“In Conversation” is a regular interview series, where one of our team sits down with a leading light from the world of music. From musicians to dancers, public speakers to instrument makers, the series allows us to chat with some of the creatives we most admire and talk to them in-depth about their careers, creative processes, and most importantly, their vision and eyewear.
In this blog, Allegro Managing Director, Stephen Tighe, talks to Allegro Optical’s Dispensing Manager and the world famous Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Bands’ BBb Tuba player James Brooks.
ST – How are you feeling following Brighouse and Rastrick Bands’ win at this weekend’s Brass in Concert competition?
JB – Great! I’ve kept my 100% winning record with the band and won Brass in Concert at my first attempt. The band is flying and I’m really enjoying it!
ST – How long have you been playing BBb Bass for the Brighouse and Rastrick band now?
JB – I’ve been with the band for around 8 months now which has flown by.
ST – Was playing for Brighouse and Rastrick band an ambition of yours?
JB – I think it always has been yes. B&R is one of the biggest names in brass banding, and as a youngster it was seeing those purple tunics on Whit Friday that made me look on in awe and strive to one day play for the band. I must say that it’s an honour every time I take to the stage with the band.
ST – How are you balancing your commitment to Brighouse and Rastrick Band with the demands of your job?
JB – I won’t lie and say it’s fine because it is tough, especially when you throw young family life into the mix too. However, working for award-winning teams both at band and at work is what keeps me going. Both work and the family are understanding when it comes to band commitments and without that understanding and support, playing for a band like B&R just wouldn’t be possible.
ST – Do you find that your passion for music helps with your role in Allegro Optical?
JB – Absolutely! When musicians come to us, often they’re frustrated as they’ll have exhausted all other avenues with other Opticians. What they quickly realise though is that we ‘get it’. We understand the issues and we know how to help. Not only that but I love meeting other musicians from all different ensembles. Sometimes I feel like we could just sit and natter about music and band but I’d never get any work done!
ST – I would imagine that following all your recent wins the band is very much in demand. Have you got any up-and-coming events that you are looking forward to or excited about?
JB – December, as you know, is a particularly busy time of year for brass bands and we’ve got another 10 concerts to do before Christmas. Then we’re straight back to it in January preparing our programme for the RNCM Festival of Brass. After that the thing we’ll be focusing on is the Yorkshire Regionals where we want to not only qualify for the Nationals, but we want to win it in style. That would round off my first 12 months with the band perfectly!