Tenor Horn Players


Active Member
I noticed that there haven't been any threads on 'favourite horn players'! So, being me, I thought I'd start one up! :D Anywayz---- My top 3 favourite horn players have got to be (not in any particular order):

Owen Farr (Faireys)
Sandy Smith (Grimethorpe)
Martin Armstrong (Fodens)

I have chosen these 3 because they are all top chaps and amazing players. Other reasons are:

I have been tutored by Owen Farr and Sandy Smith at NYBB and I thoroughly enjoyed being tutored by them both!!! :D :D

I had a training day with fodens and had to sit next to Martin Armstrong and his playing was brill!!! :shock: It was a great laugh and I really enjoyed the day!! :lol: :D

So, horn players out there who's your favourite??? :D

The Cornet King

Active Member
I aint a horn player but i'll add to the thread :D

Owen Farr is just awesome.
Melvyn Bathgate of B&R- awesome player (did a concert with him every year and the guy is just fantastic)- Really great guy too.

Sheona White has to be up there though. You aint solo Horn with YBS for nowt :D


Active Member
i used to play the horn (and am begginning to miss it) so ill add!!

I have three: Sheona White
Owen Farr
Lesley Howie

i done massed band concerts with YBS and Dyke and Sheona White was our tutor when i was on 1st and 2nd horn and when i got to principle horn Lesley howie was our tutor. And as well as being really nice they helped us with the pieces really well and having been sat behind them it gave us chance to hear how amazing they play too i think they are both top
and owen farr because he is just amazin!!

Naomi McFadyen

New Member
didn't think you had to be a player of a certain instrument to have a favourite player in that instrument?! :shock:
:wink: (i do play tenor horn though!)

Anyway, I havent heard tooooo many t.h soloists, but I have heard Sheona White and Donna Lewis! :D so they must be my favourite! :lol:


I have to agree with you about Donna (otherwise she would beat me up!!),
Donna is an excellent player and I have just written her a new solo called Arabesque. She should be more well known in the band world!!



Active Member
im sure there has already been a thread on this :p:p
but anyway :p

Owen Farr (great mate, and my old teacher, technically the best in the land)
Sheona White (Fantastic player and current teacher :) I sit next to her, and she'll beat me up otherwise ;))
Sandy Smith (another fantastic player and old teacher :D)


Staff member
Nadia said:
im sure there has already been a thread on this :p:p
but anyway :p

I was trying to find it as well :!: - might have been when tenor horn solos were discussed.

Having heard both Owen Farr and Sheona White in recent months they have got to be up there with the best, together with Lesley Howie. I've also just been listening to Gordon Higginbottom's recording of "September Song", however, and I think his smooth tone, although perhaps lighter than some current players, puts him at the top of the pile for me.


I think the best horn players at the moment are:

Sheona White
Sandy Smith
Melvin Bathgate
Owen Farr

Billy Rushworth was an excellent player as was Gordon Higginbottom.

Cheers! :guiness
dave aston who sits bottom horn and Besses (and has sat on just about every other seat in the band too!) can parp away forever. he's got more random tricks up his sleeve than a magician :lol:


Afraid i'm gonna have to agree with Aidan on this one (great minds think alike eh :wink: ) and say -

Owen Farr (my current teacher, ridiculously good technique which has to be heard to be believed, i really didn't think some of that stuff was possible!!)
Sheona White (former teacher, real style and a gorgeous sound)
Sandy Smith (best all-rounder)

I really couldn't put any one above the others but for me these 3 are a class above the rest.

I've heard most of the top horn players, with the exception of Martin Armstrong who i'm told is excellent. Leah Williams at Sellers is also a phenomenal player and one to watch out for.


Active Member
Well I think Helen Varley deserves a mention! The Eb Horn Champion yey! And not even a music student. And very very very modest. And an amazing player! Pure class. Yey!


Active Member
mine has gotta be martin armstrong!! :wink: but solo horn at sellers leah williams deserves a mention because she is an ace player and a top lass aswell!!!! :lol:


t horns

Being a flugel player who has sat next to many players, It would be a tough decision. Armstrong has the sound and the musicality (and big *****), farr is just sexy all round (with no probs). Howie has the ***** and knows how to lead a section ( i should know) and white has done more for the t. horn than any other, and is a great teacher.

What can you say. Give them all an MBE.


John Doyle. xxxxxx

Edited: (RT)

Okiedokie of Oz

Active Member
I haven't met too many infamous tenor horn players, but the names John Thomas (studied at Salford I belive, but an Aussie) and Emma Motterally (girl I went to school with, Juvenile National champion on more than one occassion) really stick out.

Oh by the way, I'm including a quote from an Australian Brass Band forum regarding tenor horn players. It's not totally on topic, but I think it says soooo much!!

The forum can be found at http://www.geocities.com/queenslandband/queenslandbands.html

The Tenor Hon Player - Sub-Class or Misunderstood Virtuoso?
Over the years I have had the occasion to play 3 different instruments in the Brass Band. The Cornet, the Euphonium, and the Horn. When playing the Cornet, I was led to believe that Cornet players were the chosen race as we did the high stuff, the hard stuff and the fast stuff. When I played the Euphonium, I was led to believe that we were we also very special. We could lead a bass melody, belt out low notes or provide support to the melodies played by the aformentioned and aforeglorified Cornets. Then when I started playing the Tenor Horn I discovered a sad reality. I discovered that Horn players are mostly treated as (or are we?) the poor country cousins of the Brass Band. In most bands we sit within hitting/spitting distance of the Conductor. Many times we are seated directly in front of the Conductor so we get the full benefit of his/her death glares and motions to play softer/louder (assuming we are silly enough to watch the Conductor). And, have you seen our music? It is as though we get the notes that are left over once the real music is written. How many times do you hear Horn players get more than a few notes of melody in a piece? (excluding the arrangements written for a solo Horn player - and have you noticed how many of them make the Brass Band top 40?) Not often I'll bet! No, we sit there playing our offbeats. If you listen closely, you may even find that occasionally we will get offbeates that are not all written on the same note. Now marches! How about them? From the youngest age, our music teachers taught us a special trick to help us play offbeats. The secret is that you breathe on the on beat. Have you ever tried that on a 5 Km street march? I guarantee you will only try it once. If you do it for more than 1km, you are destined to get to know your local Ambos. Moving away from offbeats, I wonder how many people realise that Tenor Horn players can actually be musicians? Do other bandspeople know that Tenor Horn players can play onbeats, offbeats, fast passages, slow passages, high notes, low notes? I thought not. They are probably stuck on the fact that we play a g to tune up.

So, to all the downcast, overlooked, misunderstood virtuosos out there playing your Tenor Horns - what the heck, let them think we are stupid. Let them have their low expectations of us - it saves us from having to practice.


Active Member
Lesley Howie, Sheona White and Owen Farr are the one's i've heard of. (Only because i'm a mad eupher, rather than a horn player, so I haven't heard of many)

I think they're all brilliant, especially Owen Farr who seems to be the best horn player around at the moment (no disrespect to other's opinions- i'm a eupher!)
Phillip Harper, better known now as MD at Flowers and as a composer/arranger was (is?) a cracking horn player. Does anyone know if he still plays at all?

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