Gordon’s now relocating to Cleveleys, after 13 years in Spain, and is actively involved in organising the Youth Brass Band Championship of Great Britain, which will be celebrating its 30th anniversary event in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens on February 9th.
If that’s something you’re interested in you might like to enter our competition to win tickets, here.
Anyay, back to Gordon. One thing we’ve discovered is that there are all kinds of people with all kinds of hidden talents, all the way up and down the Fylde Coast, and clearly Gordon is no exception. First we find out why he’s settled in Cleveleys and then you can read on to find out more about his career.
Why I moved to Cleveleys
Why relocate to Thornton – Cleveleys? Easy really…. We have lived in Farnworth, Whiefield, Basingstoke, Wakefield, Milton Keynes etc., and during my playing career been to most areas, from the Mull of Kintyre to Plymouth Hoe, and East to West also North and Southern Ireland. I only mention that because I have extensive knowledge of our island and when we decided to return from Spain, it was a blank sheet to think about.
Our children are scattered – Isle of Wight, Bacup, and Radcliffe Nr Bury and we wanted a location kind of within reach, but NOT were we had previously lived, just for interest and the pleasure of exploring somewhere new. We also knew that whilst in Spain the children enjoyed our location, and after that, felt there was nothing of interest in those locations to attract them. Particularly the grandchildren who are now all teenagers. As I have a wee back problem, we didn’t want a hilly location, and those things made us look for somewhere we thought would be attractive for them and of course for us.
Having looked round a few areas such as the Welsh coast etc. we eventually decided on the Blackpool area because of its attractions such as the Pleasure Beach, Tower, beaches and shows.
All things which, being lively venues and attract young and old. So we looked at Thornton Cleveleys, a place we had NEVER been to, even as kids. and :
1) Loved the main street, with its many small personal shops, Butchers, Fruit & Veg , etc., so wonderful to not see Arndale type shopping Malls.
2) Loved the clean well designed Promenade, lovely to see the Hills in the distance whilst strolling along.
3) The beaches were clean and not so crowded which we thought would be great for kiddies, and easy to watch them.
4) The Ice rink and Multiplex Cinema, again is a real attraction for our Isle of Wight Visitors. In fact two granddaughters have even had a skating lesson there….loved it.
5) Eating Out. Where we actually live, we have a really good Indian, Italian, and Oriental, Restaurants, and there are also good eat- in pubs such as Marsh Mill, Gardeners, Bourne etc.
Traditional eating is also available with two excellent Fish & Chip Shops. All in walking distance of my home.
6) Health. We can easily walk to our Dentist, Doctor, Chiropodist,
7) Library, which is very active with events and activities.
8) Thornton Little Theatre even the BBC record shows there.
9) Parks. Our eldest Granddaughter loves Anchorshome Park, and the Skateboard park by the Ice Rink.
10) Tram service to Fleetwood and Blackpool, is ideal and attractive to boot.
There are 10 reasons which I didn’t have to even think about …….there are many more of course,
11) Sea Fishing, our son regularly visits to go fishing, especially night fishing
12) Bird Watching. Our son is a very keen photographer of wild life and particularly Birds, not only at the coast, but in the Wyre Country Park
13) The area is FLAT , which helps me personally when walking.
14) So easy to get to other places. With the Bus Station in Cleveleys, and only 1/2 hr from the Blackpool Airport, travelling is a doddle.
15) Other Facilities…we have the lot covered. Hairdressers , Solicitors, Funerals, Post Office, Garages,… even a Farmers Market at picturesque Marsh Mill. In short ……for us it is great .
There it is, we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. We have often thought how fortunate we are to have finished up here, truly.
Gordon’s Musical Career
Gordon began his musical career at the age of 9 under the tutorship of his father John Higginbottom and soon joined his first band Kearsley Silver (Near Bolton , Lancs.)
His first move was to Besses Boys Band until he graduated to the seniors, Besses O´th Barn and from there he became a member of the famous CWS (Manchester) Band under Alex Mortimer, and was appointed Principal Horn at the age of 15 yrs!
Leaving CWS to get married, Gordon moved to Wingates Temperance and was a member of their Quartet which won the British Championship, Gordon receiving the award of outstanding instrumentalist of the Championship.
The next part of Gordon’s career saw him appearing with most top British Bands, and for 17 years was the principal Horn of The James Shepherd Versatile Brass.
He was also principal Horn of many all star bands, including : Harry Mortimers All Stars, The National Band (Geoffrey Brand), Invicta Concert Brass (Eric Banks),
Celebrity Brass (Derek Broadbent) and The Virtuosi Brass Band of Gt. Britain (various conductors).
Many broadcasts on radio, and television, recordings and solo appearances took place during this period, when he championed the Tenor Horn (and other instruments!)
Composers such as Eric Ball , Frank Bryce, John Golland, Mike Hopkinson , Roy Newsome, Bill Relton, Goff Richards, Howard Snell, Philip Sparke and Bram Wiggins have all dedicated compositions to him.
His impressive list of Solo appearances include:
The European Gala Festival ( twice), Royal Albert Hall Nationals Gala Concert (three times ), The Royal Festival Hall with the Massed Bands of the Guards , The British Open ( Twice ). and the National Eisteddfod of Wales!
As a soloist / tutor / adjudicator and lecturer , Gordon has worked in America, Australia, Austria, Belgium , Canada, Denmark , France, Germany, Holland , Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, Mexico, New Zealand Norway, Spain, Pakistan , Sweden and Switzerland.
He was also a Professor at London College of Music , tutor at Leeds College of Music, Salford College ,and The Royal Northern College of Music, where he is currently an SEA approved external examiner.
Founder of the Brass Band Summer School, he was also for many years , a tutor to the National Youth Bands of Wales and Switzerland. Apart from his vast experience in Brass Bands , Gordon was a member of the Wallace Collection, piloting the Cyfarthfa Project. He was in a BBC studio Big Band for 3 years, and a busy session player, (eg; performing on the sound track of the hit Madonna movie, Evita )
Radio & TV work for BBC & ITV span many years, and include concerts, solo appearances, spectaculars, dramas and soaps.
Gordon also had the honour of playing with the Philharmonia Orchestra in the first ever performance of Prokofiev´s Epic Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution at the Royal Festival Hall.
He was also proud to be guest soloist with the Massed Bands of the Guards in the Royal Benevolent Concert, also at the RFH.
In 1999 Gordon was awarded the English Masters award at Cambridge, shortly before emigrating to Spain where for 13yrs, he directed Wind and Brass bands. Gordon returned to the UK in November 2011.
Currently he is busy Composing and arranging, his music being published by Kirklees Music (Brighouse).