Stephanie Wilkins - Principal Cornet
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”.
Martin Irwin - Soprano Cornet
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.
Lucy Cutt - Flugel Horn
Lucy began playing at the age of 8 with the Marple Junior Band. Progressing through the B Band, she eventually joined the Marple (senior) Band at the age of 18 in 1990, making her first contest appearance at the Grand Shield that year, where the band qualified for their first of many appearances at the British Open.
Several very successful years followed with Marple, the most memorable being when the unsponsored, village band were crowned British Open Champions in 1996, following four top 6 placings since their first appearance at the contest. She went on to join the Fairey Band, from Stockport, in January 2004, and spent 5 enjoyable years with them. Following a break from ‘banding’, Lucy joined Brighouse & Rastrick in January 2011 and with the band, achieved a number of titles at the Yorkshire Regional contest, and a National title at the Royal Albert Hall.
Lucy’s playing has taken her to various parts of the world – most notably, performances of ‘Acid Brass’ with Faireys throughout Europe, and a tour of Thailand and Singapore with the Desford Band. More recently, she has twice become a Swedish National Band Champion with the Windcorp Brass Band from Gothenburg. In early 2012, Lucy was nominated for the 4barsrest brass band website’s ‘Player of the Year’ award, in recognition of her consistently high-level performances on the concert and contest platform, and was awarded the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award at the Yorkshire Area contest in March the same year.
January 2016 saw a return to The Fairey Band, where Lucy looks forward to some exciting and successful times ahead. Lucy has appeared as guest soloist in the UK and overseas on a number of occasions, and hopes to further develop this aspect of her playing, having accepted an invitation to become a Yamaha Flugel Horn Artist.
Rachel Neil - Solo Horn
Rachel began playing at the age of 12, being taught initially by her parents and also through lessons at school in Perth. At the age of 16 Rachel began being taught by David James, former principal trumpet of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Whilst at school Rachel was awarded the Thomas H Stewart Memorial Award, for the highest placed Brass competitor in the Perform in Perth Festival, for three consecutive years.
After leaving school Rachel went on to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she graduated with a first class honours degree in music education, and has worked as a music teacher in one of the Scotland's highest performing secondary schools since then.
Rachel was principal horn of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland for four years under the direction of Richard Evans and also performed with the European Youth Brass Band in 2011 in Montreaux. She played 2nd horn with the Whitburn Band for three years before accepting the position of Solo Horn with the Kirkintilloch Band, which she held for four years. Rachel is also the current Scottish Open Solo Champion.
Rachel will continue her studies at the RNCM in September, when she will begin a Masters in Performing and she is delighted to have the opportunity to be a part of the Fairey band.
Rebecca Lundberg - Solo Trombone
Rebecca started playing trombone at the age of nine with several local brass bands in and around the
Yorkshire Dales, eventually joining the Fishburn band in the North East, before moving to West Yorkshire to study music at the University of Huddersfield. Rebecca had a rewarding time at University, gaining a first class honours degree and receiving final year awards for ‘significant contribution to concert life’ within the music department and the Studio Music prize for brass band arranging. She was also the recipient of the Harry Mortimer prize for an outstanding brass musician. Following her degree, Rebecca studied for a Masters in music performance at the Royal Northern College of Music, under the guidance of Chris Houlding.
During this time, Rebecca was appointed principal trombone of the Sellers International band, a position she held for five years before joining the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band in 2008. She has performed with many of the country’s leading brass bands and was proud to accept an invitation to join the world famous Fairey Band on principal trombone in 2012. Rebecca has performed at various leading concert venues in the UK and Europe, and has featured regularly as a soloist, including performances at the World Music Festival, on BBC radio and on CD recordings with the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band and the Fairey Band.
Outside of her performing commitments, Rebecca is also very passionate about developing young musicians and working in youth education. Having spent 10 years working in Secondary Education, predominantly as a Head of Music, Rebecca is now a Senior Lecturer in Initial Teacher Education and Course Leader for the Secondary Music BA at the University of Huddersfield. This role continues to allow her to nurture musicians of the future and to continue her own professional development as she studies for a doctorate in Music Education.
Rebecca also composes and arranges music for brass and wind band, including commissions to compose music for the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band and a range of educational projects across the country. Rebecca’s arrangements and compositions have also been performed on BBC radio and television and her compositions are currently published with Kirklees Music and the educational music specialists Spartan Press. https://youtu.be/fZ2_zp0lwm0
Since 2013, Rebecca has been the associate conductor for the Leyburn Band in North Yorkshire. In that time, there have been many highlights including the award-winning year of 2014, where the band received first place at both the ‘Brass at Ripon’ Entertainment Contest and the Hardraw Scar Contest, with Rebecca also receiving the best conductor award.
Paul Walton - Solo Baritone
A former member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, Paul Walton graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in 1994. Subsequently, he was appointed as a Junior Fellow of the College and, a year later, was awarded a Post-graduate Diploma in Conducting and Advanced Performance.
Hailing from the brass band stronghold of Saddleworth, Paul started playing aged 8. He has played for a number of the country’s leading bands including Black Dyke, Fodens, Desford and Grimethorpe Colliery.
Paul is also a founder member of Tubalaté. The ensemble has been at the forefront of instrumental and repertory development for over 25 years and the group has been acclaimed as one of the leading exponents of brass chamber music.
He has been fortunate enough to travel the world performing visiting countries including Sierra Leone, Singapore, Russia, Latvia, New Zealand, and USA and throughout Europe. His has performed in many venues including Carnegie Hall (New York), Marble Palace (St Petersburg) and Buckingham Palace (for Prince Charles’ 50th birthday celebrations).
Paul has also been interested in instrumentary development. Whilst principal euphonium for the Fodens Band, Paul worked closely with Antoine Courtois in the development of their euphonium. He has since worked closely with Besson and more recently has been involved with Wessex Tubas.
Paul also arranges and composes. His work “Lest We Forget” was premiered, in August 2014, in St Asaph Cathedral, by the Denbighshire Area County Brass Band. He also enjoys a busy conducting schedule.
In March of 2018 Paul was delighted to be approached by Gary Cutt to join the famous Fairey band. Originally joining on euphonium, Paul has since taken the position of solo baritone with the band.
Adam Bokaris - Solo Euphonium
Adam started playing euphonium at age 9, in his primary school band in Sydney, Australia.
He relocated to Manchester, England in September of 2014 to study at the Royal Northern College of Music under euphonium tutors, David Thornton and Steven Mead. He graduated in 2018 with a First Class Degree with Honours. Adam is currently doing a Masters in Music at the University of Salford.
Adam, up until his relocation to the UK, was principal euphonium with the St Marys Brass Band in Sydney, Australia. In England, Adam has played euphonium in the Drighlington Band, Leyland Band, and since March 2017 with the Fairey Band.
In his final year of high school, Adam received top marks for his music studies in the Higher School Certificate that put him within the top 1% of students in the state. This allowed him to perform as a soloist on the Sydney Opera House stage as a part of the New South Wales Department of Education’s ‘Encore’ concert. In the same year, he became the National Australian Euphonium Champion.
In his first year of study at the RNCM, he was generously supported by a Buffet Besson Scholarship. He also made it to the final round of the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Awards.
In May 2016, Adam got into the final round of the International Tuba and Euphonium Competition (ITEC) in the Artist Euphonium Division category. His quartet, The Brass Compass Euphonium Quartet, went on to gain 1st prize in the quartet category of the same competition. These competitions were held in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.
In June, Adam’s quartet went on to win the prestigious Philip Jones Brass Ensemble Chamber Music Competition held at the RNCM. In November of the same year, The Brass Compass Euphonium Quartet were invited to perform as artists for the Singapore Low Brass Festival.
At the end of 2018, Adam was presented with the Fairey Band's 'Player of the Year' award.
Brad Mcculloch - Principal Percussion
Bradley comes from the small border town of Oswestry in North Shropshire. He began playing at primary school at the age of 9 before joining his local youth band, Porth-Y-Waen Youth Band. He progressed through the organisation to become the principal percussionist of Porth-Y-Waen silver band.
Brad relocated to Manchester to continue his musical studies at The University of Salford where he gained a first-class degree in Musical Arts. After moving to University, he quickly began gaining experience in championship section banding with bands like Fodens, before being delighted to accept a place within The Fairey Band in March 2016.
He had much success in his final year at University where he was awarded both awards for his elective studies. The first award was the Roy Newsome award in conducting, something Brad is very keen on and saw him gain the highest marks throughout the year. He was also pleased to receive the Iwan Williams award in performance for gaining the highest overall recital marks in his year. Bradley became heavily involved with function work on drum kit throughout the last 2 years of University, this saw him develop his more contemporary side at prestigious private functions across the country up to 4 times a week.
After graduating from University, Bradley continued with his journey to become a teacher by completing his PGCE at Manchester Metropolitan University and is now a Teacher of Music at Wardle Academy in Rochdale; A school renowned for its musical heritage.