- Elaine Beavis
Growing up in Berkshire I was lucky to find that one day at School that they were having a “try out” instrument evening. As my best friend (then and still to this day) was already an established cornet player I didn’t hesitate to take up the opportunity to learn an instrument (so that we could play in the afterschool band). At age 9 I chose to take up the French Horn. Unfortunately my parent’s research concluded that French horns were rather expensive so a Tenor Horn it was! I did in latter years take on the French Horn, Piano, Singing and Guitar in addition to the Tenor Horn and spent most weekends in various brass ensembles, wind bands, orchestras and the Berkshire County Youth Brass Band.
Moving to Bristol for Uni I did take a music break (unbelievably there was no brass band society!) and it wasn’t until 2004 when I moved to Exeter for work did I consider picking up my instrument and starting band again. I put two calls out – one to Sidmouth and one to Ottery. Sidmouth replied first (!) so in 2005 I started in the band, initially on Tenor Horn, then moving to Baritone and then to Euphonium! Sidmouth was a big commitment with frequent rehearsals, concerts, recordings and competitions (raft races?!) and although I enjoyed very much the achievements and experiences I decided to call time in 2013 due to work and life commitments. A few forays with Pangbourne Band followed with banding trips to Germany and France and a notable Whit Friday contest where I picked up the cornet (?!) as there was a space! Not long after I got married to Dave and had our son Edward so I put my spare time to good use!
In late 2016 Ivor suggested that I might fancy joining Ottery St Mary band and I bit his hand off joining on 1st Baritone! The rest they say is history and I have had lots of great experiences and opportunities musically in the band. The bottom line is though the Ottery Band is just full of lovely people and we are all able to have fun and a good laugh – music therapy once a week, so the lockdown has been tough!
So where so we go next, well Edward has certainly inherited my love of music (how many 5 year olds enjoy watching the Young Musician of the Year competitions?) and obviously enjoys any opportunity to watch Mummy perform when we get the chance. That Tenor Horn in the loft may get dusted off for some more music in the near future!
- Mel Hansford
See Debbie Cheeseman (Cornet)