Latest recruit for Friary Guildford is former Bandmaster of the RAF Regiment and the RAF Central Bands, David Richards who joins the Band on BBb bass. He started to play the tuba at the tender age of 12, when the instrument was almost as tall as he was, and within two and a half years had passed his grade 8. During this period, he played with many local bands and orchestras, including Bucks County Youth Orchestra, and the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.
In 1981 David joined the Royal Air Force and after three months in the RAF School of Music at Uxbridge, he was posted to the Western Band at RAF Locking. In 1984 he was posted to the Central Band where he stayed for over 23 years, being promoted through the ranks and becoming principal tuba and drum major. In December 1991 he left the UK to go out to the Gulf for a three-month stint in Bahrain as a medic, the first time that RAF musicians had been posted to a war zone since WW2. A distinguished career culminated in his appointment in 2012 as Bandmaster Central Band.
A talented composer and arranger, David has won many awards, including the Studio Music Award for best arrangement for two consecutive years. On his promotion to Warrant Officer he was awarded the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal for being the best student on the Bandmaster course. He also gained the award of Graduate of the City and Guilds of London for his management skills.
David has performed with many of the leading UK orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Halle Orchestras and has travelled extensively throughout the world during his 36-year career in the RAF. He retired from RAF in 2016 as and is currently a Civil Servant occupying the post of Voluntary Band Instructor at RAF Halton, near Aylesbury. He is looking forward to performing in the top flight with Friary Guildford band after spending three years as principal BBb bass with Wantage Band.