Players

Principal Cornet Dave Neville

Dave is a gifted instrumentalist who has been Principal Cornet at Derwent Brass for many years. He is often featured at concerts, thrilling audiences with a wide range of styles and has regularly been awarded Best Instrumentalist and Best Soloist at contests.

Dave was a founder member of the City of Derby Youth Band and his time there included tours to Germany, Canada and Belgium. After then being a member of City of Derby Band, Dave formed the Neville Brass Ensemble which later amalgamated with Davis Derby to form Derwent Brass.

Dave's musical influences include his early teachers, Waddel Smith (a big band trumpet player) and Sam Lydall (MD of City of Derby) who taught him about determination and commitment, combined with listening to great players like Wynton Marsalis and Maurice Andre.

Dave is also a brass tutor and is heavily involved in music education around Derbyshire.

Assistant Principal Cornet Ben Jowett

Ben Jowett orginally joined Derwent Brass on Repiano Cornet in July 2019 before moving onto Assistant Principal Cornet in 2021.

Ben is a highly talented player who studied at Nottingham University and was previously Principal Cornet with the likes of South Yorkshire Police Band, Shirland Welfare and Chapeltown Silver. He also plays trumpet with other ensembles including the Derventio Brass ensemble based in Derby and the Tony Farrell Big Band based in Nottingham.

Ben is the older brother to Sam Jowett who was a key member of the band on percussion for several years.

Solo Cornet Tom Wallage

Tom joined the front row cornet section in 2021, having formely held the Assistant Principal Cornet seat at NW Championship Section band Accerler8 (formerly known as TCTC Group Band and Co-op Crewe).

Prior to playing for Acceler8, Tom also played Principal Cornet with Midland’s contenders Hathern Band (Loughborough) for some 5 years, during which time he qualified as a vet with first class honors at The University of Nottingham where he also performed and conducted with the The University of Nottingham's Sutton Bonington Music Society (SBSO, SB Big Band and SB Singers) . Prior to this he also played with the Riverside Concert Band and various other brass ensembles.

Solo Cornet Chris Leonard

Chris was born into a musical family and grew up surrounded by brass music. In addition to home teachings, he was professionally tutored by the famous Trombone Virtuoso Chris Jeans from an early age and also had lessons with the likes of Roger Webster and Russel Gray.

His first band experience was at the Long Eaton Band, before moving onto Hathern Youth ‘B’ Band where he progressed to Principal Cornet. Chris later joined Youth Brass 2000 where he enjoyed several successful years (including National Youth Entertainment Champions, BBC Youth Band of the Year, French Open Youth Champions, etc.), numerous appearances at the Royal Festival Hall, and many continental trips, and ultimately progressed to become Principal Cornet. He was also Principal Trumpet at his college and county music centre Orchestras where he also spent some time learning percussion.

Chris then joined Derwent Brass on Solo Cornet in 2002, following his father, Keith Leonard, who was the band's Music Director for 25 years. He is a long serving trustee of the band and in 2017 became the Band Manager.

Solo Cornet Phil Neville

Phil started playing aged 8 years old with the Ravensdale Junior School Wind Band and later moved on to join the John Port School Band and Orchestra. During his time at school he was taught by Mr Sam Lydall who soon invited him to join the Derby Schools Brass Band and also the Derby Borough Band which in 1977 was to become the new City of Derby Band.

Phil was also part of the newly formed City of Derby Youth Band and along with his school band was involved with tours of Germany on three occasions as well as tours of Canada and Belgium. In 1977 whilst taking part in a school band exchange Phil had the opportunity to play on Radio Luxembourg and he has also played several times for Royal visitors to Derby. Beyond this his experience also includes playing in various orchestras and pit bands for shows, etc.

In 1985 along with his brother Dave, Phil was involved in the formation of a new 10 piece brass group called Neville Brass, taking inspiration from the likes of the world famous James Shepherd Versatile Brass etc. it was to become one of the leading brass groups in the area.

Phil studied instrument repair and in 1982 together with his brother Dave, formed the successful business Neville Bros Musical Instruments. In 1984 Phil became a member of the Institute of Musical Instrument Technology and he is also a professional member of the National Association of Musical Instrument Repairers.

Solo Cornet Izzy Jepson

Izzy is a young and talented Cornet player who hails from Hampshire. She studied the cornet at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and was the Principal Cornet of Test Valley Brass Youth.

Izzy also has a wealth of top section playing experience having most recently been a member of the famous Virtuosi GUS band, but prior also a member of other Midland rivals including the Staffordshire Band and Newstead Brass Band where she played Flugel horn.

Izzy now resides in Matlock, Derbyshire and joined Derwent Brass as assistant principal cornet in 2018, before taking a back seat in the band in 2021 when becoming a full time mum.

Stay up to date with Derwent Brass

Become a Friend of Derwent Brass to get all the news, concert details and early booking offers straight to your inbox