Framed photographic portrait of Major Peter Parkes. Parkes was professional musical Director and conductor of Black Dyke Band, from 1975 to 1989. During his time at Black Dyke, Major Parkes won the British Open on five occasions adding a further success with the Williams Fairey Band in 1993.
He also led Black Dyke band to six National titles including a hat trick of wins between 1975 and 1977.
His record at the European championships saw him win 8 titles—seven with Black Dyke and again with Fairey in 1994.
He had a distinguished musical career in the Army, first as Director of Music of the Royal Engineers and as Director of Music of the Grenadier Guards, before becoming “professional conductor” of the Black Dyke Mills Band during his 14-year tenure.
Peter William Parkes was born in Northampton in 1928 to Kate and Leonard Parkes, who owned a fishmonger’s shop in the town. His army career proceeded apace and by 1965 he was Director of Music of the Royal Engineers; in 1966 he was made Director of Music of the Grenadier Guards, for which he undertook all the ceremonial duties associated with the role, including Trooping the Colour, Remembrance Sunday services at the Albert Hall, Changing the Guard and many royal garden parties. He also composed several marches for the Grenadiers, including The White Plume (1975), which he wrote for Trooping the Colour.
He retired from the Army with the rank of major in 1979.
Parkes first conducted the Black Dyke Mills Band (since renamed the Black Dyke Band) in 1975 in what was originally intended to be a single performance in the finals of the national championships. His success with the band began immediately as he led them to victory in the contest. Parkes then became the band’s professional conductor, a position he would hold for the next 14 years
The year 1985 remains Black Dyke’s most successful year, in which, under Parkes’s leadership, they won all five of the banding world’s major contests. They began in January by winning the BBC Band of the Year and followed this success in February by becoming Champions of Yorkshire. May saw them achieve victory at the European Championships in Copenhagen and they completed the year by winning the British Open in September and the National Championships in October.
He never retired from his musical career and was working right up until his death.
Major Peter Parkes, brass band conductor, was born on May 8, 1928. He died on February 12, 2011, aged 82