> 1) How was the trip to Saudi? How did it come about and how did you cope with
> the illegalities of going there? Do I presume there are not many photos
> because of that?
The trip was fantastic. To be frank I wasn't looking forward to visiting Saudi too much, after all they do execute 300 people a year, concerts or similar gatherings are illegal & women can't work or travel alone in cars etc. But it was fascinating and as always the people were very friendly and hospitable.
> 2) What was the object of the Saudi trip and all of your tours. When is your
We have been to over sixty countries. The object I suppose is primarily to earn a living, but the fringe benefits aren't bad either.
> 3) Do FABE put a strong emphasis on education?
Yes, since day one we have always tried to put something back into the system. We love playing and want others to share that pleasure.
Brass playing is nothing if not social. We don't expect every budding cornet player to end up in Black Dyke or the LSO, but they can all find friendship and camaraderie through the medium. Sometimes amateurs get more out of music than cynical professionals.
The main aspect is the variety. Baroque, Romantic, Contemporary, Jazz.
Frankly I don't see a distinction, we are all trying to make music. There are stylistic differences between brass band, military band, big-band, orchestral; but the best players in whatever genre play with great skill and finesse. Most importantly, they move you emotionally, I think ultimately that's why we all try and do it.
> 9) what's coming up in the future?
Waiting for that 'phone to ring.
> 10) do you have strong relationship with brass bands either individually or as
Yes. I was brought up in the Salvation Army, which I think was great musical (and life) training. Whilst at the Royal Academy I played with Upper Norwood SA Band and Eddie Gregson's London Collegiate. I don't know if it still exists, but we had French Horns instead of Tenor Horns, the effect was fabulous. Pip Eastop of the London Sinfonietta was principal horn - which might have had something to do with it!
I now conduct the brass band at the University of Warwick. They are a great bunch of people and play really well (2nd Section) especially as Warwick does not have a Music Department, they are all Chemists, Engineers, Botanists and other things I don't understand.