Earlier this year, we held our final round of the Two Moors Festival Young Musicians Platform Competition (with a top prize of £250 for each of the four winners and the opportunity to play alongside professional musicians at our main two-week event in October, with the concert taking place on the 25th at St George’s Church in Dunster).
Ever since then we’ve been featuring interviews with each of the four talented musicians who claimed the coveted top spots on the blog and now it’s time to find out about cornet player Andy Wingham, who seriously impressed us with his fantastic playing… and his equally fantastic sense of humour!
2MF: What made you start playing the cornet?
AW: My older brother joined Helston Town Band first and a year later the band rang and asked my parents if my twin brother Tim and I would also like to join. I always loved watching the band on the world famous Flora Day so I was eager to join in. Since then I have danced and played in every Flora Day, which for Helstonians is a really special event.
2MF: How hard is it to play?
AW: The instrument itself looks really simple as there are just three valves on a long piece of metal tubing. But to gain control and get a nice sound takes years of building up the muscles in the embouchure and diaphragm.
2MF: Got any tips for anyone thinking of taking it up?
AW: Go for it as it’s very versatile in its repertoire and if you’re in a band it’s a great way to meet new people and socialise. If people are interested most bands have youth sections, lend instruments and tuition is generally for free.
2MF: Did you think you’d win the Two Moors Competition?
AW: To be honest,, no, I didn’t! I entered last year and got through to the final round, and found the feedback from both rounds really useful. I decided to have another go this year, picked a really good programme and practised like mad until I could play it by heart. It obviously did the trick but it wasn’t without its ups and downs leading up to the final audition. On the day I thought I did ok but I knew I could have played one of my pieces better.
2MF: What was the first thing you did when you won?
AW: My dad gave me the sealed envelope and I was shaking as I opened it. As I read the letter I thought it was just saying well done and it wasn’t until I read further that it dawned on me. I then ran around the house shouting “I did it, I did it” and the rest of the family thought I had gone mad. They still laugh about it now. I then called my teacher and my granddad as they are big supporters in everything I do.
2MF: How have you been preparing for the concert?
AW: I have been looking at lots of new pieces, trying to decide on my programme. I want to do something that I haven’t done before as well as one of my favourite pieces. The problem is which to pick!
2MF: Are you looking forward to playing alongside professional musicians?
AW: Yes, and with Tine Thing Helseth in the programme a few days earlier it will be an unforgettable experience. I’m also looking forward to playing with the professional accompanist as it will give my dad a rest and he can sit back and listen!
2MF: Do you hope to be a professional musician when you leave school?
AW: Yes, I want to go to college to study trumpet and experience different genres. Recently, I was lucky enough to sit alongside a professional trumpeter for a touring show which was out of this world. Obviously I am a keen bandsman so I would like to see how far I can go with the cornet as well as playing my trumpet.
2MF: What are your plans for the summer?
AW: I am going on tour to Barcelona with the Helston School Mini Jazz Orchestra, which is going to be a great experience. We have several gigs arranged which will be fun and we get quite a bit of free time too so I am really looking forward to it.
The rest of my time I expect I’ll be practising for the band’s summer concerts, which include a big proms night in Helston and preparation for the Two Moors events. And, of course, being in Cornwall we’re never far from the beach!
If you want to book tickets to one or more of this year’s concerts, head to our website for further information and to order a brochure.