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Meet the Band - CORNETS
Roger Sleeman - Prinicipal Cornet
For my ninth birthday present, my father took me along to the local village band where I was given a cornet and taught to play. It turned out to be a present for life! During my teenage years I played with the Drybrook & District Band at many contests, including the Second Section National Finals in London. I was also lucky enough to take part in several tours of Germany with the Forest of Dean Youth Band. During my years as a student I took a short break from brass bands but played instead with an orchestra in Manchester. Working as a teacher enabled me to maintain my interest in playing and I have always enjoyed leading or helping with school brass ensembles, jazz bands and orchestras. Between 1978 & 1982 I played with the Woodfalls Band, enjoying the experience of competing at the highest level nationally. In 2001 I returned to brass bands when I joined the Honiton Band, accompanied by my two sons on euphonium and trombone! This has proved to be the most enjoyable and rewarding period of all, and I have particularly relished the challenge of trying to master the role of principal cornet. This keeps me very busy, but I also enjoy working with the Honiton Twinning Association. It was a real pleasure to take part in visits to Mezidon and Gronau (Honitonís Twin Towns) as a member of the band in 2003 and 2008 respectively.
Sharon Dibsdall - Tutti Cornet
I came to brass banding at the ripe old age of 19! Although I had learned to play clarinet at my primary school in New York and dabbled around with the French Horn in High School, music was never a serious part of my studies. However, when I returned to England in the mid 70s and found myself in Honiton, I felt that I needed to fill my spare time with a hobby and whilst looking through the evening courses at Honiton Community College, my eye was caught by the brass lessons offered by the band. John Woodland took me under his wing as a learner and once I joined the band, I never had any spare time, especially once I became Secretary! Through the years I have played with several bands in the area, including Bridport St Swithins, Ottery St Mary, Chard, Sidmouth and Exeter Temple (SA) but Honiton Band has been the constant in my life, keeping me sane. Iíve thoroughly enjoyed my banding - and I couldnít have found a nicer group of people to enjoy it with.
Kevin Roulson - Tutti Cornet
I suppose it would be true to say that brass banding chose me. In 1989 I was given an old trumpet, but perfectly playable. After cleaning it thoroughly, including removing the valves and putting them back in the wrong order, I became frustrated at not being able to get a note! Hardly surprising considering the mistake with the valves, but not an uncommon error, someone once told me kindly. The Pastor of the church I was attending then, knew our former percussionist Jim Kendall. He enabled me to make contact and I went along to find out more. A player, Cyril Emm (now deceased), was taking the learners back then and he managed to reassemble my trumpet correctly. At last I could get a note! At that point I was hooked. I was entrusted with a band cornet and had lessons from an ex-Army bandmaster and at that time I was able to practice at home. I was assured that it was lovely, but looking back I can see a lot of patience was practiced by those around me and to some extent, even now by my wife Helen! I have been attending rehearsals and engagements from that moment on and have never regretted it. The friendship and camaraderie in the Band is strong and I have had many, many pleasant times within the Band.
Mike Ashby - Tutti Cornet
Having learned recorder at primary school (an ideal first instrument for a brass player), I heard the
school brass band rehearsing on my first day at secondary school and instantly knew that I had to be part of it. I was taught cornet by the visiting tutor, then principal trumpet player in the BBC Concert Orchestra and joined the school band, becoming principal cornet player in the sixth-form. My playing took a back seat, as I pursued a career in the Law in West London, apart from carols at Christmas and the unique privilege of playing duets with the late great Roy Castle. I was Chairman of Uxbridge Round Table and in charge of a major fund-raising dinner-dance at which he was the cabaret. One of the greatest benefits of a move to Devon in 1990, to become a prosecutor, was to find myself in brass band territory. I joined the Ottery St Mary Silver Band, with whom I played for fourteen years, being chairman for several years. I moved to the Honiton Band in 2007: why? Great uniform ...... I've always wanted to wear gold braid down my trousers (apart from the fact that it's an extremely pleasant, well-run band, with an excellent Musical Director, wide repertoire, good discipline, and a most welcoming membership!)
Michael Clarke - Tutti Cornet
Emma Brown - Repiano
Jack Clarke - 2nd Cornet
I started playing cornet/tenor horn in my mid thirties, when a couple of work colleagues persuaded me to join the local brass band. During my working life I have played with several brass bands throughout the country, finally settling in Honiton when I retired and belong to both the Honiton and Ottery St Mary bands. I have been on many twinning visits during the years and have met some extremely friendly and hospitable people, including a couple in Germany with whom we have been exchanging visits for the past 17 years. It is a fine hobby from which one can derive a great deal of pleasure (and occasional frustration) and I would recommend it to people of all ages. Whether one becomes good enough to be an accomplished soloist, or just part of the ensemble, every instrumentalist plays a part in music making. So whether you are young or old, come along and give brass banding a try! It will keep you away from the telly at least - which cannot be a bad thing!!