was born in Ipswich, but lived in Eastleigh all my life until recently, now Iím in Brighton Playing football / struggling to keep supporting Ipswich Town. Music, music, music... As you would expect from someone in a band, but seriously anything from classical and jazz to rock and hip hop, I couldn't live without my music. Apart from that all the usual really, Iím loving the Brighton night life during the week and living the dream at the weekends, long may it continue!
I can remember my first ever rehearsal I must have been 11 or 12, Senators were starting up a feeder band. My Brother Mark (now a 13 year vet and having marched with SCV) had been in the corps for about four or so years by now and was always on at me about joining, I used to give him such a hard time about being in a 'marching band', and being typical brothers we were always fighting and trying to get one up on each other so it didnít really make much sense me going.
So, the first rehearsal came and I decided not to go, however, one of my best friends at school Paul Brakewell (now brass section leader for '06 and having marched SCV '03-'05) did go and convinced me to go the next week as he said it was a good laugh - nothing like a bit of pier pressure, he's always been good at that! So I turned up the next week and they offered me the chance to have a go in every section to see what I like best, I wasnít interested at all 'no, its ok ill just go in the drum class....' And that was that, I loved it.
Why Senators? Well, this probably doesnít apply to me as much as others as I have always been here and Eastleigh isnít exactly big enough to have two championship quality marching bands. I do remember what my driving ambition to be apart of it was though, I remember watching the '95 drumline warm up before a show and thinking it was the coolest thing ever - they were good!! I had almost convinced myself it was impossible to be that good though... Little did I know 10 years later I would have marched with a good portion of that line and further more gone on to be section leader. So there you go kids... donít count yourself out till you have given it a shot.. there endeth the lecture.
I could spend the next 5 years writing what this corps has given me as a person, but that would mean missing out on all the stuff we have got planned for the next few years.
2005 probably saw the biggest highlight of my association with the corps, going on tour with Gwen Stefani... Iím sure there will be enough detail on the site about that for you to read through, and I have to move on, bit if I told you it was the best weekend of my life without question... I probably wouldnít be doing it justice...
I have life time friends which have been friends for over half my life already with whom I have a closer relationship than with members of my family. There have been people in the corps I have been in love with and people I have hated. I have lived with members of the corps, and I have worked with them. I have found them jobs and I have given them places to live. I have shared some of the most amazing adventures and experiences of my life with them and I have been there to help them through and be helped through some of our lowest points. People can't chose the families they are given normally, but I got to choose this one and I donít think I will ever make a better choice.
In 2006 I have the honour of being centre snare and drumline section leader, I have also been given a new role in the evolution of the Senators as corps section leader. This has been a dream of mine since the hazy days, drinking my panda pop in the feeder corps. I want to make this corps stronger than anybody has seen it to date and in a number of ways - Through the members we have, how we teach them and get them to perform at their highest level, but also through the structure we have throughout the organisation and the relationships we have with our partners. My personal aim is to help lead the corps to an unprecedented 8th DCUK title, while also helping with new ventures to strengthen the massive strides we took in 2005 with developing new performance opportunities.
What motivates me now? I have four high drum titles six championships, I have been in the most successful drumline in the country, and in the most successful corps in the country for nine years. I have been percussion member of the year, I have been corps member of the year twice, I have played in the senators uniform in front on 7 million people with Gwen Stafani on BBC1 top of the pops, and in front of 15,000 people live on stage while being broadcast on radio 1... The thing which motivates me most of all now is when new members come into the corps and realise what they have found. When they come down not sure what to expect and then find more than they could have imagined. If I can age out of this corps in a few years time and leave it in a stronger position than when I joined, and give other people somewhere near the opportunities that have been given me, than that is the biggest success and the biggest motivation I could imagine...