Instrument: Bass trombone
Date Joined WV&HB: January 2017
Prestwich Band 1984 to 1988
Airtours Band (previously Irwell Forge, Bury) 1988 to 1989
Bedford Leigh Band 1990 to 1993
United Norwest Co-op Rochdale Band 1993 to 1998
Besses o’ th’ Barn Band 2008 to 2016
I am currently nearly 64 years old and have been playing a bass trombone since I was 15. I grew up in an orchestral world of music at school and college, and never really played in a brass band until I was 29.
I started going to piano lessons at the age of 4 in Kendal, Cumbria, where I was born and bred. I took my Grade 8 piano exam at the age of 13 and gave up serious piano playing as soon as I could afterwards. My parents bought me a second-hand trombone and a “Tune a Day” tuition book when I was 12. There were no trombonists in the local area that offered tuition and so I remained essentially a self-taught trombone player until I came to university in Manchester in 1972.
My first trombone turned out to be a “low pitch” American tenor trombone made in the 1930’s, but I then found that the only local and school brass bands in the area in 1967 were still playing old “high pitch” instruments to which I could not tune. I stopped trying to join them! I got my first bass trombone when I was 15 and have never really played any other brass instrument since then.
I joined my local brass band in Prestwich, Manchester in 1984 to try and help get back into playing and develop some stamina after the best part of a decade not playing regularly after university. Fifteen years (and three bands) later I retired from regular playing when both of my children had started primary school.
I was nagged to come out of retirement to help ‘Besses’ with some Christmas concerts ten years later and since then have played regularly for a brass band. I retired from the world of work in 2015, and since then have also played with a community brass band of (mainly) pensioners every Tuesday afternoon in Oldham, and with a swing big band in Chorley every Friday evening. In 2018 I was persuaded to come out of orchestral retirement and dip my toes back into the world of orchestral trombone sections – it takes some getting used to when you haven’t played for a symphony orchestra for over 40 years, and it is still quite outside my “comfort-zone”..
Music in one form or another is a big part of my life. In addition to making music, I like to listen to orchestral music played well, and manage to attend perhaps about 50 live concerts a year by professional orchestras. My wife despairs!