The Ipswich and Norwich Co-Op Band are very pleased to have secured the signature of star Tuba Player, Conductor and Arranger/Composer Andy Duncan for their “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” in the forthcoming London and Southern Counties Regional Qualifying competition on March 19th. Andy is probably best-known in the Brass Band world for his work as Musical Director of the Whitburn Band and also his numerous compositions and arrangements for the medium. However he is also recognised as one of the best Tuba players in the UK musical scene having been appointed as the Principal Tuba of the world-reknowned Hallé Orchestra (Manchester) at the tender age of 20, a position he held for 16 years from 1984 until 2000 when he decided to leave to concentrate on his composition and brass band work. Recently Andy has been active again as a freelance tuba player with most of the UK’s premier orchestras and as a guest soloist with various ensembles. Most recently he has also been appointed to the E-flat Bass section of the Brass Band of Battle Creek, a group he will return to perform with in April. The approach to Andy was made by the Ipswich M.D. Robin Norman and of ‘the signing’ Robin said, “We are honoured and very excited that Andy has agreed to sign and help us out with our performance at the area. A player of his reputation and ability can do nothing but enhance our performance and to have such a player I’m sure will inspire our already strengthened line-up for the day. I cannot thank him enough for stepping in when, unfortunately, our usual E-flat Bass player Andy Merrill will be out of the country. It is especially nice to have Andy in the bandroom at a time when he is writing a work for us based on local Suffolk folk-songs; this will be premiered at our Patrons concert in early March and is to be recorded on the band’s first cd scheduled for May” In a separate announcement the band are also pleased to be able to welcome back Trevor Laird on Solo Euphonium from Clacton Co-Op, Paul Lowes on 1st Horn and Don Young on Percussion along with other recent signings Andy Hobbs (formerly of Redbridge and Clacton Co-Op) and Chris Gilbert on Eb Bass, Christine Deighton (formerly of Colchester) on 2nd Horn, Dave Mildren on Solo Baritone, Nathan Bonser-Ward on Soprano and Heidi MacMillan on Percussion.