Player Profile: Simon Wilkins Soprano Cornet

Soprano Cornet player Simon Wilkins has one of the hardest seats in the band. As a professional singer Simon is no stranger to the stage and the spotlight, which is a good thing considering the soprano cornet seat is one of the most exposed in the band.

Simon started playing at age 13. His first instrument was the Euphonium but he moved onto trumpet after 18 months as the trumpet was lighter to carry backwards and forwards to school. This turned out to be one of the best moves he made as he became a strong and sure cornet player. His first band was Blidworth Welfare Band, a now Championship section band. During this period he was motivated and trained by Geoff Hawley who encouraged him to progress as a Soprano Cornet player, and who has been a huge inspiration and role model for Simon throughout his entire playing history.

At age 19 Simon moved to Thoresby Colliery Band where he played Repiano and 2nd cornet. It was during this time that he experienced his biggest musical achievement by playing at the Championship section National Finals with Thoresby and winning the title for the year 2000.

After this Simon continued to play Repiano cornet with Newstead Brass and then moved back onto Soprano when he joined Kirkby Colliery Band. During this period he progressed further as a Soprano player and spent time raising his two children with his wife and nurturing a good career. He has been playing with Ibstock Brick Brass for 6 years and has more than earned the nickname ‘Super Sop’. Simon is part of the Ibstock Brass Band committee and a valuable member of the team. In addition to being a great motivator and organiser, he also has great sense of humour when it comes to social media marketing!

Since his mid twenties Simon has also spent time developing his vocals and his music career, efforts that have made it possible for him to become a professional full time singer and entertainer. He now has a popular show under the name Matt Symons as well as a Robbie Williams and a Freddie Mercury Tribute show, both of which are extremely successful.

Player Profile: Principal Cornet LeeAnne Wilkins

Principal Cornet player LeeAnne Wilkins brings a wealth of experience and qualification to Ibstock Brick Brass.

LeeAnne was brought up in a mining village and in the mining brass band community. She began playing at the age of 7 under the musical instruction of Seth Appleton who she remained close to until he sadly passed away a few years ago. Her Father was a successful conductor and percussionist and her Mother a bass drum player, bringing brass banding and music into her life from a young age.

LeeAnne played with Ireland Colliery Band from junior band right up to Principal Cornet in the senior 1st section band by the age of 14. At age 16 she completed her ATCL associateship from Trinity College of London and says this is the achievement she is most proud of. During this time she was still competing both in solo contests and band contests and doing extremely well.

Since then LeeAnne has had two children, a son and a daughter, who are both now in their early teens, and is married to Simon Wilkins, who is also Ibstock’s Soprano Cornet player. She has been with the band for 6 years and has a very close friendship with one of the bands founding members Dave Wright.

On being asked what her favourite piece was, LeeAnne replied; “There are too many to choose from but my go to test piece is Essence of Time, and for slow melody I love The Lost Chord as it was the first solo piece I ever played when I was 7”. We also discovered that despite her impressive playing acumen she has never had the chance to play at the Royal Albert Hall and has said this is definitely her biggest ambition and she hopes to achieve this one day.