Gearing up for the big occasion

Issue 5957

BB looks forward to major band events at Birmingham and Cheltenham

High-profile responses open up collaboration debate

Getting the university band back together!

Stephen Sykes to star for Flowers

Thursday 7 September, 2017

Flowers Band has confirmed that Stephen Sykes has been appointed principal trombone and will make his contest debut with the band at this weekend’s British Open Championship.   

Stephen has been an inspiration to so many brass players and enthusiasts with his determined fight against lymphoma, a form of blood cancer that he’s been battling since February 2016. Although Stephen still faces a life saving stem cell transplant, in recent months he’s been well enough to enjoy a more normal life, which has included him picking up his beloved trombone again. Ahead of his debut with Flowers, Stephen said: “I’ve been incredibly privileged to have won the British Open on two occasions in recent years, and also to have received the best instrumentalist award in 2010. A few months ago, I never thought that I would be performing at this level again so soon!”

Stephen joins his brother, Carlton Sykes - Flowers' principal tuba - himself an established soloist and valued member of the band. Stephen added: “To be able to play alongside my brother is a bonus. He’s a great player, and my chauffeur to and from rehearsals, which helps make it all possible.”

Flowers' Principal Conductor, David Childs, commented: “We’re all delighted to see Stephen back doing what he does best again. I’ve been a fan of his playing for a long time and look forward to seeing him take to Symphony Hall stage on Saturday. Of course, we are fully aware this remains a difficult time for him, but the band and I are keen to support Stephen in any way we can.”

 Joanne Sykes, who continues to spearhead important campaigns to help her son revealed: “It’s been absolutely wonderful seeing Stephen get stronger over the last few months, and for him to be able to go to band rehearsal with Carl and play at this standard has been the icing on the cake.”

Flowers Band Manager, John Gillam, added: “The Flowers Band has great admiration for the Sykes family and it is a pleasure to officially welcome young Stephen to the band.” John continued: “We’d also like to thank Andrew Norman for the support he’s given Stephen from both the solo and second trombone seat in recent months, and wish him well for the future.”