(1974) 1999 - Now

Dave 'the Bass' Dron
Bb Bass

Dave was a founder member of our band back in 1974. Luckily for us, he then re-joined in 1999. 

Dave's passion for banding came from his Father who used to play with their local band, Faversham Mission, and played Dave to sleep every night practising as he was put to bed!

Whilst Dave claims to have tried to play all the brass instruments with varying degrees of failure, his most memorable banding moment comes as a result of another musical talent, as he conducted the band at the hospital fete one year.  

2008 Questionnaire

Musical Background: Started playing age 12 and was taught by his bandmaster.

Which Bands / Ensembles do you (have you) played with on a regular basis? Faversham Mission Band, HMS Goldgreat Volunteer Band, Lostwithiol Silver, Avonbank (Evesham) and Tewkesbury Town.

What is the best advice you have received? Twiddle your fingers and try to look intelligent, it will be quite loud enough - Walley (The Wee Professor) Hargreaves, whilst guesting with Snowdon & Betshangor Colliery Bands in Kent.

What are your favourite pieces of music that you have played? Rhapsody In Brass (Dean Goffin) and La Forza Del Destino (Verdi / F. Wright)

What are your favourite pieces of music to listen to (brass band)? The piece I'm listening to at the time!

What are your favourite pieces of music to listen to (any genre)? 5th Symphonies by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Dvorak.

Who is your favourite performer and why? David Dawes for his mellow tone and apparent lack of effort.

What are your musical ambitions? To play for as long as possible.

Thanks Dave!

Dave's Story (stories!)

'I started my banding career at the age of three, when Father Christmas brought me a yellow plastic trumpet. My Father used to play in the local Mission Band (Faversham Mission Band) and on Sunday evenings I used to stand on the rear pew and mime along with the band, all went well until the night I played a raspberry just as the band finished - I was devastated and never took that trumpet again!

At the age of 12 (in the year nineteen canteen) I was allowed to join the band proper and was given an old brass cornet to learn on (this took a while as I had to use a hammer to move the valves - not to much unlike the bass I play now). I continued to play for the band until I joined the Navy at the age of 19. During this time I rose to the dizzy heights of Repiano Cornet and had my first taste of bass playing. I guested with many local bands including Bowaters Silver, Snowdon Colliery and Bettshanger Colliery Bands. It was with Snowdon Colliery that I had the dubious pleasure of marching up the hill to Dover Castle whilst playing the march "Death or Glory." Thankfully I was still playing cornet at that time (I would have preferred my yellow trumpet though).

I have fond memories of Faversham Mission Band playing our regular spot at the local old peoples home on Christmas Morning when we played "Christians Awake" outside the Mortuary, of laying a piece called Love In A Mist during a service and trying to keep straight faces for the following hymn which was "When the mists have rolled in splendour". There was also the time we lost the bas drummer whilst on the march, but that's another story.

Whilst in the Royal Navy, I was allowed to join the Volunteer Band at the Royal Naval Air Station Brawdy I Pembrokeshire and the Feet Air Arm Band, playing both Tenor Horn and Cornet but not both at the same time. With Brawdy Band I remember having to march past after the remainder of the Ship's Company had long gone. Again and again, until "we got it right". A Band Mutiny when the admirals staff gave band members a KIT MUSTER and the "LAST TOT" which was drawn through the Establishment on a gun carriage with full Guard and Band, Arms Reversed and Funeral Drapes. I have a photo at home but I still can't look at it without the tears welling up in my eyes. The Navy hasn't been the same since.

There are also the stories of the Mace and the telephone wires, The Cymbal player and the dustbin lid and not forgetting the Pembroke Dock Band Cymbal Player and the lost hat, but these must wait for another day.

I left the Navy (the blighters wanted to send me to sea) having just missed out on a draft to the Royal Marines School of Music, and joined the Lostwithiel Band in Cornwall. I refute the stories that the Junior band was much better than us, although I must admit that they were quite good.

We moved to Tewkesbury just in time for me to become a founder member of the band (give or take a week). One of our first gigs was at Appley fete where the band were promised cover in case of rain, this turned out to be a tent in which the two basses (myself and Hubert Walkly) were the only ones who could fit in (I have the photo still). 

I left the band after a bit of an upset with certain members, long since left, and went to Avonbank (Evesham) Band. Perhaps the most abiding memory there was at one of the concerts in the Arts Centre when the band stayed on the stage whilst the guest artists were signing a somewhat sad song. The audience started to titter and I turned to see Big Jon's chair buckling under him as he slowly sank to the floor. I will not mention the 40th Anniversary concert when we couldn't even play "God Save the Queen." Perhaps it should have been "God Save Avonbank." I know I wished my chair would collapse!

I returned to the fold at Tewkesbury about 1999, complete with a new set of hips although I admit they haven't improved my playing much, I'm still enjoying my playing even after 45 years though you might think I should be better at it after all this time.

I look forward now to many more happy years with Tewkesbury Town Band.
When's the next barby Betty?'

Dave Dron.

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Revised: March 30, 2009