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

New percussionist signing

Nigel ChaddSt Dennis Band are delighted to welcome Nigel Chadd, who joins the Percussion team.

Nigel started playing with Bude Town Band in 1977, and after a couple of years he moved to Launceston Band where his father Nick Chadd, was Musical Director at the time. He joined the Camborne Town Band in 1994 where he was part of many successful contest performances.

Nigel performed with St Dennis Band at the SWBBA Torquay contest in November 2015 and we are pleased that he made the decision to join the band following the contest.

We wish Nigel a long, happy and successful time with the band.



Posted in Signings Tagged with: ,

Solo contest success for Ellie

Launceston Town Band LogoOur Flugel Horn player Ellie competed at the 2015 Launceston Town Band Solo & Quartet contest on Saturday 24th October. The contest was held at held at Central Methodist Church in Launceston and was adjudicated by John Maines.

Out of the 4 classes entered, Ellie came 1st in 3 of them! This included the 13 – 15 Slow melody, Junior Aire Varie and Junior Quartet class where she was joined by friends Alina, Charlotte and Cathryn Nuta from the Bodmin Town Band.

In addition to these wins, Ellie also came 3rd in the open slow melody.

St Dennis Band would like to congratulate Ellie on her achievements.

Posted in Contests, Player Success Tagged with: , ,

CBBA Contest – Cornish Junior Band Champions

St Dennis Junior Band at CBBA Contest 2015St Dennis Junior Band won first place at the Cornwall Brass Band Associations Diamond Jubilee Contest last Saturday (17th October 2015). This makes them current “Cornish Junior Band Champions”.

The Junior Band played a medley of pieces including their own piece “Our Junior Band” which was written for them by Mr John Brush. They also won first prize for the best hymn tune performance of “Treskerby” within the Junior Band Section.

The Youth Band entered the Youth Section and won third prize.

Both bands were conducted by Junior/Youth Band Musical Director Rachael Sargent who has worked so hard preparing the bands for the contest. These results show that the Youth/Junior Bands are certainly heading in the right direction.

Congratulations to both Bands!

St Dennis Band run a School of Brass every Wednesday night at the Band Room, £1.00 for loan of instrument and tuition. New and returning players always welcome.

Full results are available on the 4BarsRest Website

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