Musical Director: Mr John Roberts

John Roberts began his musical career at the age of 10-years-old playing cornet with Rothwell Temperance Band, eventually being appointed Deputy Conductor when he was only 21 years old. He progressed as conductor of a number of bands reaching the final of the Young Conductor of the Year competition in 1984.

John has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the Rothwell Band and from the mid 1980s they progressed from the Third to the Championship Section, winning many contests on the way. The band's notable achievements under John's direction was being winners of the
Tomra / Orskog Entertainment Championships in Norway, winning the Pilkingtons Championship in 1990, qualifying for the British Open in 1991 and All England Masters in 1992.

Having conducted many of the country's top bands, such as Black Dyke, in concert, John was appointed Professional Conductor of the British Steel Teesside Band in 1993 and again he enjoyed contest success, twice winning the Isle of Man entertainment championships and qualifying for the National Finals in the Royal Albert Hall. He then became Musical Director of EYMS Band in 1997, winning the North of England Area Championships on “Montage” in 1998.

John joined Jayess (Queensbury) Band in 1997 and led the band through its merger with Jayess '87 to become the United Co-op Yorkshire Brass Band. John and the band experienced much success including competing in the First Section National Championships in 1999 and the Swiss Open Contest in the same year. John pushed the band musically, leading it to Championship Section status and in 2005 became the first British band to compete in the New Zealand National Championships.

In May 2006 John became Musical Director of the Yorkshire Championship Section band Skelmanthorpe and for 2 years enjoyed many contest successes. Twice winning the Butlins 1st section, taking major titles at Wilkinson's and Pontins and winning the Yorkshire 1st section Area contest and promotion back to Championship section status. He is also professional conductor with Lockwood Brass, based in Lingdale, Cleveland, with whom he has qualified for the National Finals on 4 successive occasions. In September 2013 John was appointed Resident Conductor with the North East's most succesful band, Reg Vardy and won the Dr Martin contest in Middlesbrough in 2014.

John studied for his Certificate in Band Studies under Major Peter Parkes and is a member of the Executive of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators. We hope that with John's experience, knowledge and success and a bit of hard work by the band it will be a winning combination.

Conductor John Roberts tells 4BR just who he would have around his dinner table for a good night out and chin wag. It's an interesting mix.

Given the opportunity, the wish list, the ability to mess about with the Space-Time Continuam like Doctor Who, and the skill to cook like Heston Blumenthal, who would you like to invite around to your place to enjoy a meal and chin wag with?  

"I could have asked loads of friends along for a great night, but knowing that 4BR likes to do something different I've picked some of the most interesting 'non banding' people I can think off - all with a link, be it tenuous, to the brass band movement." I'm also sure the conversation won't be all about brass bands - which must a good thing - and some of the topics will get opinions flying!" "I'm not too sure who will do the cooking and the washing up though..."

john talking mic

1. Crawford Hall
Ex - Solo Trombone player with Lockwood Band and the Welsh Guards, he sadly passed away last year. One of the funniest bandsmen I ever met. I often got him to recount when he played at the wedding of Princess Anne in 1973 and when on an airplane to France with Lockwood Band he told Mike Tindall to behave or else he would tell his mother in law!

2. Jimmy McGovern 
I would congratulate him on the success of ‘King Cotton’, which he wrote in collaboration with Ian Brownbill. I'd ask him if there was any remote possibility of reviving 'Cracker' - my favourite cop show of the 1990s.  McGovern's dialogue was brilliant:
Fitz (Robbie Coltrane): Where would you like to go on holiday?
His girlfriend DS Penhaligon: As far away from a Policeman as possible
Fitz: You mean Moss Side for instance?

3. & 4. Ray Galton & Alan Simpson
50 years ago the iconic scriptwriters used to get over 20million viewers and listeners to 'Hancock's Half Hour'. Even banding gets a mention.
In the 'Radio Ham' ,Hancock listing his exotic contacts all over the world delivers the line:
Who was I talking to last week? - Ah yes. Rodrigo Dominguez, Rio de Janeiro. I promised to let him know who won the Daily Herald Brass Band Competition
We could debate whether Ricky Gervais is over-rated (he is)

5. Mark Kermode
I've listened to his film reviews on Radio 5 live every Friday afternoon for the last 9 years. 
He let slip last year that he's a closet brass band fan and loves the film ‘Brassed Off’(although he confused Grimethorpe with Brighouse...) I'd argue that ‘The Parallax View’, ‘All the President's Men’ and ‘Network’ were the best 3 films of the golden age of cinema (1970s). He would passionately disagree. 
’t get Jonathan Ross's job on 'Film 2011' instead of Claudia 'wotshername'.

6. Martin Kelner
The Guardian columnist, former Radio Aire DJ and Radio 5 live contributor used to live behind the Parish Church at Rothwell and once wrote that he enjoyed listening to the band in there practising. 
I enjoy his column and especially his contribution to ‘Fighting Talk’ on Saturday mornings. We could moan together about the plight of Leeds United.

7. Aaron Sorkin
OK - this is a very cheeky entry, but the opening sequence of ‘A Few Good Men’(which he wrote based on his play) has a band playing ‘Semper Fidelis’ and then doing some very flashy display stuff with their rifles. I'd like to ask him about the "You can't handle the truth!" scene with Jack Nicholson.....and then there's the 'West Wing'...and why was 'Studio 60' on the 'Sunset strip' cancelled? Scandalous!

8. Gilbert Vinter
It's 1968 shortly after the British Open and Dyke are playing ‘John O'Gaunt’ at the end of the first half of a concert. I'm on the front row aged 9 sat next to my Mum. I was completely mesmerised by the band and ‘John O'Gaunt’ in particular. From that night on I knew I was going to be stuck on banding for the rest of my life. There are loads of questions I'd like to ask Vinter - I might tentatively ask why his openings are almost always better than his endings (see ‘Spectrum’, ‘Variations on a Ninth’ and the aforementioned test piece)

9. Michael Foot
I knew he was keen on bands but not the extent that was recently reported on his death. I'd like to know more - and then we could talk politics!

10. Tony Blair
The former PM was (don’t know if he still is) President of Fishburn Band for some years. I'd probably sit him as far away from Michael Foot as possible and there are still a few questions I'd like to ask him!