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Paul Lovatt-Cooper

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Title: Paul Lovatt-Cooper  
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Subject: Black Dyke Band, Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, Dark side of the Moon, Brass band, Paul Cooper
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Paul Lovatt-Cooper

For the defensive ditch in Wales, see Clawdd-du.

Black Dyke Band, formerly John Foster & Son Black Dyke Mills Band, is one of the oldest and best-known brass bands in the world. The band has won many prizes and competitions over the years. In 2010, the band won the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain for a record 22nd time.[1] They have also won the European Championships a record twelve times, most recently in 2012.


It was formerly the band of the Black Dyke Mills in Queensbury, West Yorkshire, England, a company owned by John Foster. Foster, a French horn player, joined with others in a small brass and reed band in Queensbury in 1816.[2] This band faltered, and another band formed - called the Queenshead Band - which consisted of 18 musicians around 1843. This second band also faltered, but in 1855, Foster and other musicians established the new mill band, and outfitted it with uniforms made from the mill's own cloth. Most of the musicians in the band also worked at the mill, and a close bond was fostered with the local community. The band has remained active since that time, and still rehearses in its original rooms.

Black Dyke was the first band to achieve the "Grand Slam" in 1985 by winning the Yorkshire regional, European, British Open and National Championship contests.[3] They were also voted BBC Band of the Year.[4]


Black Dyke Band has made over 350 recordings, including one of the first brass band recordings in 1904 and classical music. It has recorded with classical bass trombonist Douglas Yeo, and pop acts Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel and The Beautiful South. The band also worked with Gabriel on the highly acclaimed Millennium Show, featured in the Millennium Dome, as well as recording the music for the BBC programme Ground Force.

In September 1968, the band released a single on The BeatlesApple Records label. The A-side was an instrumental composed by Lennon–McCartney called "Thingumybob" (the theme to a Yorkshire Television sitcom of the same name starring Stanley Holloway). The flipside was a brass band instrumental version of another Lennon–McCartney song, "Yellow Submarine". The single was released under the name John Foster & Son Ltd Black Dyke Mills Band, produced by McCartney, and was one of the first four singles issued on the Apple label.[5] In 1979, the Black Dyke Mills Band worked again with McCartney on a track for the Wings album Back to the Egg.

In August 2009, the band undertook a tour of Australia with multi-instrumentalist James Morrison which culminated in a concert at the Sydney Opera House.[6]

Notable members

The principals of the band's current line up include:[7]

  • Principal Cornet: Richard Marshall
  • Principal Euphonium: Gary Curtin
  • Principal Trombone: Brett Baker
  • Bass Trombone: Adrian Hirst
  • Soprano Cornet: Benjamin Richeton [8]
  • Principal Horn: Jonathan Bates [9]
  • Flugel Horn: Zoe Hancock
  • Principal Eb Bass: Joseph Cook
  • Principal Bb Bass: Matthew Routley
  • Principal Percussionist: Andrea Price

The band's current Principal Conductor and Director of Music is the Welsh euphonium virtuoso, Dr. Nicholas Childs. His predecessor was trumpet player James Watson.[10]

Paul Lovatt-Cooper was the band's Composer in Association and former principal percussionist. He retired from playing in early 2011 in order to concentrate on his teaching, conducting and composition.[11]

Black Dyke Band is the brass band in residence at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and Childs also conducts the RNCM Brass Band.[12]


External links

  • Black Dyke Band
  • GNER train named after band in December 2005

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