THE principal horn player for the most famous brass band in the world has taken delivery of her new instrument – made in Stokesley.

Siobhan Bates, principal horn player with the world-famous Black Dyke Band, based near Halifax, has been rehearsing at home throughout lockdown, as the band is moving towards a series of solo performances via a streaming service.

Her Geneva tenor horn was made by Stokesley-based Geneva Group, which has also provided other instruments for musicians in the band, which has been crowned national champion brass band of Great Britain on 23 occasions.

Brett Baker, principal trombone player for Black Dyke Band for 20 years as well as general manager of Geneva Group, said the musicians were looking forward to being able to play for an audience once more.

He said: "The band has been going since 1855 and until the early 1990s there were no women players.

"A lot has changed in the last 30 years. Siobhan follows in the line in that in our tenor horn section is completely female, which unusual so that's great to see.

"The band has not rehearsed together since lockdown – our musicians live across the country, from Brotton and Guisborough, to Chester, Doncaster, and in Wales.

"However, I've been able to do more online teaching than I used to, including for a youth music summer camp in America. I would never have normally been able to do that as they wouldn't have flown me over there for an hour of teaching, so that has been interesting.

"As the general manager of Geneva, I'm involved in everything from cleaning to making multi-million pound deals. We have still been making smaller brass instruments from Stokesley, but our larger instruments are made in the Czech Republic which has been more challenging.

"We have had to use our Czech colleagues to go in and out the country when needed."

Mr Baker said the band is now preparing for six soloists to perform in a concert streamed on Brass Pass TV, and hopes that soon quartets will be able to perform.

He said: "Before the pandemic, we were a very busy band. Every week we would perform either in the UK or abroad in amazing venues. We're looking forward to being able to again."