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.

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 Assistant Principal Cornet

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Sarah Kissackclose

I started playing the cornet at the age of 7, playing in the East Yorkshire Youth Brass band ‘junior section’. I played with this section of the band until I was 10- when I moved up to the ‘senior section‘ of the youth band. At the age of 14 I moved up to principle cornet of the youth band, also joining Driffield Silver Band. At this time I also started playing for the Yorkshire Youth Brass Band, run by Black Dyke Band. in 2011 I also joined a band called Simply Brass- a small band who played in and around Scarborough. 

I joined the City of Chester Brass Band in 2015 when I moved to Chester, from Yorkshire, to study at university. 

I also learnt to play the piano during school and later taught myself to—just about- play the guitar.

Paul Donoghuemore_vert Solo Cornet

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Paul Donoghueclose

I joined the City of Chester Band permanently in 2001, after originally helping out for the odd concert and contest. Some of my previous bands include Ellesmere Port Silver Band and Point of Ayr Band.

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 a few 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.

Tricia Daltonmore_vert Solo Cornet

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Tricia Daltonclose

I have only recently moved into the area after spending a few years playing on the top row with both Bakewell Silver Band and my previous local village band of Youlgrave in Derbyshire.
I started banding at the age of 9 with Coatbridge Burgh Band in Scotland before spending many years with Monklands Youth Brass Band along with my sister Mags and my Grandfather.
I left banding for many years and feel blessed to have come back home to it.  I was once told that if you join a brass band you’ll always have another family and have never known a truer statement.

George Pearsmore_vert Soprano Cornet

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George Pearsclose

I began playing cornet aged 7 at my primary school, joining my local band’s junior group in Eccleston. At 14 I moved to trumpet and studied music at GCSE, going on to study trumpet at A-Level where I gained my diploma in music performance. During this time, I was still playing cornet but now for Charnock Richard Brass, moving my way up the ranks from 3rd cornet to principal in 2017.

After moving to Chester in September 2018 to study Computer Science at the University, it took only a month before I missed playing too much and was warmly welcomed into the City of Chester Brass Band!

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?

Mandy MacDonaldmore_vert Second Cornet

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Mandy MacDonaldclose

I started playing at the age of four, playing bugle in my Dad’s band. I was following in the footsteps of my brother in a Scout band, as I was a girl I couldn’t join them at the time on parade, however, I became an accomplished bugle player and taught other contemporaries at that time how to play.

I continued in the Marching Band model until at age 14 joined Warrington Youth Band and learned to play the cornet and read music in a brass band world. I enjoyed the European trips and playing solos having the confidence to play without music, which I continue to this day with Chester Brass Band.

I joined Chester Brass band more than 30 years ago and have been part of Chester Brass band community since playing alongside my Husband father –in Law Mother – in Law and my 2 Daughters as part of the bands history.

I am currently supporting the back cornet line but really enjoy playing Last post ad Reveille taking solo spot each year at Chester remembrance service, embracing my foundations to my original beginnings of being a Bugle player in my Dad’s band (Slick Lawton) 31st Warrington Scout Band Workingmen’s Mission, a great testament to a lifelong celebration of my Dad and the wonderful world of bands!

Kate Harlandmore_vert Second 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 back row cornet with main band for nearly ten 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.

Ryan Jonesmore_vert Third Cornet

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Ryan Jonesclose

My name is Ryan and I'm 13 yrs old. I started playing the cornet when I was 8. I am a member of the City of Chester Brass Band and the Training Band. I also play for the Wirral Youth Brass and Fodens Youth Brass Band. I have 2 achievements that I'm so proud of; being asked to be a full-time member of the City of Chester Brass Band and passing my audition to be in the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. I attend Chester Catholic High School where I am a member of the school jazz orchestra.

Megan Griffiths-Tuckermore_vert Third Cornet

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Megan Griffiths-Tuckerclose

I joined the band in August 2019 with very little percussion experience. I have found the band, in which I have met many wonderful people, to be a nice break from my A levels where I study maths, physics and music. I feel I have learned a lot in a short space of time which was made easier thanks to everyone in the band being so welcoming.

Li Armitsteadmore_vert Third Cornet

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Li Armitsteadclose

Bio awaited.

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 10 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 several 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

In my early days of playing I was a member of the Cheshire County Youth Brass Band and enjoyed going on multiple tours across Europe and America. I also played for Ellesmere Port Silver Band. After taking a break from playing, I retuned to playing the tenor horn in 2008 and joined the City of Chester Band.

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 have found such a wonderful band.

Sylvia MacDonaldmore_vert Second Horn

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Sylvia MacDonaldclose

Years back, I was introduced to Ian (trombonist with Black Dyke Mills Junior Band) and I became a brass band follower. Eventually we married and later crossed the Pennines from Leeds to Warrington to a new job, new home with a very new baby, but no band, until several years passed and Ian registered with Prescot Band soon followed by young Andrew. When one of their baritone players left “someone” suggested I could learn to play and fill the empty seat, I thought “Why not”. Some time later one of the horn players retired and I requested a change to tenor horn. I guested with City of Chester a few times and I was offered a permanent position. After some soul searching I changed bands. Then the Music Librarian(in the Air Force, was to be posted elsewhere),  proposed I take over the Job. Innocently I agreed. Nevertheless I still enjoy being a band member.

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!

Jon Stringermore_vert Second Baritone

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Jon Stringerclose

My banding career has been a game of two halves, with a very long half time interval!

I first picked up a beaten up old cornet with the school band,aged 11, down in Cornwall.

I rapidly ‘progressed’ to bass. 5 years later, I was playing with St Austell Band at the National finals in RAH, a wonderful and abiding memory which was down to good luck rather than ability.

 

After that, I had to have a rest for 40 years. Retirement from the day job finally giving me the chance to play again. A freak accident whilst playing has put paid to my bass playing, but I’m thoroughly enjoying my new role as second baritone and band secretary.

Kathryn Peovermore_vert Solo Euphonium

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Kathryn Peoverclose

I began playing cornet in 1984 but after six weeks, realised the instrument really wasn't for me and quickly switched to tenor horn.
I played for South Cheshire Young Brass and Normid 2000 at home and Oxford Concert Brass and Kennington Oxford Band during my time at University.
Following a few years at Port Sunlight Lyceum Brass, I changed instrument (something I never thought I would do!) and joined Chester on Solo Euphonium in 1998.

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

Annie Griffithsmore_vert First Trombone

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Annie Griffithsclose

Bio awaited.

Donna Jacksonmore_vert Second Trombone

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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!

Twenty years later I am now playing second 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”).

Christopher Reidmore_vert Bass Trombone

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Christopher Reidclose

I started playing trombone at 11. I would like to say it was because even at that age, I had a natural affinity for the instrument, but the truth is, I had the longest arms in the class. The move from tenor trombone to bass trombone a few years later was under similar circumstances.
Brass bands are rare in the part of Northern Ireland I come from (County Londonderry has none!) so it was several years later that I found and joined Tamlaghtmore Silver Band, a non-contesting band in Cookstown.
One of the first things on the list once starting University in Belfast was joining the uni band. This is where I was introduced to contesting through taking part in UniBrass. It was an experience which left me hooked and which I would thoroughly recommend to any student who gets the opportunity.
Leading from this, I was fortunate enough to be offered a seat with Downshire Brass and later Laganvale Metal Technology Band, playing in the NIBA championship division. It’s hard not to pick playing in the Europeans in 2016 as a highlight from this.
My work moved me to Chester, right in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic. Thankfully, City of Chester Brass were leading the fightback, playing outdoors in all weathers as soon as it was permitted in May 2021. I received a very warm welcome and have made many good friends in the band since. They’ve made it a home away from home.

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.  Practicing 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

I took up the tuba aged 16 with Menai Bridge Band. My first instrument was an elderly 3 valve BBb tuba and I changed to EEb when I discovered my arm was too short to reach the fourth valve on a modern BBb.
I stopped playing when I went to university but was persuaded back to brass banding when I moved to a new job in North Staffordshire. I then played in Rode Hall Silver Band until I moved to Cheshire and joined City of Chester Band.
In real life I am a hospital based optometrist, and when I have any spare time I design and make costumes for a local amateur theatre.

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......

Nigel Spencermore_vert Bb Bass

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Nigel Spencerclose

I started playing from age 12 with Chorley Silver,my local band in Lancashire.

Subsequently played for Pemberton Old, and latterly Wrexham and Ifton Colliery.

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

I started playing at age 11 in the Frodsham Silver Band junior band on cornet under the tuition of Brian Quinn.Progressed from cornet to Euphonium and then quickly onto Eb bass in the senior band.
Whilst at Frodsham I also played with Preston Brook band, Halton Borough Band , Ellesmere Port silver band and had a stint at Bold Colliery in St Helens.
I have been at Chester Band since 1996 joining on Bb bass and until recently have played both bass trombone and Eb and Bb bass. I  now attempt to play the tuned percussion and Timpani.