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Birthday Surprise

David Read has won most of the top awards and prizes, that was until this week’s birthday surprise!

David Read MBEFrom his initial introduction to playing the cornet in the Askern Colliery Band in 1943 David Read has won most of the top awards and prizes there are in the brass band world.

But following his letter marked private and confidential, the contents of which have not to be divulged to anyone. His award of the MBE in this month’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List was one award he never expected, and on this rare occasion David was stumped for words.

From being a top cornet player with many of the country’s leading bands, he went on to be a brass instrumental teacher. In the early 1970s he formed his first youth band, the Huntingdon and Peterborough Youth Brass Band. During the mid 1970s he was also the conductor at the Cambridge Co-operative Band.

1980 saw him promoted in the education service to become a senior instrumental teacher and form the very successful North Cambridge Youth Brass Band.

In 1983 he was honoured by the Worshipful Company of Musicians and in 1996 he was awarded the English Masters Dedicated Service Award.

David was invited to join the Kings of Brass in 1995 – a group of fine musicians and old colleagues, whose minimum qualification to be a member was to have been in top flight banding for over 40 years.

He is one of the most highly respected brass band contest adjudicators currently on the banding circuit. His written comments are always constructive and detailed, it is also recognised that he has an acute ear for musical shape as well as technical clarity. He made his debut as an adjudicator at the National Finals in 1985, when he shared the adjudication on Cloudcatcher Fells with Bram Gay and Sir David Willcocks.

Since then he has been the most regular of judges at the National Finals, in addition to adjudicating at the British Open (debut 1982), the Masters, the European and many other major brass band contests all over the world. From that invitation back in 1985 to the finals he has been invited back on over a dozen occasions since.

He is viewed as a "safe" adjudicator in the eyes of the bandsmen themselves, in that he invariably gets the vast majority of decisions concerning the prize winners correct. This has been further emphasised by the bands themselves voting him as their first choice to judge them at the All England Masters on a number of occasions.

He has been a former Chairman of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators and has been a Vice President at the National Association of Brass Band Conductors for many years. He has been a member of the NABBC for almost forty years.

From all the members of the NABBC we send our warmest greetings and heartiest congratulations on your well deserved award.  

David Read is the consummate professional, and is always ready to share his knowledge and help with all those who ask for it. To those who have known him throughout his career would perhaps share my view and say that he will always be regarded as ‘…The Quintessential British Bandsman…

Chris Helme