Meet the Band - The Bass Section

The Bass Section is made up from 2 BBb basses (the huge ones) and 2 Eb basses (slightly smaller).  These are the largest and lowest pitched musical instruments in the brass family.   Tuba is latin for "Trumpet"







Mike Hoyle

I’m Mike and I’m also a Bb bass player as you can see from the photo.

I spent my early years playing the flute before I decided to give up music and join a brass band. I was living in Saddleworth at the time and playing a brass instrument was something you could do when it rained. So I got a huge amount of practice.

There’s something uniquely enjoyable about playing in a brass band. But I can’t remember what it is............Oh yes, that’s it. There is something wonderful about playing music with other people. There are some occasions when the music just comes together beautifully and that’s a bit special. And it’s all the more enjoyable in our band because we all actually like each other so one minute there’s a lot of friendly (usually highly disrespectful) banter going on and the next you’re part of some music which you’re all playing together and which actually sounds rather nice. Well, not always, but often enough.

I work on the radio network for police, fire and ambulance, mainly involved in microwave links and other types of transmission links. Which is a fun way to earn a living. It also helps pay for the Rolls, the butler and the kitchen and garden staff and often leaves a little left over for investing in the bond and derivative markets (my favourite investment vehicle), my chateau and 200 acres in the Cevennes, the odd night at the Casino and my 20 metre speedboat moored in a delightful little corner of the harbour in Cannes. I am a man of frugal tastes.

Hobbies, well when not playing bass my favourite hobbies are losing music, swimming, other musical stuff and losing music. Plus spending time with nearest and dearest. And losing music.

I know you’re just dying to ask so I’ll tell you – it’s probably a D chord but with a G on the E string.


Paddy Letherland

My name is Paddy Letherland and I currently fill the BBb Bass.   The BBb Bass is the largest brass instrument in any Brass Band.

I come from a long line of family musicians.   My Mother, Uncles and Grandfather all played brass instruments and sang in Choirs.  Two of my Uncles attended Nella Hall Military School of Music, so I guess I was destined to play something……albeit not very well?!? 

I presently work for Local Government, taking care of the homeless, trying to bring them back into society, which is where I have been working for the past 15 years.

I started playing Baritone at school, aged 8, and was a founder member of Scisset Youth Band in 1978, then moving onto BBb Bass where I have been ever since.  I have played in the old First Section with Skelmanthorpe and Hepworth Brass Bands.

Favourite and most memorable Brass Band moments.   Now then, this has to be winning the Youth Brass Band Championships at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool and playing at the Royal Festival Hall (South Bank in London) are the National Festival of Music for Youth.

My favourite Brass Band pieces are Finlandia and Jerusalem.

Other interest include sport…….mainly football and obviously
my children and grandchildren.

   Eb BASSES    


Andrew Toothill 

I am one of the bands two Eb Bass Players.
I started playing when I was 8 years old – being introduced to Brass Bands by my dad who had played with Honley Band in years gone by.
Starting off, like most people, on the cornet it quickly became clear that due to having a big mouth, I needed a bigger mouthpiece – so I quickly went from Cornet to Tenor Horn to Baritone and finally settled on Euphonium which I played for a long number of years until moving onto the Eb Bass in 2015.
This year will be my 45th year playing a Brass Instrument – however, please do not mistake length of service with ability, those two things definitely do not go hand in hand!! However, after all these years I’m still fairly enthusiastic, make most rehearsals and attend most of the band’s engagements.
I’m also, due to the fact that I have a van… co chief Transport Officer (the mug who carts all the kit) and as I’m involved in printing – the bloke that does all the band’s stationery, newsletters and advertising stuff for concerts etc.
I’m married to Tracey (30 years) and I have two grown up children – and a Grandson. 
There have been lots of highs and lows through playing in the band.
The biggest low being the band dropping down to about 9 playing members for a while and thinking it might have to fold. 
One of the highs being that for a period of time I played in the band at the same time as my Nephew, my Uncle and my Dad – so it was a real family affair.
I’ve never had a lot of spare time as I’ve run a busy little local business and anyone that’s worked for themselves knows how much of your life this takes up. But as I’m getting a bit older I do like to go fishing for a couple of hours on a Friday night – particularly when the weather is good in the summer – and through work I’m involved with Huddersfield Town Football club – so after a long time away I’m back watching the “Town” again.





Jools Balaam 

I'm Jools, Assistant Principal Eb Bass player with the band (I've said it like this for our cornet friends on the front row of course).

I'm one of four highly dedicated, talented and professional athletes that make up the Bass Section of the band - along with Paddy, Mike and Toots (who unlike me have many years of banding behind them).

I'm definitely the newbie, having picked up a brass instrument for the first time just over 3 years ago, not knowing how to get a sound out of the bloody thing (good job the cornets aren't editing this or they may infer I still can't) or even read a note of music. That's one of the great things with the band - the help and encouragement everyone provides to one another and the time invested by senior members of the band in helping novices young and old develop their skills.

Having the opportunity to play in the band along with my wife Caroline (Assistant Principal Trombone), older daughter Beth (Assistant Principal Tenor Horn) and younger daughter Jess (Assistant Principal 3rd Cornet) it's great we have a shared hobby, With us all starting to learn at the same time of course, and practising at home, it may have been a little noisy for the neighbours (MD - to note). 

We're a friendly community based band who likes nothing more than getting our audiences feet tapping and hands clapping It's hard to single out a favourite moment with the band thus far as there has been so many. My two favourites, if pushed, would have to be Scarborough a couple of years ago when we had to have brollys up on the coach as it travelled along the A64 and then sat in the middle of the boating lake in Peasholm Park playing in the rain to about 2 people - at least we were dry.

Equally a favourite piece of music we play is really difficult - I'm a big fan of the Brassed Off film from a few years ago, so Concerto De Aranjuez and Death & Glory would definitely be pretty high on my list - was it really at the flicks 20+ years ago.

It's also my pleasure to have held the post of Secretary for the band over the last few years - helping to ensure we've a healthy and diverse programme of performances that allows us to showcase our full repertoire of songs.

      Updated:-  13 February 2018

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