Don Whitlock celebrates 74 years of playing in brass bands with Vintage Brass Band at their last practice before the summer break.
Don's relationship with brass instruments started when he was only 8 years old thanks to his Aunt who was a Salvation Army Officer and presented Don with a cornet. He played for many years with the Salvation Army band, initially in the Boys' Band and then with the adults. His change to the Euphonium came about through a practical joke when he swapped instruments with another lad and bet that the band leader would not notice! However he did and liked what he heard, so Don transferred to the larger instrument. He did have another stint of playing the cornet with the RAF when conscripted in 1959.
Don has had many wonderful years "banding" with several different bands including 35 years with Boscombe Salvation Army Band during which time the band was featured on radio and TV. Many readers will remember Charlie Chester's "Listen to the Band" and BBC's "Bandstand" both of which bring back happy memories for Don. He also played with Sandleheath Band, Bournemouth Area Fellowship Band, Ringwood and Burley, and Christchurch and Highcliffe bands.
So after 74 years Don has hung up his brass instruments, not having quite as much "puff" as he used to!! However, he is certainly not giving up bands and assured me at our recent meeting, that he would be attending many more concerts yet, but in the audience rather than the band. Thank you Don for being such an inspiration to so many people over the years - we all wish you a long and happy retirement!!
Kate Sax - Publicity Officer
10th August 2018