- Brian Baker
I have played for Ottery for over fifty years. My father and grandfather also played for Ottery, my father was bandmaster for twenty years. help with the junior band “Brass Class” with my daughter Verity and tutor Gail Denning. I was band secretary for many years and am still an active member of the band committee. I like all types of music (except trad. Jazz) providing it is well played. My wife Angela has always supported the band, organising concert draws etc and collecting when required.
- Jill Machin
As a teenager and until I went to university, I played tenor horn in the Wrentham Brass Band. Why a tenor horn? I don’t really know. I have a sneaking suspicion that my brother, who also played with Wrentham, chose it for me probably with a comment along the lines that, since it was neither the highest nor the lowest instrument in the band, then no one would hear me when I played a wrong note.
Fast forward a number of years, marriage and three children. In maybe 2011, I took my youngest, Lom, to “Ottery’s Got Talent” where the Brass Class were playing. Impressed with their sound, Lom thought she would like to play too.
On a visit a few weeks later to see my parents and brother, my brother, who is now the MD at Wrentham and also a brass teacher, showed Lom how to get a note out of a tenor horn, the same instrument my mum plays in the Wrentham Band. Whether she had a tenor horn for the same reason that I was given one, is a question which is probably best not asked.
Lom started tenor horn lessons with the Brass Class and later they held a recruitment morning at which Laura was expected to play. What Lom had said to Brian Baker before we arrived, I have no idea but the instant we walked in the door he told me he had some brass instruments ready for me to try out. Being an obliging sort of soul, I dutifully tried out some and chose the Eb bass.
On a few more years and I play Eb bass in both Brass Class and the main band where I sit next to Brian and hope he doesn’t regret encouraging me to play all those years ago.
I’d like to conclude by saying that I never ever hit a wrong note and my brother was wrong to have put me on the tenor horn but, unfortunately, that’s not true.
- Andrew Jenkins
- John Stuckey
I started playing Tenor trombone at the start of Secondary school, purely as it was that or a French Horn left in the instrument store! I started learning bass clef, as the school band was a concert band, with one highlight appearing on stage with Roy Castle at a local hotel. Learning tenor clef a year or so later and playing with both Amesbury Town and Shrewton Silver Bands, led to my first taste of contesting, playing Little Suite For Brass, in the mid 1970s.On leaving school other interests like sailing and Orienteering and a young family took precedence and it was not until the mid 1990s that I started playing again, this time with Test Valley Brass in Andover. Second trombone seat for contests and a Moselle Tour were events of note.A job move back to Salisbury Plain meant reacquainting with old friends from Amesbury and Shrewton, and meeting up with my wife Geraldine who also enjoys being part of the wider banding family. Highlights included progressing to First Section and reaching national finals on route.
We have in the last few years moved to Devon where we are pleased to have been welcomed by Ottery Band where I share the Bass Trombone seat and cover the top seat when needed.
After 40 years ‘on the dark side’ I have finally succumbed to learning a valve instrument, and now play Baritone as well, trying to prove you can teach an old dog new tricks.