Top brass for new festival

Ramsey Town Band trombone players - clockwise from left: Dominic Warrington, 14, Elizabeth Warrington, 12, Emily Kennaugh, 16, Ivo Morrey, seven, and Joe Morrey, nine

Ramsey Town Band trombone players - clockwise from left: Dominic Warrington, 14, Elizabeth Warrington, 12, Emily Kennaugh, 16, Ivo Morrey, seven, and Joe Morrey, nine

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THE first ever Great Big Fat Manx Trombone Festival will take place early next month.

The brass music extravaganza, which is for all trombone players, will include a mixture of workhops and social events, culminating in a lunchtime concert at Peel Centenary Centre.

The festival, being held on the weekend of November 3 and 4, will kick off at 1.30pm on the Saturday with coffee and registration at the Centenary Centre.

Workshops will then be led between 2.30pm and 5pm by Brett Baker and his Black Dyke Trombone Quartet, followed by an evening social event starting at 7.30pm at Northern Lights Community Centre in Ramsey.

Organiser Jackie Morrey explained: ‘This festival is intended as both a promotion and a celebration of such a fantastic and also endangered instrument.’

‘There will be a chance to show off your tromboning prowess at the open mic session or pin down one of the Black Dyke members for practice tips.

‘There will be no alcohol as children will be present, but there is a pub across the street if you need that infamous trombonist pint.’

The Sunday will then start with a late morning rehearsal at the Centenary Centre and final polishing up before launching into the Sunday lunchtime concert. The concert, which includes cream teas, will feature performances from The Black Dyke Trombone Quartet, Ramsey Town Band, and the Great Big Fat Manx Trombone Choir.

Explaining where the idea came from, Jackie, who studied jazz trombone at Leeds Music College, said: ‘Peter Cannell and I help out as trombonists at the Neptune Street Nippers where our children are learning. We were at a concert and got chatting about trombone choirs.

‘I have always been fanatical about promoting music education and about the trombone. I played, taught brass and piano, and worked as a music therapist for many years in London.

‘But I was quite poorly after having my last child and just seemed to stop playing. So we talked and I thought, why not just do it! For me it was a way back to my passion.’

The event quickly grew as Jackie and Peter proved to be a formidable team.

‘The British Trombone Society [BTS] immediately offered to send over the Black Dyke Quartet to lead the choir and organise the music,’ said Jackie, ‘It was so lovely of them.

‘I felt that in order to honour such generosity it would be nice to make it a real festival.’

Peter then contacted the Isle of Man Arts Council who agreed to underwrite some of the costs and set about doing all the paperwork and facebook site.

And Jackie obtained the Tom Bone artwork from Times illustrator David Lyttleton. ‘He is our little mascot!’ she said. In fact a lovely soft toy version crafted by brass musician Claire Nelson will be raffled off for charity on the day.

Jackie also contacted Warwick Music Supplies to buy the two pbones for the competition featured on page 18.

‘They donated them,’ she exclaimed. ‘So we intend to pay back all this kindness with a fantastic festival.’

A pbone is a plastic trombone perfect for new learners. Jennifer Cook, head of brass and percussion for the Isle of Man Music Service, said: ‘The pbone is the type of instrument that is ideal to use for practising when travelling as it is so compact and robust.

‘It has great appeal as a starter instrument due to being lightweight, durable and fantastic value for money. Students have reacted enthusiastically to my purple pbone when I have brought it into school!’

Jackie concluded: ‘The event is open to each and every trombonist – from the very beginner to Don Lusher superstars! We really want this to be a mass trombone event featuring as many Manx (and beyond) musicians as possible, flushing out old trombonists, encouraging some new and maybe bringing Manx expat trombonists back for the weekend!

‘Other brass instrumentalists who can grab a trombone will benefit too and are very welcome.’

Brett Baker’s workshops will cover breathing, practice, warm-ups, tuning, exercises, high register, sound and a bit of Alexander technique.

In addition, Peter Norris will sell trombone-related items throughout the festival.

Festival tickets cost £25 for adults and £12.50 for students in full-time education. There are extra subsidies for BTS members.

Tickets to the Sunday concert cost £14 for adults and £7 for under 14s. T-shirts, hats and fleeces featuring Tom Bone will be available.

For more information email or go to the The Great Big Fat Trombone Festival Facebook page.

For information on the British Trombone Society email

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