Back Row Cornets
Martin has long been regarded as one of the banding world’s finest soprano players. Having studied trumpet at The Royal Academy of Music with James Watson and David Staff, he has played Star Wars with John Williams, Baba O'Riley with Roger Daltrey, Prospero's Books with Michael Nyman and Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with Christopher Hogwood. Martin is now a brass band player in the true sense with a day job but performing at the highest level in his free time.
As a regular guest soprano player with some of the world’s best brass bands, he has won the European Championships, New Zealand Nationals, the Australian Nationals, the All England Masters, the National Eisteddfod and the German Nationals.
Martin is a Schilke Artist and also a member of 3BA (Germany), Tubular Brass, Wallberg Band (Switzerland).
Richard was born deep in the heartland of the Yorkshire Brass Band movement. The town of Knottingley was famous for its pits, its glass industry and its brass band (not). Due to bouts of bronchitis he was advised to take up playing at the tender age of 11 and as never looked back!
At his first band, Knottingley Silver Prize, he played tenor horn for 7 years. He also played at Whitwood Music College Wind band, Castleford Young Musicians and Wakefield Schools were he played Solo horn at the National Youth finals in the Albert Hall in 1977.
After 3 years at University where booze, drugs and loose women left no time for the tedium of playing in a brass band, Richard joined the Oxted Band under the baton of Bill Geldard and Solo Cornet playing of Gracie Cole. He left after 4 years as Solo horn to live and work in Germany where again the finer things in life left no room for spittle and value oil.
Triumphantly returning to England in the summer of '87 the Marley family was undergoing major expansion and the horn was banished to the loft for 10 long years.
Finally succumbing to pressure from the wife to 'get out of the house' he joined a local band in Reading called Spring Gardens which was conducted by Ted Watkins. Ted realising Richard was having far too much fun on horn talked Richard into playing sop! A new world of tuning, sore lips and red faces was opened up to him and soon was overcome by ambition. In the winter of '99 he moved to St Sebastian’s (Wokingham) where the fusion of beer, women and music has been perfected. Looking for more challenges and a huge petrol bill he applied for the vacant Soprano post at Friary against the wishes of the music lovers in the band.
His most embarrassing brass band moment was when he was seen by the entire audience in the Royal Albert Hall snoging the euph player in the wings of the stage. His Mum was 'horrified'!
His best moments are yet to come!!!
Alistair began playing piano aged 6 before deciding that the trumpet would be much more interesting (and louder). Moving over to the cornet when he was 12 he joined the local brass band in Amersham and had many fun years bluffing away on the front row. Upon returning from University he joined another local band - Ellesborough as Principal Cornet in 1998 before moving up to the Championship section with Denham Hendon in 1999 as bumper up. The brass banding education really began in 2001 when a move to Edinburgh resulted in him joining the Newtongrange Band on 2nd cornet working with conductors such as Bryan Hurdley, Ray Farr, Alan Morrison, David Hirst, Steve Sykes and Allan Ramsay. Four very successful years with Newtongrange resulted in the unique achievement of winning the Scottish 1st section and Championship section in successive years (2004, 2005) which fulfilled a dream of playing at the Royal Albert Hall in the National Finals.
Alistair returned to his southern roots playing for the Marlow Town Band on flugel for two years before returning to contesting joining Friary in 2008 on 4th man where he learnt all about coming 4th at Pontins and how to balance a plate full of curry on your knee whilst sleeping.
After a banding hiatus in 2009 to concentrate on orchestral pursuits, Alistair returned to Friary in the summer of 2012, initially on 3rd cornet and has occupied the Repiano cornet chair with great pride since July 2013.
Alistair's favourite banding moments to date are being part of Friary's first ever Championship section title at the London & Southern Counties Regional in 2015, winning the Scottish Championships in 2005, representing Scotland at the National finals in 2004 & 2005, qualifying for the Royal Albert Hall three years in a row in 2013/14/15, winning the Senior Trophy also in 2014, getting over his fear of playing solos without music and being instructed by Steve Sykes to play so loud at the end of Montage that, "I want them to be able to taste it in the bar."
Away from banding Alistair is passionate about CrossFit and lives with a Head of Music - both of which keep him really busy!
Simon started learning the trumpet aged 7 and joined his local brass band, Tadley Concert Brass. After accepting a place to read History at the University of Exeter, he then went on to play for Torbay Brass and Lympstone. Realising that there was more to banding than just the village band, following his degree, Simon decided to try his hand at Championship section banding with Woodfalls, a band he would stay with for more than a decade. As well as a playing member, Simon also took an active role on the executive management committee as Contest Secretary and helped to put in place strategies for running of the band effectively. Throughout that time, Simon enjoyed many highlights on the contest and concert stage, playing with some of the top players in the country and having the good fortune to be conducted by some exceptional musical directors.
Simon joined Friary in 2012 and has enjoyed being a part of the recent successes as well as looking forward to building on those in the upcoming years.
Away from banding, Simon is, most importantly, a dedicated husband and father to his young family. Simon works as a Director of a global professional services firm, Turnkey Consulting, providing world-class IT security & corporate governance solutions. He manages to juggle family, banding and work commitments whilst still attempting to indulge his hobbies of Rugby Union (London Irish & England) and beer drinking (any varieties!).
After threatening his parents with the desire to take up the bagpipes from a very young age, Dave let them down gently at the age of 11 by bringing home a battered old cornet from school. Within weeks, he joined the Leeds Schools Junior Brass Band and shortly after was invited to move up to the Senior Band led by the retired Liverpool Philharmonic principal trombone, George Bradshaw. Dave rose through the section to become principal cornet and joined the Yorkshire Schools Brass Band on repiano cornet under the baton of Keith Wilkinson. Having achieved the top grade in A level music a year early, Dave’s trumpet teacher encouraged him to apply to the Royal Academy of Music but the call of a career in scientific research was too strong.
After a break of 10 years and a move ‘down South’, Dave was persuaded by Karen, his partner, to get out from under her feet and start playing again for the local village band in Bisley. He moved to Chertsey Band to contest for the first time, switching to flugel horn a week before playing ‘Spectrum’ at Folkestone; the band came third. As the band secretary, Dave negotiated a 5 year sponsorship deal with Woking Borough Council, changing the name to Woking Band. Shortly after, they were promoted to 2nd Section for the first time in their history and went on to play concerts with Carl Davis and the Liverpool Philharmonic and Håkan Hardenberger.
Always keen to take on a new challenge, Dave moved to Egham Band returning to flugel for 3 years and then soprano for another three years. Dave is particularly proud of this band line up, achieving overall 6th place in the Whit Friday contest at Dobcross with Peter Roberts looking on from the crowd. Shortly after Stewart Gaudian stepped down, Dave took up the position of principal cornet, which he held for 9 years, seeing the band promoted from 2nd to 1st and then Championship sections as well as competing in 2 National Finals in Harrogate.
Dave also has extensive orchestral trumpet experience with the Leeds Symphony, Imperial College Symphony and Woking Symphony Orchestras. For the last 15 years he has been principal trumpet of the Kingston Chamber Orchestra and has performed as a soloist with them on Copland’s Quiet City.
Away from music, Dave enjoys family life and is now pursuing a career in commercial software development.
Chris was encouraged to take up a musical instrument at the age of 12 and chose the trumpet, mainly because his older brother was already playing the trombone (what a lucky escape!). Shortly after, he joined the Bisley Office Equipment Silver Band, on cornet. It was here he met Jane (the current Band Treasurer) who was also playing cornet. Jane moved to Friary when it was formed and after much persuasion Chris followed in 1985 to take a position in the cornet section. During his time at Friary, Chris has played in various cornet seats, 2nd horn and flugel. Currently, he describes himself as the top second 3rd cornet!
Chris’s most memorable band occasions are becoming the first section National Champions in 2010 and representing the London and Southern Counties at the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall 2 years running.
Chris works as a Project Manager for London Underground, delivering Power related projects. When not at work or Band he enjoys a round of golf.
Katherine (Kat) was raised in a large family of brass-banders where they have been associated with many bands within the Thames Valley - Friary is Kat’s first ever band without a family member! Musically, she started on piano when she was 4 years old until her parents asked her ‘Which high pitched brass instrument would you like to learn?’. Having firmly chosen cornet over tenor horn, Kat was initially taught by her Dad and then joined the band progression scheme within Berkshire Maestros, progressing until she joined the Berkshire Youth Brass Band on the back row in 2011. After only 2 years and an exciting tour to Prague, the band was closed down and Kat joined the Pangbourne Band on the front row – her first real brass band. Kat played with Pangbourne on and off for 5 years, returning in 2016 for a year-long soprano cornet apprenticeship after going to the national finals with Saint Sebastian’s Wokingham Band on Repiano Cornet following a 2nd place at the areas.
In 2014, Kat joined the Southern Counties Youth Band where she started on Repiano Cornet and progressed steadily to Principal Cornet within 2 years and stayed in the role for two years, being awarded ‘Player of the Week’ by Ian Porthouse in the 2018 annual Easter residential course. It gave her the opportunity to work with prolific conductors such as Nicholas Childs, Paul Lovatt Cooper and Ian Porthouse.
While finishing her A Levels, Kat joined the Sandhurst Silver Band on solo cornet, where she enjoyed the new challenge of 1st Section which pushed her to be her very best. During her time with Sandhurst, Kat enjoyed highlights such as winning the regionals in 2018 and experiencing the Butlins Mineworkers contest for the first time.
Away from banding Kat is studying Biomedical Science at the University of Surrey and enjoys touring Europe with her parents in the summer holidays, having travelled through over 10 countries in a single holiday!