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.
Here are 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 1991, when I was 11 years old. I'd heard about the Corps as my cousin was already a member. I couldn't play an instrument when I joined, but quickly decided that I wanted to play the drum.
During the many years I've spent with the Corps, I've travelled around the UK, Europe and the USA and have played at events large and small. I learnt to play all of the percussion instruments including the snare drum, the quads, the trios, the base drum and the cymbals. For the last ten years I've focused less on playing at events, instead turning my attention to percussion tuition at rehearsals and preparing the Corps for their grading and public performances.
My favourite aspect of the Corps and the main reason why I’m still involved, is the opportunity to share the skills I've learnt over the years with children and young adults from all backgrounds and watch them grow in confidence whilst learning to play a musical instrument. With much more focus now in schools being on the core subjects, I think it's really important that there are also opportunities available for people to learn how to play music if they want to.
I joined the Corps when I was seven years old after a leaflet was put through my door. Where they rehearsed was local, so I thought it might be worth a look so went along and tried a couple of instruments out and joined to see how it would be. And I'm still here all these years later. I started on soprano trumpet but have played the mellophone for the majority of my time in the Corps. I also spent many years as part of the fanfare party.
As a Senior Bass Instructor, I spend much of time my time at rehearsals teaching members to play brass instruments, read music and play as part of a group. I also acts as deputy to both the Bandmaster and Brass Director, so if they are not available, I assume that responsibility.
During my time in the Corps, I've really enjoyed the camaraderie that comes with it. Looking back, overall my favourite aspects have been the travelling, the friends I've made and the fact that I've learnt a skill almost without thinking about it. I suppose the biggest thing I can say is that I've got some great stories to tell!
I have been involved with the Corps of Drums for over 16 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.