Conductor - Tom Martin
Tom has directed Blackwell Concert Band since January 2010, following conducting roles with the Exeter University Concert Band and the Exeter Children's Orchestra whilst completing a degree in music. After gaining first class honours, Tom was awarded postgraduate funding which enabled a move to the West Midlands in 2007 to take a Masters degree at Birmingham Conservatoire.
Tom now teaches at Bromsgrove School, directing the various jazz ensembles and over forty budding saxophonists. Tom also maintains a busy schedule as a musician in the local area and further afield. Tom plays saxophone in jazz quartet, Me and Three, contemporary music ensemble, Thumb, the Steve King Big Band, and on a freelance basis taking him all over Europe and the Middle East.
Tom lives in Birmingham with his wife, Marion and two daughters, Florence and Iris.
1st Clarinet – Gerald Griggs
After years of watching others play music, in 2004, whilst in my early 30s I uttered the phrase ‘I wish I could do that.’ That was the trigger for me to spontaneously buy an instrument. Over a period of days I plumped for the clarinet, though I can’t remember entirely why! Years of lessons followed both to play my instrument and to read music until the end of 2009 when I decided I should try and play with others. After that I never looked back and with the encouragement of others in the band, I moved to playing 1st Clarinet.
2nd Clarinet - Sandra Hodierne
At the age of 61 I decided I would like to learn to play an instrument and read music, so started the journey and the love/hate of my clarinet. After a year I felt confident to join a concert band and realised I had a long way to go, but thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. Three years later I joined Blackwell on 2nd clarinet felt a bit out of my depth at first but everyone was so friendly and welcoming I soon settled in and love taking part in as many performances as possible. Having never picked up an instrument or read music until the age of 61, I'm proof of the saying 'it's never too late'.
2nd Clarinet - Sam Hutchcocks
As part of Blackwell Concert Band I play 2nd clarinet and have been playing with them since 2009. I used to play as part of a marching band and in total I have played clarinet on and off for 30-odd years!
3rd Clarinet - Mary Kent
Mary plays the clarinet, is one of the older members of the Wind Band and also probably the least experienced player but she loves the opportunity to play in the band and has been a member since 2009.
3rd /Bass Clarinet - Sarah Bradley
I took up the clarinet in my late ‘40’s having never played an instrument before, so it has been a great challenge for both brain and fingers! That said, I really enjoy it and still can’t believe I have managed to pass Grade 5. The band, where I play third clarinet, has been a huge support to my endeavours. It’s relaxed, friendly and encouraging and a great opportunity to play a good mix of wind band music.
3rd Clarinet - Francis Devey
I am returning to Clarinet playing after a break of 30 years and sometimes manage to play 3rd Clarinet!
Bass Clarinet - Vicky Stock
Vicky first joined the band in about 2003 when she wanted to find a band both she and her brass-playing boyfriend (now husband), Tim, could play in. She has played in all clarinet sections over the years but can now be found joining the basses on bass clarinet. She has played clarinet since she was 12, and has officially passed Grade 5, but gave up lessons after GCSEs, until taking it up again more recently. She has also been secretary since 2004 and greatly enjoys the role which includes booking concerts and various admin jobs.
Bass Clarinet - Jackie Johnson
My first instrument was the violin at school in the 1960s and then I took up the viola, playing in the Warwickshire Youth Orchestra for a few years. It was only a long time after that I discovered there was a whole website dedicated to viola player jokes!! There was then a gap when I went to University and worked in London for a while. Then I took up the treble recorder and this has been my main instrument for 30 or so years. I've dabbled in other instruments but since my retirement 2 years ago I've got into recorder-playing big time, belonging to various groups playing both early and folk music, and am also very into mediaeval music, playing the bass curtal, the forerunner of the bassoon. A few months ago I took up the bass clarinet at the request of a friend in another concert band (which will remain nameless) whose bass clarinettist had emigrated to Australia. I've really taken to it and was very pleased to rejoin the Blackwell band after a dip out for a few years on bass clarinet. I'm looking forward to many enjoyable years ahead!
1st Flute - Amanda Britten
I have been playing as 1st flute with Blackwell Concert Band since 2005 when I picked the flute up again having not played since university. Before this I played with the Birmingham Schools Concert Band and Aberystwyth University Wind Band. When I am not playing with the band, I work as a primary school teacher in Dudley, where I lead the school choir at Christmas time, as well as the recorder group. Belonging to Blackwell has given me the opportunity to enjoy playing to an audience again; my favourite engagement of the year always being the Botanical Gardens due to the magical setting!
Flute - Alison Smith
I play the flute and, like several members of the band, had not played since school days! I am glad I finally decided to give it a go again, and now really enjoy playing with the band and sometimes at church too.
Flute - Lesley
I have been a member of the band since 2009. I play flute which I haven’t played since leaving school. I thoroughly enjoy being part of a band again.
1st Cornet - Tim Stock
Tim has been a musician since he was about 11 when he took up the tuba at school. He joined West Mercia Police Band at about the same age and is now on cornet with them. He also plays with Crown Phoenix Big Band and ad hoc with anyone else who asks! He joined the band with Vicky and primarily plays 1st cornet. Music is a huge part of his life and he is pleased that he and Vicky have found a band they can both play with and be such a big part of. He has been a keen promoter of social events and the band now go for a drink after most rehearsals thanks to his efforts.
E♭ Tenor Horn - Ann Tipper
I taught myself to play the E♭ Tenor horn in 1997 on a challenge from my cornet and trombone playing sons. I was then persuaded by a fellow teacher, a granddaughter of the Eric Ball, to join herself and a few friends who had just started a brass band for the pleasure of it. At the time I knew 10 notes and was mostly lost and panic-stricken.
Since then the band has passed through many changes in size, style, instrumentation and name. Most of that time I have been their librarian, also storing most of the music until we got a filing cabinet in 2003!
I have played with Arrow Valley B Band, Kidderminster Band, Halesowen Brass Band and the Stedfast Boys Brigade Band. It has been a great pleasure to me to take part in all of this - and I'm glad I got the courage up to learn the instrument and join the band!
Alto Sax - David Bowler
I have played saxophone/clarinet for many years, originally with local dance bands (in the good old days!), and sometimes in pit orchestras for amateur operatic societies. I have been with Blackwell CB since 2010, and play either first or second Alto parts as required.
Alto Sax - John Croxton
John had always envied people who could make music but never had the opportunity to learn when he was young. He took up the clarinet when approaching retirement whilst attending an evening course on Music Appreciation and later joined the Blackwell Concert Band. When there was an influx of excellent clarinet players into the band he tried an alto saxophone lent to him by a family member. He enjoyed the change and the family got together and bought him a new one for Fathers Day. He is coached by Tom Martin, the conductor and director, who is a highly qualified musician and saxophone specialist. John has found him to be a really excellent teacher. Apart from the music John greatly values the social contacts and friendships made in the band.
Alto Sax - Alex
Alex joined Blackwell Concert Band in 2010 and was (and still is!) the youngest member. He started playing recorder at first school, and soon graduated to the alto sax. He is now at middle school, continuing to work enthusiastically at his music, and has just passed grade 5 ABRSM. He also plays with the Caravan Club Concert Band and has passed an audition to join the Worcestershire Youth Jazz Band 2.
He has progressed considerably since he started, due in no small measure to the help and encouragement he has received from all BCB members, and particularly Tom Martin (Musical Director).
Tenor Saxophone - David
Like several members of the Band I was an adult learner. I started learning the piano when my older son started having lessons. It was very convenient as the piano teacher lived 3 doors down from us. However I always had an ambition to play the tenor sax being a big jazz fan particularly tenor sax players such as Lester Young, Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Charles Lloyd, and Jan Garbarek amongst loads of others.
I learned to play the sax by means of Birmingham adult education and first started to play in a group setting by joining a contemporary music group called COMA Birmingham. I joined the band about 10 years ago and have very much enjoyed playing with them ever since.
Euphonium - David Wornham
I joined the band in 2010 as euphonium player. I played cornet from the age of 10 to 20, leading to school orchestra and Ware Town Band, Herts., who competed in the 4th division. I played bugle and military flute in my school Army Cadet Force. I played nothing for over 40 years whilst working. On retirement from full-time work, I bought a euphonium and, five years later, plucked up the courage to join a band again. I am finding that it stretches my limited talent, but I am enjoying the experience. I am also a collector of wind instruments, giving demonstrated talks to local groups. See http://sites.google.com/site/tunefultubes
Euphonium - John Anness
I first played in a brass band when I was 12 years old and have been playing on and off ever since. I have recently come back to music after a 7 year break and play the euphonium. I did play with Blackwell band previously and was amazed to see how much the band has grown and improved! I am really enjoying playing again and love the practice sessions as well as the various gigs the band does. I am the patriarch of a large family and I hope to be able to retire soon and spend more time with my dear wife and all our children and grandchildren.
Percussion - Ashley
Ashley joined Blackwell Concert Band back in 2011 when he was in Year 10. He first came along playing the alto saxophone, but within two weeks of joining at his first performance, which was a charity concert, he was sat at the back keeping the band together behind a borrowed drum-kit. The next week he turned up with a newly purchased second hand kit and a set of borrowed cymbals, and the saxophone became his second instrument. The percussion collection is forever growing. But he much prefers playing drums, this started back in his first week of middle school in 2006. He is currently grade 3 on drums but has plans to do his grade 5 as soon as possible.
Ashley is currently studying Music Performance at Kidderminster College, as well as playing modern music in a band called Temporary, he has worked his way up to playing with the Worcester Youth Brass Band and Worcester Youth Wind Orchestra. Ashley enjoys socialising and drumming for the band, and always leaves the band's events with a smile on his face.
I have been with Blackwell band now since about 2003, I think, been to bed many times since I joined up. I play Trombone, often badly, but one tries. I will usually be found near the bassoon and bass player – a wonderful spot in the band.
I have now been Chairman since about 2004, a job I value immensely and enjoy to the full. It is a joy to work with and for the band – so many talented people from so many different walks of life with so many different ages and personalities.
I started playing with a group in Bromsgrove called Music For You. I went along because the son wanted to learn to play so took him along and ended up with a trombone in my hands. I stayed with them for about 3 years and then moved to Blackwell during a summer break and never went back as rehearsal nights clashed: a move I have not regretted.
My aim for the band is for it to be the very best it can be. I know we will never be the CBSO but then we don’t want to be. We are a village band, a community band and proud of it. If we can entertain an audience, send them home smiling and happy, have all members of the band happy too; that’s the best it can be.
New members are always welcome; as long as you can play an octave we will welcome you into the band; the rest you will learn as you go.