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Ben Armstrong - Principal EEb Tuba

Ben started playing the Cornet aged eight under the tutorship of Cornet legend James Shepherd and played for both the Jayess 87 and Jayess (Queensbury) bands before joining the British Army as a musician in 1997. He spent 13 years in the army, playing all over the world as a member of the Band of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) followed by the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers. It was during his time in the army that Ben first enjoyed the experience of playing the Tuba, spending 3 years playing the instrument in the REME band and receiving regular tuition from Patrick Harrild (LSO).  Always up for a challenge, Ben is proud to hold diploma qualifications on both Cornet and Tuba. During this time he also played with several successful southern counties bands, including Hanwell, Staines and Friary Guildford.

Leaving the army in 2010, Ben and his family relocated to Nottingham where he trained to be a primary school teacher. Since moving back north, Ben played with Hucknall and Linby MC Brass before joining Newstead Brass on Repiano Cornet in January 2013. December 2014 saw the opportunity to move back onto Tuba and Ben grasped it with both hands, quickly getting his lip back and establishing himself as a regular soloist with the band- something he is keen to continue with Derwent Brass!


Rob Stew - EEb Tuba

Rob began playing the Euphonium at the early age of 8 in his local village band, Bulkington Silver in Warwickshire. Early teachings came from Albert Chappell, Trevor Groom and Burt Sullivan (now that really shows his age!). 

He has played at every level, most notably with Birmingham based Jones & Crossland (which he still reckons is the 'Best Band Ever'!) and was a founder member of the Heart of England Band. Following the demise of these bands Rob was asked to take the Solo Euphonium seat at the famous 'William Davis Construction Band' under the baton of Dr. Keith Wilkinson. In addition to Euphonium, Rob's versatility at Davis' saw him covering the Solo Baritone, Trombone and Tuba seats. 

After a 10 year sabbatical from playing, Dai Roberts (Soprano) enticed Rob to help Derwent Brass at a Christmas Concert in 2005. Having enjoyed playing again and the great camaraderie of the band, Rob agreed to join the band on Euphonium where he stayed until March 2013.

Rob has always enjoyed sessions on Tuba so when the opportunity arose to move over to the 'dark side' on EEb Tuba he jumped at the chance of a new challenge, joining his colleagues at the back of the room.

Away from band Rob is married to lovely wife Sandra and is semi-retired undertaking part time consulting and lecturing in Industrial Information Technology.

He is a keen collector of 'classic' cars (including joining the other petrol heads of the band on associated trips, including the infamous Nurburgring) and is a West Bromwich 'Baggies' fan. 

Neil Riddle - BBb Tuba

Neil began playing the Euphonium at age of ten whilst living in Cornwall. A move to Surrey saw a brief flirtation with the French horn in the local school orchestra before sensibly moving onto the tuba and migration to the local town band in Godalming.

At the age of sixteen the option of continuing a musical education was shelved to purse a career in Forestry. The musical bug has remained though and Neil has been a member of a number of brass bands in both Cumbria and the Midlands whilst moving around the country following a number of management postings in the Forestry Commission. Three consecutive trips to Malta with the English Festival Brass were a musical and social highlight whilst studying Forestry in Cumbria.

Neil spent an impressive 18 years with Derwent Brass, predominantly on EEb Tuba, enjoying performing with both the full band and ensemble before taking a break from the band due to heavy work committments. We were delighted to welcome Neil back in 2017 on BBb Tuba.

Steve Bottomley - BBb Tuba

Steve is a well known Tuba player in Midland's banding circles having played for several bands in the area including Newark Town Band, Clipstone Colliery, Foss Dyke, NSK (Newark) Ransomes, Blidworth Welfare, Thoresby Colliery and most recently Newstead Brass. Included in his wealth of banding experience is being part of the inaugural NSK (Newark) Ransome trip to Germany for Newark's twinning association with Emmendingen with Musical Director David James.

In addition to his talents on the Tuba, Steve also plays the Accordian, but readily admits that his 100% alliance sits with brass band playing.  Away from the bandroom despite being qualified in the area of financial services, Steve now enjoys a career as an approved Driving Instructor.


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