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The Youth Band is the most senior level of the band and the standard is generally from grade 5 and above. The current age's of the band range from 10 to 18.
Several times a year workshops are held for the Youth Band with players from such Championship Sections Bands as Fodens and Black Dyke. Guest musical directors typically from championship section bands also regularly visit the band. The band currently enters the Action Research Entertainment competition held in February and the National Youth Brass Band Championships in April. Players are also encouraged to enter our slow melody competition.
Many of the Youth Band players have gone on to play with championship and first section bands including; Fodens Band, Black Dyke Mills Band, Roberts Bakery Band, Grimethorpe Colliery Band and Tredegar Town Band .
Nigel Birch - Musical Director Lions Youth Brass
Nigel Birch hails from Sandbach in Cheshire, and from the age of twelve started to play the Cornet at Haslington Boys Brigade Band. Within twelve months, he went on to play for Roberts Bakery Band where he remained for a number of years. In 1984, Nigel left Roberts Bakery to fulfil a lifelong ambition of playing for the famous Fodens Band. While with the band, he was fortunate to play under some great conductors, such as James Scott, Richard Evans and most notably, Howard Snell.
After a few successful years with Fodens, Nigel re-joined Roberts Bakery, where he finished his playing career.
In 1990 Nigel took up the conductors baton, and joined the Lions Youth Brass. It was soon evident that Nigel and the band were an excellent combination, and in 1994, and then again in 1995, Nigel guided the band to becoming the Champion Youth Band of Great Britain. Nigel was persuaded to re-join the Youth Band in August 2001.
Nigel is married to Helen, and they have two daughters, Charlotte and Franczeska. Charlotte is now a tutor in the Lions Youth Brass organisation.
The Junior Band is made up of players who are generally between grade 2 and 5 standard. The current age's range from 8 to 15. Conducted by Tom Hancock, and assisted by tutors; Steve Barwick and Matthew Darlington, the band bridges the gap between the Beginner and Youth Band and introduces the players to the concept of playing in a band at a higher level. The band performs both in support of the Youth Band and in their own right in contests and competitions.
Several times a year workshops are held for the band with players from such bands as Roberts Bakery Band helping out. The band currently competes at Newcastle-Under-Lyme festival held in March, the National Youth Brass Band Championships in April and the Whiston Brass Festival held in July. Players are also encouraged to enter our own slow melody competition.
When players reach the required standard, they move up to the Youth Band. Once Junior Band players are ready they normally help out in the Youth Band for a period, before moving there full time.
Tom Hancock - Musical Director Lions Junior Brass
Tom joined the Lions Youth Brass organisation in 1997. After progressing through the Beginner and Junior Bands, Tom was appointed Principal Cornet of the Lions Youth Brass in 2006. Tom was delighted to be appointed as a Tutor of the Lions Junior Brass in the summer of 2008 and the Junior Band Musical Director in 2012.
Tom also plays for Roberts Bakery Band and was a founding member of Delta Brass Cheshire. Tom also conducts the Staffordshire based band Audley Brass. In 2009 Tom graduated from Staffordshire University with a BA (Hons) in Modern and International History followed by a Masters from Manchester in 2010. Tom is a private brass tutor and freelance cornet/trumpet player.
The Lions Beginner Band is the starting point of the Lions Youth Brass organisation. The band accepts children who are just starting on their journey to learn a musical instrument and grounds them in the basics of music before passing them onto the Junior Band when they generally reach grade 2 standard.
Each week the time is spent in small tutor groups together with playing in the Beginner Band. All the tuition is provided by our team of volunteer tutors and helpers.
The band plays in a number of concerts each year with the other two bands. The band currently enters the Newcastle-Under-Lyme Festival held in March and the National Youth Brass Band Championships in April. In 2016 the Beginner Band completed a hat trick of 'Band with Most Potential' Awards at the national championships, having won it in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Players are also encouraged to enter our slow melody competition.
The band is conducted by Chris Thompson, who is ably assisted by a fantastic team of tutors consisting of Matthew Darlington, Derek Gardener and Charlotte Birch. Quiz nights (‘Are you musical than your ten year old?’) are held annually, including both band members and their parents. Rehearsals are always a great deal of fun with a lot of hard work going in, and no small amount of laughter involved too!The Beginner Band Performance at the 2015 National Brass Band Championships can be seen via the following link http://youtu.be/-mnTlTsSVCE
Chris Thompson - Musical Director Lions Beginner Brass
A former Bass Trombone player for the Lions Youth Brass, Chris previously has played for Roberts Bakery, Rode Hall Silver Band, Nantwich and District Wind Band, Delta Brass and Audley Brass, where he held the position of Principal Trombone and appeared at the National Finals at Dundee in 2003. Chris was also a founder member of the famous Delta Brass Cheshire Brass Quintet.
Chris was delighted to be appointed as one of three Musical Directors of the Lions Beginner Band in 2005 and was appointed sole Musical Director in 2011. During his tenure he has provided many of his own compositions and arrangements for the band to play, having had several published. Professionally, Chris works as a Teaching Assistant at Norton-In-Hales Primary School as well as running his own brass teaching business.