Late Starter

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Jack E, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Good morning, all. (yes, I know it's twenty past three in the morning, but years of working shifts really messes with your sleep patterns!)

    I got started playing baritone horn in a rather odd way, at the age of 68! Over the course of last spring, I started noticing how quickly I was getting tired when horse riding (whatever it looks like, the rider isn't just "sitting there while the horse does all the work . . . "). By the end of May, I had to give up altogether. Ten minutes on a lazy stallion, and I damn near fell off him with exhaustion.

    I was, however, able to keep working as a signalman on the East Lancs Railway (preserved steam line), and working on repairing diesel locos, which helped to keep me occupied . . . until the results of various scans / tests/ you name it showed that I needed a quadruple heart by-pass. So, no more working on the locos, nor working the manual level crossing gates. In sheer desperation, I joined a local band as a learner.

    A very old and very good friend who I'd met when I lived in Hastings plays with the Sussex Brass. In conversation with him, years ago, we got talking about brass instruments, and he thought I'd get on well with a baritone horn. So, when I joined the local band where I live now, I tried it, LOVED the sound, and was hooked! Frankly, playing that baritone - and the friendship I've had from other band members - has been all that's kept me sane over the 5 months I was waiting for the op; otherwise I'd have been climbing the walls with boredom and frustration! I'm not really cut out for being a couch potato.

    Needless to say, the aftermath of the operation put a stop to me playing for a while, then I got a major chest infection, which the local hospital failed to sort out, but my excellent GPs did, and I'm now playing better far better than I was able to before - though with a lot of catching up to do. All the same, finally managing to play all the way from bottom G to top G - which I never thought I'd manage - was a blast!

    My only regret - but a HUGE one - was that I didn't get into it years ago. Think of all the fun of making music, and the friendship in a good band - such a waste! I met the above mentioned friend (and his sister) in 1981, whilst they were playing with Sussex Brass, and lived in Hastings until 1998 - yet never even tried playing a brass instrument. (sigh!) The main reason was that, starting in childhood, I'd tried piano, violin, guitar, and mouth organ, but couldn't get on with any of them, so I just assumed that "I can't play music, and that's it." It never occurred to me that I might just have tried instruments which didn't suit me.

    So now I'm making up for lost time, thanking my lucky stars for all the years I spent meditating (with it's emphasis on breath control and using your diaphragm), and building up my strength so I can keep playing, get back to working as a signalman, and start riding again. After all, one of my uncles was playing in an Irish wind band till he was in his 80's, and a great uncle was still working a small farm in Ireland into his 90s.

    Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?:)

    With best regards to all,

    Jack E.
    Matthew likes this.
  2. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    Welcome to tMp Jack!
    As I played for many years with Sussex Brass, may well know your friend there - who is he?
  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Glad to have you on tMP, and great that ou'r enjoying your banding.
  4. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    What a lovely story Jack. You remind me of my neighbour (who is far older than you) who cannot be doing with sitting still. He makes garden gates and fencing and furniture for anyone who wants one. He's just bought his first tablet and with the guidance of my 12 year old daughter is now loving the internet. He is exploring all the information on alien life on the moon and Area 51 and tells me it is all true!
    I hope you are soon back on your horse and you continue to enjoy your banding. All the best to you. :)
  5. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    I don't suppose he will mind me putting his name on here (hope not, anyway!); it's Pete Holloway, who plays bass, and his sister plays bass trombone.
  6. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Ah, your neighbour reminds me of another friend's father, who lived in the Isle of Man. He was a retired (sort of) Methodist minister, but acted as a locum for any other minister who was off sick or on holiday, made the most gorgeous furniture, and drove around the Island delivering meals on wheels to "the old people" (as he called them), some of whom were twenty years younger he was - he was 88!

    My friend had suggested to him that he should write his autobiography, but his father said he was too busy, and he'd get around to it "when I get old" . . . :rolleyes:

    Many thanks, Mesmerist! The way things are improving, I'm sure I'll be riding again by the summer, and as for enjoying the banding - I can only say that the band I've joined feels like I've found a new family. What more could I ask?

    With best regards,

  7. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Peter!
  8. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    An uplifting story and a reminder of how important "community" banding can be.
    I hope you enjoy playing for many years to come.
    2nd tenor likes this.
  9. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Andrew - I'm sure I will!
  10. Matthew

    Matthew Active Member

    Hi Jack,

    Welcome and good luck with your playing (the Brass Band bug will now never leave you!) - hope you're now on the mend too! :D
  11. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    I'm sure it won't, Matthew. I grew up in the East End of London, and the highlight of my Sunday mornings was if the local Salvation Army band came round our street to play - really stirring stuff, and I've never forgotten the sheer spirit and fire they put into their playing!

    Yes, I'm doing well, thank you, and getting stronger and fitter by the day. :)

    Best regards,

    Jack E.
  12. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Is that your horse in the picture Jack? He's an absolute beauty. I expect you'll soon come across Independent Silver Band who also has horses and has appeared in films with them. He's a lovely man with wide interests just like yourself.
  13. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    He was, Mesmerist, for two years, but we were totally unsuited to each other, so I passed him onto a man near Kidderminster - the two of them hit it off from first meeting and never looked back.

    Brown Bob was a retired Irish steeplechaser (total winnings about £15,000), but the most laid back, chilled out Thoroughbred I've ever met (and I've worked with well over 3,000 horses). But riding out on him, I never knew what to expect. One day he'd be as cool as a cucumber, next day I'd have to ride him the way you'd drive a Formula 1 car in a race; I had to focus 100% on him, every inch of the way, or he'd just go haywire (and sometimes he'd go haywire regardless).

    I should have bought something like a cavalryman's horse - able and willing to think for himself and just get on with the job. Or another Harley Davidson!

    With best regards,

    Jack E.
  14. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    Might I suggest driving horses as an alternative. It can be very addictive, and and allow the continuation of affection of the equine species.
    Mesmerist likes this.
  15. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Oh, I've no intention of giving up with horses altogether, ISB - I just don't want to take on the commitment of ownership, so I'll continue riding the horses at the local stables.

    As regards driving, I've done it with small cobs and heavy draught horses when logging - and thoroughly enjoy it. The big problem with that where I live is that there are very few places you can drive off the road, and the roads are very narrow, incredibly twisty, and have more blind bends and blind summits than you can shake a stick at - and many of the roads are 'single track with passing places', barely wide enough to let a single car get through.

    These pictures will give you some idea:
    Landscape Photography: Peak District (general) | Stock Images | Royalty-free

    The thought of approaching a blind summit on a blind bend, and suddenly finding a 44 ton articulated wagon approaching you at 40mph, or a bunch of cyclists coming round a blind bend and filling the road from one side to the other, all doing 30mph, with their noses looking at their front wheels and their backsides in the air (been there, done that!), is not appealing.
  16. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    Thanks for some gorgeous pictures. I have the luxury of owning land off the beaten path, so riding and driving is reasonably safe. I have vascalated between music and animals for over sixty years.
  17. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Jack, ISB forgot to tell you he also owns a camel or two... (Is that right Bill? you still have them?).
  18. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    I am afraid not. Emmy passed away several years ago, and I miss her. I would like to get another, but I don't really need one. I will see if I can find some pictures of her.
  19. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    ISB, re. your land; I'm green with envy! The last time I checked around here, 1 acre of rough ground (for agricultural / recreational use only) would set you back about $16,000 at the current rate of exchange . . . :(
  20. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    I have sixty acres in my farm, and across the road is about five miles with no roads or fences. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to utilize the area as I would like. I train horses, and I have been injured recently by my mules. I hope to be back at it. I also play euphonium, trombone, and tuba. I am glad you have joined us.

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