BACK IN BUSINESS - First to Fourth sections enjoy Nationals return

Issue 6110

REGIONALS TESTS - Set works announced ahead of 2022 Regional Championships

A RISING STAR - BB meets Flowers and NYBBGB cornetist, Luke Barker

Stephen Walkley: trombone trailblazer - part two

Sunday 5 September, 2021

Brett Baker continues his conversation with former Fairey and Sun Life principal trombonist, Stephen Walkley, as the renowned performer looks back on his career in banding.

This week, Stephen reflects on his journey with the baton, including transforming the fortunes of what would become Flowers Band. He also reflects on some of his all-time musical highlights and the people who inspired him to get there.


Stephen Walkley boasts a stellar banding CV which includes time as principal trombone at the now sadly defunct Sun Life Band. Much of his time there came under the baton of Roy Newsome, who had a long-lasting influence on Stephen – but so did Roy’s successor, Derek Bourgeois. The two conductors could not have been more different in almost every way.

Stephen reflected: “DB came with impeccable musical credentials. However, his entire approach to music, rehearsal and performance was just about as different as it could possibly have been from that of Roy Newsome and was something of a culture shock for the band. He also had a unique and quirky, almost schoolboy, sense of humour which often came out in his compositions but was usually far too obscure for us mere brass banders to appreciate until he explained it.

“Derek was a close friend of Elgar Howarth. Both were champions of contemporary music and produced very high-quality, light music arrangements which enhanced brass band concert repertoire. Their eyes and ears were very much focussed on the here and now and the future, in terms of extending the serious brass repertoire. Working with Bourgeois was a very interesting and enjoyable experience.”


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