2016 – In Concert with Steve Sykes

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The Maestro Returns

On Saturday 26th November, eminent musician and tuba virtuoso Steve Sykes returned to play with the band in a concert supporting the Demelza charity. It had been such a long time since we last saw Steve that only 7 of the band members remained from his previous visit some 18 years earlier when he played with us to support the St. Georges Trust in another charity concert (see link below).

While we may all have had a few more grey hairs, the intervening years had done nothing to diminish Steves outstanding playing and he delighted audience and band alike with his solos and funny stories.

Steve’s busy day had started with a Bass and Lower Band Workshop where he imparted much of his wisdom to players from around the area, he then went on to rehearse with the band before the evenings concert. As you would expect at a concert featuring a player of Steve’s calibre, the hall was full of not only regular concert goes but musicians from other bands and groups all eager to hear Steve perform.

No one was disappointed and Steve’s 5 solo items all went down a storm. Steve finished off his performance with a Bass Section Solo item called “Forty Fathoms” which saw all five Bass players out front to perform together.

The band also rose to the occasion and gave a stunning performance in their penultimate formal concert of the year. Audience members enjoyed the usual mix of styles and were treated to a number of Rock & Pop items together with some beautiful melodies from “All Through the Night” and “Yesterday”, the second of our Beatles numbers. The pop group Queen were to feature again in one of our concerts and the apptly named “Don’t Stop Me Know” which is fairly new to the band, finished a fine first half. Both new and old pieces were on the programme and in particular Ian talked about “Born Free” being a favourite piece which he had first conducted with the band some 30 years ago.

It was also great to see members of the training/youth band perform just after the interval, albeit with a little help from a few of the adults to cover missing players.

As usual for a big concert we pulled in a few deps to bolster the ranks, a big thanks to Owen, Michelle, Dave, Mette and Tonie. In all we hope to have raised £1000 for the Demelza charity.

No photos

No photos

You can click on a programme item to view its recording (if available) in a new window. To view the whole concert, use the playlist in the Video section above.

First Half

Second Half

About Steve

Steve Sykes is without doubt one of the finest soloists to emerge from the British brass scene.

His musical roots are firmly based in Yorkshire brass bands beginning with Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band. In 1978 he accepted an invitation by Elgar Howarth to join the famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band as Principal Tuba and Soloist. With Grimethorpe he performed as soloist throughout Europe and Australia. During this period Steve was awarded the prestigious title of ‘Granada Television Soloist of the Year’.

Because of an ever-increasing demand for Steve’s talent both as soloist, conductor and clinician, he now works as a freelance musician appearing in the USA, Canada, Europe and Scandinavia and is a firm favourite with players and audiences alike.

Many compositions for solo tuba and orchestra/band have been inspired by, dedicated to and premiered by him, including major works by Ellerby, Golland and Brand. One of the busiest soloists in the U.K, forthcoming engagements will see him performing in Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada and, of course, Europe. Steve has been directing Championship section bands since the age of 22 -among his professional conducting appointments have been famous ensembles such as CWS (Co-op) (Glasgow) and SunLife (Stanshawe). He has directed bands at the National Finals, British Open, All England Masters and European Championships and, of course, has many commercial recordings and national radio broadcasts to his name.

He has presented British regional conducting workshops on behalf of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors and conducting seminars on behalf of the North American Brass Band Association in Washington DC.

He regularly appears as an adjudicator at leading music festivals throughout Britain, North America, Norway and Switzerland. As a measure of his standing in the brass band movement he was recently invited to adjudicate at the National Brass Band Finals in London’s Royal Albert Hall and in March 2001 Steve adjudicated at the Yorkshire Regional Championships – regarded by many has the hottest seat in brass band adjudication! Steve is included in the British Federation of Bands’ list of approved adjudicators.

Steve has appeared as guest artist with many famous ensembles including the U.S. Army Orchestra, HM Royal Marines, the Norwegian Navy Band, the Netherlands Brass Ensemble, the Canadian Air Force Band, Chicago Staff Band and UNC Symphonic Wind Ensemble. He has performed as soloist at the world renowned Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic (Chicago) – sharing the stage with jazz greats Bill Watrous and Arturo Sandoval. In 2002 he presented a solo recital in London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall.

Steve has written articles and reviews for the ‘British Bandsman’ and ‘Brass Herald’ publications. He is tuba tutor at the celebrated ‘Brass Band Summer School’ (Bromsgrove) where he is now also responsible for the Brass Band Conducting Course. Steve is lecturer in low brass studies at Bath Spa University College and is tutor and Professor of Brass to HM Royal Marines Band in Portsmouth, Plymouth, Lympstone and Dartmouth.

Steve has been engaged as a clinician (responsible for instrument development) by the Yamaha Corporation and Besson Musical Instruments and currently performs on the new ‘Orpheus’ tuba.

His latest solo CD ‘Basso Bravissimo’ has now been released and is receiving acclaim not only from low brass aficionados but also from the wider musical world.

The Band


  • Richard Warren – Principle Cornet
  • Vicky Mace – Solo Cornet
  • Dennis Martin – Solo Cornet
  • Brian Lewis – Solo Cornet
  • Bob Turner – Soprano Cornet
  • Dave Pettifer – Repiano Cornet
  • Graeme McAusland – Second Cornet
  • Michelle – Second Cornet
  • Hugo Catt – Third Cornet
  • Mette Fisher – Third Cornet
  • Tonie – Third Cornet
  • Horns

  • Emma Pettifer – Flugel Horn
  • Alan Smithers – Solo Horn
  • Mark Hayman – First Horn
  • Liz Hatcher – Second Horn
  • Paul Bullough – Second Horn

    Baritones & Euphoniums

  • David Newsom – Principal Euphonium
  • Viv Lovewell – Euphonium
  • Phil Alker – First Baritone
  • Phil Godden – Second Baritone
  • Yvette Hutchin – Second Baritone
  • Polly Coxeter – Second Baritone
  • Trombones

  • Simon Dixon – Solo Trombone
  • Colin Batt – Second Trombone
  • Jonathan Vokes – Bass Trombone
  • Basses

  • Geoff Collins – EEb Bass
  • Steve Bennett – EEb Bass
  • Owen Radley – BBb Bass
  • Dave Wight – BBb Bass
  • Percussion

  • Peter Stoner – Kit Perucssion
  • Viv Lewis – Tuned Percussion

Prior Visit

Article from 1998

The evening of the 16th of May 1998 saw Cranbrook Town Band perform with World class Bass player Steve Sykes in aid of the St. Georges Trust.

The hectic day’s rehearsal and many previous Thursday nights dedication to the evenings programme made for a wonderful concert and a truly memorable night.

Read more by visiting the original post :-

1998 – St. Georges Trust Concert


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