Cliff was taught to play marching drum rhythms by his dad from age 3. He joined 34th Belfast Coy BB band in 1963 on 3rd cornet, and took over as Principal cornet in 1966. He then moved from cornet to Tenor Horn, Trombone, EEb Bass and finally Euphonium.
Cliff joined Reid Memorial Silver Band in 1970 as 2nd Euphonium, and also played Solo Cornet, Euphonium & drums on various parades. During his time with the band they won 4 BBL (Brass Band League N.Ireland) Championships and 4 NIBA (North of Ireland Bands Association) Championships, and won the Belfast Musical Festival Open contest in 1984. Cliff was also placed 2nd in BBL solos C section 1979, 3rd in B section Solos 1980, and 4th in the Ballymena Music Festival Open in 1981.
Cliff was Secretary and then Chairman of Reid Memorial Silver Band from 1972 until 1990, and then moved on to become founder member and first Chairman of Downshire Brass which was formed in October 1990. He played Principal Euphonium with them from 1990 until 2004, winning 3 BBL and 5 NIBA Championships plus the Irish National Championships in 1992.
Between 2004 and 2009 Cliff moved to1st Baritone, then to 2nd Trombone, then to tuned & kit percussion. He emigrated to Spain in 2007, but retained his involvement with Downshire Brass, being appointed Vice-President in 2008, and travelling back to compete with them until 2009. In February 2008 he joined LA Concert (Rojales) playing percussion, and joined Just Brass (San Miguel) in April 2011 playing percussion.