Bass Trombone-Roger Stopher
My introduction to the brass band scene was because of my father being an Eb Bass player, I was encouraged at the age of 7 years to go with him to band practice, where the Band Master suggested that I take a cornet home with me to practice. I was not happy with that I wanted to learn an instrument that looked similar to what my father was playing, so was given a baritone. As a young lad I was not that dedicated to learning and so the baritone was put aside many times. Eddy Williams, the conductor at that time, was very encouraging and supportive and knew that youngsters would be side tracked by other happenings.
By the time I was 15 years of age I was given the chance to join the Army, which I took. I chose to join the regiment that my father had been in for 13 years, because one of his friends was still serving as a band sergeant. I became a junior bandsman in the Lancashire Fusiliers where I had to concentrate on learning scales etc. for many hours a day on a euphonium. When I was near to being 17 years of age, due to go to the Regiment as a grown-up, they did not want a euphonium player, so they came with a trombone saying “Learn that”. When joining the Regiment I was on the 2nd.Trombone seat until I was asked if I would like to play Bass Trombone fanfare trumpet, of course an opportunity like that could not be missed.
Whilst in Hong Kong I was given the opportunity to play in the H K Philharmonic Orchestra which was a fantastic experience. I moved up in the army to the bass trombone seat where I stayed until I left the army. On leaving the Army I trained as a male nurse, which meant concentrating on passing exams etc. so the music playing stopped. Working in the hospital in the A&E Department for 22 years, I met a member of the City of Truro Band who found out that I was a brass player and asked if I would like to join them. I was given a bass trombone with a handle which I learnt to play again, although it took a while to get back into playing. We entered contests giving me the ability to play better.
I finally got married, my wife Stella enjoyed brass bands and encouraged me to continue playing and became a good follower of the band. It was decided that in the year 2000 we would pack our bags and move to Spain. Whilst here I bumped into an old rival and friend John Bawden from a different band in Cornwall, where we met at contests. John told me he had a brass band starting up here, he also tricked me into playing in the Vega Baja big band and an Oompah Band that he had set up in Spain. I also played in the Phoenix Concert Band. I then went along to audition for Gordon Higginbottom, and having been accepted I became a member of Just Brass.