Acting Principal Cornet – Michael Bird

Most memorable playing moment …
I’ll always remember my first rehearsal with City of Bristol Brass Band when I depped for their soprano player in the regionals. It was my first contesting band and I wasn’t sure what to expect, the part was pretty tricky and high for me so I’d been practising it for weeks before I first met them to make a good impression. Anyway, so at the start of my first rehearsal, the conductor starts the test piece, I had to come in on a very quiet high entry that was pretty tricky, I thought I’d nailed it, in-tune, good tone, right volume but alas. After 10 bars the conductor stopped the whole band and said “Sop, that entry has a slur in it between them quavers, from the top everyone” and that set the standard for the rest of my time there.

Proudest banding moment …
Playing Peter Graham’s Windows of the World in the Royal Albert Hall for the 2009 Music for Youth final. Though I’m less proud of the fact I tripped on stage, I still have the DVD evidence locked up somewhere.

Previous bands …
City of Bristol Brass Band (Depping on soprano for the regionals)
University of Bath Brass Band (4 years of soprano cornet)
Berkshire Youth Brass Band (when it still existed, 2 years of soprano, and 2 years of cornet)
The Marc Edwards Brass Band (formally “Youth Brass”, 2 years of soprano and 2 years of cornet)

Favourite piece …
Mahler symphony No. 5 (closely followed by 3), though for brass band I’d say Jan Werkman’s arrangement of Lux Aurumque, (it has a fantastic soprano entry of a single note that I’ve had the privilege to play in a large cathedral).

Musical ambition …
For brass banding, I’d like to play in a championship band at least once, just to see what it’s like. In general I’d like to be able to play lead effectively in a good big band or in a good orchestra.

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