WHEN drummer Simon Calvert accepted an invitation from pop singer Alesha Dixon, he little thought it would lead to him performing for a worldwide audience of millions at the Olympic and Paralympic closing ceremonies.
Simon, aged 45, of Brighouse is a member of the Company Performance Ensemble, a drum corps which had a leading role in the stunning finale to the Games in Olympic Park.
Formed in 2010, the Barnsley-based ensemble got its big break in the same year when Alesha Dixon called on the band’s services to help promote her new single ‘Drummer Boy’ in the UK.
As a result the band made TV appearances, played a Help for Heroes concert at Twickenham and performed for Torvill and Dean’s ‘Dancing on Ice’ show in 2011.
Simon, an operations manager who lives with his family in Bonegate, said: “We just couldn’t believe we were getting these opportunities but they were fantastic for the band.”
But the best was yet to come - top creative director Kim Gavin who was working on the closing ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics had heard about the 100-member ensemble and approached members to be part of the dazzling finale.
“He told us that he was impressed by our work ethic and wanted us to be part of the Paralympic Games closing ceremony to play alongside Coldplay.”
Simon started drumming at the age of 13 with Brighouse band The Northern Skyriders, later to become the British Legion Conquest Alliance Band which from 1986 until it disbanded in 1990 had great success on the competition circuit.
“Being part of the band was a brilliant experience. It taught me a lot about hard work and discipline - and I met my future wife Karen through the band.”
The members of the Conquest Alliance Band meet up every five years for a reunion.
Rehearsing for the Paralympics involved the band in making regular trips to