Major changes at Black Dyke

Major changes at Black Dyke as David Thornton departs, Zoe Hancock takes flugel seat and Alex Kerwin moves to solo horn.

Black Dyke

There have been major personnel changes at Black Dyke in the last 24 hours.

Thornton departure

After a decade as principal euphonium, David Thornton has left the band, whilst following the departure of Sandy Smith to Brighouse & Rastrick, Alex Kerwin moves to solo horn, with Zoe Hancock replacing her on flugel horn from British Open Champions Tredegar.

Commenting on the departure of a player who has been an integral part of his bands success over the past ten years or more, MD Dr Nicholas Childs told 4BR: "David was the first soloist I appointed at Dyke over a decade ago and has held the position with great distinction. We all wish him every success in his ever developing career."

Diary commitments

The move follows an increasing clash of diary commitments for the euphonium star since successfully taking up the baton as Musical Director of Wingates.

David told 4BR: "I’ve been in the band for ten years and have given 100% commitment during that time. I have spent a lot of time considering my future recently, and it’s come to the moment when I feel I want to look for other opportunities that simply wouldn't have been possible whilst giving that commitment to Black Dyke."

He added: "I’ve recently been appointed as Musical Director at Wingates and this is just one of the ventures I’ll be now able to launch myself into. I have two large solo tours planned for 2011 already – Australia and the USA – as well as other solo opportunities that would have simply clashed with the Black Dyke diary should I have stayed with the band.

They will all now be possible and of course I hope other exciting possibilities will begin to arise now that I have more time."

It goes almost without saying that there is an element of sadness involved, I’m leaving a fantastic band and an amazing team of musiciansDavid Thornton

Element of sadness

David concluded: "It goes almost without saying that there is an element of sadness involved, I’m leaving a fantastic band and an amazing team of musicians.

I’d like to thank all my playing colleagues and friends for their support and camaraderie over the last ten years. They, along with Nick Childs, have made me into the player and musician I am today, as well as being my musical family along the way."

Flugel coup

Meanwhile, the appointment of Zoe Hancock has been heralded by the MD as a real coup.

"It is wonderful to welcome a player of Zoe’s quality," he told 4BR. "She is a delightful young lady and a terrific talent, and I am sure will develop even more in the future."


Zoe who is currently studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music has enjoyed her banding with Tredegar and told 4BR: "I’ve had a wonderful time at Tredegar and winning the British Open was amazing. Ian Porthouse has always been helpful and supportive and although I will be leaving some great friends, I’m really excited at the prospect of joining Black Dyke."

Zoe will take up her new position following her final appearance with the British Open champions at Brass in Concert.

Outstanding player

The move for the talented Cornish star followed the departure of Sandy Smith, to Brighouse, but the MD belives he has found the ideal replacement under his nose.

He added: "Alex has a fantastic pedigree. She is an outstanding player, and one that I am sure will grow into her new position and make it her own."

Alex meanwhile commented; "I know it will take some time to settle into my new position, but everyone at Black Dyke is supporting me and I am looking forward to a new challenge."

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