On Wednesday 15 July 2015 Monica McCabe received the ILES Medal (2014) on behalf of her late husband, John McCabe. It was presented to her by Kathleen Duncan, Master of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, at a ceremony held by the Musicians’ Company Court, in Tallow Chandlers Hall, in the City of London.
The Iles Medal was presented for McCabe’s Creative Contribution to the Brass Band Movement. It was originally due to be presented to him following the British Open Brass Band Championships, at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, on September 6th 2014, but sadly he was too ill to attend.
John McCabe wrote a number of outstanding works for brass band, including Cloudcatcher Fells, which is considered by many people to be the best work written for the medium. Other works include Images, Salamander, and Desert II: Horizon. His final work for brass band was The Maunsell Forts, subtitled Nocturne for Brass Band. It celebrates the courage and dedication of those front-line defenders of England, situated in their lonely gun emplacements out in the Thames/Medway Estuary, against mass bombing, and submarine raids, during the Second World War. A recording of this work will be released on a commemorative CD by NMC.
The Iles Medal was named after the major brass band figure, John Henry Iles, and was first awarded in 1948. Previous recipients have included Harry Mortimer and Elgar Howarth.