Three generations of one family perform with the Cockerton Prize Silver Band in Darlington

The Northern Echo: John Parkin with tuba, his son Neil Parkin with baritone and Neil's daughters Amy Parkin (13) and Eve Parkin (11) both with cornets. John Parkin with tuba, his son Neil Parkin with baritone and Neil's daughters Amy Parkin (13) and Eve Parkin (11) both with cornets.

A PASSION for music spanning 70 years has brought three generations of a family to perform together in the same silver band.

The Darlington-based Cockerton Prize Silver Band boasts an impressive 143-year history and its annual showpiece concert last night (Wednesday, December 18) saw three generations of the Parkin family take to the stage.

Grandfather John Parkin, 71, has performed the tuba in band since the mid 1960s and son Neil, 41, followed in his footsteps by becoming its full-time baritone player four-years-ago.

Neil’s 13-year-old daughter Amy has now made it a family hatrick as she has gradually played her way into the senior band.

She has played the cornet at events such as Darlington’s remembrance service and Reindeer Parade but last night was her first performance with the seniors at the Cockerton Club concert – the highlight of the band’s Christmas calendar.

Amy’s younger sister, Eve, 11, is also aiming to get into the senior band and is currently playing cornet for the academy outfit, who also performed at the concert.

Dad Neil said he was proud of his daughters’ involvement and said it was their enthusiasm for music rather than family tradition which prompted them to join.

“All their lives the girls have come to concerts, but I didn’t want to be the one to push them into it, it came from them, and they love the social side as much as anything.

“Eve is really keen to get into the senior band, she is desperate but I tell her to be patient, take her time and she will make it.”

Mr Parkin added that it would be a “proud moment” to be onstage with his father and daughters, particularly as Amy is performing a solo on the evening.

The Cockerton Prize Silver Band was established in 1870 and performs at many of Darlington’s civic events and concerts, as well as competing in band championships.

It is a registered charity funded through donations and must raise £10,000 every year to cover its costs.

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