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Player Profile: Doyle’s Delight - John Doyle, the winner of the Stanley Wainwright Memorial Trophy as Best Soloist at this year’s British Open Championships, is one of the brass band world’s rising stars.


John, 22, has been playing flugel horn with the Black Dyke Band for the past two and a half years and was as surprised as he was delighted to become the latest member of a very select group of players who have picked up the award. “I was in something of a daze when they mentioned that the winner was the flugel player of band number 14, as I really thought it would go to a soprano player. I’m chuffed to have won, but it would have been nicer if Black Dyke had won and I didn’t get the trophy!”

John started playing at the age of 13 with the Lostock Hall Memorial Band near Preston and he owes a great deal of thanks to his first teacher, Ronnie Heyes. “Ronnie really made me feel like I could be a decent player, and he taught me so well and with so much enthusiasm. I owe him a great deal”.

He is currently working towards qualifying for his Teaching Certificate that will hopefully enable him to take up a brass peripatetic post. He shouldn’t be short of job offers. “It’s the type of job I really want to do. I enjoy being able to teach youngsters and help them develop as players. I find teaching so enjoyable and try to make the lessons fun as well as hard work for the pupils.”

As for his time with Black Dyke, John thinks the band is on the verge of some substantial achievements. “We have a great atmosphere in the band and we all want to win the major prizes. Nick Childs has not only been a major influence on me, but has brought a real sense of purpose to the band. He demands the highest standards from us all, but this has meant that our playing in concerts is amazing. Playing to packed concert audiences every week makes it all worthwhile”.

John is also part of a small 10 piece group that will be officially launched this week and features players such as David Childs, Chris Turner, Dave Beckwith, Dave Clegg and Joanne Dean. It’s hoped the group will be able to give John the opportunity to play more solos and perform different repertoire. “We have been getting together for a little while and all are great players. As a 10 piece we hope to be able to perform at music and art festivals, do school visits as well as perform at weddings and feature as artists with bands in their concerts”

For the time being though this very likeable young man is savouring the moment, although his feet are firmly on the ground. “I quite like it that I get a fair it of mickey taking about me winning the prize… it makes sure I don’t become too big for my boots. At Dyke you are only as good as your last contest and the London test piece is very hard, so I know the pressure will be back on to perform well!”

John Doyle Factfile:

Born: 1979. “I was a large baby and have never looked back since”

Age: 22 – started playing aged 13

Current Band: Flugelhorn with Black Dyke

Previous Bands: Soprano with Fairey’s for 3 months (“I didn’t have the lip for it!”), Freckleton (“Great people”), Lockstock Hall Memorial Band.

Teachers: Ronnie Hayes, Roger Webster, Murray Grieg, Martin Winter and Howard Snell.

Musical Family: “Not really – my sister is a flute player, but everyone else can’t read a note!”

Coronation Street or Eastenders?: “Corrie….. although it reminds me too much of home!”

Favourite Football team: Preston North End (hometown team)

Desert Island companion: “Jordan – the model not the basketball player…. The reasons are fairly obvious…. I like the chance to stimulate my mind”

Nickname: Coddy – “Don’t ask!”. Tyrone – “The Dyke players think I look like the gormless lad off Coronation Street with the dog called Monica - can’t see it myself”.

Appearance good points: “I’m not blind, bald or ginger” – “but small, deaf and fat”.

Appearance bad points: “I’ve got a bigger chest measurement than my sister!”

Most difficult test piece: “Les Preludes”

Most difficult solo: “Flight” by Philip Wilby. “Seriously hard work”

Ambitions: “To be a professional golf player. I’m off 18 at the moment, but I wish I could be better.”

Playing ambitions: “Just to have a good lip and win all there is with Dyke.”

Motto: “Good players never blame their tools – they always blame the solo horn.”

Advice to young players: “Get to listen to as many bands and players as you can and try and play in as many styles as you can as well. It can only benefit you.”

Instrument and mouthpiece: Bach Stradivarius with a Denis Wick 4FL mouthpiece.

Last words: “Thanks to everyone at Dyke, especially Nicholas Childs and the Trustees who are brilliant and the players. We have a great bunch of people here and I just love it!”

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