Main Band

The band originated in the period 1832-40 as a fife and drum ensemble attached to Chester’s Blue Coat School. Money left over from a fund established by the 'Ladies of Chester' to buy a present for Queen Victoria led to the ensemble becoming a British brass band. The money was donated to the Blue Coat School foundation, and so the Blue Coat School Brass Band came about. With a likely formation date of 1853, the band celebrated its 150th Birthday in 2003.

Prior to World War II the Chester Blue Coat Band would regularly walk the city walls as part of a religious event marking Palm Sunday. The perambulation of the walls was re-created in September 2003 as part of the events commemorating the 150th anniversary, and again in 2013. 

Although no longer referred to as The Blue Coat Band, the link with the past is maintained through the Band’s distinctive blue uniform. The jacket also carries a badge of the famous Eastgate Clock, recognisable around the world as a symbol of Chester, a city with a fine cultural heritage which the Band has been proud to represent for over 150 years.

Apart from the period of World War I, when the instruments were loaned to the military for recruitment purposes, the Band has been active ever since, becoming independent of The Blue Coat School in Northgate Street, Chester in the mid-20th century when it acquired charitable status and its own band room in Bedward Row, close to the city centre.

The Band returned to the brass band contesting scene in the 1970s and made its first European tour in 1982 when it toured Switzerland under the musical direction of the late John Golland. In 2014 and 2016 the Band visited Amboise, in the Loire Valley, to compete in the French Open Brass Band Championships. 

Today the Band proudly carries the City name and is totally self-supporting, income being derived from members’ subscriptions and fees or donations earned through performing engagements. A lottery grant in 1997 enabled the purchase of new instruments and the widening of public access to the band, brass band music and the formation of a thriving Training Band.

Main band rehearsals are held in the Bedward Row band room on Mondays and Wednesdays from 20:00 to 22:00 under the musical direction of Ewan Easton MBE, Principal Tuba with the Halle Orchestra and Tutor in Tuba at the Royal Northern College of Music.

In 2000 the City of Chester Training Band was formed and several former members now occupy principal seats within the main band. The mixed-ability Training Band comprises young people aged 11 to 80 something... Several times a year the main and training bands combine for joint rehearsals under Ewan Easton’s direction.

Early in 2017 the City of Chester Junior Band was started, aimed exclusively at children aged 7 to 11. These bands meet on Monday evenings during term time in St Luke’s Church, Huntington between 18:00 and 19:30.

Meet the band

The views and opinions expressed below are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Brass Band.
Ewan Easton MBEmore_vert Musical Director

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Ewan Easton MBEclose

Ewan Easton is Principal Tuba with the Halle Orchestra and Tutor in Tuba at the Royal Northern College of Music.  He took over the MD’s role in January 2016.

Paul Donoghuemore_vert Soprano Cornet

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Paul Donoghueclose

Bio. details awaited.

Philip Mottersheadmore_vert Principal Cornet

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Philip Mottersheadclose

I began my banding career with Chester in 1963, gradually working my way up from 3rd cornet to Principal over the next 20 years.  I also took a junior class/band for beginners.
I moved to Point of Ayr Band in the late 1980's as resident MD and flugel  horn player, returning to Chester in the mid 1990's, playing top man again but mainly MD until retirement from this role in 2014 when we won the Area.  Principal again at the moment.

Sarah Kissackmore_vert Solo Cornet

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Sarah Kissackclose

Bio awaited.

Dave Uptonmore_vert Solo Cornet

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Dave Uptonclose

 I began playing cornet in 1977 aged 11 playing at Ellesmere Port silver band. After a couple of years there I moved to Lyceum brass working my way on to the front row. I gave up brass bands when I moved away to uni. However I continued my musical journey for the next 30 years playing in over 30 bands as a singer, songwriter trumpet player and anything else that was required at the time. Some of the highlights were a summer season in Portugal and supporting Bruce Foxton from the Jam. Oh and did I mention an Oasis tribute band. (Still got the wig). I came back to brass banding 2 years ago and was delighted to be offered a place in Chester a year ago and have thoroughly enjoyed playing with so many great musicians here.

George Pearsmore_vert Solo Cornet

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George Pearsclose

Chris Peovermore_vert Repiano Cornet

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Chris Peoverclose

Likes (in ascending order):-

  • Real ale
  • Pink Floyd
  • Holly Willoughby
  • Progressive/hard rock
  • Golf
  • International Rugby Union (England, naturally)
  • Cricket
  • Alesha Dixon (but not her laugh), Kate Winslet, Nigella and, just recently, Oti Mabuse from Strictly (just couldn't choose between them)
  • Oh..... I suppose.... if pressed, attempting to play cornet!

Dislikes (in ANY order):-

  • Lager
  • Rap music
  • The Conservative and Republican Party
  • Social media - get a life people
  • Every single type of religion - without exception!
  • People who use the possessive apostrophe incorrectly
  • Swing music that is NEVER written on paper as the composer intended it to be played - just plain lazy!!!!
  • Last orders - is there really any need?

Hannah Gordonmore_vert Repiano/Second Cornet

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Hannah Gordonclose

Bio Awaited

Nick Turnbullmore_vert Second Cornet

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Nick Turnbullclose

Bio awaited.

Mandy MacDonaldmore_vert Second Cornet

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Mandy MacDonaldclose

Bio awaited.

Sarah Woodrowmore_vert Third Cornet

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Sarah Woodrowclose

Anton Woolfordmore_vert Third Cornet

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Anton Woolfordclose

Having learnt trumpet when 12 then falling away, I took up playing again in my mid 30's in a brass quintet.  This led to a trumpet position in the Wychcraft Big Band where I still play.

I was invited to join Rode Hall Silver Band to go to the NW Areas some 15 years ago and stayed with this 4th Section Band playing along the cornet back row, Repiano and 4th Solo Cornet.

Having now moved to Chester, I am delighted to play with the City of Chester Band on the back row.

Kate Harlandmore_vert Third Cornet

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Kate Harlandclose

I played violin as a child and loathed every minute, but learnt the rudiments of music.  I grew up in Yorkshire - there is nothing like the sound of a brass band playing at a village fete - so there was something 'in the genes' that lead me to join the City of Chester Training Band in my late 30s. The uniform was also a key attraction.  I've played 3rd cornet with main band for nearly four years in order to 'up my game'. I love the focus, the challenge and the team.  Sometimes I notice an improvement!  I also enjoy my push-bike, industrial heritage and scrambling in the mountains.

Robert MacDonaldmore_vert Flugel Horn

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Robert MacDonaldclose

I started playing at age 7 with Prescot band in Liverpool in 1970 and played my first contest at age 8.  I worked my way up the ranks from bottom 3rd cornet until I got to Flugel in 1979.  I remained on Flugel with Prescot Band until I joined City of Chester in 1984 where I took over from Janet Killmurray.  Later I moved on to cornet for about 12 years to take over the Principal Cornet seat, but returned to Flugel about 6 years ago. 

Having my brother Andrew as one of the Top Cornet players in the Northwest, has given me the opportunity to play with some of the top Championship section bands around the Northwest.  Over the years I have guested with: Besses o' th Barn, CWS Manchester, Leyland and Wingates. 

Around Christmas, I usually get the opportunity to play other instruments in the band and so far my tally is, apart from Cornet and Flugel, the Tenor Horn, Baritone, Euph and Eb Bass.   For much of my time with City of Chester I also served as bandmaster and conducted them on the last two outings to the Whit Friday Marches. I handed over the bandmaster’s baton two years ago to give the opportunity to Matthew Birkett. 

Kirsty Barghmore_vert Solo Horn

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Kirsty Barghclose

I started playing tenor horn in 2000 in my primary school band, joining Chester Training Band soon after. I 'graduated' to the main band in 2002 taking part in my first contest with main band in Feb 2002 at Preston..

I played flugel horn in the training band as well around 2005/06.

I also learned clarinet and alto saxophone at high school. I played in my high school training band, senior band and swing band (on alto sax). 

Carmel Donoghuemore_vert First Horn

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Carmel Donoghueclose

Bio awaited.

Olivia Millsmore_vert First Horn

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Olivia Millsclose

I started my musical journey in primary school on cornet when I was 7 years old and was moved onto tenor horn when I was 10. After primary school, I joined my high school band, Wardle Academy Youth Band, and over the last 7 years we have won many titles such as National Champions of Great Britain and European Champions. In 2015 I was asked to join Wardle Anderson Brass, who are a first section band and compete in the North West Regionals.
After leaving my Wardle family to start university here in Chester, I was warmly welcomed into the City of Chester brass band and since moving to Chester, Monday and Wednesday have become my favourite days of the week. I consider myself very lucky to be playing with such a wonderful band during my time at university.

Megan Loughlinmore_vert Second Horn

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Megan Loughlinclose

Bio awaited

Sylvia MacDonaldmore_vert Second Horn

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Sylvia MacDonaldclose

Bio awaited.

Matthew McClearymore_vert First Baritone

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Matthew McClearyclose

I joined the Training Band in 2003 as my local Brass Band on cornet. I then joined the main band three years later, before finally 'seeing the light' on Baritone. 

I also played in the Cheshire Youth Brass Band from 2006, until the bands final practice in 2012.

The picture is taken ahead of contest preparation in my earlier days!

Callum Hillmore_vert First/Second Baritone

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Callum Hillclose

Bio awaited

Andrew Smithsonmore_vert Second Baritone

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Andrew Smithsonclose

My musical background is choral and I only took up brass about 10 years ago after moving to the NW from London.

I started on cornet but moved to baritone 4 years ago and enjoy playing in the middle of the band with colleagues whose talents make me envious of their ability.  I have taken up the French Horn recently and can be seen playing at any amateur orchestra who will have me.   I love the classical repertoire and my ambition is to play Wagner Tuba before I die.   Given the response my practising gets, this may be sooner rather than later.

Kathryn Peovermore_vert Solo Euphonium

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Kathryn Peoverclose

Bio awaited.

Nigel Evansmore_vert Second Euphonium

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Nigel Evansclose

I started playing a brass instrument in my first year at secondary school in Tarporley at the age of twelve in 1975, being taught by my great-uncle Tom Harding beginning on tenor horn. 

After about twelve months I joined Tarporley Silver Prize Band, as it was then, on Second Horn playing under leadership of ex Fodens baritone player Jim McDean. Tarporley had a fair band at that time. As I progressed in my playing career I have also played the Baritone, Bb bass and  Euphonium. 

Bands I have played with are Llay Miners Welfare, Gwernaffield and Whitchurch, the latter under the leadership of Teddy Gray. 

For the past eight or so years, I have enjoyed playing 2nd Euph in the City of Chester Band.

Patrick Sterlingmore_vert Solo Trombone

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Patrick Sterlingclose

Bio awaited.

Sammy Claguemore_vert Second Trombone

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Sammy Clagueclose

At the age of five I began my playing career with the Manx National Youth Band on Baritone horn. After several years (and a growth spurt!) I moved onto the Tenor Trombone. Before departing the Isle of Man to study at the University of Chester, I held the position of Principal Trombone for the Youth Band and Second Trombone for the first section band, Manx Concert Brass.

In 2013 I competed in the Island’s ‘Young Musician of Mann’ competition in which I came third, and in 2017, the same year I was awarded my ABRSM practical grade 8 on Trombone, I won best soloist in the Island’s annual ‘Manx Music Festival’.

I am delighted to currently be playing with such a fantastic band which has so many talented musicians. I look forward to being a part of its continual success, and I am very grateful for the warm welcome I have received.

Vacancymore_vert Bass Trombone

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Bio awaited.

Leslie Plattmore_vert Eb Bass

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Leslie Plattclose

My first instrument was an old euphonium belonging to the Crewe West End Band.  Practising on it at home for the first time c. 1963 our neighbour thought there was a cow calving in the adjoining field and, sound-wise,  things haven’t got much better! By 1964 I was in Crewe Co-op Band playing Second Baritone.  Moving to Chester in 1981 I joined City of Chester in 1982 when I filled a vacancy in the band touring Switzerland with John Golland.  I moved onto BBb Bass in the early 1990s and since 2017 I’ve been on Eb Bass.

Sarah Lorenzmore_vert Eb Bass

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Sarah Lorenzclose

Bio awaited.

Matthew Birkettmore_vert Bb Bass

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Matthew Birkettclose

Started playing: 1995, started on horn 2001.

Bands: Parr (St. Helens), Burneside Brass, City of Chester

Instruments: Tenor Horn, Euphonium, Tuned Percussion, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Eb Bass, Bb Bass....oh and some conducting......and piano, recorder and clarinet......

Donna Jacksonmore_vert Bb Bass

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Donna Jacksonclose

In 2002 my daughter joined the training band on cornet and as they had no one to play trombone they asked if I would like to learn. Three months later I was playing in main band in a contest in Preston, only about three notes though!

Fifteen years later I am now playing bass trombone and wish I had taken up brass sooner rather than violin etc. Mind you the band always enjoys it when I bring the ukulele out (at least those that haven’t thrown themselves off the coach screaming “not again”).

[Currently, Donna is on a sabbatical helping Matthew and Nigel on BBb Bass.]

Nigel Spencermore_vert Bb Bass

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Nigel Spencerclose

Bio awaited.

Alexander Barghmore_vert Percussion

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Alexander Barghclose

Alex is an Aberystwyth University drama graduate and a self-taught percussionist who has been playing since the age of 11.  He loves to put on a performance, particularly when the two arts of Drama and Music are combined.

Robert Fletchermore_vert Percussion

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Robert Fletcherclose

Bio awaited.

Megan Griffiths-Tuckermore_vert Percussion

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Megan Griffiths-Tuckerclose

Bio Awaited