Derek’s musical interest was first realised when he was a small boy, a member of the Boys Brigade at Marsden in Southlds
South Shields. He can remember taking the tenor horn, which his elder brother had been learning to play, back to South Shields School Brass Band because his sibling had decided not to pursue it any longer. Derek thought that he would have a go himself and found himself returning home with a cornet ! The rest, as they say is history!
As well as playing with the Harton & Westoe Colliery Band, in his early teens he was also to be seen playing with the Northern Junior Philharmonic, the National Youth Wind Band of Great Britain, and then the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
At the age of 17 he was awarded a scholarship to study trumpet performance for three years at the Royal College of Music in London under Richard Walton. Upon leaving the RCM he freelanced, performing with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, The Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Northern Sinfonia.
He returned to his brass band roots in 1978, joining the revamped Leyland Vehicles Band, helping them to gain championship status winning the first section national finals. Following a brief time with Yorkshire Imperial Metals Band of Leeds, winning the British Open Championship in 1980 he joined the John Foster & Sons Black Dyke Mills Band, winning the National Brass Band Championships in 1981.
Derek has had periods playing with the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Brass Band, Wingates Band, and the famous LINDLEY Band, with which he has been associated for over fifteen years. He regularly plays for the Territorial Army with the Lancashire Artillery Volunteers Band, both home and overseas.
Of all the genres and musical companies in which he has been involved, Derek finds that what he enjoys most nowadays is the intimate finesse that a small brass group can achieve.