Major Changes Lie Ahead For BBWR

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.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Jo Aslan

    relax and enjoy your well deserved retirement.

    we will certainly miss your concerts!

  2. Carol jordan

    Dr. Wilkinson, thank you so much for the wonderful music you and the band have brought us for so many years. We always looked forward to the concerts in Medina, especially the Christmas one when we heard your wife’s lovely voice. Best wishes to you both

  3. Dave Evans

    Is there an effort to seek a new director?

    1. BBWR

      Yes! The board is currently making efforts to form a search committee for a new music director. We hope to officially announce these plans in the near future.

  4. Theresa May

    Happy Retirement!!

  5. Doug Chovan

    Wishing you all the best as you begin the next chapter in your life Dr. Wilkinson! Your 20+ years of unwavering dedication to the BBWR, its loyal fans, as well as the BBWR’s consistently professional sound that you helped to create, will leave a lasting legacy that you can be very proud of. Looking forward to seeing you once again as a guest conductor at future BBWR performances!

  6. Frank

    I never thought I would see the day when my friend Keith Wilkinson would retire. Well done Keith and Audrey who always reached to attain the best in all they did. (I didn’t know Theresa May P.M. was a fan Keith)

  7. Tom Selby

    Happy retirement, Keith; you have earned it. You have that rare ability to bring out every ounce of musicianship in a player and create a band of all stars. I know that my finest playing was done with you on the podium. Thank you so much.

  8. The concerts that you, Dr. Wilkinson, and the members of the BBWR performed in Medina were definitely the highlight of the musical year. The arrangements and the musicality of the musicians were of the highest caliber. We will certainly miss you and Audrey. However, it’s good to know that the organization you founded will continue, and we hope you will return as guest conductor in the future. Our best to you both.

  9. Christopher Lichtler

    A very happy retirement to you, Keith! Being a part of the BBWR was a bright part of my life for fourteen years. I listen to the six or so cd’s I was a part of frequently and with much pride. Thank you for that. Good luck and good health in your retirement!

  10. Amy Barnes

    I am so very honored and glad that I had the chance to do a lengthy interview with both Keith and Audrey for Joy of Medina County Magazine. Both are of them are amazing and a true joy to visit. They were most gracious with their time, with posing for photos, and with giving so much to the world around them. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I will dearly miss both of you and the very special flair you brought to the concerts, both as individuals and as a couple.

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