BEING petite does not stop Jill Holmes pursuing one of her life's passions playing the big bass drum. Jill is a member of Salisbury Community Band, which started its life in October 2005, under the musical directorship of her husband, Chris Holmes.

Chris formerly ran Salisbury Area Young Musicians, from its inception in 1987 until January 2005, and wanted to provide an opportunity for band players no longer at school to play in a band. No audition is required to join the band all that Chris asks is that players have reached grade 5 (at some stage of their lives) and can read music.

Little did Chris realise the huge response he would get and the band held a concert in St Thomas's Church on March 29 with 60 assorted band musicians taking part, including an 80-year-old trombone player.

Music in the programme ranged from a sedate Gershwin suite to the full power of the Dies Irae from Verdi's Requiem, featuring a bass drum solo.

"It was a spectacular concert," said a jubilant Chris Holmes. "And the church was completely packed out. The band has a terrific atmosphere members say it has changed their lives."