Professional Musical Director: Mareika Gray
Image courtesy of Goldy Solutions Ltd
Mareika is the Professional Musical Director of the Ratby Co-operative Band Organisation. In this role Mareika leads the creative direction for the band, working with the organisations team of conductors and band trainers, and is the principal conductor for the Senior Band on the contesting platform. Originally a violinist, Mareika took up baritone and joined her father in the Brisbane Excelsior Band aged 18. As a Euphonium player, she has played with the Sola Band in Norway, The Ransome Band in England and has played in concert and competition with some of the finest bands in the world including Leyland Band and the Fairey Band.
Having taken up conducting in 2008, Mareika has already made appearances at the Australian, Danish and Norwegian Nationals. Her 3-year association with Milnrow Band also saw Mareika lead the band to the National Finals at London Royal Albert Hall for the first time in their history and to their debut British Open performance after victory in the Grand Shield competition in Blackpool.
Mareika is also the Musical Director of the Eccles Borough Band, a position she has held since 2009. Mareika has led Eccles Band, who were freshly promoted from the 4th Section upon her appointment, through the sections resulting in the bands promotion to the 1st Section for 2016. The partnership between Mareika and Eccles has included wins at the Butlins Mineworkers Contest, Fleetwood Contest and Wychavon Festival of Brass, with podium finishes at the North West Area and 2nd Section National Finals.
2016 looks to be another busy year with visits to Norway and Australia for their respective National contests whilst maintaining a busy concert and contest schedule with both Ratby and Eccles, as well as lending her ear to the adjudicating panels at brass band competitions throughout the year.
Associate Musical Director – David Purkiss
David is the Associate Musical Director for the Ratby Co-operative Band, primarily working with the Senior Band, David work’s closely with Mareika to ensure the Senior Band are performing at the highest level on the concert and the contest stages.
David began playing the cornet at the age of four under the tuition of his grandfather, Alfred Gilbert a retired Salvation Army Bandmaster. He was a member of the Salvation Army Junior Band from the age of seven until fifteen, when he moved into the Senior Band at Derby Central where he was Principal Cornet for 8 years.
In July 2005, David graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire obtaining a Bachelor of Music degree with Honours. During his time at the Conservatoire, he was Principal Cornet for the duration of his 4 year course.
David was a member of Travelsphere Holidays Band (GUS) on Repiano Cornet, before moving to Pennine Brass on Principal Cornet. He later played Repiano Cornet for Fodens (Richardson) Band. He has also played with other bands including Black Dyke, Grimethorpe and Brighouse and Rastrick.
David has also held the Principal Cornet chair with both Fuoco Brass and Salvo Brass, two composite bands of musicians associated with the Salvation Army.
In July 2006, David graduated from Nottingham Trent University, obtaining a Post Graduate Certificate of Education in Secondary Music teaching.
In January 2008, David fulfilled a life long ambition becoming a member of The International Staff Band of the Salvation Army, where he played Solo Cornet for 3 years.
Following a period as Resident Conductor of Foresters Brass during 2010, David was delighted to accept the position of Musical Director with Thoresby Colliery Band in July 2011; a position he held until 2013. For the last 4 years, David also held the role of Musical Director with The Staffordshire Band.
David is also currently Director of Music at a secondary school in Staffordshire.