Alumni Spotlight

We recently caught up with Simon Hicks to reminisce about his experience as a student with BEAT and to learn about what he’s up to now.

What did you do at BEAT?

I grew up attending the Barnet Schools Wind Orchestra and really enjoyed the concerts and tours that we played at.  Some that I remember fondly were the annual outdoor evening concerts with fireworks and our tours to Italy.

What do you do now?

When I finished school I auditioned to join the Royal Corps of Army Music and it’s hard to believe I have now served in the British Army for 17 years. This career has given me some fantastic opportunities to tour extensively and meet some incredible people.  In 2022 I passed the 5 month horse riding course and I am now in the Household Cavalry Band which is the only mounted wind band in the world. I am also a Household Cavalry State Trumpeter so I have the honour of wearing the iconic gold coat and playing at state events such as the funeral of Her Majesty Elizabeth II and the Coronation of King Charles III.

What do you play / sing?


What made you choose that instrument?

My Grandfather was a real brass band enthusiast and passed on this passion onto me.  My family attend the Salvation Army in Enfield and I joined the band there as soon as I could.  I took up the Cornet as this part has all the melodies!

Who’s your favourite musician / composer / piece of music / song?


Wynton Marsalis is a name synonymous with trumpet playing.  One of the few players that has mastered both classical and Jazz playing and has been an inspiration to me for as long as I can remember.  His rendition of Carnival of Venice with the Boston Pops Orchestra when he was a mere 17 years old has an impressive 2 million Youtube hits, half of those views were from me while I was a teenager watching in awe.


Leonard Bernstein has many of his compositions transcribed for wind band which I really enjoy playing at work.  Two favourites are the Candide Overture and of course Westside Story. 

Piece of music

This is a tough question as there are hundreds that I enjoy listening to on a regular basis.  Resurgam by Eric Ball is a piece of music close to my heart for many reasons.  There is a recording on Youtube of Enfield Citadel Band play this under the baton of James Williams who coincidentally conducted bands with BEAT.  James brings the best out of every player in that band and draws emotion out of every note in the score.


Defying Gravity closes the first act of the musical Wicked.  It’s a great tune and always guaranteed to bring the house down.

What’s on your playlist?

This changes on a daily basis but it’s currently:

Jacob Collier

Earth Wind and Fire

Cory Wong 


What’s your favourite memory of music lessons / band when you were at school?

The head of music while I was at Southgate School was Maurice Chernick, he had an infectious love of music and has been a great encourager to me.  Lots of great musicians have passed  through his classroom door which is testament to his passion for teaching music. 

Tell us a random fact about you:

I learnt to ride a horse at the age of 31