Soprano Cornet Malcolm Usher
Malcolm started playing at age 11 years, being inspired and taught to play a brass instrument by his father. He was originally given the Trombone to master but alas never did - the need for long arms meant he could not reach the last position. After joining Hartlepool Silver Band, he was introduced to the cornet - which he considered much lighter and more convenient.
When his family moved to Darlington he was enrolled into the School Band and then the Darlington Youth Band. He was taught to play at that time by Ray Pattison and Tony Price. His last teacher was Alfie Hindes. Mal eventually joined Newton Aycliffe Band as Principal Cornet and from there went to the Amoco Band where he switched to Soprano Cornet - not as a volunteer, more of a slowness to move one step back!
He subsequently joined Cockerton Silver Band on Soprano Cornet and moved to Fishburn Band in 1984. Influences over the years have included Barry Shaw, Jim Shepherd and Maurice Andre.
Mal's now had 50 odd years of devotion to his hobby and his enthusiasm has not waned one bit. However, he states that his physical ability has waned and his lip lasts about 10 minutes, thankfully long enough to get through most test pieces! He awaits a suitable replacement to take over on Soprano Cornet and allow him to relax a little more ("Fingers crossed" says Mal!). Maybe he is destined to end his playing career back where he started, on Trombone.
Malcolm is Fishburn Band's resident computer expert. Formerly holding the position of Band Manager, Mal now holds the position of Contest Secretary and Librarian.
Mal previously told us that when he eventually retired from work, he planned to move to the South of France and listen to Arturo Sandoval recordings. Well... He is now retired (2018) so needs to get planning that move! He is married to our Cornet player, Helen. As Helen is still working, he is still awaiting his one golden investment to come good. Fair to say, he has not retired to the South of France. He still lives in hope!
Principal Cornet John Gill
John has been with Fishburn Band since 1982 and enjoyed a successful period in the position of Principal Cornet from 1990 to 2006 culminating with a win at the Scottish Open Championships in 2005 and concluding with qualification for the National Finals at the Northern Area Championships in March 2006 whilst picking up the prize for best Principal Cornet - for the third time in four years, subsequently returning to Principal in 2008.
John commenced playing at school in Hartlepool, aged 14, under the tuition of Russ Nicholson and Bill Buckley. Contesting began with Hartlepool Youth Band, followed by Blackhall Colliery and Head Wrightson Works Band (Middlesbrough Brass). John lists his playing influences as Jim Shepherd and Alan Morrison and also enjoys playing and listening to Big Band music.
John was 'instrumental' in the redesign and ultimate refurbishment of the Fishburn Bandroom (following grants from the Lottery and the Foundation for Sports and the Arts).
Married to Audrey, who also plays cornet for Fishburn, they have two children, Alison and Kieran.
Solo Cornet John White
Along with his wife, Andrea, John joined Fishburn Band in February 2001 from Spennymoor Town Band where he had been a member since 1981 and Principal Cornet for a number of years. Whilst at University in Leeds, John was also a member of Lockwood and Gawthorpe Bands. John started playing at 6 years of age and tuition over the years has been provided by George Nicklin, Tim Holmes, Brian Tait and Jim Shepherd.
John has stepped up to Principal Cornet and soloist for Fishburn Band on a number of occasions including a two year period following the area contest in March 2006.
John and Andrea, are the proud parents of a lovely son, Samuel who keeps John very busy with his football team, so much so, that John is now a qualified FA Level 1 coach and manager of the team!
Solo Cornet Paul Kerry
Paul was first taught to play at the age of 6 by Shildon Salvation Army bandmaster, Fred Smith and was given great support and encouragement by numerous people at the corps, especially his father, George Kerry. Vince Smith (Fred's son) took over the baton when Paul was 10 and became a major influence, as well as being handy for a lift down to Sunbury Court, near London, where the National School of Music (for the Salvation Army) took place each year. On 5 occasions (the fifth time in 1972) Paul was made Principal Cornet of the 'A' band. Paul has happy memories of those days, playing under the baton of the late Leslie Condon and Trevor Davis, also an old chap called Eric Ball (for one day only)! A cornet influence at that time was Jim Shepherd whose old 33's were put to good use as Paul used to play along to solos such as Napoli and Pandora etc (is David Daws even better?).
Paul stopped playing altogether in 1978 when he left the Salvation Army but started again in the early 1990's when he began teaching his two sons, Matthew and Ben to play. In 1994 Paul came along to a Fishburn Band concert and met up again with bandmaster, Ian Robinson who invited him along to a practice - and the rest is history! Paul states he feels genuinely privileged to be playing in such a quality band and has just one ambition to realise since starting playing again - to get his lip back to the condition it was when he was a teenager, as well as his body, and his hair.......!!!
Paul now runs his own business repairing and servicing washing machines, driers, dishwashers and many other appliances having spent several years gaining experience with well known dealers. If you want a first class job doing, send Paul an e-mail. We've heard his rates are very cheap !!!.
Solo Cornet Paul Brickle
Along with his wife, Keeley, Paul joined Fishburn Band in 2013.
Paul originates from Ryhope although he lived in Silksworth for over 20 years until he was married to Keeley (our Baritone and Euphonium player), moving back to Ryhope.
He was taught to play by his Father Ronnie, who played Eb Bass for Ryhope Colliery, Sunderland Borough and Silksworth Colliery bands in a banding career exceeding 50 years, and Joe Lumsdon, Trombone player with Police bands, but Conductor with Ryhope Colliery, Sunderland Borough and Silksworth Colliery bands. He was obviously taught well as under the baton of Joe, he won the soloist prize at the Brotten Entertainment contest at the tender age of 10 with Silksworth Colliery.
He’s also clearly from good banding stock, as in addition to his Father and Keeley, his Daughter and Brother both played Percussion.
He has played Bb Cornet or soprano for most of his banding life, although he spent a short time in the 1980’s on Euphonium or Eb Bass until he saw the light.
Prior to joining Fishburn, Paul played in a number of Bands including Sunderland Borough, Silksworth Colliery (twice, until it disbanded in 2006), Seaham Town (joining with Keeley), North Skelton (where he proudly played bumper up to his old mate Jimmy Hayes) and finally Easington Colliery.
During his time with Silksworth, he was Principal Cornet for a number of years and tasted success at National level winning the CISWO (Coalboard) 2nd section titles twice, and National Finals 3rd section once, although it wasn’t always successful as he also remembers an occasion when the Soprano Cornet player came in 40 bars too early and brought the Band to a standstill!
Paul lists his favourite test pieces as Labour & Love, and Tournament for Brass.
An Engineer by trade, Paul gave 31 years’ service at Rolls Royce, including 20 years as a Manager, prior to moving to Cleveland Bridge UK as Works Manager. It’s no surprise then that the Band have ‘taken advantage’ of Paul’s managerial skills so much, he is now Band Manager!
Paul is also the main contact for RMT Union and coordinates events in liaison with RMT Officials.
Repiano Cornet George Nicklin
George joined the Band in 2015. He has played and conducted a variety of Bands in the North East including Cockerton Band and Spennymoor Town Band, and is currently Musical Director of the Fishburn Academy Band (FAB)
Having completed his formal education and training at the Royal Academy of Music, George has taught a large number of players who have gone on to be successful and now play for several bands across the country including players within Fishburn Band.
Cornet Andrea White
Andrea, along with husband John, joined Fishburn Band in February 2001 from Spennymoor Town Band.
Having started to play at 7 years of age, she initially played euphonium whilst at Ouston Primary School. Later, under the tuition of George Nicklin, Andrea played horn before moving to the cornet. Although formerly on flugel horn at Spennymoor, Andrea is now back on cornet.
Andrea and John, are the proud parents of a lovely son, Samuel.
Cornet Liz Armett
Liz joined the band in January 2018 and has settled in very quickly.
Liz has recently completed her Law Degree at Durham University where she was also a member of the award winning Durham University Brass Band.
Her profile will appear here shortly.
Cornet Joe Armstrong
Joe rejoined the Band in March 2018. Joe (the proud father of our ex-Horn player Martin) was a former member of the Band between 1975 and 1989, having played Soprano Cornet and Flugel Horn. He is a very experienced player and strengthens the Band in our quest for future success. His profile will appear here shortly.
Cornet Helen Usher
Helen started playing cornet at the age of 9, taught by Colin Adamson at Chopwell Junior School. In 1979 she became a member of NRBBT and in 1981 joined Consett Whitbread Band. From 1985 Helen played Soprano and it was on this instrument that she moved to Lingdale Silver in 1990.
In 1996 Helen joined Boldon Colliery band and had spells on both Soprano and Principal Cornet before joining Fishburn Band in 1998 on the front row.
Helen is also the Band's treasurer.
She is married to our Soprano Cornet player, Malcolm.
Cornet Jayne Bateman
Jayne joined the Band in August 2007 having formerly played with several local bands including Langbaurgh, Lingdale and North Skelton bands.
Jayne is a very proactive member of the committee.
She is married to our Bass Player Trevor, and they have 2 children, Wizz (Trombone player) and Elliot (Uni-cyclist extraordinaire)
Cornet Audrey Gill
Audrey's playing career started with Horden Colliery Band (where her Grandad, Bill Buckley was conductor and her Uncle, Fred Buckley was on Solo Euphonium). After spells with Blackhall Colliery and Head Wrightson Works Band (Middlesbrough Brass) she joined her husband, John, at Fishburn Band in 1988.
Highlights include winning the Championship Section of the Northern Area contest in her first year with Fishburn and having the opportunity to compete with the best at the Royal Albert Hall.
Audrey is General Secretary of the Band and enjoyed the experience of recording the Band's two CD's and working alongside Brian Hillson and his team from B & H Sound Services.
Married to John, who also plays cornet for Fishburn, they have two children, Alison and Kieran.