Soprano Cornet – Kevin Crockford
Kevin started to play B flat cornet at the age of 10 with his local Portsmouth band, Solent Youth Concert. After 2 years it was decided that because he appeared to be more comfortable in the upper register, he was given a soprano cornet, and since that time he has become one of the leading exponents of the instrument.
At age 13, Kevin passed his Grade 8 with honours and was accepted at the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, until the grand old age of 17 when he packed his bag and moved North to follow his dream of playing in the country’s top brass bands. First stop was the City of Coventry Band, and then in 1980, Leyland Vehicles Band where he met his good friend Richard Evans. With Leyland, Kevin toured Japan and gave a classic performance of Gilbert Vinter’s “Variations On A Ninth” which earned the band 2nd place at the British Open Championships of 1981, at the band’s first attempt in the contest.
1982 saw Kevin move to the hallowed hunting grounds of Yorkshire with Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band, and a year later his dream really came alive when he accepted the invitation to join the Black Dyke Mills Band. Kevin spent 6 years at Black Dyke, winning all there was to win until tragedy struck with a broken front tooth which put his career temporarily on hold. After many dental visits however, he bounced back, joining the Desford Colliery Band, and straight away won the 1989 National Championships of Great Britain on Arthur Butterworth’s “Odin”.
Travelling to Desford (near Leicester) from his home in Leeds took its toll though and Kevin was delighted to be invited to join the famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band for a very enjoyable two years. Due to work commitments however, Kevin left Grimethorpe and re-joined Black Dyke for a further 7 years service, before a move across the Pennines to Fairey, where he won back-to-back National Championship titles in 2002/2003.
In January 2005, Kevin re-joined Grimethorpe for another seven year stint and enjoyed yet more success, including another set of back-to-back of National wins. In January 2012, Kevin then became the soprano player with the Brighouse & Rastrick Band for a brief 12 month spell, before returning home to Grimethorpe in January 2013.
Kevin’s competition winning highlights include:
– The National Championships of Great Britain, 8 times
– The British Open Championship, 6 times
– The European Brass Band Championships, 4 times
– The English National Championships, twice
Kevin has also won numerous solo awards and accolades, including:
– Best Soloist award at the 2008 English National Championships, on Robert Redhead’s “Infinity”
– Best Instrumentalist award at the Yorkshire Championships, in 2005 and again in 2014
– The Brian Evans Memorial Trophy for Best Soprano at the British Open Championships, in 2008 and again in 2015
– Best Soprano award at the Brass In Concert Championships on five occasions
Kevin is particularly proud of being the only person to have been in the Black Dyke Mills Band of 1985 and 1995 where the band achieved the “Grand Slam” of European, Open and National titles in the same year, the only 2 occasions in history this has ever been achieved. This is a record he holds to this date.
His very flexible styles of soprano cornet playing have seen him tour the world with his bands, and also as a guest soloist and guest player with international bands, which including a tour of Israel with Fodens Band on principal cornet (on his soprano too!). He has played at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Australia’s Sydney Opera House among hundreds of other prestigious concert halls, both home and abroad, but his favourite performance venue remains London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall.
Kevin earns his living outside the world of music as the Sales Manager for Thorite, the United Kingdom’s leading distributor of pneumatic, compressed air and process control equipment.
His other passion (when time permits) is supporting his beloved ‘Pompey’, Portsmouth Football Club.