Goff Richards – Banding Loses a Great Man

The President, Executive and members of the Victorian Bands’ League have been saddened to hear of the death of Cornish musician, composer & teacher Goff Richards, who has passed away after a long illness.

Goff RichardsMany VBL members will remember Goff from his visit to Melbourne in April 1998 as the Chief Adjudicator at the Australian National Band Championships organised by the VBL, and held at Monash University. Ian Douglas was VBL President at the time, and Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Championships. He remembers Goff as a truly gracious gentleman, to whom nothing was too much trouble, and who encouraged all the competitors in their banding endeavours. Victorian Bands will have played many of his beautiful band arrangements, and will have appreciated his skill as an arranger.

The printed program for those Championships contained the photograph above, and the following profile:

Chief Adjudicator Goff Richards

“Goff Richards was born in Cornwall. He studied at the Royal College of Music, London, and Reading University, and is now well established as a Composer, Arranger and Musical Director. His works have been performed by The King’s Singers, The Swingle Singers, London Brass, Evelyn Glennie, Benjamin Luxon, Huddersfield Choral Society, various BBC Ensembles and leading Brass and
Military Bands. He writes extensively for TV and Radio, in such diverse fields as ‘Songs of Praise’ ‘Listen to the Band’ – where he was recently commissioned to produce a work for the largest gathering of Brass musicians ever to be recorded – and for his many ensembles – Burnished Brass, The Arcadians, Fifty/Fifty, Percussion Plus and The Goff Richards Orchestra.

Three famous bands – BNFL, Brighouse and Rastrick and Britannia Building Society have produced recordings entirely of his work, and a new CD featuring his Arcadians will be released soon. As an adjudicator, Goff Richards is widely travelled, having judged at the European Brass Band Championships, the British Brass, Wind and Big Band Championships, the New Zealand National Brass Band Championships, ‘Brass in Concert,’ Spennymoor, ‘Siddis Brass,’ Norway, the Swiss Entertainment Contest, the National Male Voice Choir Championships of Britain, and various Band contests for BBC TV and Radio.

For many years he Lectured in Arranging and directed the Jazz Orchestra at Salford College of Technology where he was awarded an Honorary GDBM and the title Director Big Band Laureate. He is a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd, a member of the British Music Writers Council Committee and a former member of the BBC’s Central Music Advisory Committee. He is currently an External Examiner for the University of Salford.”

Tribute from 4 Bars Rest

The following additional material is from the 4 Bars Rest web site, with acknowledgement.

He died peacefully at his home in Cheshire on 25 June after a long illness. He was 66. His funeral will take place on 5 July at St Thomas’ Church, Stockton Heath in Warrington.
His father was conductor of St Minver Silver Band in Cornwall and his mother was a church organist there for 40 years. Later he played trombone with the St Minver Band and also in the Cornwall Youth Brass Band.
His first group was the Syncopated Six for whom he also did the arrangements. After his studies at the Royal College of Music, Goff Richards went on to become Head of Music at Fowey School at the age of 21.

After leaving teaching he became a professional musician working with composer Malcolm Arnold.
He formed the Goff Richards Orchestra, Burnished Brass, Percusssion Plus and The Arcadians.
BBC Radio Cornwall presenter, Phillip Hunt said: “He was someone who had made such an amazing contribution to the world of music, brass bands and choirs, but also the wider orchestral world.”
Mr Richards’ wrote for The Kings Singers, The Swingle Singers, Evelyn Glennie and Benjamin Luxon.

With lyrics from BBC Radio Cornwall’s Tim Hubbard, he arranged James Last’s “Morning In Cornwall” for the Marazion Apollo Male Voice Choir.
Goff Richards was made a bard of the Cornish Gorsedd, under the name of Gwas Mynver, meaning Son of St Minver.
The Cornish Gorsedd honours men and women who have made outstanding contributions to Cornwall and its culture, history and language.

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