James started playing cornet in 1994 at the age of 4 with Garforth Junior Band. A few years later he moved on to Stanley Newmarket Dynamix Brass where he stayed until 1999 when he made the move to Lofthouse, becoming a founder member.
During his time with the band James has progressed up the cornet line and in January 2008 he took the principal cornet seat. A month later the band won the Yorkshire Regional Championships with James winning the best soloist prize on the day.
James has been on the principal cornet chair ever since and holds many fond memories of his time with the band. These include winning the soloist prize at Hardraw Scar Entertainment Contest in 2009 (when he played E. Sutton’s The Paragon) and also the band’s Yorkshire Area win in 2016 – again winning the soloist prize.
In 2006 James joined the Yorkshire Youth Brass Band on 2nd man down, sitting assistant principal to Tom Hutchinson (currently of Cory Band). He remained on this seat until 2008.
One highlight of James’s banding career was being asked to play for the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery band in 2009. Throughout James’s playing career he has been tutored by the likes of James Shepherd, Richard Marshall and Mark Wilkinson.
Outside of the band James runs his own graphic design business (check out his website at jamesdwhitaker.co.uk). In 2018 James’s wife Hannah (who was a long serving member of the band on Solo Horn) gave birth to their daughter Sophie. He also has his own allotment where he can be found on many a sunny weekend day, growing a variety of fruit and veg.
A few facts…
Years playing: 25 years
Seat in the band: Principal Cornet
Occupation: Graphic Designer
Instrument: York Eminence Cornet with Alliance RM3A mouthpiece
Most embarrassing banding moment: Forgetting a repeat in a stand up solo.
Favourite food: Nandos chicken
Favourite drink: Avid tea drinker (although quite partial to a milkshake!)
Favourite (non-brass) band / singer: Oasis