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.


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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: , , ,

New Cornet Signing

The St.Dennis Band are delighted to announce the signing of young cornet star Lia Teague. A member of the Cornwall Youth Brass Band for the past three years and a new addition to the National Children’s Band of Great Britain this coming July, Lia’s talent is shining through in abundance. Winning no less that 27 prizes at solo contests and music festivals last winter, a wonderful singer and an all round musician, Lia’s future looks incredibly bright. Her teachers have been Jeremy Wilcock, Darren Hendy and presently, Jane Whitehead.

Musical Director Darren Hawken commented, ‘I’m thrilled that Lia is joining the band. Personally, I consider Lia the most up and coming cornet player in the South West of England and her addition to the band will be most welcomed. I know the countless hours of devoted practice she does and indeed the weekly lessons she has signalling her drive, ambition and commitment to her music making. My ethos has always been to support the development of such promising young players as they are indeed, the future of the brass band movement. St.Dennis Band has the perfect balance of blend between talented youth and sheer experience and her development will be enhanced further by playing amongst such fine players with a band of this magnitude week in week out. I wish Lia the most happy of times with St.Dennis Band and hope she has many successful years with the band along the way’.

Lia will be joining the band on second cornet making her first contest appearance at the West of England Bandsmen’s Festival (Bugle) in June.

The band are currently working hard on ‘Music for Battle Creek’ in preparation for the British Open Spring Festival later this month before launching an attack on Bugle Contest playing ‘Variations on a Ninth’ in June. A very busy summer season is then upon the band before representing Cornwall at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in September.

Posted in Signings Tagged with: ,

Player Vacancy: Tutti Solo Cornet

The St.Dennis Band (West of England First Section Champions 2016) would like to invite applications for a first class permanent tutti Solo Cornet player with effect from July 2016. This opportunity has arisen to complete our full line up in preparation for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in September. All expressions of interest are to be made to the Musical Director, Mr Darren Hawken. (07817504036 or

Posted in Vacancies

Reunion and Archive event

St Dennis Band are hosting a combined Reunion and Archive event at the Bandroom on the 23rd April, starting at 4pm.

Come along and reminisce with old friends about your old St Dennis Band days whilst exploring the vast amount of archive content that will be on show.


Posted in Events

Passing of former Musical Director and Vice President: John Brush

It is with great sadness that the band announces the passing of our much loved former Musical Director and Vice President John Brush. He was a great friend to us all and will be sadly missed. 

The funeral will be held at the Penmount Crematorium on Thursday 31st March at 3.00pm. The Band and Committee extends its sincere condolences to all John’s family

Posted in Uncategorized

St Dennis receive top grade for essay!

On Sunday, St Dennis Band competed in the first section at the annual area contest held at the Riviera Centre in Torquay. This year’s set test piece was “Essay” by Edward Gregson which was first commissioned in 1971 for the Championship section at the Albert Hall London. The judges commented how 45 years on from that time, the testpiece is still an extremely difficult test for the Brass Bands of today.

Area's Torquay March 2016

St Dennis Band – West of England First Section Champions 2016

Following the band’s normal trend of early draws at this contest, St Dennis were drawn to play the dreaded no 1 on Sunday afternoon, but the band were full of spirit and determination which in turn led to them setting a benchmark performance which on the day proved difficult to beat. There were many fine solo contributions throughout the performance, in particular Andrew Hammett (Trombone) and Emma Arnold (Principal Cornet) who played the leading solos in the 2nd movement “Soliloquy” with such fine style and panache.

The Band were awarded first prize and also qualified for a place at the National Finals which will be held in Cheltenham in September. St Dennis Band are the only Cornish Band to qualify for the 2016 National Finals. We will be joined this year by Brunel Brass (Swindon) who took the runners-up spot in the First Section.

Musical Director Darren Hawken added “The band were really superb, did everything I asked of them and all the hard work certainly paid off. The result and performance will live long in the memory!”

MD Darren Hawken with Chairman Rodney Richards

MD Darren Hawken with Chairman Rodney Richards

For the band’s E-Flat bass player Peter Bazeley, Sunday’s win was the icing on the cake as it meant he has now won every section (4th to Championship) at the area contest with St Dennis Band. This is a remarkable achievement for such a great bandsman.

Following the results, adjudicator Alan Fernie congratulated the band on stage and expressed that in terms of the old style points system, this performance could have easily been awarded a 10 point clear win.

Thanks must go to Darren for the huge amount of effort that he puts in each week and also to Philip Harper who led an enjoyable weekend workshop on the test piece at the end of February.

The band are now looking forward to starting to work on the test piece for the Blackpool Spring Festival in May where they will compete in the middle tier for the Senior Cup. The test piece is Phillip Sparke’s “Music for Battle Creek”.

Full Results
Test Piece: Essay (Edward Gregson)
Adjudicators: Jappie Dijkstra & Alan Fernie

1. St Dennis (Darren Hawken)*
2. Brunel Brass (John Winterflood)*
3. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
4. Roche Brass (Garry Cutt)
5. Hyde (Jonathan Lush-Camps)
6. St Keverne (Gareth Churcher)
7. Sherborne Town (Steve Rogers)
8. Michelmarsh Silver (Major David Barringer)
9 Forest of Dean (Roger Phelps)
10. Otterbourne Brass (Melvin White)
11. A W Parker (Drybrook) (Josh Ruck)
12. Wooton-under-Edge & District (Ian Dickinson)
13. Pendennis Brass Falmouth (John Woodrow)
14. St Pinnock (Jane Whitehead)
15. Helston Town (David Johnson)

*Top two qualify for National Finals


Related: 4BarsRest Contest Report

Posted in Contests