AGE is no barrier to joining Salisbury Community Band, as septuagenarian Jeffery Brown was delighted to find out.

After seeing an advertisement in the Journal in October, calling for musicians to form a new community band, Jeffery felt sure that musical director Chris Holmes was looking for younger players.

"I asked him tentatively if he had an upper age limit in mind," he muses, "and was delighted to learn that age was no barrier, the only requirement was the ability to read music."

Jeffery at 74 is currently father of the house' of the 60-strong Salisbury Community Band, which gives its third concert on Saturday. It was only three years ago that Jeffery took up the trumpet again, after a gap of some 20 years.

"It was for health reasons - I thought it would help my breathing," he laughs, though it was for health reasons he had to let his playing lapse.

"I had a coronary bypass in 1982 and when I came out of hospital my chest looked like an old stitched suitcase. I thought, if I tried to play the trumpet and that lot gives way, its back in hospital for me, so I gave up."

Giving up came hard as Jeffery first started playing the trumpet aged five. Born in the North of England in the depths of brass band tradition, Jeffery's three brass playing uncles ensured their nephew could play. He played with the Black Dyke Mills Junior Band and had a brief spell with the famous Black Dyke Mills Band before conscription meant he was in the services.

"I ended up in the RAF music services and was shipped overseas where I spent two years with the Band of the Far East Air Force based in Singapore."

Jeffery then spent many years overseas working with the British Council, but his trumpet went with him wherever he travelled, and his list of postings and bands he has played with is quite phenomenal.

"At home I played with the Teeside Symphony Orchestra, and abroad with the Delhi Symphony Orchestra alongside professional musicians, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra playing at Sunday lunchtimes on Radio Malaya and even when posted to Brazil, I managed to find fellow musicians.

"There was no point trying to play in a Brazilian orchestra as I couldn't speak Portuguese, and wouldn't understand the conductor, but the English department had a programme called English Through Theatre, and there I met a bunch of enthusiastic players."

Enthusiasm is something that is obvious when meeting Jeffery as his wife Jean reiterates: "He is like a racehorse on a Wednesday night, raring to get to rehearsals."

Jeffery is also full of praise for the band's director: "I have played under the baton of many conductors, but I have never come across anyone who is as simpatico with his music as Chris Holmes, a very experienced conductor.

"Chris Holmes and the rest of Salisbury Community Band keep my mind in place, and the hospital keeps my nuts and bolts together," he laughs.

* Salisbury Community Band's summer concert starts at 7.30pm on Saturday, at St Thomas' church in Salisbury. The concert will include the film theme 633 Squadron, Gustav Holst's Suite in F and music from the popular musical Grease and is sponsored by Trethowans, solicitors. Admission is free.

* Information about the band and membership is available at

* Earlier in the day, the choir of St Matthew's Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades, California, will sing a varied programme of music to include popular songs such as Deep River and O'Shenandoah, in a lunchtime concert at St Thomas' church. The concert is part of the music while you munch' series of concerts, the choir will sing between 1pm and 2pm. Admission is free and light lunches are available.