I first started playing at the age of 7 with Dobcross Youth Band. Growing up in Saddleworth means that brass banding is hard to avoid! (My brother also grew up learning with the band.)
After learning how to play on baritone, I soon ended up on euphonium and then with the principal seat. During my time with the band, I also helped with teaching some of the band's young beginners.
I played with the Dobcross Youth until 2009 when I left to attend Warwick University. There, I quickly got involved with the university's brass society and brass band who were active with concerts and contests throughout the year. Using the band's own instruments, we even started teaching other university students how to play brass in the Warwick Arts Centre where we were lucky enough to rehearse.
After graduating and moving back to Saddleworth, I then had a bit of a quiet spell before joining Boarshurst Silver Band on 1st baritone in 2013 and then moving onto principal euphonium, and I'm still here now!
In terms of favourite pieces, I love marches hearing marches such as ORB and Knight Templar on Whit Friday. Since joining Boarshurst, test pieces such as Evolution, Mermaid of Zennor, and Music of a Legacy now hold special places in my heart.
Most recently I've fallen in love with Paul Lovatt-Cooper's solo, With His First Breath; a solo I actually choose to play!
I started playing euphonium at the age of 9, where I played in several wind ensembles at my local music service in Solihull, West Midlands. I am currently studying a Masters in Musical Performance at the University of Salford, being taught by Katrina Marzella Wheeler.
Before joining Boarshurst Silver Band in November 2017, I played with bands such as The Shirley Band (my local band from home), Denton Brass Band, and Hazel Grove Brass Band.
Having played a fair amount of marches my favourite is The Jaguar by Goff Richards.
Being on the band course at university I have also played many test pieces, with my favourite being Labour and Love, which just happens to be the first ever test piece. My musical interest comes from my musical family with my mum playing piano, brother playing cornet and my sister playing saxophone and singing.
I started playing at the age of 7 in Boarshurst Youth with our very own Linda Finan as conductor. From there, I joined Lees & Glodwick Band before returning to Boarshurst Silver in 1994. I then went on to play for British Aerospace before having a 10-year stop gap. On my return to brass banding, I briefly played for Stalybridge Old and Oldham Band (Lees) before returning to Boarshurst Silver in 2016.
My sister Bev (now an ex-bander) spent much, if not most of her banding time, with Boarshurst as well! Now both of my children, Tom and Charlie, play for Dobcross Youth Band along with Bev’s eldest, Woody.
I would say my favourite test piece of all time would have to be Spectrum; not sure if it’s the piece I love though or the fact that when I played this at my first contest with British Aerospace back in 1996 at the Area, we won, qualified for the national finals and were promoted to the Championship Section! My conductor at that time is now Tom and Charlie’s private brass tutor too!
I started playing an instrument when I was 7 and then I got out of it like other kids do that were more interested in sports. Then whilst in my last year of school in 2013, I came back to play horn for just over a year with Boarshurst Youth Band. In 2014 I was offered the 2nd baritone seat in Boarshurst Silver Band where I played at my first contest at the North West Area playing Partita For Brass.
This year will be my 4th Whit Friday with the Silver Band. My fond memories are playing on Whit Friday morning and also carrying the banner in front of the Silver Band when my parents and family members played when I was younger.
I have multiple family members that play or have played with the band, which are my dad Stephen Ashley, my mum Linda Finan, my sisters Leanne and Vicky Ashley, my brother Ryan Ashley, my uncle Stephen and my cousin Lauren Armitage.
My favourite march to listen to is Knight Templar.
As I mentioned, I am still fairly new to playing at contests, however, my favourite piece is Music of a Legacy, which we recently played and became 2nd Section Champions at the National Finals 2017.
Other than having a great time playing with the band, I think I bring the most laughter and happiness to the band!