Distanced Banding videos and a new fundraising page to support St Dennis Band

St Dennis Band is a Championship section Brass band based in mid-Cornwall and was formed in 1838 as part of the festivities in connection with the coronation of Queen Victoria.

Today, the band is led by Musical Director Mr Darren R Hawken and are currently one of the finest Brass Bands in the South West of England. The band are also ranked within the top 100 bands in the world. 

As part of the St Dennis Band organisation, we also have a Youth Ensemble and Training Band for young people who receive musical tuition, provided by our Youth/Training Band Conducting Team and Senior Band players. We currently have approximately 20 young people learning to play a brass instrument.

The summer season is typically the busiest period of any year for the band. Covid-19 has hit the band hard in 2020 with all of its summer commitments cancelled owing to the pandemic. This not only means that we have suffered the entire Summer season without a single performance but also this relates to a loss of much needed funds exceeding £14k.

Despite this being a bitter pill to swallow, the band have remained engaged throughout and have been exploring new and innovative ways to continually perform for its followers. One of these methods has been via our ‘distanced banding’ video series. We are extremely lucky to have the in-house video editing skills of our Euphonium player Neil Pascoe. Neil has been able to merge individually recorded tracks into a singular performance. These videos have then been shared via our various Social Media channels.

We have received many requests from supporters over the last couple of months asking how they can support the band in the form of donations. So to facilitate this, we have setup a donations page on GoFundMe.

If you would like to support us in any way, this would be greatly appreciated.

The link to the fundraising page is:


Lastly, we hope that you and your families are staying safe and well during these trying times.

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Join us…BBb Bass vacancy

The St Dennis Band (Championship Section) invites expressions of interest for the position of BBb BASS. Based in Mid Cornwall and just 5 minutes off the A30, the band rehearses every Monday and Thursday at 19:45. With a healthy balance of concerts and contests, this friendly yet hard working ambitious band welcomes respective applicants to complete its line up.

The band has a full provisional upcoming contest diary next year that includes; West of England Regional Championships 2021, British Open Spring Festival (Grand Shield) 2021 and the West of England Bandsmen’s Festival 2021 in addition to many other exciting projects on the concert platform.

The band are inviting expressions of interest from all suitable players, and anyone interested should contact the Director of Music, Mr Darren R. Hawken at drhawken@hotmail.com or 07817 504036. Expressions of interest and subsequent applications will of course be treated in the strictest of confidence.

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Passing of former St Dennis Bandsman Mr Desmond Angilley

Mr DES ANGILLEY 1933-2020

The Band are saddened to learn of the passing of former St Dennis Bandsman Mr Desmond Angilley.

Des will be fondly remembered by many supporters and former playing members including Rodney Richards who writes ‘I was privileged to have known Des since 1949 when I first joined the Band. He was a talented player and loyal bandsman with a dry sense of humour which was always a source of entertainment on our long journeys to The National Finals in London. Des was also a great friend and our shared love of music and St Dennis Band is a bond which will always remain with me.’

Des will indeed be very much missed by all who knew him and the organisation extends condolences to Elizabeth, their son Neil and daughter in law Janet. A private burial service for Desmond will take place on Tuesday 14th July at Indian Queens, donations for Cancer Research (Indian Queens Branch) in memory of Des can be sent c/o Robert Bunt Funeral Directors, St Dennis PL26 8AB.

St Dennis Solo and Quartet Contest 2019 results

Well done to everyone who took part in the annual St Dennis Band solo, duet, and quartet contest on Saturday 23rd November.

Thanks to adjudicator David Marshall, who listened to 75 performances across 13 sections.

Special thanks to Christine Mackenzie for organising, Hannah Hawken for accompanying on the piano and everyone within the organisation who helped in anyway to make the day such a success.

Learners Class – Own choice (16 entries)
1. Isla Delamere – St Dennis Training
2. Ava Julian – St Dennis Training
3. Sam Truscott – St Dennis Training

Class 1: 9 & Under Slow Melody (4 entries)
1. Ella Taylor – Helston
2. Milly Churcher – St Keverne
3. Eva Margetts – Bodmin Youth

Class 2: 12 & Under Slow Melody (7 entries)
1. Rachel Margets – Bodmin Youth
2. Henry Ellis – St Keverne
3. Ella Taylor – Helston

Class 3: 15 & Under Slow Melody (6 entries)
1. Lia Teague – Camborne Town
2. Loveday Davies – St Breward
3. Samuel Gilbert – Lanner Brass Academy

Class 4: 18 & Under Slow Melody (8 entries)
(Part of the Championship of Cornwall competition)
1. Ellie Joy – St Dennis
2. Lia Teague – Camborne Town
3. Grace Thomas – Bodmin Town

Class 5: 18 & Under Aire Varie (2 entries)
1. Lia Teague – Camborne Town
2. Grace Thomas – Bodmin Town

Class 6: 18 & Under Duet (7 entries)
1. Ellie Joy and Grace Thomas – St Dennis / Bodmin Town
2. Loveday Davies & Maddie Jones – St Breward
3. Rachel and Eva Margetts – Bodmin Youth

Class 7: 16 & Under Quartet (2 entries)
1. Bodmin Youth 2
2. Bodmin Youth 1

Class 8: Open Slow Melody (11 entries)
1. Lia Teague – Camborne Town
2. Neil Pascoe – St Dennis
3. Andrew Julian – St Dennis

Class 9: Open Air Varie (3 entries)
(Part of the Championship of Cornwall competition)
1. Lia Teague – Camborne Town
2. Neil Pascoe – St Dennis
3. George Stratford – Forest of Dean

Class 10: Open Duet (4 entries)
1. Terry Sleeman & Amy Davenport – St Dennis
2. Terry Sleeman & Darren Hawken – St Dennis
3. Terry Sleeman & Kevin Johns – St Dennis / Helston

Class 11: Open Quartet (4 entries)
1. St Dennis B
2. St Dennis Trombones
3. St Dennis A

Class 12: Ensemble (2 entries)
1. St Dennis
2. Bodmin Youth


* Cornet – Lia Teague
* Euph/ Baritone – Neil Pascoe
* Horn/Flugel – Ellie Joy
* Bass – Lower bass of Helston quartet
* Trombone – Andrew Hammett
* Most promising player – Lia Teague
* Youngest player learner class – Charles Ellis – St Keverne
* Youngest player class 1 – Milly Churcher – St Keverne
* Veterans Cup – Terry Sleeman
* Most entertaining performance: St Dennis Trombones
* Most outstanding performance of the day: St Dennis Ensemble
* Visiting band with most entries – Bodmin Youth

St Dennis Band Solo & Quartet Contest 2019


The 2019 St Dennis Band Solo and Quartet Contest takes place at St Dennis Working Mens Club on Saturday 23rd November 2019.

Our adjudicator this year will be David Marshall ARCMLTCL p sm

Download the entry form

Download the class list and details

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St. Dennis Band announce new President and Chairperson

St. Dennis Band are delighted to confirm two new appointments to the organisation, that of President and Chairperson.

At the recent AGM it was confirmed that Judith Mitchell has accepted the position of President.

Judith said:

“I am the eldest daughter of Denis Hill who, until his death recently, has been the President of St Dennis Band for many years. My father and mother bought Trewan Hall in St Columb in 1961 and set up the campsite in 1965 in order to keep the estate going. I was 5 years old then and enjoyed a childhood there with my siblings until my marriage in 1979. In 1992, after bringing up 2 girls, I joined the family business. I have lived on site since then helping to manage the campsite and work on the estate. St Dennis Band have been a huge part of our successful entertainment for our visitors during the summer, including the Band fetes.

I am a ‘Nana’ now and can’t wait to introduce 2 more little girls to the Bands’ music. My husband and I are retiring after the next summer season and moving just a mile away in order to spend more time doing other things. I look forward to enthusiastically supporting the Band in any way I can.”

I look forward to enthusiastically supporting the Band in any way I can.”

We are thrilled that Judith has “picked up the reigns” from her dad and we look forward to a long and happy association.

Judith has kindly agreed to present the Band’s annual awards at the forthcoming “Patrons and Friends” concert on Friday 5th April, 7:30pm at the Bandroom and we look forward to greeting her and her family at her first “official” event.

Also at the AGM our longstanding Chairperson, Rodney Richards, announced his retirement from the post having filled it since 2012. Rodney has been associated with the Band for many, many, years first having contact with the Band over 70 years ago and having been a player at the time of the late, great, Eddie Williams. He started playing on a severely battered pre-war cornet and was sent to a 90 year old gentleman for lessons! He has had various roles within the committee over the years and his tenure as chairman has seen the Band progress into the top class Championship outfit that it is today.

At the AGM Rodney had this to say about his time in the role:

“Over the years I have been honoured and proud to be in this position and this year has shown how much the Band has improved in all ways. It is now a group of talented musicians who have so much respect for each other and they are a team, a band family.

I have been also honoured to lead the Band through Bugle and stand in the square with my head held high, to have heard them play for the Queen at Poundbury and to listen with pride to their contest performances. I will still attend all the contests and concerts and wish the Band continued progress and success under Daren Hawken’s leadership.”

We sincerely thank Rodney for his enthusiastic leadership and have lost no time in appointing him as Vice-President!

The new Chairperson is Philip Willcock who was enthusiastically and unanimously voted into the post at the AGM’s election of officers.

Philip is a former playing member of the Band, starting his playing career in the late sixties under the expert leadership of long term resident St Dennis conductor, Eddie Williams.

Philip remembers the halcyon period for him and fellow teenagers playing in both St. Dennis Bands culminating in National Final appearances with the Senior Band at The Royal Albert Hall and the two successive National title wins with the Youth Band in the 1970’s. Philip returned to the fold in recent years playing on the back row cornet bench.

Now retired from management positions in the distribution and retail industries, Philip is keen to assist in the continued development of the Band, so expertly led through many recent successes during the tenure of outgoing Chairman, Mr Rodney Richards, and the Professional MD, Mr Darren Hawken.

We are very much looking forward to working with Phil, and like Judith, his first official event will be the Patron’s and Friend’s Concert.

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St Dennis Band welcome new Youth Band Tutor

As part of the recent restructuring of their Junior and Youth organisation, the St Dennis Band are pleased to announce Mark Arnold as their new Youth Band Tutor; to work alongside Linda Trethewey in the Band’s Music Academy.

Vastly experienced, Mark played percussion for most of Yorkshire’s Championship Section Bands including Carlton Main, Brighouse & Rastrick, Black Dyke Mills, and for 14 years Grimethorpe Colliery. He also was a member of Grimley Colliery Band in the hit film Brassed Off.

Since turning his hand to conducting, Mark has built a reputation of developing young talent and has enjoyed success after rebuilding St Austell Youth Band and latterly Indian Queens Band.

Mark is no stranger to the St Dennis, assisting on Percussion wherever possible and supporting his wife Emma, who is the Band’s Principal Cornet.

Mark commented, “This is a great opportunity to rebuild St Dennis Youth Band into the formidable entertainment band it was renowned for and deserves to be, bringing fun into brass banding and teaching the brass players of the future.

Whilst Darren Hawken, St Dennis Band Director of Music commented…  “I’m pleased that Mark has accepted our invitation to take on the Youth Ensemble. His enthusiasm and drive will no doubt play an important part in the future of our youth players, establishing it as a major force within the organisation and in Cornwall. I look forward to supporting the ensemble greatly from within and developing already established links with the Senior Band.”

Mark will be working closely with Linda Trethewey who is already progressing well with the Junior Ensemble.  Youth Ensemble rehearsals currently take place every Thursday 6.30 to 7.30 pm.

If anyone aged 19 or under wishes to express their interest in joining the ensemble, please contact Mark via our website contact form.  

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St Dennis Band Solo & Quartet Contest 2018

The contest was held on Saturday 24 November 2018. The Venue was the Whitemoor Methodist Chapel who we appreciate allowing us to use their premises. We had Band representatives from St Dennis, Lanner Academy ,Mount Charles, St Keverne, St Breward, Forest of Dean & Bodmin. Thanks to the Adjudicator Gareth Churcher who commented that there was a lot of musical talent performing at the contest and he had enjoyed his day with us very much. Thanks also goes to our Official Accompanist, Hannah Hawken who did a brilliant service to us. Hannah is also an accomplished Brass Player herself. Our Committee and friends become available with their input during and on the day to encourage the day to go smoothly. Huge thanks goes to them. Hope to see you and more contestants next year. Please support all the Solo Contests, they are there to support you. The date of the St Dennis Solo & Quartet Contest 2019 is Saturday 30th November. Please enter the date in your Diary. Congratulations to the prize winners, they are follows:


Class 1 – 9 years & Under

1st – Eva Margetts – Bodmin Youth – 72 marks
2nd – Henry Ellis – St Keverne Youth – 71

Class 2 – 12 years & under

1st – Morgan Phillips – Lanner Academy – 81
2nd – Sam Gilbert – Lanner Academy – 80
3rd – Violet Margetts – Bodmin Youth – 79

Class 3 – 15 years & under

1st – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band – 82
2nd – Amy Bristow – St Dennis – 80
3rd –Loveday Davies – St Breward – 79.5

Class 4 – 18 years & under

1st – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band – 82
2nd – Ellie Joy – St Dennis Band – 81
3rd – Grace Thomas – Bodmin Band – 80

Class 5 – 18 years & under – Aire Varie

1st – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band – 81
2nd – Grace Thomas – Bodmin Band – 80

Class 6 – Duets 18 & under

1st – Ellie Joy & Lia Teague – St Dennis Band – 78
2nd – Jasmine Njoh & Violet Margetts – Bodmin Youth – 77
3rd – Amy & Jake Bristow – St Dennis – 76

Class 7 – 18 years & under – Quartets

1st – St Dennis Youth – 76
2nd – Bodmin Youth – 75

Class 8 – Open Solo

1st – Ellie Joy – St Dennis Band – 86
2nd – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band – 85
3rd – Grace Thomas – Bodmin Band – 84

Class 9 – Open – Aire Varie

1st – Neil Pascoe – St Dennis Band – 83
2nd – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band – 82
3rd – George Stratford – Forest of Dean – 81

Class 10 – Open Duet

1st – Rachel Sloggett & Neil Pascoe – St Dennis Band -83
2nd – Lia Teague & Darren Hawken – St Dennis Band – 82
3rd – Amy Davenport & Terry Sleeman – St Dennis Band – 81

Class 11 – Open Quartets

1st – St Dennis Band A – Neil, Julie, Catherine, Amy – St Dennis Band – 84
2nd – St Dennis Band B – Lia, Ellie, Rachel, Andrew – St Dennis Band – 83
3rd – St Dennis Band D – Rachel, Terry, George & Neil – St Dennis Band – 82

Class 12 – Ensemble

1st – St Dennis Band – 86
2nd – Mount Charles Band – 82
3rd – Bodmin Youth – 79


Best Soprano/Cornet – Lia Teague – St Dennis Band
Best Euphonium/Baritone – Neil Pascoe – St Dennis Band
Best Horn/Flugel – Ellie Joy – St Dennis Band
Best Bass – George Stratford – Forest of Dean
Best Trombone – Andrew Hammett – St Dennis Band
Veteran Entry – St Dennis Band – Terry Sleeman – St Dennis Band
Most Promising Player (classes 1 to 5) – Henry Ellis – St Keverne
Youngest Player (Classes 1 to 5) – Eva Margetts – Bodmin Youth
Most Entries for Visiting Band – Bodmin Youth
Most Entertaining Performance – Mount Charles Band Ensemble
Most outstanding Performance of the day – St Dennis Ensemble

Harley ‘Frank’ Brewer – 103rd Birthday Celebration

St Dennis Band were passed a band photograph recently via The China Clay History Group with a request to potentially name the Band conductor and players and to estimate the period that the picture was taken at the front of St Dennis Rectory.

Senior members of the St Dennis Band organisation agreed that the picture was almost certainly pre-war and with research from the fine array of competition trophies displayed in the photograph, in time could ascertain an accurate date.

St Dennis Band 1929

Imagine Phil Willcocks surprise to obtain confirmation that the photo was indeed taken in 1929 and the privilege to meet, and talk banding of yesteryear with a St Dennis Bandsman proudly stood as a member of the cornet section in the actual picture.

The meeting was on the occasion of Mr Frank Brewer’s 103rd birthday celebration at Amberley House, Truro with Frank displaying an enlarged framed identical picture on his living room wall. Aged 14 yrs at that time, Frank followed his father, Frank Brewer Snr (bass trombone) in the band moving to solo euphonium until the 1950’s, then continuing his end chair seat position touring all over the world with The Central Band of The RAF. His one regret during this time was not playing under the baton of Eddie Williams who he agrees was a massive asset to St Dennis. Frank has always retained a strong interest in the progress of the band from this time on.

Frank, better known as Harley Brewer during his time at St Dennis, recalls with great affection the musicianship and comradeship he experienced initially under his father’s wing and the renowned Bandmaster, also in the photo, Mr Charley Baker. Younger brothers Terry and Melville followed Frank in the band thus completing a long association of the Brewer name in the playing ranks of the band.

Frank spends leisure time listening to Brass Band music and would welcome an early afternoon visit from St Dennis Band supporters who will enjoy his amazing memory of concerts, occasions and fellow players from the late 1920’s onwards.

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Helston Solo Contest success

A successful day was had by members of the St Dennis band who attended the Helston solo contest on Saturday 20th October. 13 players took part in solos, duets and quartets.

Ellie Joy was placed 2nd in the ‘Under 18’s’ slow melody in a closely fought head to head with Grace Thomas of Bodmin. Whilst in the ‘Open’ slow melody, Ellie was placed 1st out of 9, with Grace in 2nd place.

Julie Dobson was awarded 3rd in the over 40’s solo class.

In the open duet, Terry Sleeman and Ellie Joy were awarded 2nd.

In the senior quartet St Dennis entered 4 quartets, with the quartet of James Hammett, Ellie Joy, Rachael Sloggett and Andrew Hammett coming 1st, winning the ‘Championship of Cornwall’ quartet shield.
2nd: Grace Thomas, Catherine Dowrick, Julie Dobson and Neil Pascoe.
3rd: Neil Pascoe, Terry Sleeman, Rachael Sloggett and Dave Coad.

A big thank you to Grace Thomas who agreed to play in a quartet at the last minute due to illness.

Well done to everyone who took part. The band are now looking forward to their own St Dennis contest on Saturday 24th November. Please download your entry from the bands website http://stdennisband.co.uk/st-dennis-band-solo-quartet-contest-2018.