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Seeing these photographs reminded me of my part in the Jubilee celebrations in 1977. I can be seen in some of the photographs playing the trombone and wearing a blue t-shirt with a "77" on it. When Ron Harding was head of the primary school he encouraged many children to take up the clarinet. Whoever was organising the 1977 activities asked me to get a marching band of school children together.  This was a challenge with my technical knowledge of music - I do not read music, but improvise around the chords of the number. After some thought I decided to use a corny jazz tune, ‘When the Saints Come Marching In’. Not knowing how to arrange for such a group with a large number of clarinets I split the children into four groups so that they took it in turn to play the tune. I walked from our old house next to the school to the stocks more than once, humming the tune quietly and counting the number of choruses that we would have to play.  I did manage to write out the notes for the children to learn and also copied the melody lines for the hymns which were to be played at the stocks. When we arrived there the music and stands were all at Mrs Findlay’s house (Geneva House) and it was very windy so the music had to be held down with clothes pegs. One slight embarrassment was one hymn sung to the tune of John Brown’s body: I counted it in so fast that nobody was able to get the words out! A success though was God Save the Queen: I copied the piano chords and spread the individual notes among the group as instrument parts with me playing the bass line and to my amazement it sounded very good.

By John Price
On 11/06/2012

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