A tuba-tooting army reservist from Helston who grew up playing in the town band has been travelling to far-flung destinations with a group of army musicians
The Army Reserve has said it wishes to recruit more people like Nathan Tootill, to play with a new Cornwall-based detachment of the Salamanca Band and Bugles of The Rifles.
Nathan plays with the rank of musician, having begun his music career at the age of seven, learning the tenor horn in the Helston Town Band. He is also a support worker in a local residential home for children and adults with learning disabilities.
He said: “It’s great to travel to so many different places – and getting paid to enjoy your hobby. I’ve been to Dubai, Bermuda, Georgia, Armenia – and more recently, Denmark.
“You can also do kayaking and other adventure training courses through the army, as well as fitness.”
With a wide-ranging repertoire of military, classical, film and musicals, ‘big band’, rock and pop music, there are opportunities for people of grade five standard, who can play woodwind, brass, percussion or bugle.
Not just a marching group, the Salamanca Band offer within their ranks a big band, concert band, jazz band, a pop group and smaller woodwind and brass ensembles.
Nathan graduated from University College Falmouth with a BA honours in music in 2013 and has achieved grade seven as a musician. He is the principal tuba seat in the Helston Town Band and also plays with the HMS Seahawk volunteer band based at RNAS Culdrose and the Gweek silver band.
He added: “The tuba is the biggest instrument but also the most important, for keeping the rhythm. If there’s no tuba the music sounds quite bare. You need more air to play it than a trumpet – and good lungs.”
Salamanca Band Sergeant Major Sandra Davies said: “We’re not looking to take people away from their local band. As Nathan has found, this is just another opportunity to enjoy your music at another level – and to travel.”
There is a minimum of basic training which recognises that members of the Salamanca Band are being recruited as musicians rather than combat soldiers. Yet there are the same opportunities for adventurous training, such as sailing, skiing and mountain trekking.
The commitment is 27 days a year and recruits are paid for the time they spend rehearsing, along with travel expenses. They receive £1,000 on completing phase one training and the same again on passing phase two. Service with the Army Reserve is now pensionable, with holiday pay.
The Band and Bugles has its headquarters at Wyvern Barracks in Exeter but the Cornwall detachment will also be rehearsing in Truro every Wednesday evening (7.30 – 9.30pm) and on certain weekends.
The band is holding an open weekend at Truro Army Reserve Centre on September 3 and 4.
Enlistment is through an audition. Call 07795 284083 for more information.
Lismore Proms taking a year out as Band plan exciting concert in November.....
It became something of an annual tradition for many in the town but for the first time in over a decade, Helston Town Band will not be descending on the usually tranquil setting of "Lismore," in Helston this August Bank Holiday Weekend.
"The sheer cost and work involved in organising our Lismore Proms weekend was quite phenomenal and seemed to increase each year," said a band spokesman. "We are not ruling out a return to Lismore (or an alternative venue) in the future and are very fortunate to have an open invitation from our President, Michael Jay. However, for the first time in many years, we can allow our band members to enjoy a relaxing Bank Holiday weekend, as we explore putting on alternative events, at different times of the year. However, in what would normally be the week running up to the Proms, we want to reiterate that there will be NO Proms or Songs of Praise at Lismore this year, as we have had enquiries from a number of regulars. We don't want people to turn up Lismore on Saturday evening!"
A decision on a 2017 Proms will be made in the New Year.
In the meantime, trusty Helston "Proms-goers" are invited to join the band at an alternative event, with fun and entertainment, at The Flambards Experience, on Saturday 26 November 2016. Details of this evening of music from the movies, which will include refreshments and a bar, will be released over the coming weeks, as the band's busy Summer season draws to a close.
The next performances from the band will be outside The Harbour Inn, Porthleven, on Friday 26 August and Friday 2 September, from 7:30pm
The band have recently purchased new waistcoats and have had new ties donated and we will publish photographs and an update on this soon. In the meantime, Ann Pascoe, 2nd trombone can be seen modelling the new hats we are looking at buying to keep the sun of the players heads. Please let Ann know your opinion on the hat and whether they should be issued to everyone.
Helston Town Band Summer Fete
Helston Town Band held their annual band fetebin the rarely seen sunshine at the Boating Lake on Saturday.
The fete was opened by Rebecca Wills from BBC Radio Cornwall and was ably assisted by her daughter, Polly.
The opening was followed by a performance by the Helston Town Band Student Brass who, in the absence of their musidcal director, were led by Mr Ben Curnow. the band performed well with many of the players performing in public for the first time. The players range in age from 6 to 16 and new members are always welcome on a Wednesday evening during term time.
The Student Brass were followed by the Helston Town Band Concert Brass before the Town Band took to their seats for their performance which was rounded off by a performance of Helston's very own Flora Dance conducted by Phobe, granddaughter of Solo Cornet player, Mr Ian Harvey.
There were a number of stalls around the square with a variety of goods as well as a raffle and, of course, refreshments were available from the Lakeside Cafe all afternoon.
The band would like to thank those who attended as well as those who support us throughout the year.