James began his musical education at Bramcote Lorne Preparatory School where he started learning the cornet. He continued his lessons through secondary school at Lincoln Minster School where he spent his spare time in the excellent wind and jazz bands. 2010 saw James join The Band of Lincolnshire Army Cadet Force.
This signalled the start of his real passion for music and after moving to euphonium for a year, he finally tried the tuba which proved to be the instrument most suited to him, and one that he has not moved from since.
After three years as a cadet James remained in the band as an instructor and eventually commissioned as the band’s Director of Music, learning from highly experienced conductors from both the military and civilian worlds of music along the way. In this time James spent his spare time travelling the country helping other ACF bands as well as organising the highly successful national level Sovereign’s Concerts. In 2016, James was invited to join Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Concert Band as Assistant Musical Director working under their MD, Brian Newland. Joining LFRCB allowed James to greatly improve both his playing and conducting styles and broaden his musical horizons.
May 2018 saw James resigning his commission from the Army Cadet Force and leaving the band, walking straight into his first rehearsal with Newark and Sherwood Concert Band that very same evening. Three months later he was offered the position of Assistant Musical Director by MD Colum J. O’Shea, which he gratefully accepted. Being Assistant Musical Director of both Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Concert Band and Newark and Sherwood Concert Bands has allowed James to gain experience working with two very different ensembles and learn from two different Musical Directors, something he hopes will continue long into the future. James spends what little spare time he has helping friends in the brass band world either playing or conducting where needed, as well as conducting the new Newark and Sherwood Development Band: a position that he is immensely proud of.
Colum J. O'Shea
Musical Director Newark & Sherwood Concert Band
Born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, Colum began playing the violin at the age of 7 at school before being able to learn the cornet at the age of 9. After enjoying the cornet more, he moved to secondary school, leaving the violin behind. Throughout school, he worked through the performance grades and in 2007 became the youngest member in his school's history to achieve grade 8. Since the age of 10, Colum has been playing in Brass Bands, firstly at Ireland Colliery Band in Chesterfield, Riddings Band, Blidworth Welfare Band and most recently, The World Famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band.
Throughout these years Colum has learned from some of the finest players and conductors in the country. As a conductor, Colum has always been grateful for the chances offered him by All Saints’ R.C. School Mansfield, being asked to cover band rehearsals and concerts as well as a year as Conductor of the School Choir. Colum is a member of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors and has had successful appearances with Foss Dyke Band and Shirebrook Miners Welfare Band, in addition to being asked to visit many bands around the country.
In 2012, Colum jumped at the opportunity to apply for the Musical Director vacancy at Newark & Sherwood Concert Band, and since being voted into the role in January 2013, the band has continued to go from strength to strength. Colum is a firm favourite with band members and audiences alike.