Royston H Nash LRAM RM 1933-2016
RMB/X 2512
Served 1949-1970

Royston Hulbert Nash was born on Sunday 23rd July 1933 in Southampton to parents Ellen (nee Hulbert) and Sydney Nash. He became interested in music as a child due to the family’s association with the Salvation Army, where young Royston began playing the trumpet at the age of just seven. The family, which included his older siblings: Margaret, Pauline and Kenneth moved to Bournemouth in 1942 to avoid the heavy bombing of Southampton by the Luftwaffe during World War II.

Following an enquiry two years previously at the Southampton recruiting office, sixteen years old Nash joined the Royal Naval School of Music at Burford as a Boy Musician in 1949, before the school moved to Deal to become the Royal Marines School of Music. He entered as a solo cornet player, and was the recipient of the class prize.. a class with the likes of Syd Rose, Terry Freestone, Jan Kessel and Dennis Brown. Royston became a Section Leader and competed in the Cassel Prize, securing the Bronze Medal behind winning boy Clifton Horroll (Silver). He was ultimately chosen as the recipient of the Commandant General’s Certificate of Merit as the best all-rounder in No 4 CG’s Squad for 1950.

At eighteen, Royston married Joyce Gladys Murdoch in Kent in 1952, with whom they had a son Adrian born in 1953. As a trained musician, Royston spent time with 3 Commando Brigade Band in Malaya, he also served onboard HMS’ Newcastle and Newfoundland, before gaining promotion to BCpl aged just twenty. He then went to successfully study for a Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music diploma in conducting and made it up another rung to the rank of Band Sergeant aged just twenty-two. He then studied the trumpet under George Eskdale for a year at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was awarded the Certificate of Merit for Conducting in 1957, graduating the following year.

Royston was rewarded with a place in the Bandmaster’s Class and subsequently promoted to the rank, Royston graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 1958 and was the beneficiary of the Bronze Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians, and another advancement to Staff Bandmaster. By the time his second son Kelvin arrived in 1960, Roy was undoubtedly steamrolling his way through the promotion ladder and at the age of just twenty-six, Bandmaster Nash was commissioned to 2nd Lieutenant in 1960. He was subsequently appointed as Director of Music of the Royal Marines Band Commander in Chief Mediterranean Fleet based at HMS Phoenicia in Malta, he also took over the conductorship of the eighty strong Malta Choral Society.

In 1965 and back in the UK, 2nd Lt Nash assumed control of the Royal Marines Band Commander in Chief Naval Home Command, based at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth. A year later and he was rewarded with further advancement to Lieutenant at the same time as Jim Mason. Roy was ably assisted by the impressive Peter Heming, who arrived as Bandmaster, they both sang from the same hymn sheet, both brilliant musicians and with a determination to improve the musical excellence of the band, especially the way that concerts were performed all over the country. He conducted the massed Portsmouth bands at the White City Greyhound Derby in 1966 to glowing reports from the public, in what was then a prestigious event. Roy, it seemed from those musicians who played for him was an excellent boss to work for, good-humoured, always approachable and a true gentleman. Following two wonderful years with the band at Whale Island, Lt Nash returned to RM Deal and assumed the position as Company Commander of M Wing. He was promoted to Captain in 1967 and appointed Deputy Director of Music of the Royal Marines Staff Band in 1969, assisting Major Paul Neville. In March 1970, Roy who had an obvious fascination for opera, took a small band to the Sadlers Wells Theatre in London for an appearance in the last night of the D’Oyly Carte opera season where they played HMS Pinafore. It was a delightful surprise for the audience and a unique experience for the band. Captain Royston Nash completed ten years' service as a commissioned officer, before taking early retirement from the Band Service.

On leaving the Royal Marines in 1970, he renewed acquaintances when he returned to join the Dame Bridget D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in London as Assistant Musical Director, before assuming full musical control in March 1971. He conducted his first eight performances in Manchester, before further appearances throughout the country in addition to their regular twelve-week season at Sadler's Wells in Rosebery Avenue, Islington. Decca engaged the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to record Gilbert and Sullivan operas with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company… While he was with the company, they made a film of HMS Pinafore and seven recordings of the operas with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, including works by Arthur Sullivan, which had never been recorded before. The recordings a won Roy wide acclaim: The Mikado (1973), Iolanthe (1974), Trial by Jury (1975), Utopia Limit (1976), The Grand Duke (1976), The Gondoliers (1977), Cox and Box, the world premiere professional recording of The Zoo (1978), and The Yeomen of the Guard (1979). Royston continued with the ‘D'Oyly Carte Tinkers Club’ as they called themselves until April 1979. During that time, he thoroughly enjoyed touring regularly with the company throughout the UK. Including what became an annual six-week season at the Manchester Opera House, there were trips to the USA for two six-month tours in 1976 and 77. It was during these tours that he visited the village of Cotuit while the company was performing in Boston. The Centenary of the first performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas was in 1976, and the celebrations continued when Roy conducted during a Royal Command Performance at Windsor Castle for the Queen Silver Jubilee in 1977. Celebratory performances were also held throughout the UK, and to complete the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, Utopia Ltd and The Grand Duke were brought back into their repertoire.

In 1979, following an amazing career and still only forty-six years old, Roy decided to emigrate to Cotuit in Massachusetts, which he had first visited while on tour with D'Oyly Carte. It seemed inevitable that he would continue in music and in 1980, he accepted the opportunity to become Conductor and Music Director of the Nashua Symphony and the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra’s. he went on to lead them both for an amazing twenty-seven years and was credited with transforming the Cape Cod Orchestra from an amateur ensemble to an elite professional orchestra. Originally chosen from a field of a hundred and fifty candidates… Royston greatly extended the orchestra’s repertoire, including performances of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius where the orchestra was joined by the hundred strong chorus from the Royal Choral Society of London... directed by his great friend and colleague Captain Peter Marsden Heming. The music of Elgar, Mahler and Shostakovich were brought into the programming for the first time during his years with the Cape Cod Orchestra. “My goal was to improve the standard of the orchestra,” Roy said, “Not only artistically but also financially.” Gradually during his twenty-seven-year tenure, the musicians became paid professionals, which helped to attract quality musicians as well as audiences. In 1981, Royston became the founder and Music Director and conductor of the chamber orchestra ‘Symphony by the Sea’, their inaugural concert was held at the Peabody Essex Museum in June 1981… Roy remained as the driving force until 1995. In addition, he accepted roles as Musical Director and conductor of the Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra from 1980 until 1986 and as conductor at the Boston Conservatory of Music in 1985 and 1986. Roy was chosen as principal conductor for the London-based Mantovani Orchestra for their 1989-90 tour of the United States and Canada.

There were mixed family circumstances for Roy in the early nineties, he married for a second time to Lois Barry in Barnstable Massachusetts on 30th June 1991, then Roy’s eldest son Adrian sadly passed away in July 1993.

A very successful career in conducting concluded when Royston retired following his final concert on 6th May 2007, the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Trustees subsequently presented Roy with the title, Music Director Laureate of the Cape Cod Symphony. Royston had enjoyed the rare success of building an orchestra that was cherished by its community, his kind and gentle style of leadership not only brought out the best from his musicians but set a unique standard for any conductor to emulate. Finally aged seventy-four, Roy was able to enjoy his retirement, his home surroundings were an immense joy, and his greatest pleasure was to be at home with Lois and his three dachshunds. In 2010, The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod presented Maestro Royston Nash with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Royston Hulbert Nash sadly passed away on 4th April 2016 at the McCarthy Care Center, aged 82 following a short period of declining health. A memorial service was held on 14th April at Cotuit Federated Church, where Richard Valentine was the sole attendee from the Band Service. Numerous donations in Roy’s memory were made to the Cape Symphony and the Cotuit Library. As a way of honoring him and recognizing the generosity of those donors, the Cotuit Library decided to use those funds to put on a series of music-related events they named ‘The Royston Nash Music Appreciation Series.’

RIP Roy...
Should have been Sir Royston
An astonishing career

Paul Foley

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