MUSICAL DIRECTOR

 
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CRAIG WILLIAMS

Craig has a long banding history and we value his expertise and experience. Hailing from Smethwick in the West Midlands, he started his banding career aged 17 under the direction of Dennis Masters on BBb Bass for Langley Band.  In 1987 Craig formed Sovereign Brass with two friends and spent 21 years helping to build the band. In 2009, he joined the esteemed Flowers Band on BBb bass and played in the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall and the British Open at Symphony Hall. During his banding career Craig has played under the likes of Harry Mortimer, Roy Newsome, Richard Evans, Garry Cutt, Frank Renton, Howard Snell and Major Peter Parkes, passing on the expertise he has picked up from the musical direction of these esteemed conductors. He values hard work and commitment, but also believes music-making should be fun and thoroughly enjoys leading the band in concerts and contests playing music everyone enjoys.

THE CORNETS

 

NICK LEAR

Principal Cornet

Nick took up cornet at the age of 6 on the advice of his doctor to help manage his asthma.  He played for Torbay in both the youth and senior bands, followed by a few years at Totnes. He then moved to university and played with The City of Birmingham Brass Band, leaving Birmingham for Swindon and joining Aldbourne after he graduated.  Between 2004-2016 Nick played Principal Cornet with the Leicestershire Co-op Band. More recently, he has played with Derwent, Foresters and Kibworth, where he was Principal Cornet for 18 months.

ADRIAN LACY

Solo Cornet

Adrian joined Walsall Beginner’s Band on cornet in 1977, quickly progressing to the junior band in 1978. He got his big break when he joined the senior band in 1981 on the back row. During his playing career, he has played cornet and flugel, taking part in many national competitions on both instruments. Adrian played with the Yorkshire Evening Post Band in Leeds between 1986 and 1990 before returning to The Staffordshire Band as second man. He has competed at the Grand Shield in Blackpool and the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall.

CHRIS WOOD

Solo Cornet

Chris joined the band shortly before the First Section National Finals in 2018. Having played Second Cornet and Repiano, he now plays Solo Cornet. Previously he has played with the likes of Sovereign Brass, the Shirley Band and Arrow Valley.

GEMMA-LEIGH PRICE

Solo Cornet

Gemma joined the band on Solo Cornet 2018, just in time to play at the First Section National Finals. Since then, she has grown massively in confidence and ability, and attributes her development to the support and guidance of the band’s MD, Craig Williams.

SHAUN ELLIOTT

Soprano Cornet

Shaun joined the band on Soprano Cornet in August 1976. He has been part of many victories and appeared at the Royal Albert Hall. In 1999 Shaun moved to front row and played Second Cornet and Repiano Cornet, making the move back to Soprano in February 2019. He spent 25 years as the band's Chairman and has competed in over 150 brass band contests.

RACHAEL DICKENS

Repiano Cornet

Rachael learned to play trumpet and violin at junior school and studied at Wolverhampton Music School. While there she played on 8 European tours with the Wolverhampton Youth Orchestra and Wind Orchestra. She joined the City of Wolverhampton Brass Band aged 12 and was Principal Cornet by 15. Rachael performed with the City of Wolverhampton Brass Band and with the National Methodist Youth Brass Band while completing her degree. She also played in the production of Brassed Off at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

LIZ BUTLER

Second Cornet

Liz’s musical career started on the recorder aged 4.  At 11 she moved on to trumpet and was a member of Birmingham Schools Wind Orchestra, West Birmingham Schools Wind Band and Birmingham Schools Dance Orchestra. At 18 she joined the Royal British Legion Birmingham Band on front row cornet and spent many years playing the Last Post and Reveille for various veteran organisations.  She also played for the Sandwell and City of Birmingham Brass Bands before joining The Staffordshire Band about 10 years ago and recently became Chair.

JOEL CAMPBELL

Second Cornet

Joel has played for the band since 2012 as part of the back-row cornet team. He started playing French horn aged 7 with Birmingham Music Service, but after 6 months decided trumpet was much cooler!! Later he played with a couple of the Birmingham Music Service bands on Trumpet and Cornet.

CHARLOTTE ROSE

Second Cornet

Charlotte studied music at Hull University, majoring in trumpet. She continued her studies at York University and played soprano cornet with Aunt Bessies East Yorkshire Brass.  She came back to the Midlands and joined Staffs but in 2004 was approached to play for Dalewool Auckland Brass and moved to New Zealand.  She recently re-joined the band on back row.

STEPHEN WARD

Third Cornet

Stephen started playing trumpet aged 9. He has competed in many national competitions and has played outside 10 Downing Street and at The Birmingham International Tattoo, performing for many dignitaries, Prime Ministers and members of the Royal Family. Stephen graduated with a degree in Music Technology and Popular Music in 2017, and is principal trumpet in both the Nick Turner Senior Wind Band and Walsall’s Senior Jazz Band, where he is training to become band leader.

VACANCY

Third Cornet

Watch this space!!

THE HORNS

 

LAURA JEFFS

Flugel Horn

Laura’s passion for music was nurtured through ensemble performances on clarinet, cornet and voice, having sung at the 2017 Proms. Brass banding has always been an important part of her life, and she played Principal Cornet with Dudley Performing Arts Brass Band and Solo Cornet with Phoenix West Midlands, Shirley and University of Birmingham Brass Bands. Laura moved to Flugel Horn after joining Staffs towards the end of 2018.

EMILY RUSHTON

Solo Horn

Emily started playing the tenor horn aged 14 and quickly progressed to Solo Horn in Gresley Colliery Youth Band. She joined Leicestershire Co-op Band in the summer of 2016 and played for Ratby Co-operative Senior and Jaguar Land Rover Bands before joining The Staffordshire Band in August 2019.

SAM LEAR

First Horn

Sam’s playing career started aged 8 on tenor horn, but she moved on to Soprano Cornet after joining The City of Birmingham Brass Band aged 17. She was part of the Leicestershire Co-op Band between 2004-2019, playing soprano cornet for 10 years before returning to tenor horn. Sam has been heavily involved with Youth Brass 2000 for many years  and has mentored some of the country’s finest young brass musicians.

JULIE DALE

Second Horn

Julie is one of the longest-standing members of the band, having joined over 35 years ago. She has been on many tours, appeared as a National Finalist multiple times, including being part of several winning performances and has played at the Royal Albert Hall.

THE EUPHONIUMS AND BARITONES

 

RICHARD CORSER-WALLACE

Solo Euphonium

Richard recently re-joined the band but first played 20 years ago on Solo Baritone. He studied euphonium at the Birmingham Conservatoire with Steven Mead and Andy Fawbert and brass band scoring and arranging with Denis Masters. Richard has played for many bands around the Midlands and has contributed to some of the many successful years that The Staffordshire Band has had.

LINDA OXLEY

Second Euphonium

Linda joined the band over 30 years ago. She started playing euphonium and double bass at school and has helped the band secure many victories such as winning the Midland Area Championships and playing at the National Finals at The Royal Albert Hall.

STEPHEN ALLEN

Solo Baritone

Steve’s interest in music began at an early age.  He started playing Baritone at school, joining the Sandwell Youth Band before moving to The Langley Band and eventually becoming a founding member of Sovereign Brass.  He has competed in the National Finals and the All English Masters.

JESSICA CARPENTER

Second Baritone

Jessica is a multi-instrumentalist from Dudley.  She plays both woodwind and brass and has had opportunities to perform all over the country, including at the First Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. She started her brass-playing career in her local Salvation Army Brass Band.  Jessica spent 3 years playing with the Shirley Band on Tenor Horn, before being invited to play for The Staffordshire Band on Baritone.

THE TROMBONES

 

HELEN WHITE

Solo Trombone

Helen’s love of music began aged 4, learning both the piano and violin discovering French Horn at 12. She studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire, graduating with an Honours degree in 2013. During her time there she picked up a trombone and never looked back, taking the opportunity to play with brass bands, ska bands and pit orchestras.

HELEN ALLEN

Second Trombone

Helen learned to play the trombone with Sandwell Youth Music and was one of the founding members of Sovereign Brass before joining The Staffordshire Band in the 1990s.  After taking a sabbatical from playing, Helen joined The Langley Band, where she played for a number of years before returning to Staffs in 2017.

KARINA FODDEN

Bass Trombone

Karina's first instrument is classical accordion and she has been crowned UK champion several times. She started playing bass trombone at senior school and played for the local music centre brass band. Karina spent 3 years with Oddfellows Brass Band before moving to Staffs in February 2019.  She also acts as Secretary and Contest Secretary.

THE BASSES

 

KRIS DAVIES

Eb Bass

Kris started playing tuba aged 7 and was a member of Sandwell Youth Music Service.  He progressed to principal Eb Bass in the Sandwell Youth Brass Band and Wind Orchestra. At 13 he joined Sovereign Brass then moved to the Flowers Band. Kris studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire and first joined Staffs in 2006, leaving in 2014 and returning in 2018.

SUE LACEY

Eb Bass

Sue started her playing career on tenor horn aged 8 moving onto Eb Bass at 10. She spent 10 years in the Sandwell Youth Band and toured many countries. Sue was also one of the founding members of Sovereign Brass and remained with them for 3 years. She played for The Langley Band and Bank’s Brewery Band before moving to The Staffordshire Band.

LAWRENCE ECCLESTON

BBb Bass

Lawrence started playing Baritone in 1976. He progressed to BBb bass, and joined the then Walsall Highgate Band in 1983. He spent some time at City of Oxford and Bank’s Brewery Bands. From 1988 to 1994 he played for Desford Colliery Band winning 2 National Finals, coming 2nd at the very first All England Masters and playing at venues across the world. He then played alongside Craig Williams at Sovereign Brass before moving to County Durham and joining Ever Ready (Reg Vardy) in 2000. He took some time out while living abroad but moved back to the UK in October 2018 and joined The Staffordshire Band.

PAUL DALE

BBb Bass

Paul started playing euphonium aged 12 in the Sea Scouts and is mostly self-taught. He joined the Shirley B Band and took part in his first contest on Second Euphonium in 1972. He played for the Coleshill Band between 1978-1983, where he found his calling on BBb Bass. In 1983, Paul joined The Staffordshire Band and has seen much success winning numerous national titles, appearing at the Royal Albert Hall four times and playing alongside many of the country’s top BBb Bass players.

ADE ODEDINA

BBb Bass

Aged 14 Ade joined Shirley Band on tuba.  During his early playing career, he played with Coleshill Silver, City of Birmingham and Walsall CI Group Band but it was at Desford Colliery that he enjoyed real success.  He has also guested with many of the country’s top brass bands, including Britannia Building Society, Grimethorpe, Flowers, Carlton Main Frickley and Fairey’s.

PERCUSSION

 

IAN RICHARDS

Aged 6, Ian was a member of the Cannock Chase Silver Prize Band and he went on to play for various youth bands across the country. He had piano, trumpet and Eb Bass lessons but settled on drums.  He joined band in 1973 aged 14 and over the years he been fortunate enough to play with many brass bands, concert bands, orchestras and wind bands.

SAMUEL SHELLEY

Sam started playing drums aged 4 and has since gone on to lead a music-filled life. He studies Music Technology at Staffordshire University and is a member of the Cannock Salvation Army Band. A very talented musician, Sam has had many compositions and arrangements published by the Salvation Army and Lake Publications.

ANNIE HODGETTS

Percussion Team

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