Welcome to our series of Meet The Council articles. Throughout these entries we will try to give you a chance to get to know the people working behind the scenes at BYBA.
First up is our Chairman, Neil Wright. Neil has a rich history of involvement in the activity. He started out at Newark Corps of Drums in 1978, which was founded by his father, Derek. In the late 80s this band became the Newark Red & Greys Youth Marching Band. The band went on to be very successful on the TYMBA circuit.
Neil then went on to found and lead Trinity School Show Band (TSSB) in 1998. The band was a crowd pleaser at BYBA shows and progressed steadily through the divisions, winning back to back Championship Class titles in 2006-2007 and winning the Premier class in 2009.
Away from leading a band, Neil has also previously volunteered for BYBA under several roles. He began judging on and off from around 2002 until 2010, with the musical knowledge to cover brass, percussion, or general musical effect. Neil has also been involved with BYBA Council in educational roles over the last 10 years, before finally becoming Chairman in 2017.
We sat down with Neil to ask him a few questions:
What instrument do you play? Percussion (all including tuned), trombone, trumpet, cornet (all brass except french horn), piano, and bass guitar.
What is the first show you marched in? Newark Corps of Drums somewhere around 1979, can't quite remember!
Proudest banding accomplishment? I've got so many. Forming and running TSSB, Red and Greys becoming national TYMBA champions, various school bands... there's been some great big band stuff too! Judging the New Year's Day Parade was also a highlight.
If you could talk to your younger self when they started banding, what advice would you give them? Learn to read music earlier, focus more with piano, keep your cool, it's a hobby!
What is one surprising fact about you? I own a 1937 Austin 7 Ruby.
If you could invite any 5 people (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would you invite? Ted Heath Count Basie, Glenn Miller, William Booth, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
What are you most looking forward to over the next season? Seeing bands perform live again, and getting the activity moving forward again. I also can't wait to see new bands join us and perform.
Check back next week, when we will be meeting another member of the BYBA Council!