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Ian Whitburn

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Musical Profile

Born and bred in Plymouth, I began playing the Trombone at the age of 10 with the Laira Youth Band in the city. A mixed musical group I became it’s first trombone player as soon as I could honk a scale, having been taught the basics by the band’s inspirational leader and conductor Tony Hollick. The band soon adopted the traditional brass band format and I became principal trombone of a section until leaving, when aged 18. During this time I had tuition from the late Tony Evans, a well respected and talented Trombone player following on from the grounding given by Tony Hollick. I then began playing with various concert bands, brass bands and ensembles as well as playing professionally in pit orchestras at the Palace Theatre and the Hoe Theatre (sadley both now gone) for shows and with local big bands. During this time I also played with Kingsbridge Silver Band and when the band began looking for a new MD I asked to be auditioned along with the other applicants. The band later appointed me to the role (then aged 19) after auditioning  all the applicants.

Ian studied conducting and undertook training with the late great Trevor Walmsley amongst others.

During my couple of years at the helm, Kingsbridge Silver Band enjoyed a popular time entertaining packed audiences at weekly outdoor concerts throughout the South Hams area and on a tour to Germany. I then moved on to form Plymouth Brass and also take over as MD of Tavistock Town Band. Both of these bands enjoyed great success and were much in demand  for concerts with Plymouth Brass regularly performing at major events in the city and Tavistock performing for royalty and topping the bill at an international concert in Pontivy, France.

Due to work commitments I moved from the area and spent a couple of  years out of bands until moving to Burton on Trent where I joined the Ind Coope Band for a period and then moved to Ammington Band in Tamworth. In both of these bands I played principal trombone and dabbled in a bit of conducting and some professional playing  although work commitments made this short lived as I again moved and was unable to find the time to be involved with bands.

After more moves I found himself in the Forest of Dean and eventually with some time to start playing again after a 10 year gap . I joined Cinderford Band as principal Trombone, then having rekindled my zest for brass banding I decided I’d like to conduct again.

In 2011 I was appointed MD at Pillowell Silver Band and began a complete restructuring of the band, with the creation of a new, now thriving, Training Band and the steady building of a team. The band began to have considerable concert success locally and in 2014 the band won 12 trophies. In 2015 the band finished outside the prizes following a credible performance in the National Brass Band Finals at Cheltenham after qualifying with a resounding win at the South West Regional fourth section in Torquay where the band beat 20 other bands to take the top prize.