Derwent Brass to play grand finale concert as musical director retires

Derwent Brass musical director Keith Leonard is to retire after 25 years, with the band planning a farewell concert on Saturday, September 15.
Derwent Brass musical director Keith Leonard is to retire after 25 years, with the band planning a farewell concert on Saturday, September 15.

Derwent Brass is to play a final farewell concert for its much-loved musical director who is handing over the baton after 25 years in the role.

The band will say goodbye to Keith Leonard with a performance on Saturday, September 15, at Landau Forte College, on Fox Street, Derby, starting at 7.30pm.

The organising team are expecting a sellout audience for the event, packed with distinguished guests and friends made throughout Keith’s tenure.

Spokesman Rob Stew said: “Derwent Brass acknowledges Keith’s proud and relentless commitment in creating the band as it is today, humbly beginning in the lower end of the 3rd Section and rising to an established championship band, standing at 43 in the world rankings.

“There have been some wonderful highlights on a long and enjoyable journey, including concert performances, competition victories, and opportunities to work with some of the best brass band trainers and conductors.”

The last quarter of a century has seen the band play with such distinguished names as Steven Mead, Chris Jeans, the Treorchy Choir, Swingle Singers, and rock band British Sea Power.

Keith said the decision had not been taken lightly, and that his primary concern was the ongoing smooth running and success of a band that he loved dearly and had put his life and soul into.

He added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as the band’s musical director, and have made wonderful friendships along the way.

“I do sincerely hope to maintain a very close relationship with one and all.”

Keith and his wife Beverley have just bought a new motorhome, and now trips around the UK and Europe are on the planner rather than competition outings to Blackpool.

The band has been working to identify Keith’s replacement, and an announcement is expected soon.

Advance Tickets for the cost £3.50 for under-14s and £7 for all others, rising to £5/£10 on the door. Book now at https://goo.gl/imBMUk.