RAF Music Services News

76 Trombones (and the rest)

It is anticipated that most people reading this article will know that 1 April is the RAF's birthday.  What most people reading this article probably won't know is that 1 April is also International Trombone Day.A woman conducts a large trombone ensemble.

What even fewer people will know is that on 31 March 2019 RAF Music Services (RAFMS) hosted the British Trombone Society (BTS) for their National Trombone Day event, organised by Corporal Jonty Hill.  In total, 88 beginner, amateur and professional trombonists from all over the country, as well as all RAFMS’ trombonists, descended on RAF Northolt for a day of classes, trade stands and general trombone-oriented chat.

The event was a real showcase for Royal Air Force Music Services, showing our facilities and all 12 trombonists in performance. It was also a day of learning for us, being able to take part in fantastic ensemble and improvisation classes by our guest artists.  We captured some great video footage, as we filmed the lunchtime concert for later release.  The BTS were keen to repeat the event in the next few years and we would love to see them all here again! 

Corporal Jonty Hill.

The Bandroom was the perfect venue to host such an event with large rehearsal studios to cater for classes, competitions and trade stands simultaneously.  Due to the large diversity in age and technical aptitude, the warm up classes were broken down into smaller groups in the morning to help everyone attending get the most out of the day, regardless of their ability. 

The afternoon masterclasses were led by the trombone quartet ‘Bones Apart’ and the jazz/West End trombonist Jon Stokes.  Working in professional orchestras and ensembles throughout the country, they offered a wealth of insight and knowledge in the masterclasses, which were well attended, generating incredibly keen and testing questions.

People watch a trombone ensemble play music.A lunchtime concert was provided by Bones Apart and the RAFMS trombone ensemble, conducted by Warrant Officer Terry Gardner (pictured left).  The concert culminated in both ensembles playing Riff’em and Blues, which was described by one of the BTS members ‘such a glorious and stylish sound’.  This concert was an excellent platform on which to promote the career of the RAF Musician to the public and, given the large demographic of the event, hopefully inspire future Servicemen and women.  At the end of the day, the event was rounded off with a traditional BTS 'massed blow', incorporating at least 50 trombonists into one huge trombone ensemble.



Article by Senior Aircraftman Gordon Maclachlan.


Please take a look at our Friends of RAF Music scheme.



Connect with RAF Music Services