Cornet - Cornetists Ritchie Clendenin and Frank Hilligas Print

"I have been using the Warburton system since 1992. In 1999 I started playing cornet with the Fountain Creek Brass Band in Colorado Springs. My cornet was impossible to play in tune in the upper register, and I was unable to produce the traditional British brass band sound. When I called Ken and described the problems I was having, he told me about the "BC" series for the British cornet style. I was already using the #4 rim, so I selected the "4 BC" top and settled on a slightly modified "BC 9" backbore. I experienced an instant improvement with the new set-up. What I thought was a mediocre model 927 Besson was transformed into a great horn. I don't even have to trigger the A above the staff, and the high C is perfect. The sound is exactly what I was looking for!"

Frank R. Hilligas

Principal Cornet, Fountain Creek Brass Band, Colorado Springs, CO
Principal Cornet, Western State College Brass Band, Gunnison, CO
Assistant Principal, Colorado Brass Band, Gunnison, CO
Formerly cornet soloist with the Air Force Academy Concert Band (1979-1982)

If you play in a Brass band and would like to ask Frank more about his mouthpiece, he is more than willing to respond! He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Frank Hilligas
Frank Hilligas

"I was introduced to Warburton cornet mouthpieces at the British Brass Band Workshop (Western State College) in June of 1999. Frank Hilligas of the Fountain Creek Brass Band brought a Warburton kit to the workshop. Many participants tried the British tops and backbores with their cornets and were enthusiastic with the results. Following the workshop, Frank loaned the kit to me. I tried various combinations for several weeks before placing an order with Terry Warburton. After receiving my cornet mouthpiece from Terry, I found that my sound, intonation and response improved on the British cornets. Having directed the brass band at California State University, Fresno for twelve years, I appreciate the cornet section that achieves the appropriate blend of sound. Terry Warburton has designed a mouthpiece kit that helps the students to produce the desired blend in the brass band."

Dr. Ritchie Clendenin
Professor Emeritus of Music
CSU, Fresno

Dr. Ritchie Clendenin
Dr. Ritchie Clendenin

Ritchie Clendenin earned his Master of Music degree from Yale University in 1967 and immediately won national prominence as trumpet soloist at the White House wedding of Lynda Bird Johnson and Captain Charles Robb. For the next four years, he was soloist with the United States Marine Band, after which he returned to the University of Colorado for his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Since 1973 he has been a professor of music at California State University, Fresno. In 1988, Professor Clendenin organized the British Brass Band at CSU, Fresno. This band performed at the 1996 International Brassfest and hosted a Yamaha British Brass Band Workshop in 1991. A charter member of the International Trumpet Guild, Professor Clendenin has performed as cornet soloist with the Colorado Brass Band (Western State College), the Rocky Mountain Brassworks (Denver), the Fountain Creek Brass Band (Colorado Springs), the Golden State British Brass Band (Los Angeles) and the Visalia (CA) Community British Brass Band. Principal teachers include Frank Baird (Univ. of Colorado) and Robert Nagel (Yale University).


Fountain Creek Brass Band
Fountain Creek Brass Band


Frank Hilligas and Dr. Ritchie Clendenin
Frank Hilligas and Dr. Ritchie Clendenin
performing with the Coronado High School Band, Colorado Springs, CO