I started playing at the age of 9, first on cornet before then moving onto flugelhorn, and ultimately back to cornet. The first band I played for back in 2013 was the Boarshurst Training Band, whose Musical Director was Linda Finan. After 2 years with the Training Band, I moved up to Boarshurst Silver Band on 2nd cornet, where after 2 years, I was promoted a front row seat.
I have been influenced by brass band music since I was little, which made me love the march ORB and the test piece Journey to Freedom.
The reason why brass bands have had such a big influence on me is because I have so many family members who have either played in a brass band or at Boarshurst Silver Band. My grandad (Geoff), dad (Steven Ashley), mother (Linda Finan), sisters (Leanne Ashley, Vicky Ashley and Emma Ashley), cousin (Lauren Armitage), and uncle (Phil Hurst) have all played at Boarshurst Band. My uncle, Steven Armitage, has helped Boarshurst out on many different occasions and he currently plays for Milnrow Brass Band. As I am one of the youngest in the band, I try my best (outside of the band room) to keep the whole band young!
I started playing baritone at my school youth band when I was 11. The first brass band I played for was Kingsway Youth Band, and after just 4 years, I passed my audition for the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain (NYBBGB), where I played for 3 years.
I have played for several bands over the years, some for brief periods and some which I have returned to a couple of times. These include Milnrow Band, Stalybridge Old Band, Rochdale Wilsons, BT Band, Todmorden Old Band, Dobcross Silver Band, Wardle Anderson, Littleborough and now Boarshurst. I was intending to have a break for a while after Littleborough, but after helping Boarshurst out on a concert I was so impressed with the standard of playing and camaraderie that I couldn't resist when I was offered a place in the band!
In terms of any favourite pieces, my favourite march is Knight Templar and my favourite test piece is the Land of the Long White Cloud.
My family is very musical - I met my husband Stephen at Todmorden Old Band 20 years ago where he played Bb bass. He doesn't play any more as his time is taken up running Sounds Travel Ltd. My daughter Megan plays cornet and flugel. She started 7 years ago and as well as playing in several very successful bands at Wardle Academy, she is already a member of Boarshurst having recently joined on 3rd cornet. My 7-year-old son James doesn't play yet, but there's time!
Some of the highlights of my playing career have been playing with the NYBBGB - I was privileged to play at the Royal Albert Hall and Barbican Centre one summer term, and I will never forget playing a joint concert with Todmorden Old Band and the Hallé Orchestra at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. I am very much looking forward to my future with Boarshurst Silver Band.
I started playing a brass instrument at the age of 11 at Blue Coat Secondary School, initially starting on the tenor horn and trombone. I moved on from here and eventually joined Boarshurst Silver Band in 1974 on tenor horn, then eventually moving onto cornet in 1985.
As you can imagine I’ve played many different pieces, may it be through my school band or through Boarshurst. However, when talking about test pieces I would say my favourite one would be Journey Into Freedom.
In my past I’ve also played with Brighouse & Rastrick (all be it for a few months) making two CD recordings with them, as well as playing in a few concerts.
I started playing the cornet when I was 8, initially through Oldham Music Service where I soon joined the Dobcross Youth Band. After almost 4 years there, I moved to Lees Band and then to Oldham Band (Lees) before joining Boarshurst’s front row in late 2014.
Growing up in Saddleworth, and watching and participating in Whit Friday, I have always enjoyed playing and listening to brass marches. My favourite piece is Howard Snell’s arrangement of Respighi’s Pines of Rome, a piece which I am lucky enough to have performed at the Royal Albert Hall.
I started playing the cornet at the tender age of 6 in Greenfield Youth Band where I then moved up to 2nd cornet in the senior band. A few years later, I progressed right up to the principal cornet seat under the guidance of Craig Lees who gracefully moved down to bumper up. Following a few good years there, I moved onto Dobcross Silver Band before having a brief spell at Stalybridge and Marple bands. I then had a break from playing for a few years whilst I lived in Scotland before moving back to Oldham and joining Diggle Band, where I met my now wife Zoe (who is an annoyingly good player).
I returned to Greenfield for a short period and even helped Delph Band on horn before joining Boarshurst Silver Band in 2016. Playing at Boarshurst feels like it was always meant to be as my dad played principal cornet for the B band which was when I was taken to my first contest in Blackpool when I was 2 weeks old; my wife even played with Boarshurst’s youth band as well. Pictures of them both sporting big sideburns and long white socks can be found in the members’ room at the band club.
Having played many a march and test piece, the ones that stick out (mainly because there are few that I can actually play) are Paganini Variations and Ravenswood. I have and continue to give some memorable performances at the band much to the dismay of James and amusement of the rest of the band.
I started playing at the age of 7, originally playing flugelhorn and then deciding to change to cornet and I’ve played it ever since. I started playing with Oldham (Lees) training band and later joined Oldham (Lees) youth followed by Bare Trees Community Band. I then joined Boarshurst Youth Band before joining Boarshurst Silver Band in 2009.
My favourite March to listen to is ORB, but some of my favourite marches to play include Slaidburn, Mephistopheles, 1914, and The President. One of my favourite test pieces is The Dark Side of the Moon - I remember playing this when I first started at Boarshurst Silver Band and we won the competition. A few other favourite test pieces include Henry V, Music for a Festival, and Rhapsody for Brass.
I have been surrounded by people who played in bands in my family: my grandma played French horn whilst my grandad played trombone and guitar. Then there’s my dad who plays trombone and my brother who plays Eb bass. (My brother and dad also play for Boarshurst.)
Back in December 2010 I was given a ticket to watch the Black Dyke Band in Bradford. I remember at the time that I really wasn’t sure I wanted to go. Being from Kent I had never really heard of them or the Brass Band scene, but I went and was mesmerised. I decided there and then that was what I wanted to do so I bought a cornet and had my first lesson in January 2011 at the ripe young age of 45.
I joined The Friendly Band (Sowerby Bridge) a few months later before moving on to the Soprano Cornet with Clifton & Lightcliffe B Band. I decided it wasn't me and returned to the Bb Cornet for a while with Clifton on back row. I later moved to The Yorkshire Traction Honley Band when I felt it was time to have a go on the front bench and from there to Boarshurst Silver Band. It’s been quite a ride.
Best banding moment. Where do I start? I’m very proud of what I have achieved in such a short space of time, but winning the Yorkshire Regionals with Clifton and Lightcliffe B Band in 2014 (on Soprano) and representing Yorkshire at the Nationals later that year should be right up there.
My favourite pieces tend to change month on month and depending on what new is brought out, and lets face it, pretty much everything is new at the moment. I loved playing “Little Lisa” and am currently enjoying the challenges of Zelda and My Old Kentucky Home. I'm a huge fan of Fingal's Cave; a dramatic, stormy composition, full of tension and emotion that unfolds through the piece. Although I have yet to actually play it, I would really love to.
I started playing the cornet at the tender old age of 6. Ever since then I’ve moved from pillar to post playing various other instruments around the bandstand, all except the trombone… Yes, this also includes percussion.
I’ve played for various band throughout my time as a player; these include, Boarshurst B Band, Greenfield, Rochdale, Sellers, Ashton, Wingates, Oldham ‘97, East Yorkshire Brass, Boarshurst, BT, Marsden. I’ve made a return to Boarshurst Silver Band just this year (2018) after my final contest with Marsden Silver Band at the Spring Festival.
Favorite March: Honest Toil
Favorite Test Piece:Journey into Freedom
I have been playing since I was 7 and I have played with St. James Primary School Band, Wardle Academy Band and Littleborough Brass Band (where I played flugel). My favourite march is Knight Templar and my favourite test piece is Paganini Variations.
Both my mum and dad play or have played in various bands and have done all my life. I joined Boarshurst Silver Band after playing with the band on their tour to Valkenburg in April 2018.