New arrivals at Grimethorpe

Grimethorpe Colliery Band has announced a duo of new signings following the recent departures of flugel player Laura Hirst, horn player Jonathan Bates and euphonium star Michael Dodds.

Helen Varley currently first horn at Black Dyke will be joining the band on solo horn when her commitments are completed in June, whilst Andy Kennedy joins on second baritone from Hatfield Colliery Band.

Commenting on the move Helen said: "It was a tough decision to leave Black Dyke, but the opportunity to join Grimethorpe on solo horn was just too good to turn down. I'm delighted to be joining this world-class group of musicians and I'm looking forward to new challenges and musical adventures.

I'm very sad to be leaving Black Dyke after four fantastic years, and I leave with wonderful memories. I would like to express warm thanks to the band and Prof Nicholas Childs, and I wish my friends all the best for the future."

For Andy the appointment has a poignant family connection, "My father Mick joined Grimethorpe on the back row when I was 6 and played with the band for 16 years, so being asked to be part of this band is something I dreamed of.

I used to sit at the front of rehearsals in awe of the players around the stand, so to be one of them now is an honour. I cannot wait to pull on the famous pink shirt at the British Open!"

Following the departure of flugel player Laura Hirst, Jamie Smith will move from solo cornet to take on the role. A spokesperson for the band said: "We would like to welcome both Helen and Andy to the band, both players of outstanding talent who will strengthen our ranks.

We would like to thank Laura for her time with us and wish her every success in the future. Jamie, who studies at the Royal Northern College of Music and also stars in the A4 Brass Quartet, is one of the finest players of his generation with a great future ahead of him."

BBW understands an announcement regarding Grimethorpe's vacant solo euphonium position is imminent.

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