York RI Golden Rail Development Band


Picture courtesy of Keith Meadley Photography, York

Are you interested in playing a brass instrument?

Have you played before and are looking to start again?

Maybe you've just moved to York and want to start something new?


York RI Golden Rail Band has a new Development Band!

So why not come along and try out an instrument, ranging from cornet, to trombone to tuba

This group doesn't just aim at the youth either. Parents, Grandparents, students, people of all ages, talents and backgrounds are welcome to take part in the band. Perhaps you have played before, and want to get back in to the swing of things - that's fine too. Come along and get going again.

There are no catches to this Development Band either. You don't even need your own instrument! All the tuition and rehearsal time is free and on top of that, the band will loan out an instrument to you as you learn. It's a no-brainer!

The lessons and rehearsals will be led by Golden Rail's Principal Tuba Player, John Stuart. Since the band's creation, the number of members have risen from 5 and now on the verge of 35 members!

If you're interested in becoming part of the Development Band and would like to know more about it, please feel free to email Pauline Johnson at paulinejohnson.home@btinternet.com


John lived at Mexborough, near Doncaster, before moving to York in August 2012. He worked as a teacher in South Yorkshire as head of music departments in secondary schools within the Rotherham L.E.A. During this time he worked with school bands and, latterly, built up a band from scratch to over 40 players, the envy of many other schools, which performed regularly in concerts in and around the town. Much of the music played was composed or arranged by John. After taking ‘early retirement’ in 1999 he was then invited to work 3 days per week for the Doncaster Music Service as part of the Brass Peripatetic Team and also as a Music Specialist in two of Doncaster’s Special Schools before finally retiring in 2009.

John has been a church organist since the age of 15 and it was during his time as organist and choirmaster of Mexborough Parish Church that, in 1972, he was invited to become the Musical Director of the Mexborough Male Voice Choir, an appointment he held for almost 40 years and up to the time he and his wife, Christine, decided to move to York. By his leadership and expertise the ability, confidence and repertoire of the choir flourished. The choir of 40-44 men regularly gave concerts to packed audiences, some venues of 500, and many of the songs performed were arranged by John.

It was in 1994 John joined the Goldthorpe Colliery Brass Band, (formerly the Yorkshire Main BB and latterly Dearne Valley Brass), playing the E flat bass. He moved to the Oughtibridge Brass Band in 2003 and he stayed with it until moving out of the area. John also helped out quite regularly with a number of other local bands when they required ‘guest players’ for concerts.

Within a month of arriving in York, John was playing with the R.I. Golden Rail Band, chosen because of its ‘non-contesting’ status, and was also appointed the organist of Poppleton Parish Church.

The Development Band was initiated and so brilliantly nurtured by Nick Eastwood. John regards his appointment as conductor of the band as a privilege to be working with such an enthusiastic group of players and looks forward to helping and inspiring them to continue to work for a high standard as a group and also in their own individual performances as stepping stones to higher things.


IMG_0764.JPGFor the musician who has never played before, it can be a daunting experience to immediately play in a band. Not to panic anymore! The Golden Rail Development Band has now launched an absolute beginners session starting at 6.30 on Wednesday evenings, which will cover all the basics of playing a brass instrument in a very relaxed and friendly environment. The Development Band has never been so tempting! 

    CONCERT - Brassed On! Festival 2013

IT is becoming tradition now for the Railway Institute Family to get together to showcase the wonderfully talented musicians under the RI umbrella. This year saw the Development Band perform for the second time in the festival and they certainly delivered, producing a fine example of what can be achieved with hard work and enthusiasm. Musical Director Nicholas Eastwood said "It's a tremendous occasion for the band and it demonstrates exactly what brass banding is all about - learning a brass instrument and having so much fun doing it. That certainly showed today". Thanks go to festival director and GR trombonist Kate Lock for letting us play again!


YORK RI Golden Rail Band is about to start its 3rd year! Time flies you see when you enjoy yourself at the band! Looking forwards, the band is going to be playing at Joseph Rowntree Park in April and at the Brassed On York! festival in June. We hope to see you there. If you can't wait that long, why not join the band and be part of the act! Please contact us for more details. 

CONCERTS - Christmas around York December 2012


THE band had a really busy Christmas this year, carolling at Tesco at Askham Bar, performing a Christmas Concert at the York RI Club and even playing outside York Minster! Perhaps you saw us out and about. Now that the festive season is over, why not come and see what our Development Band is all about. Contact us for more details. 

CONCERT - "Have a Go!" Session 1st October 2011

BOTH York RI Golden Rail Bands joined forces in the "Have a Go!" evening, where many new prospective beginners had the chance to give brass banding a go. The event was a great success and was very popular indeed. There were concerts by both Golden Rail bands and "everyone involved played briliantly", says Musical Director Nicholas Eastwood. "Hopefully this is the next big step for the Development Band and we all hope at the Railway Institute that this is the start of big things to come!"

If you missed this great event, then don't panic! Simply turn up to a Development Band rehearsal at 18.15 any Wednesday. For more information, feel free to check the Development Band page or contact MD Nicholas Eastwood on 07774 03 05 02.

CONCERT  - Parliament Street, York 28th May 2011


YORK RI Golden Rail Beginners Band took to Parliament Street for a fantastic debut opportunity. The 20 strong team ofplayers performed a blinder of a concert to kick off the banding 'marathon' Saturday, featuring all of the York RI Bands on the same day. 

This has all come about just four months after its founding! Musical Director Nicholas Eastwood was hugely impressed with the performance. "The commitment and effort that has been put in in the last few weeks has been sensational. Let's hope that this carries on and we can continue to enjoy brass banding like we do. Beginners Band is where it's at!".