Ian started playing the cornet at the age of 5, under the tutorage of Harry Halstead from this he proceeded to join Littleborough Band a natural progression as Harry was their conductor at the time. He later joined the Rochdale Youth Orchestra Brass Band conducted by John Siswick, whilst playing with this band he enjoyed 5 consecutive trips to the Butlin’s Youth Championship Finals (1973-77).
Whilst playing with the youth band he also played with local bands, Milnrow again under Harry Halstead and Middleton Band, initially under the inspirational Kevin Bolton and then the young Garry Cutt
In 1978 Ian joined Besses o’th’ Barn Band for what was to be a fifteen year association with the band, and also commenced his studies at Salford College, whilst there was tutored by the likes of Brian Tuffrey, Allan Withington, David James and Peter Reid and had the opportunity to work closely with Prof. Walter Hargreaves and Howard Snell whilst principal cornet of the college band.
There were many highlights during his time with Besses, North West Area wins in 1979 and 1981, the latter being particularly special as it was his first contest on flugel, National Championship runners–up in 1978 after drawing the dreaded No 1 and of course the 1982 British Open Win, numerous tours, prestigious concerts and to have shared the stage with some of the finest conductors and musicians, to name but a few, Roger Fairbrother, John Fletcher, James Gourley, Sir Charles Groves, Elgar Howarth, Ifor James, Roy Newsome, Major Peter Parkes, John Wallace, James Watson, Billy Wolstencroft and the legend that is George Barker.
In addition to joining Besses in 1978 Ian was proud to represent the North West in the Butlin’s National Youth Solo Competition having been runner-up in the regional qualifier.
His proudest moment however, was being described as “a prince among flugel players” in an article in the British Bandsman by Peter Wilson after he accompanied Besses on their second tour to Finland.
Besses was a band of real bandsmen in the late 70’s and early 80’s players that worked hard for each other with some outstanding players although not household names, it was a golden period in the band’s history with regular appearances in the prizes at the Nationals and Open, but it was always fun just how a hobby should be.
After retiring from Besses and following short spells with Milnrow Band and United Norwest Co-op Band he finally came out of retirement in 2002 to join Whitworth on horn, having previously helped out on Whit-Friday to ensure that enough beer was consumed, and will always remember the now legendary cornet playing of himself and John Binns on “The President” – a performance never to be repeated.
In addition to the senior band Ian also plays with the band’s quintet, and veteran’s band, he also plays trumpet with the world famous “Spodden Valley Stompers” jazz band.