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MEET THE BAND

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I come from a family of brass banders and I started playing cornet at the age of 7.

 

I started out in North Fylde brass band until they folded in 2009 when I then had a couple of years off to study before joining Thornton Cleveleys Brass Band on fourth man down and eventually moved onto Soprano, where I stayed until I left the band in 2019 after getting married and moving from my hometown of sunny Blackpool to North Yorkshire and joining Cockerton. 

 

I am happy retired and living with lovely wife Dorothy and our mad Spaniel Bella.

As well as playing the cornet I also play trumpet, piano and classical guitar -  which I play daily. One of my greatest pleasures in life is spending time with my grandchildren.

 

I was once a grade 8 Cellist and consider myself to be more creative than musical having written a play, a musical, three children’s novels ( for the grandchildren) and about thirty compositions for brass band over the past few years (one of which was played by the Cory Brass Band).

I once had the first movement of a symphony played by a youth orchestra.

I started playing the cornet with the Salvation Army in Darlington following in my Dad’s footsteps. Moving on to trumpet opened up a wider musical world where I was given the opportunity to play everything from big band jazz to baroque chamber music. 

 

After working as a head of music secondary schools for twenty years, I became a brass teacher with Durham Music Service, eventually becoming Deputy Head of Service. Although enjoying most aspects of music, brass bands have always been something I’ve returned to, whether as a player, conductor, arranger or very briefly as an adjudicator!

Away from band, I enjoy cooking, holidays in the sun and subjecting people to my attempts at playing jazz.

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I learned to play cornet alongside my sister in the Cockerton Junior Band from the age of 8, and signed onto Cockerton Prize Silver Band when I was 13.

 

I also play in an Army reserve band, the Band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, based in Newcastle. My favourite brass band gig is Durham Miners’ Gala.

 

I have two cats, and my day job is a Healthcare Assistant on a psychiatric intensive care unit.

I grew up playing cornet in Nailsworth Silver Band in Gloucestershire, but then moved more into big bands during student years - culminating in supporting Slade at the Oxford Polytechnic Christmas ball in 1982!

I then gradually stopped playing altogether for about 15 years until I was asked to book a brass band to come and play at my workplace, West Park Hospital in Darlington in 2006. Cockerton Band duly came and I took the opportunity to see if they would allow me to come along and see if I could still get a sound out of my cornet. I remain ever thankful for that decision!

I started playing euphonium at the age of 10 when my Dad set about reviving the long-defunct village band.

 

In my adult life I have moved around the country quite a bit but banding has been my one constant, allowing me to meet new people and enjoy music wherever I've been. After playing euphonium and baritone for a number of years I  settled on cornet as a new challenge about ten years ago. I'm still working on it!

I've been a member of Cockerton Prize Silver Band since January 2020.

I spent my formative years in County Durham. I grew up scavenging coal from the railway tracks and survived on jam sandwiches, and chips on a Sunday. I was saved from a life of destitution when a trumpet was placed in my little grimy hands, and a world of brass opened its warm and mellow arms to me. I joined Houghton Schools Band and made it all the way to the Albert Hall for the National Schools Finals. We came last. Dejection and the usual trappings of late adolescence led to my trusty cornet being banished to the attic. 
 
I need not describe here the 34 empty years without the regular grounding a half decent band provides. Despite a semi-respectable job as a GP, something was missing. The midlife crisis demanded something sleek and shiny but I’d already got the car. I found myself watching Brassed Off again. On a whim, I joined North Skelton Band and had five happy years with them, before a shimmy sideways to Cockerton.   

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I started playing sop with North Skelton Band back when I was a teenager, and rose with them from the 4th Section right through to the Championship Section.

I then played with various bands in the north east, but hung up my sop at the areas, playing "Legacy" - just as Covid struck.

After not being able to play I started again in 2023, on cornet, playing "The Knight's Tale" - which nearly finished me! However, the comradeship at Cockerton changed my mind about being finished, so here I am now!

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Jonathan Langero

Solo Horn

Photo & Bio coming soon !

I was in the salvation army band at 9yrs old and played the cornet, I also played in the school orchestra and from there I played with Newton Aycliffe Town Band as a teenager.  At 16yrs I stopped playing for around 10 years. I bought a cornet from Williams music shop in Darlington and applied for an advert to play with Newton Aycliffe Town Band and I started to play again, then I was contacted by John Liversedge who'd heard I was playing again and he asked me to go and play with Fishburn (NSF). I played with them for over 4yrs then I left the band.

John Liversedge contacted me again and asked me to play with Cockerton Prize Silver Band and I've been there ever since, as they say "the rest is history"

I learnt soprano cornet at Eastbourne Boys Secondary School, Darlington, in 1964, joining the Darlington Schools Brass Band. I moved to Queen Elizabeth VI Form in 1968 and joined Aycliffe Town Band at the same time.

 

My great pal Tim Holmes talked me into joining Spennymoor and Whitworth Band where I remained until moving to Amoco in 1975 with Tim, George Nicklin, and Alan and Graham Catherall.

 

In 1979 I joined Cockerton Band and as they say, the rest is history: been there ever since.

 

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I started my brass learning aged 13 on the cornet and soon after moved to the French horn. Following a year in Manchester, I returned to Leeds for my final year at university; I found myself playing tenor horn (a new instrument to me) in the university brass band, which started my brass band adventures in September 2022.


Fast forward to January 2024, and I'm thrilled to join Cockerton after moving back home to Middlesbrough. Beyond the band, I enjoy playing in pit bands for musicals, tap dancing, travelling, and hiking. 

I started playing a brass instrument in 2017 in the Cockerton junior band having not played since I was about 12 years old. I play tenor horn and I am really enjoying being part of the band family.

I started playing tenor horn at the age of 8 with my local brass band in Spennymoor under the guidance of George Nicklin, who very quickly became known as Uncle George and a firm friend of my family.

When many of my friends left the band, distracted by other teenage pursuits I stuck it out and am so pleased I did as it has become such an important part of my life. As the daughter of a Durham coal miner I am proud to be involved in the brass band movement with its links to that industry and past.

Following my time with Spennymoor I moved to Durham Colliery Mechanics band on flugelhorn and then to Gateshead Brass. I came to help out Cockerton at a gig in Darlington Market Place when George was conducting and the rest is history - my bum is now welded to the seat (complete with pink cushion). When I worked for Barclays I played for Barclaybrass and have met some wonderful close friends all over the country who I have lots of banding adventures with throughout the year but I best not go into detail on here! I am lucky to also have good friends at Cockerton and just love seeing them twice a week for a blow along with a good laugh at Andy’s jokes - it is great to be in a band that works hard together but enjoys every minute (well nearly every minute). 

My family, friends and fab job at the Red Cross keeps me busy and often living from a suitcase but on Wednesdays and Sundays I gravitate back to Darlo!

I joined the band in late 2022 following a seven-year tenure at Fishburn Band. Originally from the Midlands, I moved to the North East to study Music at Durham University, and have been working for Royal Northern Sinfonia at Sage Gateshead for the last five years - originally in marketing and now as a projects manager.

 

I have also been a Trustee for The UniBrass Foundation, a charity committed to promoting and developing brass band music at universities, leading on their Band Camp project.

 

Work and band keep me busy, but I'm also a keen baker, love zumba, and I'm a (sometimes) enthusiastic runner.

I began playing as a young child in The Salvation Army junior band in Leicester. I progressed to the senior band where over the years I had the pleasure of sitting next to my grandad, great uncle and my dad. When I moved to university I continued to play in The Salvation Army band in Sheffield. I had a few years playing in a band called Cornerstone before moving up North to Darlington.
Family life put playing on the back burner for a short period. I joined Cockerton in January 2020, then lockdown hit. I was welcomed into a lovely band, full of characters and have enjoyed being part of this fellowship. I am enjoying playing the varied music styles and the camaraderie found in such a lovely band. 

Having spent too much time sitting around the house on an evening, my wife suggested that I get a hobby. It was a number of years since I had played so I bought a trombone and started to work my way through various tunes in the back bedroom.

 

It didn’t take long before it was suggested to me that I need to get out of the house more and maybe find a band to play with. Having spent years listening to various bands in contests and concerts, I don’t know why it took me so long to get involved but I’m glad I did and thoroughly enjoy playing at every opportunity. Away from the band room I enjoy cycling, walking, watching cricket and football – C’mon Boro !!

I started playing cornet in my last two years of senior school, joining Middlesbrough Brass (formally Head Wrightsons Engineering Band) as 2nd third cornet, almost sat with the basses!

After several years I made my way round to the Euphonium bench in the then titled Yarm and District Brass Band, before work took me to North Wales. 

Initially Playing for Llangollen Town Band and not contesting, I eventually moved to Llay Welfare Band (formally The Gresford Colliery Band) before eventually returning to the North East of England in 1999. 

 

Cockerton was my first call....and it maybe my last…..

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I started playing Trombone at the Salvation Army in Hednesford (the Midlands) aged 11 and they
haven’t succeeded in getting rid of me yet  - I'm currently playing with Darlington S.A. as well as
Cockerton Prize Silver Band.
My wife, daughter and son have all played in brass bands under the watchful eye of Principal Cornet, Ian Robinson, so when invited to join the band I thought I’d better continue the family tradition.


My banding highlights include playing at the Royal Albert Hall, Durham Cathedral and The Sage; also,
being conducted by Eric Ball, Ray Steadman-Allen and, of course, Andy Hunter.

Born in East London - a genuine Cockney boy!

I started playing bass trombone in Dagenham Silver Band (Essex) in 1973 aged 10.

Founder member of Becontree Brass Band (Essex) in 1981 as principal trombone.

Moved onto Eb Bass in 1988 and had a ball as the Band rose to the top of the 1st Section in London & Southern Counties, playing at 9 National Brass Band Championship Finals along the way!

Delighted to join the wonderful, welcoming and friendly Band that is Cockerton in 2019 after moving to North Yorkshire.

Was it being a jazz saxophonist (an admission that can sometimes have the same impact in the bandroom that a bacon sandwich has at a Vegan Convention) that for years kept me away from brass banding? Or was it my accordion and taste for minor-key exotica? Or was it just because I'm a bit kind of musically louche and indisciplined?  Maybe a bit of all three, but more likely because until I learned trombone I couldn’t play a brass instrument!

However, the trombone not only gave me something to play, it also provided a weapon with which I could force entry and somehow barge my way to a seat with Cockerton. 

And when I’m not sitting in it, I ride bikes, do arty stuff, drive about in Henrietta my 1979 MG Midget....and wilfully insist on playing jazz! (Not usually all at the same time!)

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I have been playing EEb since age 11 (occasionally BBb & Euphonium on a needs basis). Initially in the school band, then with Darlington Youth bands (Brass, Big & Wind Bands) and Durham County Youth Orchestra. Adult Bands include Aycliffe Brass & Barnard Castle. I’ve also played in Brass Quintets/Quartets.

 

I am now in my second stint with Cockerton, having been with the Band since 2008, my previous 3 year spell being in the early 1990s.

Louise Thompson

Solo Euphonium

Photo & Bio coming soon !

I have been playing with the band on and off for over 20 years and  keep returning like the proverbial bad penny.

 

Previous to that I held a tuba and bass guitar in the RAF for 22 years.

 

Brass band wise, like quite a few in this band, I have played in all sections from 4th to Championship. 

I play BBb bass with the band, although I've played in other seats over the course of my banding life.

Originally from Belfast, between 1963 and 1974 I served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers, and then the Royal Irish Rangers, and subsequently worked as a welder with Cleveland Bridge and Engineering in Darlington. 

I've been with Cockerton for literally decades and as I've said before - recorded on film even - this band is my life!

I joined Cockerton Band in 1966 when I was 24. I learned to play at Gladstone Street School under Ernie Ryder who was bandmaster at the Salvation Army Band.

After leaving school I played with Darlington British Railways Band until the band folded in about 1964.

I have played with Cockerton several times at the National finals of Great Britain. My favourite instrument is Bb bass.

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I started playing tenor horn in Cockerton Junior Band in 1993, graduating to the ‘big’ band shortly after.

 

In 2000 I made the move to percussion. 30 years later, including stints with Fishburn and NASUWT Riverside, I’ve enjoyed playing at a variety of wonderful venues and had some amazing experiences ‘building sheds’.  

Aged 11 started my brass band playing career with west Auckland Band. I have been a member of Cockerton Band for 40yrs , playing principal cornet and solo tenor horn but for the last 30 years playing percussion.

 

Hoping to play for many more years with the band.

I first started playing in brass bands whilst studying at university playing my first instrument, the trombone. After enjoying the challenge and friendly atmosphere the band I was with required a percussionist something that I had been learning so I made the step into percussion.

 

I have enjoyed playing with the band since moving to the area and could not see myself in another section or band! 

 

Favourite Piece- Fire in the Blood

I began life as a cornet player at the age of 16. Quickly realising that my talents lay in the 'Dark Side' I migrated to the trombone section

 

In 2004 I joined the Army as a trombonist, a career that has seen me travel extensively around the world in places such as Basel, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Catterick, participating in such events as the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation of King Charles III. 

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