The people behind the music
The WFEL Fairey Band is made up of top quality musicians. Whilst some of our players play professionally, the majority of our players are amateur music makers. Historically, when the band started, almost all of our players worked in the Williams Fairey Engineering Factory and outside of work hours players dedicated a significant amount of time to the band and rehearsing. Although times have changed, the passion and enjoyment for playing in the band and making music has not. We rehearse twice a week on the grounds of WFEL in Heaton Chapel, Stockport and this passion brings our players together with the aim of making music to a high level, interacting musically with our audiences and continuing to represent the world famous Fairey Band.
Meet our MD:
Adam Cooke has established a reputation for versatility across a diverse range of musical genres and settings. Specialising in wind and brass music, Adam has performed and recorded with many leading ensembles in this genre throughout Europe, and further afield.
Equally at home with orchestral music, Adam has recently guest conducted the Ulster Youth Orchestra as well as founding the Odyssey Symphony Orchestra in London and New Belfast Sinfonia in Ireland, all to critical acclaim.
Often praised for an ability to motivate and inspire musicians through a thorough musical understanding and effective rehearsal technique, Adam was awarded the musicians’ prize as part of the 2013 European Conductors Competition in Oslo, as well as the runner-up prize by the jury. Further competition success came in 2017 when Adam won the RTE Concert Orchestra’s conducting competition, subsequently returning to conduct the orchestra.
Originally from Northern Ireland, Adam studied music at the University of Manchester before being awarded a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music in London, studying conducting with Mark Heron and Sian Edwards, and attending masterclasses with leading conductors including Ole Kristian Ruud, Atso Almila, Richard Bonynge and Christian Ehwald.
Adam has worked with many of the world’s foremost brass bands, and is in demand internationally as a conductor, music consultant, band trainer, and adjudicator. Adam took up the post of Resident Conductor with Stavanger Brass Band in 2018, relocating to Norway before returning to the U.K. in 2020. Highlights in this post include helping the band to achieve a podium placing in the European Brass Band Championships in 2018 and the title of Norwegian National Champions in 2020.
Prior to moving to Norway, Adam held the position of Musical Director of the GUS Band. Over this tenure the band achieved an unprecedented five Area championship wins, as well as several other major contest successes, with regular appearances at major venues throughout the U.K. including the Royal Albert Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, and Sage Gateshead.
As a guest conductor Adam has worked regularly with leading bands including Brighouse & Rastrick and Grimethorpe Colliery, and has conducted bands in Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and extensively throughout the U.K. and Ireland.
Since his return to the U.K. Adam had led the Bon Accord Band to qualification at the 2020 National Finals, before taking up the role of Musical Director of the Fairey Band.
For further information please visit: https://www.adamcooke.net/
Meet some of our musicians
Janet started playing the cornet at the age of 10 with Glossop Junior Band and within 18 months had progressed to the ‘Senior’ band, Glossop Old Band, and has had several spells with the band. A versatile instrumentalist, over the years Janet has played cornet and flugel for several local bands including Stalybridge, Dobcross Silver, British Aerospace, Ashton Under Lyne and Besses o’ the Barn, and has also had successful spells at bands further afield including Leyland and Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band on flugel.
Janet’s day job is Senior Procurement Officer for The University of Manchester where she buys anything from pens to Mass Spectrometers – quite a job for someone who has an aversion to shopping! She is a keen rugby league fan and follows Leeds Rhino’s whenever band allows.
Janet has been associated with Fairey’s for several years as an almost permanent ‘dep’ player who was able to help out anywhere in the cornet section and flugel seat and the band were delighted when she accepted a full time role in the cornet section in 2019.
Jimmy is one of our longest serving members having joined the band in 1983. He started learning to play the cornet in his hometown of Whitburn at the age of 11 and in 1970 he became a member of the Whitburn Band. In the seven and a half years he was at the band, he progressively moved up the ranks to assistant principal cornet. Jimmy then joined Clydebank Burgh Band on principal cornet for 18 months before joining Foden’s Motor Works band on the front row for a year, then on to Repiano for the second year.
Jimmy left Foden’s in 1981 to join the Brighouse & Rastrick Band, who were National Champions at the time. He enjoyed two great years with ‘Briggus’ before finding his spiritual home across the Pennines joining the World Famous Fairey Band where he has now become part of the furniture.
Jimmy is one of only three members of the current band who at some point have worked for the Fairey Engineering Company and is an integral part of the band not only as a valued member of the cornet section but also as the band’s very busy librarian.
Vickie hails from Swaledale in North Yorkshire and started playing tenor horn when her father encouraged her and her two sisters to join the two local bands, Muker Silver and Reeth Brass Band. Although brass was her main instrumental passion growing up, Vickie is a multi-instrumentalist having gained grade 8 on tenor horn, French horn, recorder and saxophone before she left school. Her interest in the French horn developed when given the opportunity to play in the wind band and orchestra at school and she eventually went on to study the French horn and tenor Horn at the University of Huddersfield. During this time, she played for the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band and Pennine Brass before moving across the Pennines to study for a Masters in music performance at the Royal Northern College of Music, under the guidance of French horn virtuoso Frank Lloyd.
Vickie is passionate about music education and is currently Assistant Head of Performing Arts at Cheadle Hulme High School. After several years of focusing on French Horn following completion of her studies, she returned to the tenor horn when invited to join the Fairey Band in 2012. With Rebecca joining the band a few months later, the appointment has seen both sisters once again playing in the same band several years after starting together in the local bands in the Dales, an experience that Vickie says has made playing for the world famous Fairey Band even more special!
Josh Cargill is a bass trombone player from Northern Ireland. He began playing in brass bands at the age of 10 when he joined the 1st Old Boys’ Youth Band where he played bass trombone for 10 years. For the latter five of these years, he also played with the 1st Old Boys’ Silver Band – one of Northern Ireland’s top bands.
Outside of banding, Josh also has a lot of orchestral experience, previously being principal bass trombone in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Ulster Youth Orchestra and the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra where, in 2018, he was awarded the Stephen Parker Memorial Award for his commitment to the orchestra.
In 2018, Josh was offered a place to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with a scholarship, where he is now studying with his teacher, Christian Jones. Coming to Manchester also gave Josh the opportunity to play with the world famous Fairey Band.
Tommy is a tuba player from the banding heartland of Saddleworth. He began to play brass at a young age later taking up percussion, and joined local top section outfit Marsden Silver at 13 years old. A year later however Tommy made the switch to BBb Bass at Marsden and became a member of the Halle Youth Orchestra and NYBBGB, becoming Principal Bb Bass and winning the Katie Ogden Solo Award and the Tom Atkinson Memorial award.
After a year at Grimethorpe from the age of 17, Tommy took some time out of banding to start a career in catering, and joined his local band Oldham (Lees), so local he lived above the bandroom for a while! The main highlight of his time at Oldham was the year of 2018 where they won no less than 5 consecutive contests. In 2019 at 22 years old, Tommy made the decision to study music alongside his career in catering and is currently completing his BMus at the University of Huddersfield and studying tuba with Les Neish. Tommy joined the Fairey Band in 2020 and is looking forward to many great performances and memories with us.
Fairey Band Personnel
Matthew Hall (Soprano)
Flugel and horns
Euphoniums and Baritones