Chris Helme - Bandstand Memories
Death of Darrol Barry - a composer known through the brass band world

The death has been announced of the composer Darrol Barry, who passed away on 3rd June in The Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Muscat, Oman.

Born in Salford in 1956, Darrol Barry joined the local school brass band aged 14 on tuba — a surprise to both his parents and himself, as he wanted to play cornet.

Whilst I never actually met Darrol I am pleased to know that we exchanged and shared a few emails together. I would often play many of his compositions on my weekly Sunday Bandstand radio show. Sometimes I would be preparing a show and occasionally the title of a piece would be a little bit of a mystery. I would email him to ask for the story behind his chosen title for that particular piece. He always replied and would explain the story from the thread to the needle which would be then be part of my programme commentary about the piece. 

For a little over a year we were trying to arrange when his busy schedule would allow him to have time for me to put together his musical life for one of my brass band stories. Sadly, owing to his busy schedule and various projects of my own we never actually managed to fit the time in to do it.


Drighlington Brass Band - Needs Help

In the glorious summer of 1976 on thre outskirts of Leeds, near Morley, a new junior band was taking its first tentative steps in the world of brass bands.

The band progressed so well that in 1983 the older players of the junior band and the remaining members of the Bradford Victoria Band came together which saw the birth of the new Drighlington Brass Band. This photograph shows the band enjoying better times.....

Ken Smith the legendary cornet player from New Zealand

The world lost one of its great musicians on 15 February 2018 when Kenneth George Smith, known as Ken or young Ken, died in Melbourne aged 88. 

Ken was skilled in many aspects of music, particularly brass music and brass bands. He was a superb cornet/trumpet player; a stylish and clever arranger; a skilled and sensitive adjudicator; a world championship winning conductor; and a willing and intelligent educationalist.


The death was been announced of Betty Anderson, one of the pioneering women of the 20th century brass band movement. She died following a period of illness on 8th January aged 88. In 2009 Betty allowed me to write a potted history of her brass band career for my new book' What Brass Bands Did For Me...'    

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