BRASS BAND OF THE WESTERN RESERVE

“We’re forming a band and we’re aiming high!”  was the message sent out to local brass  players and percussionists in 1997 when it was discovered that the experienced and successful British brass band director, Dr. Keith M. Wilkinson, was residing in north-east Ohio.  That these ambitious sentiments have been amply achieved can be judged by the many impressive performances the band has carried out since that time.

The band presents its own Concert Series, five concerts each year, often with guest artists, and since 2013 these events have taken place at Medina Performing Arts Center.

Additionally BBWR receives several invitations to play at other locations, many of these are repeat bookings.  Prestigious concert venues have included The Amphitheater, Chautauqua Institution, Hoover Auditorium, Lakeside Chautauqua and Severance Hall, Cleveland.  Summer concerts include a July 4th performance, followed by fireworks, at Bicentennial Park, Fairlawn.

Wherever BBWR performs its audiences are captivated by the wide variety of music presented as well as the band’s  ability to impressively perform repertoire ranging from quiet and delicate to strong and powerful.  You can judge how successful the band is in achieving the high goals it has set for itself by witnessing the warm and enthusiastic support of its listeners.

Major emphasis

The major emphasis of BBWR's activities is the presentation of dynamic concerts, taking the vibrant brass band sound and a wide variety of repertoire to its enthusiastic audiences. 

Membership of the band

Membership of the band is by audition and, in addition to music educators and music students, several other professions are represented. Rehearsals are held in the band room at Ellet High School, Akron.

Recordings

The band has recorded several highly-acclaimed CDs and its most recent one, Fanfare And Celebration, was released in early 2013.

Home concerts

 The band presents its own Concert Series, five concerts each year, often with guest artists at the Medina Performing Arts Center.

Outdoor Concerts

Among the outdoor concerts performed by BBWR they have a regular booking at Bicentennial Park, Fairlawn.  Their concert is followed by fireworks.

Brass Quintet

Summer wedding, small five piece concert.

Dr. Keith M. Wilkinson

Dr. Keith M. Wilkinson moved to the United States with his wife, Audrey, and daughters, Debbie and Katie, in 1996.  He has been delighted to play an integral part in the development of Brass Band Of The Western Reserve from its origins to the high standards it displays now.

Prior to his move Keith enjoyed long and successful periods as music director of leading championship bands in England, the GUS Band and William Davis Band.  He was also in demand to travel, around Europe as well as in Britain, as a guest conductor and adjudicator.  Among these appearances he was principal guest conductor of Newtongrange Silver Band (Scotland) and Brass Band Fribourg (Switzerland).  Since arriving in USA he has been delighted to appear as a guest with several bands in USA and Canada and was, for a while, principal guest conductor of St Louis Brass Band, being crowned champions of the Honors Division of the North American Brass Band Championships in 2001.

Keith has been an adjudicator at the North American Brass Band Championships in both 2017 and 2018. The last couple of years have also seen him traveling across the Atlantic to conduct Helston Town Band (Cornwall), Newtongrange Silver Band (Scotland) and the William Davis Band for a special charity performance.  Regarding his appearances with Newtongrange one commentator wrote “a welcome return to the UK of a conductor of proven 24 carat class “.  (Iwan Fox, www.4barsrest.com.)  Keith was also privileged to be featured in a full-length article in the international magazine, The Brass Herald, in October 2017.   

In March, 2008, Keith was presented the God And Country Music Award by The Salvation Army and Brass Band of Columbus for “his outstanding contributions to brass banding in USA, Britain and Europe”.

Keith tried his hand at brass band orchestration while still in high school and this aspect of banding has continued to hold his attention.  He has more than 100 published arrangements with publishers in Britain, Switzerland and USA.  Some of his arrangements have been used as test pieces at major championships.  In order to make his arrangements available more rapidly he has formed his own publishing company, Alum Creek Music (www.alumcreekmusic.com)

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