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Geoffrey Brand

1926 – 2023

Born into a Salvation Army family in Gloucester, Geoffrey Brand embarked on a remarkable career that spanned the realms of music, leaving an indelible mark on various facets of the industry.

Initially, Brand established himself as a professional trumpet player, gracing the stages of prestigious orchestras like the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. However, it was in the realm of brass banding that Geoffrey Brand truly ascended to prominence. His tenure as the professional conductor of the Black Dyke Mills Band marked a transformative period for the ensemble. Under his baton, the band achieved significant victories, including the National Championships in 1967 and 1972, the British Open Championships in 1968 and 1972, and the World Championship in 1970. Brand’s commitment to pioneering new music for brass bands also introduced Edward Gregson to the scene during the 1970s.

Geoffrey Brand served as NYBBGB Music Adviser from 1967-1975 and for many years continued as an active Vice President and Trustee. His wife, Violet, served as a Member of the Pastoral team, with responsibilities as a Housemother and for the Tuck shop! 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 NYBBGB’s activities closely for the rest of his life – hearing and seeing those young faces grow up, and following their careers – and he and Violet enjoyed sharing their fond
memories of The NYBBGB courses. We are grateful that the Brand family have directed a portion of Geoffrey’s estate to support The NYBBGB. This is being used to enable the Ambassador Band to rehearse and perform Gavin Higgins’ Concerto Grosso with the National Youth Orchestra in 2024 and will also be used to provide bursary support in future years. The NYBBGB is honoured to continue to remember the musical legacy of Geoffrey Brand through our young musicians

Geoffrey Brand had a multifaceted career that extended beyond conducting. He ventured into publishing, BBC production, military music, record production, education, and entrepreneurship, leaving an enduring legacy in each of these domains. His lifelong dedication to music enriched both the brass banding world and the broader musical landscape.

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