Meet the Band - The Back Row

The back row will normally consist of the Soprano Cornet and 5 more Cornets that compliment the Front Row.  

At Yorkshire Traction Honley Band we have the addition of the Flugelhorn.   The Flugel is a strange instrument to place, and can generally be found within the Horn Section (as it's a horn) or the Cornet Section (as it is a Bb instrument and not an Eb)  

The Conductor will normally place the Flugel to where he or she want to sound to compliment.


Soprano Cornet                                                                                                  

Gary Schofield - Life in the suicide seat or rumblings from the musical underbelly a soprano cornet players lot and other stories.  

I don’t think anyone actually sets out to play the Soprano cornet, it seems to me that they generally get pushed into the role because the sop player or piece ruiner (as some of the larger instrumented players in the band sometimes refer to us) seems to be a happy, helpful soul who says yes "I’ll give it a go to help out" then ends up playing the damn thing because no one else wants the job.

I originally joined Yorkshire Traction Honley Band 4 years ago after a 25 year lay off from playing the cornet as a yoof with Linthwaite Band. I like to think I gave it all up for a glittering catering career but in reality work, beer and sleep used up the majority of my time back in the day.

One day my daughter, who incidentally plays tenor horn in the training band (Monday evenings 1830 – 1945 all welcome), picked up my old cornet and blew a respectable G. So I thought hmm, I could take her along to our local band, sit as my father had done with me, and listen to the child playing wonderful tunes for an hour a week and all would be well (and it would get me out of the house on a Monday for an hour or so) ha no chance. On the first practice the then conductor, Wayne, said, you (referring to me) can sit beside her and learn to play as well!!!!!! Oh dear, owning up time, after playing the first piece he looked at me with narrowing eyes and said “you’ve played before!! You can join the senior band” so much for an hour sat listening to wonderful tunes played by my daughter!! 18 months later I was conned into playing the sop where I’ve been ever since.

There have been many highlights in my time playing with the Yorkshire Traction Honley band but the one that sticks out above them all was Christmas 2016 one of our members had had a serious car accident and was laid up in hospital. So on Christmas eve after we had busked at a local supermarket we went up to the HRI and surprised her playing carols on her ward. We then played in other wards for the patients. I like to think we cheered the patients up as I’m sure it’s a bind being in hospital over the festive period. 

So when you are watching a Brass Band and there’s a poor sod sat on the end of the back row, usually bright shade of crimson blowing his heart out before you grumble about the squeaking remember he has to play twice as high as everyone else and if he gets it wrong there’s nowhere to hide.

  David Wood  

I am an aspiring Bass player……I can’t wait to learn the secrets of their music filing system.   Currently I am sitting on the pinnacle of the greasy pole which is the Flugel Horn; a very uncomfortable position to be in, I can tell you.  

I first started to play a brass instrument when I went to Secondary School.   We were all paraded in front of the music teacher who handed out various instruments; guitars, violins etc.  When it was my turn, he said to me “Show me your teeth”.   I duly grimaced and he announced, “You can play the Trombone”.  He followed that up with “Tha’s got a be a bit of a bugger t’ play’t trombone, lad!”   (Teachers could say that sort of thing in the 70’s, and he should have known, he is reputed to have played Principal Trombone for the Black Dyke Mills Band for 25 years).   I have found it a very useful maxim and tried to live up to the expectation for the rest of my life.

When I was a student, I lived in the St Pauls district of Bristol at the time of the riots.   One day a large Rastafarian with a big hat and dreadlock knocked on my door whilst I was practicing (Editor: Amazing in itself, believe me!).   My flatmate let him in thinking he was going to complain about the dreadful racket coming from my room, however the guy said to me that he was looking for a brass section for his reggae band and I would fit the bill.   He signed me up on the spot, much to my flatmates disgust.

Some of the highlights of my band career include playing for Princess Anne at the opening of the children’s centre, marching up and down the pitch at the then name McAlpine Stadium in a drum head service, and pushing the band’s coach, which had broken down in heavy traffic at a set of traffic lights just outside Blackpool.
 Repiano Cornet       

Catherine Lodge

I play the cornet and play repiano with the band. I began playing the trumpet aged seventeen when I bought a secondhand Besson Brevette and taught myself to play with the church band. Thirty years later my brother in law, a bandsman, persuaded me to come along to his band ‘to watch’ the rehearsal. Of course they thrust a cornet into my hand and encouraged me to ‘have a go’. That was a long time ago, and I have been ‘having a go’ ever since. I began on third cornet and did the usual thing, progressing to second cornet then front row cornet with a short time on flugelhorn before settling happily on repiano.

Since learning the basics at piano lessons as a child I had never read music and having waited until I was in my late 40s to take up music again I found it a real struggle, which hasn’t changed much, but sitting with skilled musicians either side, they help me out when I get stuck. 

I spent many happy years with my church fellowship playing french horn, piano accordion, keyboard and guitar, but love the teamwork of the brass banding community when together we try to make a great sound! I suppose it’s the buzz we get when marching on warm sunny Whit Friday evenings that is the highlight of the banding year for me, when brass bands get together in the moorland villages of Lancashire, and their sound rings through the valleys. It’s not so much fun when it pours with rain, but the buzz remains whatever the weather!

I have a strong faith in God and worked as a minister for over 30 years, mostly with young people. During this time I did lots of fundraising, so when I joined Yorkshire Traction Honley Band it was natural to volunteer to raise funds. Our latest project has been fundraising for the Bandroom roof, which is now completed. I also help out with committee meetings, doing the minutes and various other roles as time permits. 

My family is most important to me, and my other great passion is horses. I spend my free time riding through our glorious Yorkshire hills on horseback enjoying life to the full.

 2nd Cornets    

Mary Horn

I currently sit in the 2nd and 3rd cornet seats (depending what is needed at the time).

I was turned down by Honley Band and I went to the Hepworth Band in 1953 and then came to Honley in 1975.  I was asked to play horn but was given a Baritone where I stayed until a young horn player wanted to change places with me.   I did not like the change and so went onto the Bb Bass – I had many happy years there. 
I also play with Vintage Brass.

I thought it was time for a change when I got to 65 years young, so I went back to the Baritone and only changed to the cornet recently because there was 3 of us and were a bit short on back row cornets.

While Honley went through a bit of a bad spell, I signed up to Hinchcliffe Mill Band and did all the Honley jobs, then came back full time and a dew of the Hinchcliffe Mills Band came back with me.   By this time we also joined with The Yorkshire Traction Band to become The Yorkshire Traction Honley Band.  I have been in charge of the uniforms for many years, the secretary, and even looked after the instruments until I took on the library - my current duties.

I have many favourites moments in banding; the visit to Switzerland was one, getting 2nd prize at the National Finals was another after being bottom in the year before at the finals.

In 2004 I was presented with a Long Service Medal from the Huddersfield and District Brass Band Association (50 years of Service); they think I was the first female to get one!

Other interests include my family, holidays – I don’t get time for many more things now – and craftwork.

   Maura Ward - Biography to follow.
 3rd Cornets    
   Gill Brown - Biography to follow  
   Gary Goodall - Biography to follow  
        Updated  26th October 2017

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