Hey everyone!!! welcome to my blog here on www.parkersmusicservices.co.uk. First of all I am going to tell you all about myself and how I came about starting up Parker's Music Services. My name is Alex Parker and I'm from a village near Pontardawe in the Swansea valley. I have been a previous member of 2 of the local bands before working my way up to playing with the B.T.M Band as their Principal cornet player.
Before them I started off playing at the age of 7. When I was first shown a trumpet I was immediately intrigued as to how someone would play it. Shortly after seeing a trumpet I began having lessons with a great peripatetic teacher Wayne Pedrick. After a few years of lessons I progressed into the Cwmtawe youth band, working my way up from 3rd cornet all the way to solo cornet. My playing had improved and I was soon asked to help out a local community band to which I was so pleased about.
The first time I helped out the Gwaun Cae Gurwen band was actually the first time I ever marched and played at the same time. After helping them out a few times over the course of their spring gigs I inquired about joining the band, the musical director at the time was Glyn Davies and he informed me that the only position available in the band was soprano cornet, I gave it some thought over a couple of days and decided to take him up on the offer and made the move to soprano cornet in the spring of 2007. I was very happy to gain a first place in my first competition with the band. It made me sure that my playing would improve by being around a fantastic group of players. After just a couple of months with the band I was attending my very first lower section national championship competition! Competing in the 4th Section, I was amazed as to how many bands there were around the country. With a not to shabby performance of Roman Tryptich we came away with a disappointing 15th place, as Allan Ramsay and David Hirst thought our interpretation was not to their taste compared to the other bands in the section. Over the course of the next 4 years with Glyn Davies at the helm the band gained some great results eventually moving up to the 2nd section.
In the spring of 2011 a new chapter opened as Glyn departed G.C.G a new conductor was brought in by the name of Colin Hogg, at the same time I decided it was time for me to improve on my musicality, and what better way than to jump in the deep end and conduct a band myself? So for my first contest with the baton I decided on the test piece “Impromptu” by Eric Ball, with a tidy performance in the 3rd section I was happy to come away with a result of 5th out of 6. The band improved over the next couple of months under my direction to gain a 3rd place in the National Eisteddfod.
Shortly after that G.C.G lost another conductor and once again the band was advertising and receiving applications to fill the M.D spot. Because of my time with Ystradgynlais band I decided I would submit an application to take the band, but to my dismay the band wanted me to stay on as a player but to move from soprano to principle cornet. I agreed to continue as a player and thus Malcolm Read was brought in as the new M.D. With the band having lost a couple of players through the year Malcolm had a tough job of trying to get the band back up to scratch. Shortly after his appointment the band started to improve with a couple of excellent ex-players returning to fill the gaps, which led to the band coming 2nd in the Porthcawl miners competition that year.
The time with Malcolm Read didn't last long though, after some health issues Malcolm stepped down as M.D but this time the band had another conductor in mind. Jeff Hutcherson from the B.T.M band was asked to come and conduct the band, little did I know then that the biggest kick up the backside was waiting for me after meeting him. Shortly after Jeff's appointment as M.D I was asked to help out B.T.M on a regular basis, due to rehearsals clashing with Ystradgynlais I was at a crossroads. Do I carry on as a conductor? Or do I focus on becoming a better player? I look back on those questions I asked myself and I am sure today that I made the right decision. With Jeff personally helping me to improve I was starting to feel like I needed more of a challenge in band rehearsals, and it didn't take long for me to say that I wanted to join a higher section band. With the B.T.M Principle cornet leaving the area I was offered to stand in for the rest of the year, after a couple of weeks the band attended the Wychavon festival of brass and came away with a fantastic 6th place in the Championship section I decided to join the band on a permanent basis. To this day I still attend over 90% of G.C.G rehearsals as I feel that there are not enough players in the area to go around the number bands (more of that subject for another post)
It was in 2015 that the idea of repairing instruments attracted my attention, it was after an incident while cleaning the 4 basses in G.C.G that led to me wanting to be able to repair instruments. After a lot of researching on the internet I eventually landed on Trevor Heads website. All the reading on the internet had brought me to the conclusion that his repair courses were exactly the thing I needed to begin my repairing career. I sent Trevor an email and paid the course fees, upon meeting Trevor I knew he was genuinely a very nice guy and was only too happy to help me learn and improve my techniques so that I can fix instruments to a great standard.
On completion of Trevor's course I started to invest in tools and other supplies that I'd need for starting up my own instrument repair business, and approximately 2-3 months later I was repairing my bands instruments. Fast forward to September 2015 and I officially started my own repair business, mainly local authority and brass band repairs but it was a start.
Since then my customer base has grown and so has my reputation. I like to go out of my way to make sure that every customer I have is satisfied with everything that I do. It was finally then last month that I launched the website and online store side of my business. On the 19th February 2017 I launched www.parkersmusicservices.co.uk and although I don't have a massive stock of products yet, I will personally go out of my way for any customer, whether they are a musician or a brass band, wind band or education authority. If you are still reading this then I applaud you, the musical side of my life doesn't always make for interesting reading but now you know all about me and the background of Parker's Music Services. This blog won't be about me it will be about you the players, from cornet and horn down to euphonium and bass I intend to fill this site with product reviews, brass band news and interviews with your favourite musicians. So from me Alex Parker I thank you for reading and bid you a good evening.