- Gerry Stuckey:
I starting learning cornet when I was 10 joining a great group of youngsters in the training band in Portishead where I grew up. I moved into the main band of Portishead Town Band (then known as the Electricity Club Band) a few years later where I had my first taste of contesting (Four Little Maids)
In the early 1990’s my teaching career took me to Wiltshire. Being new to the area I joined 2 local village bands, Amesbury Town Band and Shrewton Silver Band as an enjoyable way of meeting new people and seeing the local area. I was lucky enough to be a member of Shrewton Silver Band as it rose from the 4th Section to the 1st Section nationally. My best banding moments were playing in 2 National finals in Harrogate with the band. We didn’t do particularly well on either occasion but it was a brilliant experience!
Another highlight was meeting my husband John through banding when we both played for Shrewton Silver Band.
John and I were lucky enough to join OSMSB in 2017 when we moved to Devon from Salisbury Plain. Once again it has been a fantastic way to meet new people and discover the delights of Devon.
- Terry Bastyan
- Ewan Crook
- Holly Cooper
- Katherine Cooper
So how did it start as a family for us?
A colleague of mine was selling a battered old trumpet for £10, Ross said he had always wanted to play an instrument, so in his late 20s he started. Harry Phillip’s taught him the basics every Monday evening. I went to his first concert and realised what a great band this is. Having played the clarinet at school, I thought well if he can do it, I’m going to try and it’s something we can do together. Having watched ‘Brassed off’ the Flugel was the instrument of choice for me and there just happened to be an old Flugel sat idle in the band room lying in the bottom of a old cupboard accumulating dust, it was about 50 years old and had been played by Harry’s brother in the band many years before. Harry gave me a few lessons then i joined the band. I remember my very first band practice, I sat on the back row and the first piece of music was liberty bell, well after the second bar I was completely lost and sat there a little embarrassed just moving my fingers up and down, hopefully not getting noticed and thought how will I ever keep up. Today I still sometimes think that. I had only been with the band about a year and became the band secretary, I was secretary for 2 years. Ross also became chairman of the band. In 2004 we had Edward and this changed things, Ross and I would alternate band practice and staying home with Ed. Every engagement Ed would be there in his pushchair listening to the music. One Christmas we were carol playing around the streets of Ottery, Ed was in a child carrier on Ross’s back and bounced about to the music, beating Ross on the head as he tried to play. A few years on and Ed began to play the cornet, he started lessons at primary school, joined brass class and then the main band, and now I’m proud to say he sits with the first cornets next to his Dad (he can make sure Ross plays the right notes) and is working towards grade 8. 5 years after Ed was born we had Holly, she too was dragged along to every event, she also spent many hours on Thursday evenings sitting quietly in the corner of the band room as we rehearsed. Holly wanted to play and instrument and one day she came home from school and announce I’m going to play the violin, this was not quite what we had in mind, but we would encourage her all the same. After a while we taught her a few notes on the cornet and she then joined Brass class, Holly continues with Violin and is lucky to be taught by Sally in the band. So there we are the story of the coopers start to music as a family. Hopefully Holly will join the main band soon and we can have a quartet.