Cornet Section


Soprano Cornet

 

 

Martin Irwin

Martin hails from Barnsley and started playing the cornet at the age of eight, playing in his first concert with Barrow Colliery Band on his 10th birthday. After 6 years he joined Warren Band in his first principal cornet position.  Following this, Martin played principal cornet with both Stocksbridge and Carlton Main Frickley Colliery bands.  In his early playing career, Martin had many successes on the solo contest circuit, most notably being the North of England Solo Champion.

A major step in his playing career came in late 1992, when he accepted an invitation to join Brighouse and Rastrick Band as assistant principal cornet.  After 3 years, Martin moved on to the soprano cornet seat, and in the late 90's he enjoyed numerous victories with B&R at the Yorkshire Championships, All-England Masters, National Championships and European championships, also gaining himself the Best Soloist award at the British Open in the triple-champions year of 1998.

Following a break from playing due to work commitments Martin eventually returned to B&R and had further triumphs at the Brass in Concert and National Championships.  In between periods with B&R, he played for the Hepworth band, enjoying victories at the Scottish Open and the Grand Shield. Martin also had a successful period with the Marsden band prior to joining Black Dyke in July 2012.

With Black Dyke, Martin enjoyed wins at the Yorkshire Championships, English Championships, National Championships, British Open and the European Championships.  Particular concert highlights included playing on the Pyramid stage at the Glastonbury Festival, playing at the KKL in Lucerne, and the tour of Japan.  In the summer of 2017 Martin moved from assistant principal cornet to the soprano cornet seat, a position he loved and relished the opportunity this presented.

Martin crossed the Pennines in May 2019 to join the World famous Fairey Band on Soprano Cornet and is looking forward to an exciting new chapter in his banding career.

For over ten years in his earlier playing career Martin was also a member of the Young Ambassadors Brass Band of Great Britain, a touring band made up of players from GB's leading bands.  During this time he played on 3 tours of USA / Canada plus 15 European tours, primarily as principal or soprano cornet.

For his day job, Martin works in IT Consultancy within the banking / insurance sectors, specialising as a Programme Test Manager.

 


Principal Cornet

Stephanie Wilkins

Stephanie hails from the idyllic County of Cornwall, where she started playing the cornet, aged 8 with the Mount Charles Youth Band, under the direction of the late Shaun Thomas.  Steph progressed through to the Principal Cornet chair of the youth band, whilst also playing in St Austell Town Band and latterly in Mount Charles Band.  Aged 11, Steph was invited to audition for the Cornwall Youth Brass Band (CYBB), in which she was successful and remained in the band for a further 10 years, 4 of which where she was Principal Cornet for the band and subsequently a tutor for the cornet section. Steph is a very proud ex-member of the band and is thankful for the opportunities they created, allowing her to work with some of the best conductors and soloists in the world from a young age.

With the inspiration and passion she gained, in 2011 Steph decided to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), where she gained a BMus (Hons) Degree.  Steph was very successful during her time at RWCMD, winning the Phillip Jones Brass Ensemble prize 2 years consecutively, becoming a finalist for the Linda Mowat Brass Award and winner of the Harry Mortimer Award for RWCMD’s Outstanding Brass Musician, which was presented with at the British Open.

Before commencing her degree, Steph was asked to join Tongwynlais Temperance Band, where she spent 3 months before being invited to join the Cory Band in November 2011 by DR. Robert Childs.  Steph enjoyed 7 years with Cory, where she was the Repiano Cornet for the band.  Some of Steph’s notable highlights are winning the ‘Grand Slam’ in 2016 and tours to America in 2015 and Australia in 2013.

In May 2018 Steph was offered a new job as a Residential Support Worker for children with disabilities ‘Up North’. This saw her  relocating to Greater Manchester.  Steph was offered the Principal Cornet seat by the bands Professional Conductor, Garry Cutt and was delighted to accept, commenting “I feel very proud and honoured to accept the Principal Cornet seat with the Fairey Band and am really looking forward to the new challenge ahead”.


Assistant Principal Cornet

Brian Taylor

Awaiting profile....


Solo Cornet

Martin Davies

Martin grew up in Stockport and was fully aware of the significance of having the world famous ‘Fairey Band’ located in his home town, when he began playing the cornet in Primary school at the age of 7. He began taking lessons aged 12 from the ex-Fairey cornet legend Les Hall, which saw him have a successful six years at youth level as Principal Cornet with Poynton Youth Band and 2nd man down with the highly successful Stockport Schools Brass Band of the late 90s.

Martin joined Hazel Grove Band for a brief period age 14 but soon made the move 10 miles down the road to Bollington Band on front row. Martin took over as Principal Cornet shortly after joining and remained in this position for 15 years helping the band to numerous trophies at local and national level and the bands greatest achievement during his time with the band of moving from the 3rd section to the Championship section in 2012. It was during his time with Bollington that Martin benefitted from the direction and tutelage of another ex-Fairey legend in ‘superstar’ baritone player, Peter Christian.

Having grown up in Stockport and knowing of the great history of the Fairey Band the offer to join the band in 2015 was one that he describes as being “impossible to turn down. To have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of some of the people such as Les Hall and Peter Christian who have been such an influence on my playing and in the town where I grew up is amazing and I am extremely proud to be part of such a historic band and an outstanding group of players.”


Solo Cornet

 

Dave Richardson

Awaiting profile......


Repiano Cornet

 

Joe Murtagh

Awaiting profile....

 


2nd Cornet

Phil Parkinson

Phil started playing the cornet aged 8 after an unsuccessful attempt to learn the violin. Phil initially played with his local youth band Haydock Youth Brass band (now Valley Brass) and later St.Helens Youth Brass Band. Phil progressed to Principal cornet in both youth bands. At aged 13 joined Skelmersdale Prize Band on Principal cornet, later moving to Haydock band. Phil was also a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain from 2000 to 2002, sitting on the front row on several occasions and being a mentor and inspiration to some of the younger players such as Tom Hutchinson (Cory) and Phil Cobb (LSO). It was here were he also caught the eye (and ear) of professional conductor Professor Garry Cutt.

From a young age Phil excelled academically, his parents were keen for him to go on to study medicine. However, heart won over mind and, despite the offer of a scholarship to study at medicine at Oxford, he chose to follow his love for music.

At age 17 Phil joined the Army as a professional musician where he spent 5 years with the Band of the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers. Whilst in the Army, Phil joined local outfit Staines Brass Band on Repiano Cornet, helping them to win the London and Southern Counties Area contest

Phil left the army in 2007 to study psychiatry, medicine again was calling, but he couldn’t hang up his mouthpiece just yet; shortly after leaving the Army he played briefly with the now defunct Wire Brass and later joined the world famous Fairey Brass Band and has been a proud member ever since.


2nd Cornet

Gary Parker

Gaz started playing the cornet at Cherry Tree Junior School, Romiley, Stockport, aged 10 and joined his first band (Denton Original ‘B’ band) on 3rd Cornet in 1981, aged 11. In November 1984 he joined Thornsett Band on back row and moved through the section, becoming principal cornet in 1987.

After a 6 month spell at The Marple Band on front row, Gaz joined Fairey’s in October 1989. His first position in the band was on 3rd cornet, sitting next to the legendary Ray Peacock. Over the years Gaz has occupied many different positions within the cornet section; his many performances on soprano cornet have achieved much critical acclaim from both audience and his peers.

For many years Gaz worked as a Machine Tool Fitter, having served his apprenticeship under soprano cornet legend Alan Whycherley, but in 1998 he decided on a career change and began a 4 year degree course at the Royal Northern College of Music studying Cornet and Trumpet under Murray Grieg, Howard Snell and John Miller. Gaz is currently Head of Music and Teacher of Technology at Priestnall School, Stockport.


3rd Cornet

Jonathan Smith

Awaiting profile....


3rd Cornet

Jimmy Leggat

Jimmy started learning to play the cornet in his hometown of Whitburn at the age of 11.  In 1970 he became a member of the Whitburn Band. In the seven and a half years he was at Whitburn, he progressively moved up the ranks to assistant principal cornet.

Jimmy then joined Clydebank Burgh Band on principal cornet for 18 months before joining Fodens Motor Works band on 3rd man down for a year, then on to Repiano for the 2nd year.

Jimmy left Fodens in 1981 to join the Brighouse & Rastrick Band, who were National Champions at the time.  He enjoyed 2 great years with ‘Briggus' before finding his spiritual home across the Pennines joining the World Famous Fairey Band in 1983 where he has become part of the furniture.

As well as playing Bass Cornet. Jimmy is the band's very busy Librarian.