New York circa 1915. “Police tuba players.” HALT OR WE’LL TOOT. 5×7 inch glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.

About 45 years ago I was a semi-professional trumpet player. By semi-professional I mean that I was paid, but not an awful lot. It did give me an opportunity to travel around the UK quite a bit and to play in some nice venues (e.g. York Minister; the Royal Albert Hall). I thoroughly enjoyed it, but then real life crept in and I moved on to other things – specifically working with the United Nations for 38 years. I’ve always retained a love of brass instruments and music that features them so I was excited to come across the wonderful picture. Look at the expressions on their faces: the guy in the middle seems to really be enjoying himself; the one on the left looks as if he’s supervising; the one second from right looks as if he’s been told to pretend that he’s playing. I found myself wondering what they might be playing: maybe Berlioz March to the Scaffold arranged for five tubas as seen in this video (thus proving that tuba quintets do actually exist. If you ‘google’ ‘tube quintet’ a surprising amount comes up):

Source: Brass Coppers: 1915 | Shorpy Historic Picture Archive


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