The board of Brass Band of the Western Reserve has learned of the decision of its Music Director, Dr Keith M Wilkinson, to retire from his position. Keith has been director of BBWR since its formation in 1997, indeed it was knowledge of his living in northern Ohio that was the catalyst for the formation of the band. A change in his employment necessitated Keith and his wife, Audrey, moving to Delaware in 2002 and we are extremely grateful that since that time he has been willing to make the lengthy commute north to direct the band. In fact, it is the distance involved in his regular activities with the band that is the major reason behind Keith’s decision. The band has been inactive since March, 2020, and it is felt that regrouping after this Covid-19 enforced break presents an ideal time to make the transition to a new director.
Keith brought with him an outstanding reputation as a highly successful director of brass bands in both Britain and Europe and BBWR has been privileged to benefit greatly from his experience, both in his extensive knowledge of brass band repertoire and also his continual insistence on striving for the highest possible musical standards in performance. Following a recent guest appearance with a British band one commentator wrote “a welcome return to UK of a conductor of proven 24 carat class”. (Iwan Fox, www.4barsrest.com).
Keith tried his hand at brass band orchestration while still in high school and BBWR concerts have been enhanced by the inclusion of some of his arrangements. This activity is still high on Keith’s priority list and he is constantly receiving requests from publishers for his works. He is proud to have more than 120 titles in print with publishers in Britain, Switzerland and USA.
Looking ahead Keith will be continuing to arrange titles for brass band and, with a great deal more available time, looks forward to accepting a few more of the invitations he receives for guest-conducting appearances.
BBWR would be remiss if it didn’t place on record the band’s huge appreciation for the contribution made by Audrey. Not only has she been a regular source of support and encouragement to Keith but has taken on several behind-the-scenes activities including photocopying music (always observing copyright restrictions, of course) and preparing the programs for the band’s Concert Series. And, of course, you’ve all welcomed her lovely English accent when she’s presented our annual Christmas Concert.
We wish Keith all the best for the future and feel sure that he’ll be welcomed back as an occasional guest conductor.