Mitchell joins the St Dennis Percussion Team

The St.Dennis Band are delighted to announce the immediate signing of Mr John Mitchell. An outstanding, vastly experienced and hugely talented percussionist, John will be a massive addition to the band. Professional Musical Director Mr Darren R. Hawken commented:

I’m absolutely thrilled that John is signing in time for the West of England Regionals. I’ve known John for some time and he is without doubt one of the finest percussionists not just here in the South West of England but throughout the UK. With many contests and high profile concerts diarised for 2017 and beyond, his addition will now allow us to explore different contemporary repertoire for the brass band idiom and thus, continuing the development of this fine band.

John studied Percussion and Timpani at Trinity College of Music whilst performing with the Aveley and Newham, Britannia Building Society and Black Dyke Mills brass bands.  After graduating from TCM, John performed professionally with the English National Ballet & Opera Orchestra, Royal National Theatre, Bournemouth Sinfionetta, London West End musicals (Miss Saigon, Blood Brothers), the pop artist Bjork and the band Faithless. Whilst performing within London, John also held teaching positions with the Kent Music School and Kent College Canterbury.

In 2008, John was appointed by the London College of Music to work as a specialist Drum Kit and Orchestral Percussion examiner for LCM graded music examinations and diplomas.  His compositions for percussion have been selected and published by the London College of Music for their 2009 percussion and drum kit syllabus as well as the new LCM drum kit diploma syllabus being released in 2017.

Since returning to Cornwall to live John divides his full time teaching commitments between teaching Drums and Percussion within county secondary schools and classroom music teaching at Redruth School and Sixth Form.

John still performs regularly as a professional percussionist throughout the UK, he currently plays full time with the 1940’s American jump jive band Company B and regularly works on resident and touring shows at Theatre Royal Plymouth and Hall for Cornwall.

His qualifications in percussion performance and teaching include: GTCL, ALCM, LLCM, FLCM, PGCE.

I am extremely pleased and excited to have been asked by Darren to play for St Dennis Band, its a Brass Band with an incredible heritage and to be part of that is a great honour indeed – John Mitchell

Posted in Signings Tagged with:

St Dennis Band 2017 Annual General Meeting – January 24th

St Dennis Band invites you to attend its Annual General Meeting which will be held at St Dennis Bandroom, Park Head, Hendra Rd, St Dennis on Tuesday 24th January starting at 7:30pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4BR 2016 Awards – Double nomination for St Dennis

Online Brass Band Magazine 4BarsRest have today announced nominations for their annual awards.

The Band are delighted to have been nominated by 4bBarsRest for two categories. Firstly a nomination for “Lower section band of the year” and secondly for “Contest performance of the year”. The bands’ winning performance of “Essay” by Edward Gregson back in March is up against 9 other “Stand out” performances from other top Brass Bands worldwide. It was a performance that was cited as being an outstanding top-drawer rendition which led the band on to win the National Finals title in Cheltenham later in 2016.

Contest Performance of the Year:

Brass Band Buizingen (Belgian National Championship — ‘Raveling, Unraveling’)
Brass Band Schoonhoven (Dutch National Championship — ‘The Triumph of Time’)
Cory (European Championship — ‘Fraternity’)
Cory (British Open — ‘The Triumph of Time’)
Cory (Brass in Concert)
Eikanger Bjorsvik (Norwegian National Championship — ‘Searching for Light’)
St Dennis (West of England Regional Championship — ‘Essay’)
Tredegar (Welsh Regional Championship — ‘Cambridge Variations’)
Valaisia (Swiss National Championship — ‘Goldberg 2012’)
Valaisia (European Championship Own Choice — ‘Trance’)

The 10 ‘stand out’ contest performances of the year — the ones that set the bench mark. ~ 4BarsRest

Lower Section Band of the Year:

Brass Band Sachsen (Germany)
De Spijkerpakkenband (Netherlands)
European Youth Band
Fountain City Youth Band (USA)
Morawa District High School Brass Band (Australia)
St Dennis (England)
Tertnes Skoles Musikkorps (Norway)
Wardle Junior Blast (England)
Youth Brass 2000 (England)
Young Brass Band Willebroek (Belgium)

As with the Band of the Year category, these are the 10 bands have been chosen not just for their contest achievements during the past year, but also for their artistic ones — from concert performances and tours to recordings, projects, and even simply being an inspiration to others. ~ 4Barsrest

The nominations will now be considered by a panel of 11 Judges, with the winners being announced on Christmas Day.

Posted in Performances Tagged with:

St Dennis Band Solo & Quartet Contest 2016 Results

The St Dennis Band’s Solo & Quartet Contest took place on Saturday 26th November 2016.  First time Venue in the St Dennis Working’s Men’s Club was a resounding success.  The Committee and Band would like to thank the Club for their assistance and last minute acceptance as the Venue for this year, it was very much appreciated.  The Adjudicator was Mr John Maines who said it was a very musical day with excellent playing from the Young People and the older classes.  He also mentioned it was very important to keep the solo and quartet contest’s taking place each year to help the youngsters to progress and help the Brass Band’s  players for the future generation.  Thank you to the Accompanist’s Mrs Ann Fleet and Miss Hannah Hawkin who are there for the Competitors year after year.  Thank you goes to the hard work of arranging food, raffles and advertisements from members of the St Dennis Band Committee.

The results were as follows:-

Results 2016

Learners Class

1st –   Lewis Griffin – St Dennis Youth

2nd  – Eva Margetts

Class 1 – 9 years and under

1st – Jasmine Njoh – St Dennis Youth

2nd – Lily Njoh -St Dennis Youth

Joint 3rd – Aime Anderston – Indian Queens &  Freya Yelland – St Dennis Youth

Class 2 – 12 years and under

1st – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band

2nd – Sowenna Trethewey – St Dennis Youth

3rd  – Violet Margetts – St Dennis Youth

Class 3 – 15 years and under

1st – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band

2nd – Ellie Joy – St Dennis Band

3rd – Grace Thomas – St Austell Band

Class 4 – 18 years and under

1st – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band

2nd Grace Thomas – St Austell Band

3rd – Ellie Joy – St Dennis Band

Class 5 – Junior Aire Varie – 18 years and under

1st – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band

2nd – Becca Whitford – St Dennis Band

Class 6 – Junior Duet – 18 years and under

1st – Ellie Joy & Becca Whitford – St Dennis Band

Class 8 – Open Slow Melody

1st – Ben Stratford – Flowers Band

2nd – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band

3rd – Grace Thomas – St Austell Band

Class 9 – Open Aire Varie

1st – Ben Stratford – Flowers Band

2nd  – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band

3rd – George Stratford – Forest of Dean

Class 10 – Open Duet

1st – Terry Sleeman – St Dennis Band & Ben Stratford – Flowers Band

2nd – Ellie Joy & Andrew Hammett – St Dennis Band

Class 11 – Open Quartet

1st – St Dennis Quartet

2nd – St Dennis Trombones

Class 12 – Ensemble

Volunteer  Players of the day for combined Ensemble


Youngest Player – Learner Class – Eva Margetts – St Dennis Youth

Youngest Player – Class 1 – Rachel Margetts – St Dennis Youth

Most Promising Player – Classes 1 to 5 – Ben Tucker – Soundhouse Brass

Best Cornet/Soprano – Lia Teague

Best Euphonium/Baritone – Ben Stratford – Flowers

Best Flugel/Horn – Ellie Joy – St Dennis Band

Best Bass – George Stratford – Forest of Dean

Best Trombone – Andrew Hammett – St Dennis Band

Most Entertaining Performance – Terry Sleeman & Ben Stratford

Most Outstanding Performance of the Day – Ben Stratford – Flowers


Veterans Cup – Terry Sleeman – St Dennis Band

(In memory of Denzil Boundy – Indian Queens Band –   Bass Player – who attended the contest over the years to encourage the Young Players)

Visiting Band with the most entries – St Austell Band

Posted in Contests

SWBBA Contest Report – St Dennis Youth Band

The Youth Band attended the South W14925586_710931782397739_7975403122909059813_nest Brass Band Association Championships held at Torquay on Saturday November 5th. Well they certainly set off a few musical fireworks!! This had been the first out off county “bus trip” contest for the Youth Band since it was reformed in 2010 and the young musicians, ranging in ages from 6 to 15 were certainly excited to say the least!! Some of the under 20’s from the Senior Band also played with them to lend a bit of experience along with the allowed 2 adult players Luke Bazeley on BBb Bass and Colin Whitford on Bass Trombone. They played an “own choice” test piece “English Folk Songs Suite” by Ralph Vaughn Williams and arranged by Frank Wright. There was some truly fantastic playing by the young players, and the outstanding performance earned them an excellent 2nd place, just being pipped by the youngsters of St. Keverne.

However, our Youth Band’s Principal Cornet, Holly Sargent, came away with the best instrumentalist prize for the second contest in a row this year!! Some maid!!

Not only did they play well but their conduct and behavior was absolutely exemplary, they are a credit to St. Dennis and we are so very proud of them and their trainer Rachael Sargent. We would also like to thank all of the parent helpers, tutors and committee members who worked hard to make the day run so smoothly.




Read more about it, see the pictures, and “like” the band at

Posted in Contests, Player Success, Youth Band

St Dennis Band perform for Royal event in Poundbury Dorset

The Band were honoured to perform in Poundbury (Dorset) on Thursday for an appointment with Her Majesty the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. Having received this special invitation a few weeks ago to perform the National Anthem for the unveiling of a new iconic statue of the late Queen Mother, the band members had been very excited in the weeks leading up to the event, with no fewer than 35 concert works to prepare.

Poundbury Dorset Queen Mother Square

The Band and Musical Director Darren Hawken entertaining the crowds in Poundbury

Starting shortly after 9am, the band performed in the Queen Mother Square entertaining the thousands of people who lined the streets for the momentous occasion whilst they awaited the Royals to arrive. A number of items were then performed whilst Her Majesty the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh completed their guided tour of Prince Charles’ latest phase of development.

The highlight of the day had to be performing the National Anthem whilst Her Majesty unveiled the bronze statue of her late mother. The performance really showed how proud the band were to have played a part in this historic event. One that will certainly be remembered by our musicians.


Posted in Events Tagged with: , , ,

New Cornet signings

The St.Dennis Band are delighted to announce the signing of two cornet players.

Firstly, Amy Davenport joins us from St.Austell Band and Becki Richards signs from Mount Charles Band thus completing the much strengthened cornet section. Both key additions to the band are hugely welcomed whilst bringing with them a huge wealth of experience and talent. Following on from a memorable and outstanding year on the concert and contest platforms, this is yet another real boost to the band going into 2017. Musical Director Darren Hawken commented,

I’m thrilled and delighted that both players are on board and have in turn bought in to the direction, tradition and the philosophy of this fine band. I see both core signings as fundamental to the continued success going forward in order for us to compete strongly back in the Championship Section from January 2017. The band are ready, I’m more than ready and everyone is relishing the opportunity to progress and develop together even further.

Posted in Signings

St Dennis Band Solo & Quartet Contest 2016

The 2016 St Dennis Band Solo and Quartet Contest takes place at St Dennis Primary Academy on 26th November 2016.

Our adjudicator this year will be John Maines (BA Hons).

To download an entry form, please click here

To view the class list and details, please click here

Posted in Contests, Events, Youth Band Tagged with: ,

St Dennis crowned National First Section Champions at Cheltenham

The band were delighted to be crowned First Section Champions at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain which were held at The Centaur (Cheltenham Racecourse) over the weekend. The band gave an extremely musical and precise performance of the set test piece “Ballet for Band” by Joseph Horovitz.

Adjudicators John Maines and Alan Morrison remarked that it was a fine performance and masterful reading that captured the spirit of the music and painted so many pictures.

This victory also sees the band return to the Championship section from January 2017.national-finals-september-2016-2016-09-17-052

A big thank you must go to our Musical Director, Darren Hawken, for the countless hours spent working up this fine test piece. Darren commented “This victory has capped off a great contesting year, one that will be remembered for a long time.”
This hard work coupled with a weekend workshop with Philip Harper played a big part in the bands success.

It has been an extremely successful year for St Dennis. Out of the 4 contests entered this year, the band have come away with 3 wins and also a top 10 placing at the Spring Festival contest in Blackpool.

Full Results…

Test Piece: Ballet for Band (Joseph Horovitz)
Adjudicators: John Maines & Alan Morrison

1. St Dennis (Darren Hawken)
2. Vernon Building Society Poynton (Neil Samuel)
3. Aveley & Newham (Robert Nunnery)
4. Blidworth Welfare (Martin Heartfield)
5. Ebbw Valley (Gareth Ritter)
6. Jackfield Elcock Reisen (Simon Platford)
7. Bedworth (David Maplestone)
8. Brunel (John Winterflood)
9. Rainford (Gareth Brindle)
10. Lockwood Brass (John Roberts)
11. City of Cardiff (Mellingriffith) (Nigel Seaman)
12. Hatfield (Stan Lippeatt)
13. Bo’ness & Carriden (Charlie Farren)
14. Chapeltown Silver (Andrew Davies)
15. Tullis Russell Mills (Paul Kiernan)
16. Ripon City (Martin Hall)
17. Northfleet Brass (Melvin White)

Posted in Contests Tagged with: ,

30th Royal Trophy win for St Dennis

St Dennis Band took top honours last weekend at the 92nd West of England Bandsmens Festival with a performance described by adjudicator Michael Fowles as an incredibly musical performance which grasped the composers intentions of the piece.Bugle Contest June 2016 2016-06-18 103

The set test piece was the extremely popular “Variations on a Ninth” by Gilbert Vinter which showcased the bands rounded sound and slylistic soloists whilst allowing Musical Director Darren Hawken to musically shape the piece to provide the required character of each variation. The Band were awarded 1st place in the Championship section, receiving the Royal Trophy. This victory marked the 30th Royal Trophy win for the band since 1920.

The band also won the onstage march performance of O.R.B which was full of clarity and swagger! Kimberly Bazeley (Solo Euphonium) and Sarah Whitehead (Solo Horn) received individual soloist awards for their fine contributions to the performances, whilst Solo Baritone Terry Sleeman was awarded Best Player following his elegant and effortless cadenza.

Bugle Contest June 2016 2016-06-18 096

As winners of the contest, St Dennis Band brought the 2016 contest to a close at 8pm in “The Square” performing Cornish Hymn “Great Soul”, “Deep Harmony” and March “Park Head” which was composed for the band by former Musical Director John Brush who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Musical Director Darren Hawken commented “I’m very proud of the players for playing so well, both musically and with a mature understanding of Vinter. It really was an authentic and classic Vinter performance and our determination and hard work paid off. The sharp and exquisite playing of the march ORB really set us on our way leaving no one in doubt that the band was playing magnificently well from the outset. Detailed, shaped and meticulous musicality adopting a full rich band tone really rewarded us on Saturday. 2016 has so far been a hugely successful contesting season with the band in golden form. We will do all we can to continue this trend at the National Finals representing Cornwall and I’m quietly optimistic that a big result there can cap a memorable year for us all at St Dennis Band.”

The St Dennis Youth Band gave an excellent performance of test piece “English Folk Songs Suite” by Ralph Vaughan Williams showing huge progression over the last 12 months under the Baton of Youth Band Musical Director Rachael Sargent. Principal Cornet Holly Sargent was awarded the prize for Best Cornet Player in the section. The Youth Band marched down to the contest field playing their signature march “Our Junior Band” which was composed for them by John Brush.

Bugle Contest June 2016

Bugle Contest June 2016

Bugle Contest June 2016





Posted in Contests, Youth Band Tagged with: , , ,