Next the the “Meet the band” series is Alan Cooper, our of our BBb Bass players
At Boundstone School Lancing Alan was taught to play tuba by Dr King, Aedan Kearney, Peter Barrs and by top session trombone player Jack Quinn.
From 1974-83: he was tuba player with the West Sussex Youth Orchestra, played with the West Sussex Youth Brass Band during this period and in 1975 was the first player to perform a solo with them, he also played tuba with the National Assosciation of Youth Orchestras Anglo-German Youth Orchestra. In 1975 he played tuba on the SS Uganda Music Cruise Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Manduell Principal of the RNCM.
After school, Alan attended the London College of Music playing in the Symphony Orchestra under MD Peter Turton who was also conductor of the WSYO. He’s since played with several provincial orchestras including the Mid Sussex Sinfonia, Sussex and Horsham Symphony Orchestras, but now plays for fun having realised when in college that orchestra were not for him.
Whilst in school Alan played with the Beaufort Brass consort an adult ensemble which usually operated as a quintet and was run Alan Newnham. With the quintet Brass Tacks, he went on a week’s course with the PJBE in 1981 where are coaches included; James Watson, Denis Wick and John Fletcher, culminated with a concert in Lincoln Cathedral with the PJBE.
Since the mid 1980’s most of his playing has been with brass bands which he obviously enjoys far more and finds more satisfying than other mediums.
The first brass band Alan played with was Lancing Royal British Legion who were conducted by Sqdn Ldr Norman Warnes, the former bandmaster of Central Band of the Royal Airforce. Norman encouraged the band to contest and at the first contest with the band the band won the SCABA 2nd Section at Burgess Hill. This gave Alan the bug for contesting which he’s has had ever since.
Other bands Alan has played with include: Haywards Heath, Horsham Borough and Handcross Brass, playing with at the 2nd Section National Finals in 1987 and 1988. They were placed 2nd at the Area in 1987 winning the Area and promotion to the Championship Section in 1988. A year later the band folded but Alan retained his place in the top section being invited to join Alder Valley Brass.
This millenium he spent 8 years with Chichester City including a trip to the National Finals in the 1st Section, before returning for a second spell with Alder Valley and a trip to the National Finals in 2010. While with Chichester he switched from Eb to BBb Bass which he now normally plays.
In 2013 Alan joined LGB Brass winning with them the title Champion Band of Great Britain 3rd Section amongst other successes.
“I am as happy now with this band as I have ever been playing wise. A great bunch of talented people well run and well led by MD Ian Stewart. I feel very lucky to have been to a school where I was given every opportunity to learn and develop a love for playing music. I wish every child had the opportunities I have enjoyed”.
(Photo courtesy of Fingerprint Photography)