Our Cornet Section

Tom Hutchinson - Principal Cornet

Tom began learning the trumpet at the age of nine and moved onto cornet in order to join his local brass band Stannington. As an early teenager he joined Barnsley Building Society Band and quickly ascended to the position of principal cornet. Tom’s first taste of playing ‘top man’ in a championship section band happened a few years later, aged fifteen, when he joined the Rothwell Temperance Band under the baton of David Roberts.

During these formative years Tom also played solo cornet with the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain including two courses as Leader. It was the Band’s Associate Conductor, Dr Nicholas Childs who noticed his talent and later invited him to join the Black Dyke Band.

Tom played for ‘Dyke’ on repiano cornet, and at the age of eighteen, was promoted to tutti solo cornet. He played with Black Dyke for four years, contributing to many contest successes including the British Open and both the English National and National Championship of Great Britain titles. During his time with ‘Dyke’ he also toured extensively across Europe and America. He was also part of an extended tour of Australia where he performed in Sydney Opera House. 

During the period Tom played at Black Dyke he was also a student at The Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester where he studied trumpet and cornet with John Miller and Richard Marshall respectively, graduating with a B.Mus.(hons) degree. The most memorable musical moment for Tom as a student, was giving the world première of Elgar Howarth’s Sonatina for trumpet and pianoforte in his final recital. 

After Tom graduated, Tom was invited to join the mighty Cory Band on principal cornet, and the lure of sitting on the ‘end chair’ for the reigning; British Open, European, World Champion Band was too great an opportunity to turn down. After leading the band to its hat-trick winning European title in 2010, and Welsh regional title in 2011, he hopes to win many other major trophies with Cory. As well as playing principal cornet with the Cory band, he is a brass tutor for Birmingham Music Service, cornet tutor for the National Youth Brass Band of Wales, and a visiting tutor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Tom is pleased to be working with Besson and playing their Prestige cornet.

At the 2011 British Open Brass band Championships, Tom was awarded the Stanley Wainright Memorial Award as Best Soloist.

Carl Saunders - Assistant Principal Cornet

Carl Saunders performed his first solo at the age of five at The Salvation Army in Cardiff, the city in which he was born and grew up, and in which he still lives. He quickly developed as a soloist in his position of principal cornet of the Cardiff Canton Band. He has performed in many parts of the world including the USA, Norway, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Australia, as well as all over the UK. In 1998 Carl appeared with The International Staff Band as a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall.

Carl was a founder member of the Household Troops Band when it was re-formed in 1985, playing soprano cornet for that historic tour. Since then he became the principal cornet of the band and in 2008 was appointed Deputy Bandmaster. Carl has recorded many solos with the band and in January 2014 he will conduct his third recording since taking over leadership in October 2010. 

In August, 2014, he accepted the challenge of Asst. Principal Cornet.

Ian Williams - Solo Cornet

Ian's bio is in preparation.









Neil Blockley - Solo Cornet



Neil Blockley began playing at the age of seven in the Salvation Army in Pentre, a small village in the Rhondda Valley only a few miles from the home of Cory Band. He received tuition in school on cornet from Mr Ieuan Morgan MBE, and later went on to become Principal Cornet of the Treorchy Comprehensive School Band, and competed in the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain and Festival of Music for Youth. 
In 1995, at the age of fifteen he was asked to perform with the Cory Band on 3rd Cornet and since then has enjoyed playing in the Cory Band cornet section. 

On leaving school he joined Barclays Bank and enjoyed their employment for some ten years, gradually working his way up to becoming Bank Manager. 

Neil’s skill as a financier coupled with his passion for brass Bands made him the obvious choice to become Cory’s Treasurer. He has also been part of the small management team that runs the Band since 1999. 

Neil has won all the major titles with Cory Band and his highlights include performing in the winning performance of Peter Graham’s Harrison's Dreams at the National Finals of Great Britain in 2000 Revelation in the European Championships in Bergen, Norway in 2003 which gained the band a unanimous standing ovation! 

Neil's ambition is to perform with Cory Band at the Carnegie Hall, New York or Sydney Opera House, Australia and looks forward to many more successes in the future with Cory Band.When Neil is not performing with Cory Band you can usually find him on a Ski Slope somewhere in the World.


Steve Stewart - Soprano Cornet

Steve started playing the cornet at the age of 8, joining the Armadale Burgh Band soon after. Aged 12 he joined the Kirkintilloch Band on 3rd cornet, and within 3 years had progressed to the soprano cornet chair. The following year (1984) he won the Scottish Championships under the baton of Professor Walter Hargreaves. In 1984 he made his debut at the National Championships of Great Britain, held in the Royal Albert Hall. With Kirkintilloch he won another Scottish Championships in 1985 and made his debut at the European Brass Band Championships in 1986.

As well as playing the soprano cornet Steve is also an accomplished trumpeter and in 1986 was a brass finalist in the prestigious BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. In 1986 he moved to London to study with James Watson at the Royal Academy of Music. At the Academy he won all the major brass and wind prizes.

It was James Watson who invited him to play soprano cornet with the Desford Colliery Band in 1988, a position he held until 1991. During his time with Desford he won two National Championships, one of which was the historic ‘four in a row’ in 1991 performing Robert Simpson’s Energy.

After many years working as a freelance trumpet player Steve returned to the Kirkintilloch Band winning a further two Scottish Championships in 2002 and 2007 as well as the Grand Shield in 2001

In 2011 Steve was awarded the Best Instrumentalist prize at the Grand Shield with the Kirkintilloch Band. Later that year he took up the offer of Dr Robert Childs to join the Cory Band and has not looked back. 

2012 will be looked back upon as a memorable one for Steve as he won the Welsh Championships and the Brass in Concert title with Cory. He also won the soprano cornet prize at the British Open along with the Best Soprano and Best Soloist prizes at Brass in Concert. The best soprano award at BIC being his fourth in a row at that contest!

In 2013 Steve won the European Championships for the first time, after many years of trying, with Cory. This was followed up later in the year by another National Championships win and a further BIC title.

Steve plays on a Besson Soprano cornet and has done since 1990. 

Stephanie Wilkins - Repiano Cornet

Stephanie started to play the cornet aged 8, and was initially taught by the late Shaun Thomas. He’d visited her school on a recruitment drive partnered by Mount Charles Band and the Cornish Music Service. 

After a very short time with Mount Charles Junior Band she progressed to Mount Charles Youth. At that time Mount Charles Youth Band was vibrant and successful and Stephanie was privileged to play with them at several prestigious venues, including the Royal Albert Hall (Music for Youth), the Festival Hall (London Southbank), Symphony Hall (Birmingham) and the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester). The majority of the events listed above were National Youth Competitions. Mount Charles Youth Band has won the South West of England Youth Band Championships many times (13 consecutive years). More recently (whilst Stephanie was on principal cornet) they continued their ‘winning ways’ by chalking-up another three! Stephanie has also won Best Instrumentalist prizes on many occasions. 
As well as being a stalwart of Mount Charles Youth Band Stephanie is proud to have performed with several championship section bands, including; St Austell, Mount Charles and Tongwynlais Temperance Band. She was particularly pleased to have won the Scottish Open Championships with the latter this year! 
Stephanie has also been a member of the Cornwall Youth Band for a number of years and played principal cornet no less than six times! She believes her time with the Corwall Youth Band played a significant part in her musical development so far, and cites the world class guest conductors such as; Richard Evans, Dr. Robert Childs, Garry Cutt and Allan Withington as simply inspirational.
In September 2011 Stephanie began Under- Graduate Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, majoring in performance and pedagogy. She is currently being taught by Christopher Turner (assistant principal cornet Cory Band). Stephanie has already been appointed principal cornet of the College Repertoire Band and assistant principal cornet of the Concert Brass Band (as well as taking part in many chamber music ensembles). 
Stephanie joined the Cory Band in December 2011 on the invitation of Dr Robert Childs (Head of Brass Band Studies RWCMD). She is thrilled to be playing with the No 1 Ranked Band in the World (5 consecutive years). Her insatiable appetite for music and musical performance will be stretched to the limit with the commitment to both College and Cory. However, Stephanie is never one to shy away from a challenge and is really looking forward to combining both.

Gareth Johnson - Second Cornet

Gareth's bio is in preparation.

Andrew Evans - Second Cornet

Andrew joined Cory Band in January 2012.  His full bio is currently being prepared.







Philip Harris - Third Cornet

Phil's bio is in preparation.

Daniel Sharpe - Third Cornet

Daniel first started to play the cornet as a 7 year old at his local Salvation Army and at school. During his school years Daniel also played in the North Somerset county orchestra.
Daniel was asked to help out for the West of England regional championships by Weston Brass and this gave him his first taste of contesting, he enjoyed the experience so much he decided this was for him and went on to join the Bendix Kingswood band where he played cornet and then soprano cornet.
Daniel joined Flowers Band in January 2003 (where he first met Cory MD Philip Harper) in time to play for them at the Yeovil entertainment contest, which they won so it was a good start! He stayed at Flowers for nearly eight years and enjoyed many more victories most notably two West of England titles and the Grand Shield at the Spring Festival.
In 2011 after taking a break from banding Daniel was asked to play for the Filton Band in Bristol and also asked to help with the recruitment of players to help the band move forward. They then went on to win the first section at the Wychavon festival and in 2013 became West of England first section champions. It was during this time he received a call from Philip Harper to see if he would help out the Cory Band for the European Championships in Oslo, Daniel jumped at the chance and ejoyed being part of the winning team and also helping out at the WMC in Kerkrade.
In October 2013 Daniel was delighted to accept the offer from Philip Harper to join the Cory Band on a permanent basis.
Away from banding Daniel works for a major insurance company, has two children and is a big sports fan.