Organising the Brass Band Boot Camp course, working alongside Sheona White (tenor horn) and David Thornton (euphonium), for English Brass Academy has made me think Having started life as a tenor horn player at the age of 5 in Lye Citadel YP Band too may years ago I willingly immersed myself into the life of the ‘bander’. I loved it! Just about every night was spent at the Sally Army Hall – my parents were Salvation Army officers and my brother John was equally consumed with the banding bug – we couldn’t get enough of it! Lye Citadel was a small corps so everyone chipped in. I picked up my tenor horn from the YP Bandleader’s house who put the fingering under the first hymn tune. He made sure I could blow the thing and that was it. Straight to band practice and I learned by jumping in the deep end. Aged 5 I was in the band! It was the one and only lesson I was to receive, apart from my Dad helpfully reminding me about split notes, until I was 17…
Hearing both Sheona and David play as effortlessly they do, the consummate artistry they possess, the ease with which they navigate the most difficult passages has reminded me of the wonderful heritage that we now carry on within the banding fraternity. This uniquely British institution, equally important in its musical, social and holistic strands, has tranformed my life. I am sure it transformed Sheona and David’s life too.
When I spoke to both Sheona and David they couldn’t have been more willing to participate in the Boot Camp.These legends of the brass world loved the idea of giving back. In spite of the fame and glory they enjoy they love engaging with musicians. They love performing and mixing with other ‘banders’. They want to play their part in carrying on this wonderful tradition of banding and to help others to achieve their personal ambitions.
It’s a priviledge for me to work with both Sheona and David. I’m looking forward to this course. It has special personal overtones for me and I really hope you’ll come along and work with these two incredible performers. It could change your life as it did mine all those years ago at Lye Citadel.