I first started playing the cornet at the age of 7 at my school band (Bare Trees Primary School). It was then I realised how much I enjoyed playing a musical instrument and playing in a brass band.
After playing in the school band for a few years and being privileged to play at the Royal Albert Hall a couple of times, I went to play for Oldham Youth Band for a short while which then eventually led me to play for Boarshurst Youth Band on repiano cornet. It was here that I was given the chance to play the baritone (which at the time, I really wanted to do) and I enjoyed every minute of it.
After a few years, I then moved to Oldham Band Lees on 2nd baritone where I joined my dad who was playing 2nd trombone and my grandad who was playing 1st trombone. It was with Oldham Band that I attended my first National Finals. After a few good years at Oldham, I then moved to Boarshurst Silver Band and onto 1st baritone. After a few years here, I was given the chance to play 2nd euphonium which I loved.
When I was 18, I eventually had to have braces and playing the euphonium became very difficult. I didn’t want to stop playing so I moved onto the Eb bass. I am now the principal Eb bass player and enjoy leading a great set of team members.
I’ve played a few pieces over the years, but when it comes to a particular favourite I would say Mephistopheles is my favourite march, and Year of the Dragon would be my favourite test piece. I also enjoying playing solos, especially when it comes to something you may not hear often on a bass; most recently I’ve played the Eb version of Grandfather Clock and loved it.
In addition, I also look after all the instruments and mutes for the band, develop the videos for our movie night concerts (with help from my fellow bass player Nathan Edge) and develop the band website.
In 1957, I was 10 and my dad brought me a cornet home from a bloke he knew in the club where he played the piano. The cornet was more solder than brass. In those days if you didn’t live in an area where there was a brass band, you didn’t play in one. I played with my dad accompanying on piano and went for lessons to a mate of his, Gordon Lawson, who was a pit trumpeter and a superb cornet player. He used to stand at Lees on Whit Friday night with his cornet under his arm and bands would hire him to play principal for them, band after band no matter what they were playing.
About 10 years later, I joined Zion Methodist Band in Lees, eventually becoming principal cornet – not a big claim to fame. I then went from there to Boarshurst in 1978 and stayed for about 10 years until work commitments started to get in the way.
I then ended up playing with Mossley Band for about a year, and then two years with Rochdale who were in the Championship Section, just.
I moved back to Boarshurst early 90s and moved to Eb bass, simply because they were short and I fancied it. I really enjoyed it and I’ve been here ever since!s
Favourite test piece – Life Divine by Cyril Jenkins
Favourite contest march – Knight Templar by George Allan
While I was younger my sister had brass lessons while at school and was part of St. John’s Band. Every time she would bring her baritone home, I would beg for her to let me have a go, eventually leading to my dad taking me to start my brass journey.
I started playing around the age of 8, when my dad took me to Dobcross Youth Band where I started to learn trombone and switched to bass a couple of months later. From then I moved up into the trainer band and then the youth band - first under Ted Griffiths and later James Garlick. I stayed with Dobcross Youth Band until the age of 18 before then joining Boarshurst in 2013.
My favourite memory while playing so far has to be winning the National Final of Great Britain with Boarshurst in 2017 making us Second Section Champions! I still get goosebumps when listening to some of the recordings of the results.
One of my favourite marches has to be The Wizard, but I also like The President and Ravenswood. Along with marches, test pieces are up there with my favourite music to play. A particular favourite would be The Dark Side of the Moon by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, which was one of the test pieces for the North West Area while I was still in Dobcross Youth Band. Another would be Evolution which won Boarshurst the North West Area contest in 2015 and sent us to one of the 3 National Finals we have attended as a band in recent years.
I started brass banding somewhat later in life; after playing the bass guitar for around 50 years, the obvious brass instrument was the Bb Bass.
My playing career started with the Yorkshire Traction Honley Band and then I moved on to The Lindley Band.
I eventually joined the Boarshurst family in 2015 and I’ve never looked back.
My favourite march would have to be ‘The President’, and as for test pieces, ‘Music of a Legacy’ would have to be one of my favourites.