Gary Standeven MCGI LRSM
Gary started to learn the cornet aged 8 under the expert tuition of former Royal Doulton euphonium player Derrick Deakin. He played Solo cornet in various bands including Hanley/Stoke Brass and Wind Bands, Staffordshire County Youth Brass Band and Ceramic City Brass.
He joined the Royal Marines Band Service at Deal in Kent in September 1986 and spent the next 26 and a half years studying music and travelling extensively, playing for British Royalty and foreign dignitaries at exclusive and exotic locations around the globe.
Gary retired from the Royal Marines Band Service as a Warrant Officer Bandmaster and moved back to Stoke On Trent in April 2012. One thing we have learned is that for a former oboe player he's one hell of a good musician and a brilliant guy to have in your corner. Ask him any question and he will have an answer for you; it's not the usual rubbish the rest of us come out with either - oh yeah, he's one of the '3 Amigos' too.
A founder member of PVB, he is currently a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages based at Hanley Town Hall. Gary has a grown up daughter and son and lives in Trent Vale.
Marc joined us in May 2017 after moving to the area with work. Originally from Meerbusch near Dusseldorf he has a wealth of musical experience, having perfomed in the Flora Sinfonie Orchester, marching bands, dance and cover bands, brass quintet and even better - Egerlander Oompah Band!
Clearly someone who relishes dressing up to suit the occasion, we just know Marc will settle in well and enjoy performing our varied and entertaining repertoire. Here he is sporting his recent new hairstyle!
One of the original '3 Amigos' (you can guess the other 2) it could be said that Mike is a little bit of a joker - it does mean that he fits in perfectly with this bunch though (his words). Mike has been playing the cornet (again) since 2011 after a 20 year break. Like others, Mike had become fed up and disillusioned with traditional brass banding and competitions and stopped loving his music. Since Mike helped to form PVB and particularly take the Oompah Group forward he has regained his mojo! As our media officer he has given the band a huge amount of exposure and even had our logo projected onto the roof of the O2 in London as we worked with O2 during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. As a rugby referee on the National Panel he's often found in Lederhosen at rugby clubs before rushing to gigs. Personally I think there's more to it than that!!
Yep you've guessed it, Chris is Mike's son (don't tell him he looks like his Dad though). A rugby referee and a cornet player too, hmmm. Currently studying for his A-Levels and wanting to join the Royal Air Force, Chris was also a member of Foden's Youth Band before other commitments took over. He now plays all across the UK with the National Concert Band of the Air Cadets; one of the most prestigious and formidable youth bands in the Country. Gala Dinners, Air Tattoos, Royal Parades all feature on his gig list so far plus the odd Gold Medal at National Championships here and there. Like any teenager, we wish he would put his phone down at rehearsals though !
Ok we've kept this one easy, its Mike's daughter. Before you ask she's not into rugby; cheerleading and dancing are more her thing, she says that she's too small for netball - you'll see why. Aimee (or AJ) is growing as a player all the time and makes a beautiful sound playing Annie's Song on Flugel too. If she ever asks you to take the wrong hand make up challenge with her - don't! She's depressingly good at it and it may just appear on her youtube channel too.
Glynn is Managing Director of his family roofing business and enjoys gardening and baking. Let's just say we all LOVE Glynn, especially at birthday time when he brings in a cake. Glynn started playing only tfour years ago to see what it was all about and is one of the founding fathers of PVB. A word of warning to our audiences, be aware of his laugh! When he gets the giggles there's little that will stop him and you will probably end up joining in too.
Mark played Cornet and Trumpet at school and was in Moulton Village Band near Northapmton when it formed in 1977. Occasionally tinkering on the Trumpet more off than on over the years, he went to a brass band concert in 2016 and was inspired to buy a cornet and start practising again - painful for the family and neighbours after a 25 year break!
Conservation Officer Mark saw the advert for PVB's new training band in 2017 and turned up to find out more. He is really enjoying the wide variety of music and open and friendly atmosphere and banter. His ambition one day is to be able to sight-read music.
You're quite lucky that we have a picture of Lou, she's as elusive as an Amazonian Tribal Elder. The 'horn' in the 6 cornets and a horn who formed PVB, Lou has a wicked sense of humour with a very loving and gentle touch - yep she keeps the 'blokes' in order. Lou has kept her traditional banding up and still plays for Rode Silver Band, ask her which she prefers and you'd only get a smile in return; one thing we do know she has a wonderful sound even if the trombones try and drown her out sometimes!
David joined the training band in January 2017 after a long break from playing, and feels very at-home. Previously a French Horn player (which we have not held against him!) he has picked up the Tenor Horn - under Lou's careful and patient guidance he quickly joined the main band and hasn't looked back since. David has even devised his own special jazz chord notes which he occasionally puts in to amuse the second Cornets!
A chemist by training, David can often be found walking his dogs in the beautiful Staffordshire Moorlands or watching a rugby match, pint in hand.
Deb is an actor and playwright, best known for playing Angie Freeman in Coronation Street in the 1990's. She is co-counder and Creative Director of the Stoke On Trent based Claybody Theatre Company and a visiting lecturer of Drama and Theatre Arts at Staffordshire University.
Deb joined us in January 2017 after coming to our Christmas concert - enjoying the style of music that we played along with the relaxed format of the event so much that she wanted a piece of the action.
Her most recent theatrical venture is an adaptation of Dickens' 'Hard Times' and she has just been announced as the next Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University - "A very proud day".
The best part of band rehearsals according to Deb is the "great cuppa at break-time!"
Dan is one of life's quiet gentlemen, or at least that's the side we see most. A music graduate you would think that he might have chosen more wisely than trombone - we do love them really. What's the one thing you never say to the trombone section? Can we have a little more volume please. Dan is a huge asset to the band with his rich tone but we think he needs more preparation on his Oompah costume - come on Dan!
Edward is an immigrant to Penkhull, having been brought up in Solihull. Before retirement he lived, studied and taught in Oxford, Dublin, York, New Brunswick (New Jersey), London and Cambridge. His other passions include the history of science fiction and utopian fiction.
When in York he played in Nachtanz, a medieval wind-band, but had never been in a brass band before moving here and joining the training band in 2017. As a professor of medieval history, we thought Edward was joking when he said he played a sackbut (an early Renaissance trombone) but that was exactly what he turned up with for his first rehearsal with us! He has settled in extremely well playing something a little more modern.
Isabel is the youngest member of the ensemble and joined our training band in February 2017 after her family saw us busking in Hanley town centre the previous Christmas.
She has settled in really well and we were very pleased to congratulate her on passing the Grade 2 music exam with merit during summer 2017 - clearly a young lady with a very bright musical future (and a soft spot for lime green candy floss!)
Chris is a multi-talented musician and in addition to teaching and playing brass is the bass guitarist for local band The Sherry Counsellors. I'm sure there's some Romany in there somewhere; look at his hat collection!! Chris is currently a peripatetic music teacher in Staffordshire but is also a qualified Geography teacher! Another real joker, Chris has found a happy home with this bunch of misfits and loves the music we are playing, along with his slightly rusty but beautiful Mini Cooper.
Well we all love the deep rich sound that Tilly makes on her tuba but perhaps what we love more than that is Tilly's deep knowldege of real ale! It doesn't matter where we are playing, Tilly always knows which beer we should try first and there's usually a queue for her expert tuition. Now I don't know what makes somebody want to play the tuba (especially as I hated carrying a trumpet case up the hill to school) but I know we are glad to have Tilly supporting the band with her bass so if you see her trudging up the hill to Penkhull, stop and give her a hand!
'Big Al' is the scholar of the band - apparently he must be because he drives a library! He is a typical bass player, a jolly face and rosy cheeks from all that blowing; it makes for some wonderfully comical expressions but never let it be said that a bass player will follow a conductor or drummer in a band - Alan, like the rest of his section knows the speed he is comfortable with and makes sure we all know it too. If you ever want a delicate touch with a pinch of finesse on a huge bellowing instrument - look no further!
"Here's Johnny". We all love Johnny (we won't give away his nickname but see if you can guess who we think he looks like). The statesman of the band, Johnny had been retired from playing kit for rock and pop bands for years until he heard about PVB and decided to have a go again. John doesn't read music like the rest of us - he "just feels the music, man." Let him get onto the classic rock and watch him go. He's even been teaching our Bavarian Bear a thing or two about drums...
If as a child you were forced to sit and watch a John Wayne Western you will have heard Bev's signature rhythm, the dead donkey. When all else fails, when we have no Glockenspeil part, no spare bass part and no other inspiration, dead donkey it is and it works beautifully with some of our Oompah - who would have thought it? For a percussionist Bev is a rather good saxophonist but we are STILL trying to persuade her to bring it along and play The Simpsons for us. She is also classically trained as a vocalist and still performs with some of the UK's top choirs.
Hans Offen Meine Nuts
Oompah Band Mascot
Hans (formerly know as "Bear") was officially christened by audience member Basil Hoover in a competition at our Oktobeerfest in 2016. There were some excellent suggestions but the team thought the full name came out on top just ahead of Bear Necessity!
Hans was born in Erlangen, Stoke on Trent's twin town in Bavaria and he is currently studying music and Potteries Dialect.
He has tried to play a number of instruments in the band but his best effort so far has to be on the drums with Johnny as his tutor. That said he is most famous for his photo bombing...
Training Band 2017
We said a tearful farewell to Marcus in September 2016 as his Mum popped him onto the train to the South Coast. Marcus has run off to join... the Royal Marines Band Service. Marcus is another rugby man (where do they all come from?) and if you ever see this man mountain you'll know why. That said Marcus is very quiet and thoughtful but there's a cheeky side underneath ready to pounce. We always look forward to seeing Marcus on the odd occasions he is home on leave to visit family for a catch up on his progress, and of course, a pint!
Well it appears that we have an actual real life musician in our ranks - I'm not sure how we managed that - but Chris is very welcome. Not only is he our resident German specialist and Oompah officionado but he also playes the flute, soprano and alto sax, even the harmonica.
Chris is a member of several bands; when asked why he chose PVB, he answered "their friendly and non-competitive nature and their wide selection of entertaining music" - awww we love him.