Our Musical Director
Diggle Community Brass Players are indebted to the patience of our Musical Director, Dave Shipp, who is not always quite so cheerful ! He has high standards as our conductor and works hard to get the best from everyone.
“I was first introduced to the brass band world at the age of 10 by a neighbour. His background was with the Salvation Army and he was very passionate about banding, invited me to have a blow on a cornet and then proceeded to give me lessons. And so the journey began.
From 1970, I attended Ashton grammar school and was immediately recruited in to the school band. When I was 15, I was asked to join Kingsway Youth Band in Rochdale, who were one of the top youth bands in the area. From 1976 to 1980, I played with other local bands (Ashton & Mossley) but late in 1980, I stopped playing mainly due to work commitments.
After getting married, we moved to Diggle in 1987 and our family was extended with 3 sons. I encouraged them all to become involved in music and they all played the cornet. In 1998, I, along with Neil Hartley, was asked to help at Diggle Band as they were getting a number of new players who were not quite up to playing at their band level. We soon had enough players to form a second band, which later became know as Diggle B Band. I helped to develop players, with a couple going on to play at a very senior level, and even came back to playing the cornet again and sat on the top cornet seat for a while!
In 2005 I was asked to take the baton at Diggle B Band. It was a learning curve and I attended a conductor’s course. Whilst taking Diggle B Band, I got the band to play in the Whit Friday contests, concerts and marching processions. After making new friendships with some Belgian players we also went over to Belgium to play in a concert.
In 2008, I was approached by Grenville Moore from Dobcross Silver Band to see if I could help them out. They needed a cornet player as they had a number of concerts and contests to fulfil and going back to playing appealed to me. The band won the North West Area contest in 2009 and just failed in the finals at Harrogate. During my period with the band, Grenville encouraged me, and let me take the band on a few occasions when he was not available.
I was approached by the committee at Diggle Band to go back as Musical Director of the B Band. The band was much changed since my previous time there. They had a number of younger players who were eager to progress and showing great commitment. The band had become the ‘Community Band’. They were doing most of the village jobs (Whit Friday procession, Harvest Festival, school fete and Christmas concert etc). Diggle B Band were progressing and enthusiastic!
During my 9 years as MD at Diggle, I have stretched the players and had some excellent results. Some of the highlights have been:- 3 trips to Belgium, including playing at Tyne Cot Cemetery, playing during the service at the Menin Gate and performing in a concert with the Willebroek Band, who have been Belgian, European and World champions; Playing at the Manchester day parade as part of a massed band where the streets were lined by thousands of people; Playing at a service in Lichfield Cathedral; Participating and winning prizes in the Whit Friday Contests; Numerous concerts in many places.
My aim is always to provide challenging rehearsals but within the capability of the band and to create a happy and focused team. I look forward to more exciting adventures with Diggle Community Brass.”
Meet our Diggle Community Brass Players! They have very different playing experiences and backgrounds, but they all come together to form a friendly and supportive group.The band welcomes new players of all levels of experience, and can loan instruments. Please get in touch here to find out more.
Frank began playing the cornet in Boarshurst Band aged 12. He had lessons there and stayed until the band was disbanded. He moved to Dobcross Silver Band and then back to Boarshurst Band. He stopped until the Diggle Band was formed 25 years ago, when he began playing the Flugel Horn.
Since his working career ended, he has joined two more bands in addition to Diggle Community Brass -Lydgate and Westwood. He never tires of Brass Band music – listening to concerts when he can.
Brian played the clarinet as a teenager and studied music at school. But then life got in the way and the clarinet was sold (probably to pay for something as a student!).
Moving to Diggle, the band’s sound wafted up to the house on rehearsal nights and eventually lured him into the Band Club. The loaned instrument was quickly replaced and he progressed through the Trainer Groups to join the Diggle B Band.
Now involved on the committee and as a trustee of the Diggle Community Brass, Brian takes his playing seriously and the Euphonium gets special treatment with regular sessions in the bath!
Lawrie joined the band in 2003 after following his two children and his Mrs’ who had already been in the band for a number of years. He traveled to slow melody contests and to concerts at Diggle Band Club also listened to the merry band at quite a few Whit Friday Contests.
Several members of the band suggested he join the band because he was always present & supportive of the B Band. So Lawrie was eventually given a trombone to practice.
After joining the Trainer band and returning the loan instrument he decided to buy his own Trombone. After a few rehearsals with the trainer group he moved up into what was known as Diggle B Band and the rest they say is ‘history’ !
Cara, one of our younger band members with the Development Group joined in early 2019 aged 7. She had played the cornet at school. Following on from this she decided to continue playing as from being a toddler she had always loved brass bands.
Her Mum, Uncle & Grandma had all been in Diggle B Band (before the band changed it’s name to D.C.B) also her Great,Great Uncle had been involved with Diggle Band. Cara’s Grandad Lawrie continues to play with D.C.B. Talk about keeping it in the family!
Friday rehearsals with the ever growing Development |Group are something to look forward to and meeting friends for the social aspect is great fun too.
Rita is a band stalwart – her energy and enthusiasm is infectious, and she is a great role model for everyone. She was persuaded to start playing when someone told her it was never too late, even in her mid 60s, to learn to read music. She was lent a tenor horn, and, after a few lessons, came to Diggle Trainer Band. “My first request was ‘will l be able to play Punchinello?’ – a march l remembered from my childhood following grandfather on Whit Friday. l now find one bar still quite difficult but KEEP PRACTICING! I enjoy so much, it’s a request for my funeral. I’m sure l never thought l would play it, and it’s the reason l have had the wonderful hobby for the last few years. I am indebted to the great people in this band for helping me through the worst time of my life. I love DCB.”
Robin – Tenor Trombone -Followed his daughter into banding when she was at primary school and started learning alongside kids, thriving on the mutual support – they could read the notes and spot the repeats quicker; he knew what the Italian words meant. (Diminuendo) He was increasingly addicted to the music and just being part of the band, which can be a life of its own.
He has enjoyed opening a refurbished duck pond and playing for an audience of 100,000 at the Manchester Day parade. He has experienced playing some spiritually gripping acoustic venues like Lichfield Cathedral, Menen Gate in Ypres, and alongside some fantastic musicians, professionals and others, in England and abroad.
Music’s special features tickle him like the unique binary coding system; computers use 0-1, bands start up 1-2-2-2(Innuendo). He loves the seaside postcard links: “Trombonists do it in 7 positions”, “It only works properly if you all do it together”.
Best of all is the social dimension. Music is an international language, and we have some great banding friends in Belgium, but Rob has made and kept many friendships in Diggle and the district just through banding. It’s a real sense of belonging to a community and our distinctive cultural heritage.
Behind the Scenes
Not only the Librarian, but the go to support for everyone in the band, Anne Colley is not a player herself, but has a family of talented musicians, and is tremendously supportive of everyone, especially our young players. A member of the committee, the Treasurer and a Trustee, we probably don’t thank her enough!
Being a Bradford lass, the band names I knew were Brighouse and Rastrick and Black Dyke. Up until early adulthood I hadn’t really paid too much attention to brass band music but having spent a number of years in the ‘South’, on returning to the north, my husband and I settled in Saddleworth and started our family.
At about the age of 8, my first daughter began brass lessons at Diggle Primary School. Through contacts there, we became aware of Diggle Trainer Band which was to soon become Diggle B Band. She joined, and the rest as they say, is history. Only at the age of 26 did she finally put down her instrument to follow her studies and career as an opera singer. Our second daughter joined at a about the same age and now aged 23, still plays.
Diggle B Band gave my daughters so many wonderful opportunities and experiences: taking part in the annual spectacle that is Whit Friday (‘Better than Christmas day’ according to them!); being part of an extended family that is a brass band; developing the confidence to perform in public; travelling abroad to play with the band in Belgium; socialising and having fun with their band ‘family’. The band has played a huge role in their lives (and mine!) in making them the young women they now are.
Even having been away at university etc. both girls always came back in their holidays to sit in at rehearsals and to help out in performances. They have always wanted to come back when they can.
Having seen this as a parent, taking the girls to and from rehearsals and performances and developing a passion for brass music along the way, when the vacancy came for someone to take over managing the band’s music library, I immediately said yes. The band had given my daughters so much pleasure over the years that now I could say ‘thank you’ and give something back to the band. Many years on, I am still there and absolutely love being a part of our band family and I could not be prouder to see us re launch as Diggle Community Brass.