Jayess Newbiggin Musical Director
Musical Director
Andrew Griffiths BA (Hons) PGCE
After a couple of abortive attempts to play the cornet and trombone, Andrew began playing the euphonium when he was 13 years old, following in the footsteps of his dad Tony, brother Anthony and a number of generations within the family. In his formative playing years, Andrew played with local bands Backworth and then Ellington Colliery bands where he learnt a great deal from fellow euphonium player George Cuthbertson.

In 2004 Andrew moved to Manchester to study Music at the University of Salford. During his degree Andrew received tuition from some of the finest names in the brass band world, studying euphonium with Bill Millar and conducting with Dr Howard Evans and Nigel Weeks. In the final year of his degree, Andrew majored in brass band arranging and conducting, being awarded the university prize for the latter.

While at University, Andrew began to play with various bands in the North West before joining the Blackley Band, helping friends rebuild the band from a handful of players. The band entered a successful phase, winning numerous contests over an 18-month period including winning the French Open in 2009.

After leaving University, Andrew trained to become a music teacher and graduated with a PGCE in Music in 2010. At the same time, Andrew moved to the Eccles Borough Band where he was again part of a successful contesting band, including a memorable Whit Friday where the band beat a number of ‘named’ bands.

Andrew moved back to the North East in 2011 with partner Kayleigh and was delighted to be asked to take over conducting duties at Jayess. Since then the band has continued to grow in membership and ability, entering the contesting arena for the first time in 2012 with a creditable 4th place at the regional contest.
Andrew currently works as a teacher at the Duke’s Middle School in Alnwick and has successfully established a thriving brass band within the school with over 40 pupils having access to learning and performing a brass instrument.

Favourite piece
'Capriccio' by Kenneth Downie & 'Variations on the Shining River' by Edmund Rubbra. 'Capriccio' is an absolute stonker of a piece, really musical but also quite technically demanding. It was the final piece I conducted during my University studies and I love it. I heard Grimethorpe band play 'the Shining River' at the old CISWO contest and it’s one of the first proper brass band classics I can remember hearing live. The ending is gorgeous.

Worst piece
Could be one of a number but it’s a toss up between 'Four Cities Symphony' and 'Variations on Laudate Dominum'. In fact almost any piece by Edward Gregson would get into my top 10 of pieces I dislike.

Favourite banding moment
Winning the area with Jayess is probably my favourite banding moment for what it represents the culmination of what banding should be about, a group of friends working hard to do the best they can. Also leading the band out at the National Finals was a proud moment and one I’m keen to repeat in the future!