Eb Bass Ronnie Bannister
Ronnie started life in Trimdon Station and has lived in Sedgefield for a number of years. Taught to play by Fred and Alan Cuthbert in the Savation Army, Ronnie played in Deafhill Colliery band from 1949 to 1958 before joining Fishburn in 1958 and is the band's longest serving member. Ronnie was at one time the band's Principal Cornet before moving onto Eb Bass via the Tenor Horn.
Ronnie also played in dance bands in the 1950's.
In February 2000 Ronnie was presented with his Durham County Brass Band League '50 years in banding' award. During his time with the band, Ronnie has seen some huge changes. In 1972 whilst in the Fourth Section, the band became Champion Band of Great Britain and Ronnie was 'instrumental' in helping Fishburn climb the sections before achieving Championship Section status in 1980 where we've remained ever since.
Ronnie lists Jim Shepherd as one of his main playing influences and King of Y's as his favourite piece of Band Music, remembering that he heard a brilliant performance of it by Crookhall Colliery in the Area Contest. In addition to listening to Brass Band music, he also enjoys listening to Country music, listing his favourite country Artiste as John Aston, who is also a friend of Ronnie's.
Ronnie recalls an amusing occurrence when marching with the Band a number of years ago at Bishop Middleham when half the Band split down the middle and went the wrong way at a junction. Half of the band marched down the bank with the other half marching along the top road - You couldn't make it up!
Ronnie is a very active member of our Fantasy Football League, winning the League twice in 2001-2002, 2002-2003 and most recently in 2011-12 when he teamed up with 'Big' Neil Simpson.
Ronnie has had a varied employment career from Coal Miner to Cokeworker to Nurse Assistant and has also worked part time at Sedgefield Racecourse. His main hobby other than banding is playing Golf, watching Football, Horseracing and Cricket, and Linedancing. His favourite Football teams are Newcastle United and Hartlepool United (What taste!) Married to Angela, the next generation of Ronnie's family have also played with Fishburn - daughter Sue on Flugel Horn and ex-son-in-law Clive on Euphonium. Ronnie's twin brother Joe is also a Bandsman, playing Euphonium.
Keith joined the Band in October 2002. Keith had already played as a guest player for the Band at concerts and since joining has established an excellent partnership with the other basses, improving the overall standard of the Band.
Keith is a very experienced player and has previously played for Head Wrightson Works Band (Middlesbro Brass/Yarm), British Steel Teesside Band and Peterlee Band.
Keith is married to Audrey and travels from Great Ayton to rehearsals.
We are delighted that Anthony has rejoined the Band after his recent time with Reg Vardy Band.
A product of the Darlington Youth Bands, Anthony's playing career started aged 14 at Carmel School, Darlington under the instruction of local legend, Alfie Hind. After gentle persuasion in a way that only Alfie could do, Anthony soon found himself (reluctantly at first) moved from euphonium to Eb bass. From early days Anthony was playing in a variety of styles through his involvement with Darlington Youth - brass, wind and big bands (along with Ian Robinson, Fishburn's ex-Musical Director) as well as the Northern Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. Aged 16, Anthony left school and began his career as an Army musician. During the first two years as junior musician in the Royal Artillery and a further year at the Royal Military School of Music (Kneller Hall), Anthony also studied the harp. In 1979 he took up his position in the senior Royal Artillery band at Woolwich, London and was very soon appointed principal tuba in the band and harpist in the orchestra - performing often as a featured soloist. After a while the harp became Anthony's principal instrument and it was only after returning to Kneller Hall in 1989 to study to be a bandmaster that his tuba career was resurrected under the tuition of Patrick Harrild. After being sent out to the Gulf War as a medic in 1991, Anthony decided it was time he left the Army and from 1993-5 went on to the University of Central England where he studied for a teaching degree. A career move brought him back to the North East where he is now a school teacher and Head of Music at Sunnydale School, Shildon. At that time he returned to brass bands with British Steel Teesside (Skelton) before renewing his association with Ian Robinson by joining Fishburn Band in 1999 as Solo Eb Bass and Deputy Conductor. Anthony is a Bachelor of Education (Music), an Associate of the Royal College of Music and a Licentiate of the Trinity College London - he also has one length swimming and cycling proficiency certificates! Anthony has enjoyed great variety in his playing career, from beer festivals to film sound tracks, classical to pop. Anthony considers himself very fortunate to have been taught by the best - John Smith (English National Opera), Patrick Harrild (London Symphony Orchestra), Jim Anderson (Royal Philharmonic) and harpists Enid Quiney and Sarah Morley. Musical influences include John Fletcher and Frank Zappa. Affectionately known as 'the singing bucket', Anthony is renowned for his witty musical anecdotes and stories drawn from his varied career and is a leader in community singing following a contest!! Ambitions for Anthony - to enjoy an easy life, to gain his two lengths swimming certificate and find a bass that has valve tops that screw back on easily.
Matty joined the band in February 2007 (after many years of asking!) to add an excellent quality of sound and strength to our Bass section in preparation for the area contest.
Matty recently played for BHK Horden band prior to them disbanding.