Seventy Six trombones at Oundle

The East Anglian region of the British Trombone Society (BTS) recently ran a "Trombone and Lower Brass Day" at Oundle School near Peterborough on 2nd October 2005 and John, as a new BTS members went along to find out more.

John says "The day started with a massed blow of between 60 and 80 trombones under the guidance of Chris Houlding. We started with a couple of breathing exercises and then buzzing notes without the mouthpiece. This was when I fully realised that I was outclassed on every front because I could hear a room full of in-tune "C's", slurring down to "G's" more-or-less on command.
Music was being passed around while we were doing this and we were then ready to tackle some 8-part pieces. The parts were labelled A1 to A4, and B1 to B4. Somewhat rashly I chose to stand with the A1 group to make the numbers in each group more or less equal. We started with a slow hymn tune and the sound of a large number of trombones singing together was quite exhilarating. The next piece was a fantasy on the theme of "London Bridge is Burning". At this point our concentration was tested by the presence of a BBC "Look East" camera-man pushing his lens everywhere. It then became apparent to me that the A1 part was not a good choice for me - I was really struggling with the high notes. My colleagues however, including a couple of members of the National Youth Orchestra trombone section were coping very well so I moved over to the A2 group. Wise move!

Several youngsters also came to enjoy the day and they had a separate workshop with the ladies of "Bones Apart", practicing for a short presentation to the rest of us before lunch. The morning was rounded off by an excellent concert given by the "Diss-located Trombone choir"

The afternoon programme was devoted to recitals by young players; first the National Youth Orchestra trombone section, and then that of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Their standard of playing was inspirational to us all and confirmed that the future of the trombone is safe in their hands.

We managed another short massed blow before we all sat down to enjoy a recital by the fabulous all-female trombone quartet "Bones Apart". Their first number, Bach's Toccata and Fugue sent shivers down my spine. This was simply the best trombone playing I've ever heard.

My thanks to Ben Bouzan, the BTS East Anglian representative for organising such an inspiring day. I don't know how often the BTS arrange these sort of events but I'll be scanning their magazine and web-site for more."

Return to Musical Interests Index