It is with deep sadness that we learn of the passing of musician, judge and friend to many, Marie Leighton-Morgan. Marie was a great supporter of BYBA, banding and musical education in general. Last year, in recognition of her service, she was admitted to the BYBA Fellowship, the highest honour the Association can bestow on an individual.
Based in Essex and associated for many years with Thurrock Marching Brass, Marie dedicated nearly 40 years of her life to the marching arts. In 2015 her leadership skills were recognised when she received the 2015 Jack Petchey Leadership Award for her outstanding contribution of youth development in Thurrock and its surrounding areas. A marching member in her youth, as an adult she took on senior leadership roles where her help and advice steered bands to major success and recognition, not to mention her role in providing musical and life skills to a huge number of young members. Beyond her own bands, she was an integral part of many training weekends where young people around the country benefited from her knowledge and experience, which was always conveyed with a smile and a joke.
In 2009 Marie became a judge for BYBA, specialising in the Field Wind caption. Many bands benefited from her insightful, positive and constructive feedback and she was well known for her spot-on remarks about intonation, embouchure, and attacks and releases. Her tapes were always a pleasure to listen to, and her constructive and balanced critique was very welcome. Most recently, she judged at the November 2017 Individuals and Ensembles contest where again she made a positive impact on everyone she encountered.
Marie always brought a smile to any occasion and was truly inspirational. She recently married her partner, Paul Morgan, a merger of two great banding families, and her love, joy and happiness shone through to those present and those who watched the live stream. Simply knowing Marie was a privilege and those who counted her as a friend have been truly blessed.
Marie never gave up and her attitude in the face of adversity is an example to all of us. Marie is an enormous loss to BYBA and the world of banding in general, but even more so to her family and friends, and our thoughts are with them at this particularly difficult and sad time.