The UniBrass Organising Committee are pleased to announce the adjudicators for UniBrass 2020 Contest on Saturday 8th February at Bangor University.
Dr. Robert Childs is a leading figure in the world of brass music. For over thirty years he has performed at the highest level giving solo performances in many of the world’s most prestigious venues. He has given masterclasses throughout Europe’s finest conservatoires and is now recognised as a leading education specialist within his field. In 2000 Robert relinquished his position as principal euphonium with Black Dyke Band in order to become the Musical Director Conductor of Cory Band. In 2008 Robert was given ‘Freedom of the City of London’ and also received the prestigious John Edwards Memorial Award by the Welsh Music Guild for outstanding contribution to Welsh Music. Recently he was awarded the Certificate of Excellent from Butlins Mineworkers Championship for services to brass bands. Robert is currently Director of Brass Band Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music, Chairman of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, advisor to the Harry Mortimer Trust and Managing Director of Performing Arts Education. In December 2013, Robert was invited to become Principal Conductor and Director of Music at Grimethorpe Colliery Band. He enjoyed a short tenure with them and led them to both British Open and Brass in Concert titles. Currently Robert enjoys working as a free-lance conductor and adjudicator.
David Hirst began his musical career at the age of ten with the local village band playing cornet: he made rapid progress on the instrument, and, at the age of fourteen was accepted into the Yorkshire Imperial Metals Band on the solo cornet bench. Two years later David joined the Black Dyke Mills Band on Soprano Cornet, where he had four successful years including wins at the British Open, National and World Championships. In 1994 David was invited to join the World Famous Brighouse & Rastrick Band (B&R) as Resident Musical Director, relinquishing this position in 2005 after 11 years. Since leaving B&R David has worked with Grimethorpe, Faireys and Fodens and is regularly invited to undertake weekend test piece workshops for lower section bands. David is one of the country’s most experienced adjudicators and has officiated at all levels in the Regionals, Lower Section Finals, Butlins, and local competitions in the UK.
Sarah Groarke-Booth studied music at University of Salford, gaining a BA (Hons) in Band Musicianship and a Masters Degree in Performance (specialising in conducting). As a conductor, she has worked with many ensembles including wind bands, brass ensembles and choirs. Her association with brass bands over the past twenty years has led her to direct bands in Wales, Bristol, London and the North West of England. She has had many contest successes, including winning Regional and National titles. As an adjudicator, she is regularly engaged as a contest judge at both National and Regional levels. Following her musical studies and working as a brass tutor and conductor, she attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School to train as an actor. Since then, she has performed in many theatres throughout the country and made numerous television appearances. She has also worked as a Musical Director on a number of stage shows. She continues to work as an actor, voice-over artist, conductor and adjudicator; and still finds time to fit in some trumpet playing.
A first-class graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Christopher’s work has been performed extensively throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. In 2012, The Royal Diamond Jubilee Fanfare was commissioned and performed in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh as part of theDiamond Jubilee Tour. This was followed in 2014, with the orchestral sound-track for Magic in the Skies; the summer season of firework displays at iconic British landmark, Land’s End in Cornwall, for which Christopher worked with BAFTA-winning actress, Miriam Margolyes in the recording of his work. At Brass in Concert at Sage Gateshead in 2015, Christopher won the Composition Prize for his Aristotle’s Air. In 2017, the work was chosen as part of the own-choice programme for both Brassband Willebroek and the National Band of New Zealand at the World Music Contest in Kerkrade, The Netherlands, with both bands taking the 1st and 2nd placings consecutively. Further performances of the work included Cory Band’s winning televised 2018 Band Cymru performance, and in 2019; the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. Christopher is increasingly in demand as an adjudicator and judge, having adjudicated at the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, Wychavon Festival of Brass, West of England Bandsman’s Festival, and Cory Band’s Annual Composition Prize.