A Tribute to Alan Exley: MD and Principal Cornet

Members of the Yorkshire Imperial Band will be paying tribute to their former Principal Cornet and Musical Director Alan Exley, at his funeral on Friday 8th April at 2.00pm, at Silkstone Church, High Street, Silkstone (S75 4JN). The cremation will take place at 3:30pm, at Grenoside Crematorium, 5, Skew Hill Lane, (S35 8RZ). A post funeral reception will take place at the Rose and Crown Pub, Barnsley Road, Hoylandswaine, (S36 7JA)

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Alan and the Yorkshire Imperial Band

Alan died in hospital following a bravely fought battle with cancer, on Wednesday 23rd March.  Aged 63, he enjoyed a highly successful playing career culminating in his appointment as principal cornet at Imps in 1983.  A decade later he relinquished his solo cornet role to take up the position of Musical Director, a post he held until 1997.

Alan loved his music and brought discipline and dedication to the role.  His work with the band was characterised by meticulous attention to detail whilst retaining the “soul” of the music. He was a great advocate of the “smooth rounded and controlled sound”.  During his four year conducting tenure the band secured 11 top 3 placings in national contests including wins in the 1993 Yorkshire Area and 1995 Brass in Concert.

Those who wish to be reminded of his wonderful playing can click on the link to hear his performance of  “Mexican Evening”  recorded with the Yorkshire Imperial Band in 1984.

Alan Remembered

“Alan was an Imps legend as a cornet player when I joined the band. My first rehearsal was Tuesday after the masters 1993 and he worked the band flat out for a Thursday night concert. My first thoughts were how efficient he was and what a work rate.

The concert on the Thursday was amazing I hadn’t seen a conductor have the audience in the palm of his hand all concert before. It was like Alan had cast an entertainment spell on them and the band just added the final topping to the Exley show. People could come to imps concerts Alan would do his thing and the audience would go home thinking the band were amazing even if the band hadn’t played a note.

There are two high points which stand out to me: October 1995, marching onto the Wembley turf, Alan leading us at the rugby world cup to a crowd of 80000 people and TV audience of 35 million worldwide, not once but twice.

The second was in November 1995,  winning Brass in Concert at Spennymoor even after time penalty points.

Alan Exley a true Imps legend”.

Jason Nowell

Alan’s playing career started at Clayton West Band on third cornet.  His musical talent clearly stood since he was recruited to Brighouse and Rastrick at the of 12 and was a member of the band that won the World Championship title in 1968 under the direction of Walter Hargreaves.  Alan’s tremendous range, formidable technique, beautiful sound and lyrical playing marked him out as one of the outstanding players of his generation and were factors in his winning the coveted titles of Champion Soloist of Great Britain and the Granada Champion Soloist.   Prior to joining Imps he played with many of the top bands in the country, including Black Dyke Mills and Grimethorpe and he was principal cornet for Hammonds Sauce Works, Carlton Main Colliery and Stanshawe Bands.

Throughout his career Alan gave generously of his time to helping and encouraging bands and players. He conducted Ecclesfield Band in 1977, leading them to the Fourth Section National Championship of Great Britain and Senior Trophy titles in 1978. He also enjoyed success with Askern Colliery, Dinnington Colliery and Old Silkstone Bands.

A versatile and hard-working musician, he was committed to making music a pleasurable and memorable experience for the listener and performer alike.  He will be sadly missed.

“Alan Exley, a true Imps legend”

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