Principal Cornet: John Lewis
John Lewis was born in Fiordland. Later, he was brought up on his parent’s dairy farm near Invercargill. He began playing the cornet at age nine with the H&H Cougar Brass Band (now Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Brass) and later went on to study for a Bachelor of Music at the University of Otago in Dunedin.
At this time, John was appointed Principal Cornet of the St Kilda Brass Band. Four years later, John graduated from Otago University with a first class honours degree and won several scholarships for graduating first in his class.
In 1997 he won a Royal Overseas League Scholarship which allowed him to travel to London to perform at St Martins in the Fields, St James Piccadilly, The Great Hall at Dartington International Summer School and at the Royal Overseas League headquarters in London. Following this success, John returned to the books again to study for a diploma in Journalism at the Peter Arnette School of Journalism where he won several more scholarships for graduating first in class. He is an award winning Journalist and was formerly Assistant Editor of Brass Band World Magazine in the United Kingdom. At present, he is a reporter at The Otago Daily Times.
John has won the New Zealand Cornet Championship several times. In 2001, he achieved the incredible, winning not only the New Zealand Cornet Championship, but also the Australian Cornet Championship, the Australian Champion of Champions, the New Zealand Champion of Champions and the New Zealand Invitation Slow Melody Contest - making him the Australasian Champion of Champions and the first to win all five internationally contested events in the same year.
Following his 2001 solo success, John returned to the UK which enabled him to realise his aspirations of playing for one of the finest brass bands in the world - Brighouse and Rastrick. He held the position of Assistant Principal Cornet of B&R from 2001-2005.
More recently, John has been the Principal Cornet of the 2005, 2007 and 2009 National Bands of New Zealand and is the New Zealand 2011 Cornet Champion and Champion of Champions. Dalewool Auckland Brass are very privileged to have someone of John’s pedigree to lead them into the next exciting new episode of the bands history.