I’ll be gallant and claim to be the oldest member of the band (although there is a young lady of an uncertain age who might also make the same claim). The point of this blog is to show that the band is not entirely manned by twenty- or thirty-year-olds, there are a few older players also involved.
I started brass lessons in 1960 and joined Shaftesbury Town Silver Band on third cornet in 1962. 58 years later I’m still pursuing the same hobby, although now with a tuba.
I moved North and played with a number of bands (including the strangely named Flimby Saxhorn Silver Band) in the North West, North East and Yorkshire, my last one being Nostell Colliery Band, playing mainly with miners. I’m now in London City Brass, this time playing with city-based graduates. And most of them are half my age.
Also, my previous rehearsal room was upstairs in a working men’s club... I now rehearse in a church. It couldn’t be more different.
In 1976 I moved to London but pressure of a new job and new family didn’t allow me the time to keep playing, so I stopped. And that was it, until three years ago a brass band played outside my house. I chatted to them, then accepted their invitation to join them. Surprisingly it was very easy to start again, I could still read music and remember the fingering, it was just a question of getting my embouchure back, which took about two months.
I play in another band near High Wycombe, a band of retirees. We each play in different bands but every Wednesday morning we meet together in a village hall and the vicar’s wife conducts us. The only problem playing with a band of older people is that we keep losing players... but we have developed a fine repertoire of funeral music.
Now a member of London City Brass, it is odd spending a lot of time with a group of people who are so much younger than me but they’re a decent lot and seem to accept me. And it’s great to be making music again.
And sometimes we still play the same music I was playing back in 1962...