Brian Clarke to receive Dedicated Serivice Award at 2015 Masters

Brian Clarke’s playing career began at the age of 9, in 1945, with the village band in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire. In theses early years he gained experience at a variety of local band and solo competitions which, then, were very much order of the day. This was followed with a spell with the Leicester Imperial Band where he was a member of their highly successful prize-winning Quartet party.

In 1952 Brian was given the opportunity of becoming a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and he attended the following five courses which were a valuable source of inspiration in all areas of banding that would stand him in good stead for the years to come.

Whilst a member of the National Youth Band, he struck up a friendship with euphonium player, Malcolm Teasdale which led to Brian being invited to join the City of Coventry Band. The friendship became life-long and Brian famously went on to serve as Principal Cornet of this band for some 27 years. During that period, the band established itself as one of the country`s leading ensembles representing the Midlands Area at the National Finals and playing at the British Open and Edinburgh International Invitation Contests with many success`s over many years – including becoming BBC Radio 2 Challenging Brass winners in 1972 and 1973.

During this period, City of Coventry Band became part of Harry Mortimer`s famous “Men O`Brass” combination, of which Brian became the eventual leader.

He was a member of Coventry`s prize winning Quartet party at Oxford in 1974 and was a finalist in the All England Solo Championships when he was declared Champion Cornet Player, 1975.

Brian left City of Coventry Band in 1979 and, shortly afterwards, became a member of the GUS Band, where he remained for six years as assistant Principal Cornet.

A necessary break from banding for business reasons followed which lasted only until Bilton Silver (Rugby) Band enquired whether “he was free to take the Band to the 1988 Midlands Area Contest?”

The invitation became the start of a relationship that saw Brian as Bilton`s Musical Director for the next twenty two years!

He retired from this position in 2010 and was allowed a couple of years grace before being invited back, this time with cornet, to play with the Band – a position that he continues to enjoy today.

Brian’s work with Bilton Silver Band s well known and over the years he has added expertise and invaluable inspiration to an organisation he personally regards as “being blessed with the foresight to train youngsters to play an instrument and form the cornerstone of the Senior Band”. Brian’s influence at Bilton saw many notable successes and a progression culminating in the band being promoted to the Championship Section for 2016. Brian proudly boasts “From Bilton`s new, purpose- built Band room, opened in 2012, there are currently some sixty youngsters receiving training every week– testimony to that early foresight and a solid assurance for the future”!

By autumn of this year, Brian will be able to reflect on a career in Banding that has lasted an astonishing seventy years! In his own words Brain looks back on a ‘lifetime of fulfilment as a player, conductor and adjudicator during which so many friendships have been made with so many memories to relish’!

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