Stephanie Wilkins endorses Geneva
Stephanie Wilkins becomes another Black Dyke star to join Geneva as a Performance and Development Artist. Stephanie hails from Cornwall, where she started playing the cornet, aged 8 with the Mount Charles Youth Band, under the direction of the late Euphonium player Shaun Thomas. Steph progressed through to the Principal Cornet chair of the youth band, whilst also playing in St Austell Town Band and latterly in Mount Charles Band. When aged 11, Stephanie was invited to audition for the Cornwall Youth Brass Band (CYBB), she was successful and remained in the band for a further 10 years, 4 as Principal Cornet for the band and subsequently a tutor for the cornet section. Steph is a very proud ex-member of the band and is thankful for the opportunities created, allowing her to work with some of the best conductors and soloists in the banding world from a young age.
In 2011 Steph decided to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), where she gained a BMus (Hons) Degree. Steph was very successful during her time at RWCMD, winning the Phillip Jones Brass Ensemble prize 2 years consecutively, becoming a finalist for the Linda Mowat Brass Award and winner of the Harry Mortimer Award for RWCMD’s Outstanding Brass Musician, which was presented at the British Open.
Before commencing her degree, Steph was asked to join Tongwynlais Temperance Band, where she spent 3 months before being invited to join the Cory Band in November 2011 by Dr Robert Childs. Steph enjoyed 7 years with the Cory Band, where she was the Repiano Cornet and Flugelhorn player. Some of Steph’s notable highlights are winning the ‘Grand Slam’ in 2016 and tours to America in 2015 and to Australia in 2013.
In May 2018 Steph moved to Greater Manchester, to live with her partner and joined the Fairey Band on Principal Cornet. During her time at Faireys, Steph was recognised and regarded highly both from the band members and banding community and was awarded 'Player of the Year'. In March 2020 she was excited to join Grimethorpe Colliery on repiano cornet enjoying some innovative lockdown performances with the band.
Steph was invited to join Black Dyke band on Flugelhorn by Prof. Nicolas Childs. Steph commented, “Having played Flugel during my time at Cory, I knew this was an opportunity which I simply couldn’t pass on. I have always had a passion for the instrument and can’t wait for the new challenges and opportunities which lie ahead. I’ve always admired Black Dyke as a band and can’t wait to get started with them, even through these unprecedented times, and am hugely looking forward to working with both Nick and the band.”
When talking about the appointment Steph commented, "I was unsure exactly what to expect regarding the Geneva Oldroyd Cardinal Flugel, and after having always played Bach, my standards were very high. The instrument however is exceptional, and I was convinced by its quality after the first note. For starters, it is beautiful, the ornate engraving with the nickel bell stands out from other makes, put this alongside the pure tone quality it's a perfect match for me. Having been a Cornet player for many years, I am keen to keep my technique sharp and the precision build of the Geneva instrument allows for a clear and sharp production through all technical challenges and throughout the range. I am very proud to call this my instrument of choice.”
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