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Next Public Concert

Saturday 29 October

St Chad's Church

Future Concerts

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Front Row Cornet

Where to find us

York Railway Institute, Queen Street, York, YO24 1AD (close to York Station) map

Rehearsal times

Mondays and Thursdays from 8pm to 10pm

Contact details

Please telephone our Secretary, Martyn Williams, on 07921 568826 or e-mail



All photographs are by members and friends of the Band, unless otherwise stated.

York Railway Institute Band is a constituent part of York RI - a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, registration number 1165513. We are a contesting band, competing in the Championship Section in the North of England Region of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.

Recent News

Poster for Concert with Michael Dodd


Ollie Abbey

We are absolutely overjoyed to hear the brilliant news that our former Principal Cornet player Ollie Abbey has achieved a 2:1 in mathematics at Cambridge University and we send him huge congratulations! Despite all the rigours and demands of a busy academic and student life, Ollie has continued his close association with the Band, playing for R I at every opportunity both in concerts and contests over the last three years he has been at university. Well done Ollie and thank you for being a top bandsman.

Whit Friday 2016

YRIB at Dobcross

The Band had a brilliant time playing at the world famous Whit Friday Marches across Saddleworth and Oldham District this year despite being soaked through after 8.00pm!

We managed to play at seven contests and achieved good results including 7th at Delph (80 bands), 9th at Greenfield (72 bands), 12th at Lees (46 bands), 16th at Diggle (59 bands) and 18th at Lydgate (71 bands). Our road march was Royal Trophy and our contest march Roll Away Bet. Special thanks go to our dep players Sam Lovatt, Anna Marshall, Sam Kind & Daniel Wilson.

This is our performance in the pouring rain at Greenfield - we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

North of England Brass Band Championships

North of England Regional Contest 2016

Photo by Keith Meadley Photography

After three months of hard work in preparation for the contest the Band came 6th from the dreaded No.1 draw, a result which secures the Band's Championship status right through to 2018! Playing the hugely challenging Cambridge Variations by Philip Sparke, the Band's soloists Bridget Scott (Flugel Horn) and Andy Novell (Principal Cornet) made excellent contributions and a huge thank you goes to Musical Director Chris Hirst for all his hard work in preparing us for the contest. If you would like to hear the Band's performance click on this link

With the area contest out of the way, we can look forward to a packed calendar of concerts starting with the first concert of the new season taking place at St Mary's Church in Hemingbrough at 7.30pm on Saturday 16th April (tickets available on the door). Other highlights in 2016 will include a concert featuring Michael Dodd, the Principal Euphonium of the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, and the Band's third annual performance with the acclaimed Chapter House Choir in York Minster in December. In addition to our concert work, the Band will once again compete at the Whit Friday Marches on Friday 20th May and at the Dr Martin Contest on Sunday 11th September.

Congratulations Ian Bruce

Ian Bruce

The Band performed to a sell-out audience at Howden Minster on Saturday 5th December with the Minster and St Helen's, Welton Church Choirs. The concert, organised by Howden Rotary Club, was to raise funds for Marie Curie and other supported causes. The Band's performance was exemplary from start to finish with notable solo contributions from Andy Novell (Principal Cornet), Kevin Moxon (Soprano Cornet), James West (Solo Horn) and Richard Lovatt (Principal Euphonium). We also accompanied the wonderful singer Deb Henderson in a rendition of the timeless classic Evergreen.

The absolute highlight of the evening, however, was the presentation to Ian Bruce of a fine glass sculpture to mark his election to the role of Honorary President of YRIB. Ian Bruce comes from a famous York brass banding family. His grandfather, Noah Bruce, had founded the Chaucer Street Mission Band in 1883 and when Ian, at the age of eleven, took up banding in 1946, he joined his father and his uncles in what had become York Home Guard Band. That name soon changed to Ebor Excelsior Brass Band, and Ian became a permanent member as an Eb Bass player. By 1952 the Band had become the York Railway Institute Band and Ian had established himself as the leading bass player in the city and earned a place in the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain in its inaugural year. For the next fifty nine years Ian Bruce was the beating heart of the York R I Band, not only as a fine instrumentalist but as an industrious committee man and, for ten years, a most conscientious Secretary, helping to found the Junior Band which eventually became the Golden Rail Band. Ian and his wife Linda, also a stalwart member of the Band for 40+ years, are much loved and respected and it was wonderful to have them in the audience with family to celebrate Ian's lifetime contribution to YRIB.

Congratulations Dawn and Martyn!

Dawn and Martyn

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the engagement of baritone players Dawn Groves and Martyn Williams. Huge congratulations to you both!

The Armed Man

The Armed Man concert

The Band recently collaborated with Prima Vocal Ensemble to perform the moving Sir Karl Jenkins' 'The Armed Man' to a large and appreciative audience at the Central Hall at York University. The Band's soloists Kevin Moxon, Andy Novell, Jamie Highton and Richard Lovatt all excelled. A very special mention goes to guest flugel horn player Paul Stamp who played 'Benedictus' so beautifully.

This is the second time R I have collaborated with Ewa Salecka and her choir in recent years and we look forward to more exciting collaborations in the future.

Musical Foundations Strengthened

Paul Jones

Following hot on the heels of other excellent recent signings, we are absolutely delighted to welcome Paul Jones into our ranks on Bb Bass in the run up to our first appearance at the Dr Martin Contest in September.

Paul has enjoyed a distinguished record of service with the Armed Forces as Principal Tuba player with the Grenadier Guards. His playing pedigree also includes appearances with the likes of Heart of England, Desford, Flowers, Faireys, Foden's, Jaguar and Brighouse & Rastrick, as well as with professional orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

New Players Come On Board

Kevin Moxon, Jayne Moxon, Tara Appleyard and Joe Bradford

York Railway Institute Band is pleased to welcome the signing of four new players who will greatly enhance the quality of the Band in the run up to our first appearance at the Dr Martin Contest in September. Bringing huge amounts of playing experience and real musical pedigree are the highly regarded Soprano Cornet Player Kevin Moxon and his wife Jayne who has taken up the Repiano Cornet seat. Kevin and Jayne are well known banding personalities, having played for a number of bands across the UK, and we are delighted they have chosen to join R I as the Band cements its Championship status credentials. On joining, Kevin said "We are looking forward very much to playing in the Band and working with Musical Director Chris Hirst." Also joining R I are young rising stars Tara Appleyard and Joe Bradford on back row cornet, having been developed through the excellent Otley and Tewit Youth Band structures.

Of the new signings, Musical Director Chris Hirst said "It's great to have youngsters with the quality of Tara and Joe so keen to join the Band. They have both shown great commitment so far, which is so important at York R I where we rarely sit down with less than 100% attendance. They join a band with many other teenagers, all completely focused on moving the Band forward, all with massive potential for the future and the desire to succeed. At the other end of the spectrum we are truly overjoyed to sign Kevin Moxon on Soprano Cornet along with his wife Jayne on Repiano Cornet. Both players bring a wealth of talent and experience to York R I and have really given the Band a boost in the realisation that we are now in a position to attract such quality players who would be welcomed with open arms by any band!"

Joan Sadler Memorial Concert

Joan Sadler Memorial Concert

Playing to an almost capacity audience, the Band was honoured to perform a joint concert with Shepherd Group Concert Band to celebrate the life of Joan Sadler. The first half featured the hugely entertaining Concert Band under their energetic MD, former R I player Mike Pratt. After the interval, R I took centre stage and was on sparkling form with featured soloists Andy Novell (Principal Cornet), Ian Scott (Bass Trombone), Richard Lovatt (Principal Euphonium) and Kevin Moxon (Soprano Cornet) all impressing the audience with their musical skill and poise. The concert finished with the Concert Band joining R I on stage to perform the rip roaring Tom Jones classic, Delilah. And so ended a wonderful night of music making to remember Joan, that will have raised a substantial amount of money for the nominated charities.

Dawn Groves

Dr Groves PhD, MSc (Med Eng),
BSc Hons (Physio), AMIMechE


We are overjoyed that baritone player Dawn Groves is to be conferred a Doctorate by the Institute of Medical & Biological Engineering part of Leeds University in December. Dawn has worked her socks off to achieve this whilst still meeting all her commitments to the Band. Of course with her PhD out of the way there will be even more time for home practice!

Whit Friday

Lydgate, Whit Friday 2015

Photo copyright © Bob Hindley 2015

The Band enjoyed a great time playing at the world famous Whit Friday Marches across Saddleworth and Oldham District villages including Delph, Diggle, Dobcross, Scouthead, Denshaw and Lydgate on Friday 29th May. Playing the road march 'The Royal Trophy' and the contest march 'Roll Away Bet', the Band turned in excellent performances and some notable results including Lydgate 6th (74 bands), Dobcross 13th (69 bands), Diggle 16th and Delph 19th (77 bands).

Thanks go to our guest players from the East Riding of Yorkshire, Shepherd Group, Carlton Main, Ferryhill and Skelmanthorpe Bands, Bb Bass player Paul Jones and Tenor Horn player Dennis Stamp. You can see and hear a short clip of the Band playing its road march here

The Band in Christ Church Stockton Lane YorkRegionals 2015

The Band was promoted to the Championship Section in January, the first time it has competed at this level since 1991. We all worked hard in preparation for the North of England Championships and enjoyed an incredibly successful concert at a packed Christ Church the week before. The audience of almost 150 heard the Band play the Area test piece, Peter Graham's "The Torchbearer", and we were all in good heart going to the Area Contest that took place in Durham on Sunday 15th March. Playing 5th, the Band was placed 8th out of a field of 9 bands and were just pipped by local rivals the Shepherd Building Group Band placed 7th. York R I soloists and featured players Andy Novell, Jamie Highton, James West, Richard Lovatt, Sarah Smith, Malcolm Watson, Pearce Abbey, Dawn Groves and Nathan Coope all excelled and we can now look forward with confidence to the year ahead and competing again in the Championship Section at the Area Contest in March 2016. Huge congratulations to the Reg Vardy Band who were crowned North of England Champions and to NASUWT Riverside Band who picked up the second qualifying place for the National Finals in October.

Pre-Finals Concert Success

The Band in St Chad's ChurchThe Band performed to a very large and appreciative audience at St. Chad's Church in York on Saturday 13th September. The concert was to raise funds for our upcoming appearance at the National Championship Finals. Featuring guest soloist Brett Baker, the Band was on scintillating form playing a wide range of music from the traditional overture "Poet and Peasant" to the very current "The Big Wide" composed by Hope and Social and arranged by David Lancaster. Recognition was given to former player Ian Bruce by playing the hymn tune "There is a Green Hill Far Away" composed by Ian's Grandfather and founder of York RI Band Noah Bruce. Brett's trombone playing was truly outstanding, displaying his wonderful sound, technique and extreme musicality in his solos "Fantastic Polka", "Smile", "Leona" and "You Only Live Twice". The main centrepiece of the concert, however, was the Band's performance of the National Finals test piece "A King's Lie" which from the first note captured the imagination of the audience, who greeted the final blazing chord with rapturous applause.

Musical Director Chris Hirst officially announced the appointment of Peter Byrom-Smith, who was in the audience, as Composer in Residence. Peter's first composition for band "The Poppies of the Field" was played during the concert, creating an eerie atmosphere where a pin dropping could have been heard as the final solo note played by Andy Novell faded away. Andy's playing, which featured extensively in Peter's music, was impeccable throughout the concert as he led the band with aplomb from the Principal Cornet chair.

The concert also welcomed VIP guests from York Cooperative Funeralcare who have supported the Band for over a decade. Mr Philip Taylor from Funeralcare presented a cheque which has allowed the Band to equip itself with a full set of professional quality Wallace Mutes.

Brett BakerConcert with Brett Baker

The Band is pleased to announce that the internationally renowned trombone player Mr Brett Baker will be guest soloist at the Pre-National Finals concert to be held at St Chad's Church in York on Saturday 13th September at 7.30pm. With only 160 seats in the venue, you are strongly advised to purchase your tickets in advance of the concert.

The concert is a fundraising event for the Band's appearance at the National Finals in Cheltenham this coming September. As well as showcasing the incredible talents of Brett, the Band will perform 'A King's Lie' - the finals test piece - and other music.

Brett Baker is viewed as one of Europe’s leading brass performers and educators. He is passionate about encouraging composers to write pioneering and challenging new solo repertoire for trombone as well as researching and promoting much of the forgotten repertoire of the past. Brett's extensive recording portfolio as an ensemble player and soloist is nothing short of remarkable having produced 40 solo albums, most recently under his own record label "White River Evocations" as well as appearing as a soloist on 70 recordings. Brett has served with distinction as the Principal Trombone of the world famous Black Dyke Band for almost 15 years, winning numerous national and international awards. He is a past trombone solo champion of Great Britain and an Associate of the Royal College of Music.

Tickets are £10 or £8 concessions (OAPs, Children under 16 and students in FT education).

To purchase a ticket you can either:
1) Send a cheque payable to YORK RAILWAY INSTITUTE BAND with an SAE to -
Martyn Williams
3 Princess Drive
YO26 5SX
2) Pay by direct bank transfer. Please contact Martyn Williams for further details -
Tel: 07921 568826

PoppiesPoppy Road Poppy Project

The Band is pleased to announce it will be participating in a Dedication Ceremony on the 26th July. The Poppy Road Poppy Project is a wonderful local community group who have planted sustainable wild-flower meadows in the heart of Holgate in York, in memory of all those who lived and suffered during the Great War. The Project said "One hundred years after it began, we are ensuring that those who lived and suffered during 1914-18 are remembered in a fitting and beautiful way."

Planting Day was 26 April 2014 and the meadows should start to flower in July – in time for the beginning of the First World War's centenary period. Strewn with wild flowers and Flanders poppies, the meadows will serve as a living commemoration and will remind us that we all have a job to do in preventing war in the future.

The Band will perform music of the period as well as a newly commissioned composition from the internationally renowned York composer Peter Byrom-Smith. This will be Peter's first composition for Brass Band and we are very much looking forward to playing his music as part of the Dedication Ceremony in July.


Chapter House Choir

The Chapter House Choir

The Band is pleased to announce that it will perform for the first time with York Minster's Chapter House Choir as part of their acclaimed 'Carols by Candlelight' concert later this year. The Chapter House Choir was founded by York-based composer Andrew Carter in the 1960s. As a member of the Minster Choir, he realised the potential for a concert to raise funds for a restoration appeal, and persuaded other Minster songmen and their wives to form a choir. As a result, the first 'Carols by Candlelight' concert was held in December 1965. The Choir has continued to contribute financially to York Minster over the years. The 'Carols by Candlelight' concert, to be held on Friday 19th December, will follow other high profile concerts by the Band in December including the BBC Radio York Annual Carol Service to be recorded in Selby Abbey and our annual appearance at Leeds Minster for the Cooperative Funeralcare. All in all, December is set to be a very busy month for the Band!

Regionals TrophiesNorth of England 1st Section Champions

North of England First Section Champions, Best Trombone, Best Percussion, qualified for the National Finals for the 5th consecutive year and promoted to the Championship Section for 2015! Phew - all that in one afternoon. Congratulations also to Kirkbymoorside Town who will be joining us at the finals.

Resounding Brass & Choir Triumph!

Band and Choir in St Michael-le-Belfry Church

Photo by Dave Marris

The Band was privileged to be part of an outstanding musical event on Saturday 16th November when it appeared with the York-based choir Prima Vocal Ensemble at St Michael-le-Belfrey Church.

Choir and Band had been rehearsing hard under the baton of the Band’s Musical Director Chris Hirst and the concert Artistic Director Ewa Salecka and everyone sensed that a very special evening was being created. There was a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation before the concert, as queues stretching 100 yards packed the church with an audience of almost 400, and what was to unfold was truly magical.

The Band featured music including Simoraine, Mack & Mabel, Mr Jums, Cortege from Mlada and three outstanding soloists - Andy Novell (Zelda), Malcolm Watson (Share My Yoke) and Richard Lovatt (La Cucaracha), with the first half of the concert ending with Paul Lovatt Cooper's Vitae Aeternum. The Choir, who were seated in a balcony and out of sight of the audience, joined the Band to sing the quiet reflective section of Vitae Aeternum in a heavenly and uplifting effect as brass and voice combined leaving the audience spellbound. Vitae ended with the huge sounds of the Band and the featured percussion section filling the church and bringing rapturous audience applause.

The second half of the concert, conducted by Ewa Salecka, had the Choir sitting behind the Band and featured show stopper after show stopper including O Fortuna from Carmina Burana, Amen from Messiah, Gabriella’s Song and One Moment in Time, as well as extended selections from Carmen and Verdi operas. The audience was once again spellbound and by the time the final piece, Skyfall, was performed it was obvious from the deafening ovation that there would have to be an encore! Ewa reprised One Moment in Time which brought the audience to its feet and the concert ended with a second encore conducted by Chris Hirst of the sung middle section of Vitae Aeternum and the thunderous brass and percussion finale which once more brought the audience to its feet.

We feel very honoured and privileged to have been part of such a memorable concert and look forward to working with Ewa and Prima Vocal Ensemble in future collaborations.

National Finals 2013

Our 4th consecutive appearance at the National Finals turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable occasion with the bonus that we improved greatly on last year's result by coming 10th out of 18 bands, all of which were Champions or Runners-up in their regional contests. It was very satisfying to do so well for Gordon Eddison in his final contest as Musical Director. comments:-
"Opening is controlled with confidence. Downie’s work has a nice feel to it. York’s approach has a nice feel to it. Sammy Latus does well on horn and the music gels together well, although there are some tiny blemishes. Bundles of energy comes from Gordon Eddison in the middle and the band responds. Well done for the nice lyrical playing from Principal Cornet, Ollie Abbey. The quieter, slower section is delivered with control from the middle. There are some tricky moments on show in the closing section but its not without passion and total commitment and closes well. Overall York gave a performance that certainly had plenty to admire, the best so far, but there were tuning issues in evidence. Star player: Goes to MD Gordon Eddison who led the band with a fine interpretation and his band responded."

We are now looking forward to a busy autumn under the baton of Chris Hirst.

Chris HirstChris Hirst appointed as MD

York Railway Institute Band is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Hirst as Musical Director. Chris will take over the baton from Gordon Eddison immediately following the Band's appearance at the National Finals in September. Unfortunately, Gordon has had to relinquish the position as a consequence of increased work commitments. From September his teaching workload changes so radically that he will not be able to devote the amount of time to the Band that Gordon believes it deserves.

Chris studied music at Salford and Birmingham Universities from 1984 to 1988 and won the prestigious Harry Mortimer Award in 1987, going on to become Principal Trombonist with Grimethorpe Colliery, IMI Yorkshire Imperial Metals and Brighouse and Rastrick Bands over a ten year period. He has extensive experience as a conductor and has enjoyed success with a number of different bands including the Nestlé Rowntree Band and subsequently the Shepherd Group Band, British Steel Teesside, EYMS, Old Silkstone and the Barnsley Building Society Band. Chris has been Head of Selby Music Centre for the last eight years and is now Assistant Head of the Music Service.

Chris is very much looking forward to taking over as MD and said of his appointment "I have thoroughly enjoyed being a playing member of the York RI Band; they are a wonderful group of dedicated musicians. The commitment of the players is truly remarkable, the like of which I haven't experienced since playing at the highest level, and the Band is managed with real professionalism. I am therefore very excited to be taking on the role of MD and hope to continue the success the Band has seen in recent years under Gordon Eddison." Band Chairman Clive Marshall welcomed the appointment saying "Chris is an excellent musician with an impressive pedigree as both a player and conductor. York RI is very excited at the prospect of Chris leading the Band into the 1st Section and to help us realise our ambition to regain Championship status for the first time since the early 90s." Read more about Chris Hirst

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