The City of Coventry Corps of Drums is run by a group of committed volunteers, many of which have either played in or have been involved with the band for over 20 years. The staff for the Corps is made up of senior playing members, who now teach the younger members all aspects involved in a military style marching band. There is also a number of support staff who ensure the smooth running of the organisation. All staff and members 18 and over are CSB checked and through the Corps have experience of working with children from a variety of backgrounds and varying abilities.
See below for more information about some of our senior staff members.
I joined the Corps in 1991 at the age of 10 after seeing an advert in the local paper looking for new recruits. I was also encouraged by my late father George Nottingham, who was a member himself in the 1960’s and 70’s and was a Trumpeter, Drum Major and BSM during his 15 years in the Corps.
On joining the Corps of Drums I already played the trombone, however wanted to broaden my horizons and decided i wanted to learn to play the snare drum. I didn’t have any knowledge of playing the drum when i joined, but over a short period of time it became apparent that i was a natural and with tuition I quickly progressed through the trainee section. I spent six months learning all aspects of drumming including rudiments, theory and practical along with basic drill manoeuvres before being moved up to the senior percussion section where I was given my first Yamaha snare drum, which was very exciting and what every trainee drummer looked forward to.
Over my time on the percussion section I worked my way through the ranks pushing myself at every opportunity and playing a range of instruments within the section. Becoming lead drummer was a highlight, however in addition to this I also played the bass drum, quads and trios.
Over the last 25 years I have worked my way through the rank system starting as a bandsman up to a WO1, then onto Corps administration officer, where i was responsible for all equipment, admin and transport. In April 2011 I became Commanding Officer of the Corps taking over from my predecessor Alan Palmer who retired from active service with the Corps after 65 years.
My favourite aspect of the Corps is seeing those who join, unable to play an instrument, progress as i did, to become a proficient player on their chosen instrument. There is no feeling like it, as this demonstrates that even without any previous experience, members have the opportunity to develop in line with our core objectives as an educational youth marching band.
I joined the Corps in 1989 having heard about it through my grandparents. Once I had seen them play at Coombe Abbey in Coventry and been really impressed, I went along to the next rehearsal and I've been there ever since.
My current role in the Corps is Corps Director/Brass Director. I play the baritone and my responsibilities include instructing the brass at rehearsal and preparing the Corps for our marching display performances. I'm also one of the senior staff in charge of the Corps when we are out on engagements.
My favourite aspect of the Corps of Drums is the friendships I have made over the years. I've met my closest friends here and that's something you can see being emulated throughout all the age groups in our Corps. We have an esteemed history and have represented our city across Europe and that's something I'm very proud to have been involved in. This gives me the motivation to keep going and keep the high standards we've achieved in the past and hopefully give an opportunity to younger members to experience what I have.
I would recommend joining the Corps, as it’s an organisation to be immensely proud of. As a member you get to experience many different things and visit many different places. It's an excellent opportunity to learn a musical instrument and make new friends.
I joined the Corps back in 1995. I was nine at the time and had been looking for an activity I could really excel at. I had already had a go at football, rugby etc. without too much success. I heard about the Corps through a school friend who had already joined. I went to see the Corps and had a trial rehearsal on a Wednesday evening and joined on the following Sunday.
In the band I play the snare drum mostly, but sometimes the bass drum. The technique I've learnt on the snare drum has also proven very useful when playing a drum kit outside of the Corps.
From being a fairly quiet novice, I came up through the ranks to become lead drummer and I've gradually been given more responsibility for teaching our drummers, from beginners to the senior section. Now I'm the Percussion Director, overseeing all of the percussion tuition at rehearsals and preparing the section for public performances as well as going out on public performances myself.
My favourite aspect of the band and the main reason why I’m still involved, is the friends I've made here over the years, which all comes from the experiences we've experienced together. It's important to me that current and future generations have the chance to learn to play an instrument, travel and grow both as a team and as individuals - without having to pay astronomical fees.
There are many reasons to join the band, but from my own experience I would say that one of the best things about it is that it is so inclusive. There is no sitting on the bench here. As soon as you meet a reasonable standard (in months, not years) you will be part of the team for every performance and you have the chance to learn, make friends and have a laugh from the very start.
I joined the Corps of Drums over 25 years ago and never thought I would still be here all these years later. The main reasons that I joined were that I wanted to the play a musical instrument and be part of something with other people.
Over the years I have played a variety of instruments including the Contra Bass and now the Baritone, but can step in when needed on other instruments. Even after all this time, I still really enjoy playing in the Corps and it gives me an immense amount of personal pride each time we give a good performance and a crowd appreciates us.
In my current role, I’m responsible for the Corp's stores which includes all of the instruments, uniforms and equipment that ensure that when we perform we look our best and truly stand out as a professional military style youth marching band.
The best part of being involved with the Corps for me now is the enjoyment of helping younger members progress and develop and give people the opportunity to learn to play instruments and travel all over the country when they otherwise may not have.
I have been involved with the Corps of Drums for just over 14 years, initially just in a support role as my son had joined as a member. Shortly after this I was asked to take over responsibility for managing the finances. Since this time I've held the office of Finance Director, with overall responsibility for managing all aspects of income and expenditure.
In my day job I manage a large charitable organisation and these skills have been useful not only in overseeing financial aspects but also ensuring that, as the band is also a charity, they are compliant with the requirements set out by the charity commission.
When the Corps is out and about, I work alongside the other support staff as a loader. I feel very privileged to be in a position of travelling all over the country and being able to see the Corps perform in some fantastic places. I am proud of all that the Corps achieves.
Probably the highlight of my time with the Corps of Drums was when we performed in the July Celebrations in 2005 in Delaware, USA. In my role as Finance Director I was responsible for ensuring that financially we could afford the trip and whilst there that all the bills were paid. We went with a large group of over 50 people which was by no means an easy task, however we had a brilliant time and we all still talk about it and hope one day to be able to do something similar again.
The Corps has become a big part of my life and I would encourage any young boy or man to join, as it is a great opportunity to learn an instrument, perform in amazing places and have lots of fun.