HGA: Blowing my own Trumpet

Roy Bilham 20th Feb 2014

By Nick Turner

Roy took the minds of a full-house of gardeners off the recent wet winter with an assured and professional description of his life in brass.  Spaced amongst slides and a witty review of his appearances in different bands and orchestras in every decade from the 70s onwards, Roy gave a set of seven sparkling trumpet renditions of classic tunes.
Roy started playing, at 13 years of age, alongside his father and brother in the Rowntree’s Brass Band in York and progressed via the Territorial Army Royal Corps of Transport Band, to the Royal Artillery Band with which Roy played for 22 years.  This band led the Falkland Victory Parade and played at Lord Mayor Shows and major sporting events. 

Within the Royal Artillery Band (which originated in 1557 and was granted official status in 1762) the Royal Artillery Orchestra was Britain’s first professional orchestra but after 252 years, and just 11 days before this talk took place, it ceased to exist.
The Orchestra toured with famous performers such as Anne Shelton and Harry Secombe, and played in a reduced format at events in the Mansion House.  Roy recounted amusing anecdotes including one from his time when playing for both the Royal Artillery Band and the Philharmonia Orchestra at the same event at Leeds Castle.  This dual career ended when he left the Royal Artillery Band in January 1987, and started to play full time with the Philharmonia at events round the world.

Roy also played with and managed the Wallace Collection, visiting some far-flung corners of the world; whilst also setting up Thames Fanfare Brass - now in its 27th year - in which the Fanfare Team uses long herald trumpets.   This excellent presentation got an enthusiastic response from the gardeners. Roy mentioned that he has recorded a solo CD “Don’t ask me why” the proceeds from which go to combat Prostate Cancer. Roy concluded with a brief postscript recital after the tea break and we all had a great time. 

Photo:Brian Hickey (HOFS), Roy Bilham, Barry Wootten (HGA)

Brian Hickey (HOFS), Roy Bilham, Barry Wootten (HGA)

Shadow Photographer

This page was added by Nick Turner on 02/11/2014.
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