Steve Atwell

Steve Atwell

1st Horn

My playing career started at the tender age of 10 with Ashtonian Brass Band.  Right from the start I knew tenor horn was the instrument of choice for those wanting an easy life!  

I then moved to the Mossley Band before landing with Boarshurst in 1985 taking the first horn seat.  Between then and 1994 I moved steadily through the ranks (by one chair) to Solo Horn before deciding to take on a new challenge on the Euphonium where I played with Lees & Glodwick on Solo Euph, and then a move to Solo Baritone with Rochdale Coop Band.  

My first experience of the British Open came in a short stint with Wingates in 1998 before returning to my destined instrument taking the Solo Horn chair at Todmorden Old Band.  A 12 month spell with Leyland followed in 2000 which included a chance to sit Solo Horn at the North West Area on the much underrated Philip Wilby piece, Jazz.  

A very brief return to Todmorden was then followed in 2002 by the amazing opportunity to be part of the Yorkshire Building Society Band under the guidance of the inimitable Professor David King.  I spent 3 years wondering what on earth I was doing there and just sitting in awe of some of the greatest musicians I’ve had the privilege to share the stage with.  This period gave me some of my banding highlights being fortunate enough to take part in and win 3 European Championships as well as the British Open and All England Masters titles.  

All good things must come to an end, and due to work commitments I retired in 2005.  I was persuaded out of retirement in 2009 to help out friends at the Oldham (Lees) Band ahead of my second retirement.  My next comeback was with the Hepworth Band where I helped win the Grand Shield in 2012.  

Retirement came and went once more and my final final comeback was made with the VBS Poynton Band, where having come along to play on Whit Friday in 2014 and then the 2015 North West Areas, I ended up being persuaded to join full time, in no small part due to the fact that I fell hopelessly in love with the Solo Horn player Jilly, who I am now lucky enough to be married to.  The band has developed so much in this time and through a great mix of youth and experience has deserved the great results we’ve had in 2018.  The inspirational and often unconventional direction of Stig Maersk means that even with so many years of playing behind me I still come home from every rehearsal feeling like I have learned something.  

The observant amongst you will note that of the 12 bands I have played with in the last 36 years, more than half of them (just) do actually still exist.  Well done me!

Away from band my time is taken with our wonderful family, 3 amazing kiddies and far too much time at work!

Player Trivia

Favourite Test-Piece
Favourite test piece is a more difficult one, too many great choices. Concerto Grosso for the selfi

Favourite Concert Piece
Macarthur Park

Banding Highlight
My banding highlight (aside from my first contest with Jilly of course - we came last but didn’t care) was my first opportunity to play at the European Championships in 2012 in Belgium where we won with an iconic performance of Concerto Grosso, which still brings a tear to my eye to this day when I listen back. Winning the 2003 British Open playing The Planets was a close second but nothing can prepare you for the raucous enthusiasm of the european championships audiences, and the fact my parents travelled to Belgium to support me just a few months before my dad passed away remains hugely poignant given all the sacrifices they made to support my playing over the years.