Championship Section/2nd Section

Mark Wilkinson

Mark started playing the cornet aged 6 with his local band Ellenbrook and Boothstown before moving to the Walkden Band and then Besses Boys where he stayed for 5 years on Principal Cornet. During this time Mark was also appointed Principal Cornet with the ‘National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.’ When he was 18 Mark joined the Wingates Band on Principal Cornet for 2 years before accepting Howard Snells offer to join the Britannia Building Society Band (now Foden’s) on Principal Cornet in 1992. During this time, he has been privileged to have won every major contest with Foden’s. As well as performing across the World as a soloist he is also heavily involved in Youth education. Mark enjoyed 3 years as the cornet tutor with the ‘National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain’ and has been an entrance examiner and cornet tutor with the ‘National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain’ since 2000. Mark has also appeared as a cornet tutor with the ‘National Youth Brass Band of Wales’ ‘National Youth Band of Switzerland’ as well as a guest soloist with the ‘National Youth Brass Band of Denmark.’ As well as being a founder member of the ‘Northern Ireland Armagh Summer School’ he is in demand on various summer schools in this country and abroad. As an Educator he has taught at the RNCM, University of Salford, Manchester Metropolitan University, Durham University as well as being an external examiner at the RNCM and consultant with the ABRSM. Mark has adjudicated at a number of leading contests in this Country and overseas being appointed on the ‘Association of Brass Band Adjudicators’ Executive Committee in January 2017 becoming their chairperson in 2018. In 2022 Mark was presented with the ‘Iles Medal’ for outstanding service to the brass band movement.

3rd and 4th Sections

Christopher Bond

Christopher is a professional composer, conductor and musical director, originating in Cornwall and now based in Cardiff where he graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music in 2014. Since 2015, he has been Composer in Residence to the world-famous Cory Band and has had his work performed extensively across five continents. In the United Kingdom, his work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 2, 3, 4 & Classic FM.

Christopher has composed and conducted the orchestral soundtracks for Magic in the Skies, the summer season of firework displays at iconic British landmark Land’s End since 2014, for which he’s worked with and written text for British actress Miriam Margolyes & actor John Nettles.

As an adjudicator and judge, Christopher has sat on panels for BBC Young Musician, UK Regional Brass Band Championships, the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, UniBrass, and Cory Band’s Composition Prize (amongst others).

As a composer, his works have been chosen as the set-works at the UK Regional Brass Band Championships, the National Brass Band Championships of France, Switzerland and Ireland as well as both the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain & European Youth Brass Band Championships. Additionally, in 2012 The Royal Diamond Jubilee Fanfare was commissioned and performed in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh as part of the Diamond Jubilee Tour.

In theatre, Christopher regularly works as a Musical Director for UK-based production company Imagine Theatre on their pantomimes each Christmas. He has recently finished co-writing a children’s musical, Scaredy Bugs, which has received its workshop performance and will be released for international licensing later this year.

Christopher is currently studying for a Masters at the Royal College of Music, London, which he’s completing alongside his portfolio of work.

First Section

Stephanie Binns

Steph’s love of brass began in her native Cornwall at the age of 8, when she started playing the cornet with the Mount Charles Youth Band. She quickly progressed through to the Principal Cornet chair of the youth band, whilst also playing in St Austell Town Band and the senior Mount Charles Band. During her youth, Steph enjoyed performing at competing at all of the UK Youth competitions, with notable highlights being at the National Youth Brass Band Championships in Manchester.
When aged 11, Stephanie successfully auditioned for the Cornwall Youth Brass Band (CYBB), where she remained for a further ten years; four as Principal Cornet for the band and subsequently as a tutor for the Cornet section. Steph returned to the band in 2019 to be guest soloist for their Christmas course.
In 2011 Steph joined Tongwynlais Temperance Band, before, in November 2011, joining the Cory Band where she enjoyed seven years as their Repiano Cornet and Flugelhorn player. Some of Steph’s notable highlights during this time were winning the ‘Grand Slam’ in 2016 and Australian and American tours in 2013 and 2015. This period of Steph’s musical journey coincided with her studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), where she gained a BMus (Hons) Degree.  She achieved notable successes during her time at RWCMD, winning the Phillip Jones Brass Ensemble prize two years in a row, becoming a finalist for the Linda Mowat Brass Award and winning the Harry Mortimer Award for RWCMD’s Outstanding Brass Musician, which was presented at the British Open. Throughout her time at RWCMD and Cory combined, Steph had many experiences of adjudicating at various solo competitions both here in the UK and throughout Europe.