The City of Bristol Brass Band were sad to learn that M.D. Ian Holmes, a popular conductor from the west country, was taken ill last week and will be unable to conduct them at the Area contest in Torquay. The band has kept in close contact with Ian and send him very best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Bryn James came to the rescue taking the band to the Oxfordshire and District Brass Band Association contest on 23rd February, at just 48 hours notice, achieving a creditable 3rd place on only one rehearsal.
Kevin Robbins to lead the Band
Kevin Robbins (MD of Yeovil Town Band) has agreed to take the City of Bristol Brass Band in the short term, primarily for the South West Brass Band Association's Annual Contest and the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association's Own Choice Contest.
Kevin began playing at the age of 9 and after only a year won his first solo award at the Cheltenham Music Festival. This was the first of many awards, including the title ‘Junior Champion of Great Britain under 14 yrs', the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association Champion at Junior and Senior levels, also the Bath, Peterborough and London and Home Counties Festivals by the time he was 16. It was at this time Kevin was invited to play Assistant Principal Cornet for the famous Stanshawe (Bristol) Band under the direction of Prof. Walter Hargreaves. On leaving college Kevin moved to Yorkshire and became Principal Cornet of the Brodsworth Colliery Band under the direction of the late John Childs. In 1980 he received an invitation to come back to Bristol to lead the Sun Life Band as Principal Cornet. It was this period that proved to be the best playing time of his career with numerous recordings for the BBC and appearances on the BBC2 series 'Best of Brass' and the 'Granada TV Band of the Year' to mention but a few. If this wasn’t enough in 2000 Kevin became Principal Cornet of the Flowers Band, a position he held for five years.
Over the years Kevin has lead bands to National Brass Band Championships at the Royal Albert Hall and British Open Championships at Belle Vue and Free Trade Halls in Manchester and the Symphony Hall in Birmingham.
Kevin still appears as guest soloist from time to time especially with the Dursley Male Voice Choir with whom he has toured Canada in 1998 and 2003, and recently a tour of Austria. It was in Vienna at the St Stephens Cathedral that Kevin made history by becoming the first brass soloist invited to play at midday mass.
The City of Bristol Brass Band are looking forward to working with Kevin and hope he can bring the Band's potential to fruition in next month's contests.