystem.

Joshua Parkhill

Joshua began his musical training at an early age through the Salvation Army and their YP Band learners programme. He began contesting as a teenager, and has played solo trombone at various contests with the Dallmelington Band, Whitburn Band and Ever Ready Band. He is also a recent First Class graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he was taught by Simon Johnson, Jonny Hollick, Davur Juul Magnussen, Lance Green and Alastair Sinclair. Throughout his time studying at RCS he was awarded the Governor’s Recital Prize for Brass, Robert McCreath Prize for Outstanding contributions to Brass, David James Brass Prize and also was awarded the Mary D Adams Prize for Chamber Music with his trombone Quartet SlideShow.

He first began conducting in 2021 with Brass Sounds Inverclyde looking to re-energise the band with fresh ideas, focusing on building confidence and musicality post pandemic. Under his leadership they have gone on to win the Scottish 4th section in 2022 and were also Scottish Challenge 4th Section Winners that year. In March 2023 they achieved 3rd place in the Scottish Championships 3rd Section and are looking to improve on this result at the upcoming regional contests in 2024. Joshua is also the Resident Conductor of UNISON Kinneil Band who compete in the Championship Section.

Thanks to music and playing a brass instrument in particular, Joshua has been able to travel and perform internationally with professional orchestras and ensembles all over the world. This is something he never imagined would be possible, and hopes to inspire other young people to not let anything hold them back from following their musical passions and seeing where it takes them!

Craig Sanders

During his time at The Royal Hospital School, Craig was inspired by the school’s bandmaster, Roger Jones to pursue a career in the Royal Marines Band Service (RMBS) and he joined in 2011 at the age of 16. On completion of basic military training, he studied Percussion under Professor Matt King and in the summer of 2014 Craig was awarded the prestigious ‘Princes Badge’ for the most all round recruit of troop 1-11. Following training he was drafted to Lympstone in Devon where he achieved his LRSM in Percussion performance.

Craig has had a distinguished further education in music, starting with a First Class Honours Degree from the BMus(Hons) course at Plymouth University to currently studying on the Royal Marines School of Music Bandmasters’ course with tutors including Malcolm Binney, Barry Forgie and Paul Patterson. Whilst on the course he has had the pleasure of conducting The Band of HM Royal Marines Collingwood, Portsmouth and RMSoM.

As a performer, Craig has played with brass bands such as Friary Brass Band, Aldbourne Brass Band and Flowers Brass Band, performing in all of the major brass band contests. He is keen to continue to improve as a conductor, and aims to continue conducting within the RMBS, maintaining his studies on the Bandmasters’ course and undertaking the LRSM in Wind Band Direction in March 2024.

The NYBBGB pays a musical homage to Geoffrey Brand

6th April 2024 sees a special performance for The NYBBGB, as the Youth Band perform at Dora Stoutzker Hall, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Cardiff, in tribute to their former Music Advisor and Conductor Mr. Geoffrey Brand.

Geoffrey sadly passed away on 5th February 2023, so the evening of 6th April will see The NYBBGB celebrate his life and musical contribution to their organisation, as well as the wider brass band community. With Dr Robert Childs as conductor for the evening, and Dr David Childs as the guest soloist, the programme features music connected to Geoffrey Brand either through his arrangement or significant moments with The NYBBGB.

Of the evening Mark Bromley, CEO, said  “Throughout his life Geoffrey Brand was a huge supporter of the NYBBGB and always enjoyed hearing about our latest activities, so it is a great honour to pay tribute to him and his achievements through this concert”.

Geoffrey Brand served as Music Adviser at THE NYBBGB from 1967-1975 and for many years continued an active Vice President and Trustee. His wife, Violet, served as a Member of the Pastoral team and they both looked forward greatly to the courses, watching and listening to young brass players. They realised that whilst the courses were primarily about music it was also an important time for young people to develop as adolescents.

On the occasion of The NYBBGB’s 40th birthday in 1992 Geoffrey wrote : “I still ‘hear’ performances and ‘see’ eager young faces producing them. A special joy is meeting former students who are now contributing to the brass band scene, as players, conductors, administrators- or as parents of future members”.

He followed The NYBBG’s activities closely for the rest of his life – hearing and seeing those young faces of grow up, and following their careers – and he and Violet enjoyed sharing their fond memories of The NYBBGB courses.

For more information and tickets for the evening, please go to What’s On.

The NYBBGB launches its latest search for new talent with their Conducting Competition

The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, has just announced their second Conducting Competition. Supported by a donation from the Garrick Charitable Trust given in memory of Prince Philip, the winner will be offered a unique opportunity to work as Assistant Conductor to, and be mentored by, Professor David King on the Youth Band’s 2024 summer residential course and concert.

“The last competition was a great success, both in terms of the number and quality of applications, and the overall process, it was amazing to see so much enthusiasm and diversity in the entrants. Anna Beresford was a very worthy overall winner, and it was wonderful to see her working alongside Martyn Brabbins and the Band. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what this year’s competition may bring. A huge thank you as well to our partners British Army Music for hosting the live final in Tidworth.”
Mark Bromley, CEO, The NYBBGB

Competition Process
Entrants need to complete a short biography of their experience and upload a short video of their conducting work. Four entrants will be chosen by Dr Robert Chllds and Prof David King to go through to the live final in Tidworth (hosted by British Army Music) on 13th January 2024 in which they will rehearse an NYBBGB Ambassador Band in one of four significant, and well known, brass band works. The four finalists will have their conducting skills judged by a panel comprising Lt Col David Barringer, Capt Andy Porter and Dr Robert Childs.

“British Army Music has a strong affinity with NYBBGB, and it’s a privilege to be hosting the 2024 NYBBGB Conducting Competition. As Commanding Officer Household Division Bands, one of the country’s most iconic professional music organisations, I’m thrilled to have been asked to adjudicate alongside Andrew and Robert to mark the beginning of what I hope will be a long and prosperous partnership, and to help build on the success of the inaugural event in 2023. Young musicians are the life blood of music culture in the UK, and nowhere is this stronger than within the NYBBGB family. I’ve seen first-hand the talent, potential and extremely hard work which underpins these exceptional development opportunities for young musicians, and stepping into the world of conducting has the potential to be life changing for aspiring applicants.”
Lt Col David Barringer, Commanding Officer Household Division Bands, British Army Music.

In order to enter the competition, participants must be aged between 20 and 30 years old on 1st January 2024.

To enter the competition click here. Entries are now open and will close at midnight on 29th October 2023.

In addition to a £750 cash prize the overall winner will get to work as Assistant Conductor to Professor David King on the Youth Band’s 2024 summer course at Stonyhurst College, and conduct a work at the summer concert in Blackburn Cathedral.

2022 winner
Anna Beresford was the overall winner of the 2022 Young Conductors Competition and of her experience said: “It was a pleasure to work with such dedicated and accomplished young musicians, and alongside feedback from Martyn Brabbins and the staff, I learned a great deal. The experience has absolutely benefitted me as a musician, conductor and educator. Don’t hesitate in applying for the NYBBGB conducting competition!“

National Youth ensembles to join for Higgins’ Concerto Grosso performances

Following the success of Gavin Higgins’ ‘Concerto for Brass Band and Orchestra’ in claiming its second major artistic award, the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain will perform the composition with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 2024.


The work, which added the prestigious South Bank Sky Arts Classical Music Award to its Royal Philharmonic Society accolade, will be performed by the National Youth Orchestra with 25 members of the National Youth Band in two performances next Easter under conductor Jessica Cottis. 

They will take place at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and the Royal Festival Hall in London and will form part of a wider weekend of outreach music making which will also include a concert by the full National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain in Liverpool.

Immense accolade

Speaking about the collaboration, Mark Bromley, CEO said: “First and foremost our congratulations go to Gavin, as well as Tredegar Band, the National Orchestra of Wales and conductor Ryan Bancroft on winning a second major arts award.

This is an immense accolade — one that projects brass banding into a new sphere of artistic acceptance and admiration and one we are keen to build on ourselves.”

He added: “The National Youth Brass Band has enjoyed a long association Gavin and we are delighted that we will link up with the National Youth Orchestra for what are sure to be a brace of memorable performances at wonderful venues.

This is an immense accolade — one that projects brass banding into a new sphere of artistic acceptance and admiration and one we are keen to build on ourselves.”


The National Orchestra of Wales (NOW) and Tredegar Band also offered their congratulations on the news.

Lisa Tregale, Director of NOW who commissioned the work added: “We are delighted that these leading national youth ensembles are going to collaborate give audiences the opportunity to enjoy Gavin’s ‘Concerto Grosso’ performance in the UK.

This is a great example of how a fantastic composer’s work can inspire the next generation of performers and everyone at the National Orchestra of Wales is looking forward to hearing the results.”

Vote of confidence

That was echoed by Tredegar MD, Ian Porthouse who said: “It’s brilliant that these young players will perform such an incredible work. What an experience is in store for them — and what a vote of confidence in their talent.”

The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain Summer Series

The Children’s and Youth Bands of The NYBBGB will soon be taking their week long residencies followed by Summer concerts.This year, both residential courses will be at Wymondham College in Norfolk, the Children’s Band starting on 23rd July and the Youth Band on 29th July. Amongst the tutoring and social opportunities provided, the residential courses will see both bands able to engage with The NYBBGB’S new partner organisations – British Army Music and The Wildlife Trusts charity.

Lt Col David Berringer MBE (Commanding Officer of The Bands of the Household Division and BAM’s Principal Director of Music) who played a key role in the State Funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II, the Coronation of King Charles III and the most recent Trooping of the Colour parade, will join the jury of the Mortimer competition. The Wildlife Trusts Arran Wilson (Youth Activism Manager) and Dom Higgins (Head of Health and Education) will coordinate a series of activities to engage the children and young people from the bands  in some of the issues facing the natural world. Members will also have the opportunity to learn more about the NYBBGB’s Brass Building Blocks programme of tutorials and hear from the ABRSM on the new brass syllabus which was launched at the end of 2022.

The Children’s Band will be lead by Guest Conductor Mareika Gray and the Guest Soloist will be percussionist Simone Rebello.

Mareika Gray is the Artistic Director and Professional Musical Director of the Ratby Cooperative Band Organisation and Musical Director of the Eccles Brass Band. She is among the leading brass band conductors, with her inspiring concert programs and her unique interpretations of major brass band works, and continues to appear at major concert halls including Symphony Hall Birmingham, the Royal Albert Hall in London, and the Grieg Hall in Bergen. She has also made several appearances at the Australian, Danish, Norwegian and British National Championships gaining podium finishes at each contest

Simone Rebello’s career has seen her recording, touring, and broadcasting nationally and internationally, and winning a collection of awards and prizes including Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year in the Performing Arts.She works frequently as a concerto soloist with wind orchestras and brass bands around the world and as a solo recitalist. In addition to her successful performing career, Simone was appointed as Director of Percussion at The Royal Northern College of Music in 2010 and became Head of School of Wind, Brass and Percussion in 2022.

The work with Mareika and Simone during the week long residential course will culminate in a concert for the Children’s Band at The Halls in Norwich on 28th July. The programme for the evening is themed around ‘Rhythm’ and will feature the world premier of young Belgium composer Lennert Van Laenen’s new work ‘Sparkle’.  It was this piece that Lennert entered into the NYBBGB’s 2022 Young Composer Competition and for which he claimed the runner up spot.
This year, the Youth Band residential will be under the direction of Guest Conductor Sarah Ioannides, and featuring Guest Soloist, trombonist Scott Hartmann.

Sarah Ioannides, is Music Director of Symphony Tacoma, and is recognised as one of the most inspiring and creative conductors today, performing internationally and working as a coach and mentor for many young musicians and conductors. She is Artistic Director of Cascade Conducting and Composing, and coaches for The Curtis Institute of Music’s Mentor Network. Sarah also appears as a guest conductor with orchestras such as the Tonkünstler, Orchestre Nationale de Lyon, Seattle Symphony (Untitled Series), Calgary Philharmonic and Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra.

‍Scott Hartmann is our Guest Soloist. He is Professor of Trombone at Yale University and has taught and played in concerts in all 50 U.S states, as well as being Principal Trombone of the Brass Band of Battle Creek for 30 years. An accomplished musician and educator, Scott has taught and played concerts in all 50 U.S. states and throughout the world as a trombone soloist and with various chamber groups. He is a longtime member of the Summit Brass, and has been principal trombone of the Brass Band of Battle Creek since 1993. The Youth Band will be taking their experience of working alongside Sarah and Scott into their concert on Saturday 5th August at Saffron Hall in Saffron Walden, the for which will be ‘Music from Around the World’.

The concert will feature two brand new commissions taken from entries into The NYBBGB’s 2022 Young Composer Competition. The first will be ‘Open World’ from Jack Yagerline, a highly commended entry, and then the overall winning piece ‘Dieu Et Mon Droit’ by Daniel Hall.

NYBBGB forges ground breaking partnership with The Wildlife Trusts

The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain (NYBBGB) has entered into an exciting new partnership with The Wildlife Trusts with the aim of bringing together young people in understanding the importance of tackling the nature and climate crises.

The Wildlife Trusts is a grassroots movement of 46 independent charities. It has more than 900,000 members and 38,000 volunteers that share an ethos of developing a thriving natural world where sustainable wildlife and natural habitats play a central role in addressing the climate crisis.

Jenkins commission

The innovative initiative has seen the NYBBGB commission composer Sir Karl Jenkins to create his first major work for the brass band medium, themed around endangered species and biodiversity loss. It will receive its world premiere in 2024.

The partnership will also see members of both the Children’s and Youth Bands gain opportunities to learn about the effects of climate change on British wildlife, and what can be done to turn the tide.

Thoughts and feelings

The exciting link between the organisations was officially sealed at Camley Street Natural Park in London, where young people from both organisations came together to meet Sir Karl and Lady Jenkins and discuss their thoughts and feelings about nature, and the effects of climate change on local wildlife.

The inspiration from the day will be used by Sir Karl to inform the themes of his major new work, and Lady Jenkins to inform her writing of the accompanying verse.


Speaking about the partnership, Mark Bromley, chief executive of NYBBGB, said: “I’m thrilled to announce this collaboration with Sir Karl Jenkins on his first major work for the brass band medium.

This remarkable endeavour is further enhanced by our partnership with the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. In a world that is alarmingly fragile, the combination of Sir Karl’s captivating music and the invaluable support of the Wildlife Trusts holds immense potential to raise awareness about the state of our environment.”

He added: “By inspiring contemplation and driving transformative action, I hope this collaboration will contribute significantly to positive change.”

“In a world that is alarmingly fragile, the combination of Sir Karl’s captivating music and the invaluable support of the Wildlife Trusts holds immense potential to raise awareness about the state of our environment”.

Incredibly exciting

In response, Dom Higgins, Head of Health and Education at The Wildlife Trusts added: “We couldn’t be happier with this partnership with the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, Sir Karl, and Lady Jenkins.

If we are to truly tackle the climate and nature crises, we are going to need people from all backgrounds — diverse, growing communities of people — to join together.

So, it is incredibly exciting to have young, talented musicians, premiering a commissioned piece of music that expresses the fragility of our natural world, and of course the hope that we all must have.”

World-leading partnership for The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain

Building on the success of The NYBBGB’s partnership with Royal Marines Band Service, this new venture with British Army Music promises a series of exciting performance and educational projects starting with a joint concert in December.

Mark Bromley, NYBBGB CEO said “As a charity, we strive to give our young musicians access to world-class musical opportunities, and this exciting new partnership represents our commitment to that. British Army Music is the UK’s largest employer of professional musicians, with opportunities to perform brass band music at the highest level, and the partnership will give our young people aspirational mentors to work alongside and learn from.”

Warrant Officer Class One Jonathan Spencer, Corps Bandmaster, added ‘The formation of the partnership between the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and British Army Music represents an opportunity for Army musicians to work alongside and invest in some of the finest young brass players in the country; as a brass player myself, this is an incredibly exciting prospect.’

The two organisations already have a link via alumnus and current British Army Music Tenor Horn player, Musician Bobby Corkish who was a member of the NYBBGB for five years under the musical direction of the late Bramwell Tovey. Following his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music and performances with the world-famous Cory Band, Musician Corkish now occupies the first Horn seat in British Army Band Tidworth, one of the full-time professional Brass Bands

British Army musicians are all part of The Royal Corps of Army Music which was formed in 1994 under the Options for Change Defence Review. On the 11th of January 2021, HRH The Countess of Wessex presented the Royal Title to the Corps on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.

British Army Music supports the ethos, tradition, and identity of the UK Armed Forces around the globe. As the UK’s largest employer of professional musicians, specialist musical capabilities include Brass Bands, as well as, Symphonic Wind Bands, the Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry, a String Orchestra, Rock and Pop Groups and Fanfare Trumpeters. Their world-famous musical abilities cross international languages and cultures.

Click here to find out more about British Army Music.