Meet The Band
Principal: John Swales
Repiano Paula Bygrave
Second Tim Merren
Third: Pat Holt David McKeigue
Flugel: Helen Sparkes
Second Paul Burt
Solo Katharine Longworth
First James Swales
Eb Bass Steve Sparkes
Bb bass Vacancy
Band Manager: John Quirk
Treasurer: Paula Bygrave
Librarian: Marj Howard
Former Musical Directors
Our musical directors have been many and varied, but here are some of the more recent ones. Please look at Band History for others.
Willie was on leave from the Irish Defence Forces Band, where he has held the position of Bandsman for the past 7 years. He moved to Manchester to study composition at the RNCM, with a particular interest in writing for brass band.
Adam was a trumpet graduate from the RNCM. Originally from Cornwall, his experienced includes conducting the Cornwall Youth Orchestra as well as playing principal trumpet for 4 years.
Alistair is a cornet player who has played for Flixton band, Farnworth and Walkden band and Milnrow band. Alistair led the band from Feb 2019 to Dec 2019. We wish him all the best in the future.
Ken Hamnett joined the band in February 2018 and helped us out over those periods when Stephen Bucknell was unable to attend, before taking over as Musical Director in April of that year. A percussionist with a long association of banding Ken remained in the post throughout 2018 leaving us in early January 2019. The band wishes him well for the future.
Stephen joined us in October 2017 while finishing his music degree at Salford University. He is a euphonium player and brought quite a lot of experience with him, having led a youth band in his native county and contesting successfully with them. Although Stephen also couldn’t stay very long with us, we certainly enjoyed his rehearsals and wish him all the best in his chosen career.
Simon took up his position with the band in January 2017. Coming from an orchestral background, he brought to the band a wide experience of public performances both as a professional violinist and a conductor, and left us with an improved understanding of phrasing and flow in our playing. Simon had no previous experience of brass banding and we hope we gave him a good introduction how the banding community works – he says he is now not afraid to face the brass section of an orchestra and talk to them about breathing and embouchure. Sadly, due to other commitments, Simon was not able to stay with us for very long, but we were glad to have him with us until October 2017.
Ian joined the band in June 2015, having turned up at a rehearsal for a blow through on his trombone. Having realised that we were advertising, he promptly stood up and took his place in front of the band and led us through an invigorating rehearsal. He was appointed very shortly after that and never actually got to play his trombone in the section after all, although he did play a solo at several concerts!
Ian reinvigorated the band, and improved the standard of playing by a mixture of army boots and persuasion. He was always willing and able to help anyone who needed it, and by the end of his tenure, we were playing pieces that we would never have attempted previously – and playing them well. His experience also stood the band in very good stead. An ex-army musician and conductor of the King’s Division band, he studied composition at Durham University and by the time he joined us, he was mentoring new conductors as well as teaching and composing – work which he continued when he left us in December 2016 for a post in Oman.
Nick joined us as Musical Director at short notice after Craig Mann left for Bolton Hoover, and led the band for approximately a year up to April 2015, during which time the band entered the Whit Friday contest for the first time in many years “just for the experience”. This was Nick’s first appointment as Musical Director and the band wishes him well for the future.
Craig has led the band twice in the past and is currently Musical Director of Hoover Band Bolton. Craig’s enthusiasm and passion for banding translated very well to the players and during his tenures many successful engagements were undertaken.
Craig also ran his own group, Integra Brass Ensemble, (www.integrabrass,org.uk) which was much in demand, as well as teaching full time. He has fingers in many musical pies and is well-known for being a friendly and helpful “bander”.