The Cornet Section
Meet the Cornets
The Cornet is the highest sounding brass instrument in the band and traditionally there are two kinds of cornets played in brass bands,
The Bb Cornet and the Soprano Cornet.
The Bb Cornet is the one most used by front row and back row cornet players (Solo, Repiano, 2nd, and 3rd) with usually only one person taking on the Soprano Cornet.
Martin Ward - Principle Cornet
Martin began his playing career at the age of 8. As an experienced player and musician, he enjoys arranging music and is an avid Star Trek and Sci-Fi fan.
Stuart Neeve - Solo Cornet
Stuart began his musical career at the tender age of 8, playing with the Elsecar Colliery Band. After a short spell at Barnsley Music Centre Band, He signed up for his first stint with Rockingham. Working his way up the ranks, Stuart made his way to the Flugel Horn chair under the bands most successful conductor, Graham O’Connor. He left the band in 1981 to pursue a career with the Royal Navy where he served for 25 years as an Engineer and volunteer musician. Following his long service, Stuart joined the Strata band and remained there for 12 years before returning to Rockingham in 2019.
Outside of the band, Stuart enjoys walks in the countryside and riding his motorbike. In true Yorkshire fashion, he also enjoys a good pint of ale!
Lee Varley - Solo Cornet
Started playing around 1976 at Brunswick school near Woodhouse Sheffield.
On hearing Woodhouse prize band playing around 1977 I joined them up until 1998 .
Between playing for Woodhouse I was in the city of Sheffield Youth Brass band with David Brock and went to a few different countries playing. Was also in the BBAYS at Leeds with Dr Keith Wilkinson for part of the 80s. I helped Rockingham band out in the late 80s.
At the minute I am back playing with Rockingham and helping Woodhouse out where I can. I've not played since 98.
I'm also a keyboard player and write my own keyboard parts to songs needed for a band called The Rock And Pop Icons On Tour which is a Bruce Springsteen, Billy Idol, Brian Adams and Blondie tribute show.
I was also in TopGun rock band for 21years after creating this band back in 1998.
Richard Ellis - Solo Cornet
Richard began his playing career at the age of 9 with the Lofthouse Colliery Band. He was 1 of 5 Ellis family members in the band at the time, covering most sections of the band. Since Lofthouse, Richard has played for no less than 7 bands including Strata and Frickley South Elmsall. But it was at Grimethorpe B where He met the love of his life and wife, Adele. Their Daughter, Katie, joined the band with him in 2019 following in her fathers footsteps on the cornet.
Outside of the band Richard plays trumpet with a soul band and enjoys caravanning, DIY and anything to do with cars.
Laura Underwood - Solo Cornet
Laura began her Playing career at the age of 6. Rockingham became her first brass band in 2008 where she remained for a number of years. Laura left the band in 2014 to join Cornerstone, knowing that Rockingham was in decline. She was then brought back to the fold under the new direction of Adam Whittle 2 years later (2016).
Laura has played Repiano, 2nd man down and Principal Cornet with the band since her return, but is now settled on Repiano. Outside of the band, Laura is a Teaching Assistant in a special needs school and enjoys playing various instruments, cooking and drawing/painting in her spare time.
Edward Grayson - Soprano Cornet
Edward began his playing career at the age of 7, learning to play with the Grimethorpe District Band. He joined the Rockingham Band in 2015 alongside his Mother and Soprano Cornet Player, Constance. His studies in music performance at Leeds College of Music have given him the opportunity to play at the Kneller hall, performing alongside the Royal Grenadiers Band.
Outside of the band, Edward enjoys cycling and composing music.
Kathryn Pannett - Repiano Cornet
Kat began her playing career at the age of 7, playing with Deepcar Brass Band. She joined the Rockingham Band in 2019 adding further strength to our front row team.
Outside of the band, Kat is a fully qualified driving instructor in the Barnsley area and has a keen interest in cars. When time allows, she uses her qualification as a Motorsports UK Marshall for Cross Country and Rally racing.
Katie Ellis - Repiano and 2nd Cornet
Katie began playing the cornet aged 9. Rockingham became her first contesting band in 2019 when she joined us with her father, Richard Ellis (front row).
Katie also plays with the Caravan and Camping Club Brass Band.
Outside of the band, Katie enjoys dancing.
Peter Waller - 2nd Cornet
Peter started playing at 11 years old. His banding experience began within his school and the Rotherham Schools brass bands before advancing to Ireland Alloys (Now Strata) and South Yorkshire Police. After joining the ambulance service, Peter found time and commitment to be an issue so decided to take a break from banding, resulting in a 30 year sabbatical! In 2018, Peter joined the Rockingham Band having attended a concert in Rawmarsh and realising what he had missed out on for all those years.
“ Going to my first Rockingham rehearsal after not playing for so long was so very nerve-racking, but everyone was so supportive and confirmed that the band I had listened to in concert was a real team, a team that I wanted to be a part of.” - Peter Waller
Sharon Marshall - 2nd Cornet
Sharon began her playing career at the age of 10, under the tuition of our Principal Euphonium player, Keith Taylor. Sharon rejoined the banding world after a 35 year break and joined the Rockingham Band in April 2019.
Outside of the band, Sharon works for Wakefield Council where she helps people get back into work. She enjoys crafting with her Grandchildren, knitting and crotchet when she isn’t practicing the cornet!
Sharon climbed Kilimanjaro in 2008!
Hannah Burgess - 3rd Cornet
Hannah began her playing life at the age of 7 with the Rotherham Schools Music programme. Joining the band in 2012, She has remained a member ever since with some small breaks for education purposes. This took her to LA where she lived for 2 years and gained her two degrees in Music and Music Production.
Outside of the band, Hannah enjoys composing, singing, archery and crafts in her spare time.
Chloe Prew - 3rd Cornet
Chloe was given the opportunity to benefit from peripatetic music tuition when she was 7 years old at Junior school. She decided to follow in her dad, Christopher Prew's (Our instrumental chameleon) footsteps and chose to learn a brass instrument, learning the cornet under the tuition of legendary euphonium player Michael Dodd. She continues to have weekly lessons to this day, having moved to Penistone Grammar School, firstly with Andrew Holmes and now with James Roberts. She is working her way through her grades, doing her Grade 5 later this year, and is also studying music at GCSE.
She joined the Barnsley Music Services ensemble system, firstly with Barnsley Junior Band, conducted by Alex Francis and then progressed through the ranks, via Intermediate Band with Mr Dodd and is currently playing with Barnsley Town Concert Band, under the leadership of Mr Roberts. With this group, she is busy preparing for her first overseas tour in July when they visit France, performing in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and also at Disneyland Paris.
Chloe says that she is excited to be given the opportunity to play with Rockingham Brass Band. 'I can't wait to get stuck into rehearsals, learn some new pieces, push my playing and perform in concerts alongside my Dad, who is currently on Eb bass. This should really enhance my musical education.'
She has helped Wombwell with Barnsley Salvation Army Band, who are led by her Dad, with their carolling over Christmas for the last few years.
Outside of playing, she enjoys singing and dancing, and combining the two when she does Musical Theatre She is currently rehearsing for Grease at school, having been cast as Patty. She is also looking forward to joining her mum on stage with The Lamproom Musical Theatre Company in their production of Fiddler On The Roof in November 2023. She also enjoys going to the cinema, socialising with friends and going to watch Plymouth Argyle Football Club with her dad.