Musical Directors

Mark Harrison, MD.

Biography

Born in Salford in 1989, Mark was brought up in a musical family and began his musical career with Astley Youth Band at the age of six and went on to play solo cornet with Bolton Youth Brass Band. He later took up the saxophone, piano and also began to pursue his talent for singing. He secured a place in the National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain, and the Halle Youth Choir under the direction of James Burton who became a huge influence to him. Mark then went on to join the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain on principal soprano cornet, and also made history by becoming the youngest person ever to join the Halle Choir at the age of 16.

At the start of his A Levels he gained a place at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music to study cornet with Tracey Redfern and voice with Jeffrey Lawton. Whilst at the Junior RNCM he made the decision to apply for university playing the trumpet and picked up the instrument for the first time during his first term at the Junior RNCM. With the help of Tracey Redfern he quickly progressed and successfully secured a place to study at the RNCM with a scholarship on trumpet. During this time Mark was appointed as the soprano cornet player with the Fairey Band under the direction of Philip Chalk, and has enjoyed his time there immensely, being involved in various concerts, contests and trips abroad. Mark is also a keen composer, arranger and conductor.

During his time at the Junior RNCM Mark performed with the Brass Ensemble and Jazz Band, appearing both as a trumpet and vocal soloist. After his first two years of study at the RNCM, being heavily involved in projects and concerts, he was accepted onto the ERASMUS scheme in 2010 to study at the Oslo Musikkhøgskole in Norway for his third year of studies.

Now back in England having studied with such people as Jan Fredrik Christiansen and Ole Edvard Antonsen, Mark has graduated from the RNCM with first class honours. Working hard as a soloist, chamber musician, jazz musician and all round performer, Mark is keen to take on anything that comes his way with a passion. Taking part in all matter of ensembles ranging from the Symphony Orchestra and Big Band, appearing in Masterclasses with people such as Håkan Hadenberger, Thierry Caens and Rex Richardson, and most recently being accepted onto the access scheme with the world famous Hallé Orchestra, Mark is always striving to be the best musician he can hope to be, in as many aspects as possible.

RHIANNON SYMONDS, ASSISTANT MD.

Biography

Rhiannon began her musical life as many do, singing in the school choir and learning recorder in whole class music lessons. It wasn't until the age of 9 that she discovered her true love, when her mother left out an old instrument that she was looking to sell on, and Rhiannon picked up and began to play a trombone for the first time.

Rhiannon was fortunate enough to be taught by her mother, brass teacher Kristyann Symonds, throughout her schooling. She also received consultations from such great teachers as Alan Hutt, Roger Cutts, and Emily White. Rhiannon became a Licentiate of Trinity College London in 2013 during her GCSE year, before choosing to focus on her A-Levels in preparation for university. Despite being accepted onto the prestigious "joint course" between the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester, Rhiannon decided to focus solely on her education at the RNCM. She left the University of Manchester in late 2015.

Rhiannon is currently under the tutelage of Katy Jones at the RNCM, living in Farnworth with partner Mark Harrison.

MiCHAEL Hurst, BAND TUTOR.

Biography

Retired Music Teacher

Started his musical journey with Kearsley Silver Prize Band in the late 50’s starting on cornet then found his love Ebb Bass.

He was a private music teacher for 25 years teaching Brass Instruments, Saxophone, Flute and Clarinet.

He spent his early years in the brass band family but also with dance bands, blues bands, show band and cabaret.

He has for the past 14 years been running a rehearsal swing band for new comers.

After retiring from teaching he wanted to give something back to the youth of today so he teaches recorders at Prestolee school as a volunteer, he also joined Kearsley Youth Brass Band and became their music tutor/assistant musical director.

SUE STIRZAKER, MD (TRAINING BAND).

Biography

Sue has been working with young people in a variety of musical settings for more than 30 years - everything from playgroups, church music clubs, primary schools, brass bands and Saturday schools. Sue is a fully qualified teacher specialising in primary curriculum music and works with schools to deliver a comprehensive music curriculum programme for children from Nursery to Year 6.

Sue is also currently the project manager for the Hallé Shine Saturday school programme in Ashton and in her free time sings with the Hallé Choir as well as training young brass players.

Sue has been involved with Kearsley Youth Brass Band since the first day it started and has been thrilled to see how well it has developed over the years. Sue is delighted to have taken on the role as Training Band Musical Director and is looking forward to working with the KYBB family once again.