It is our sad duty to announce the death of George Wright, formerly G (Bass) Trombone player with the St Albans City Band, on 12th July 2010 aged 88, after a long illness.
George was the oldest surviving ex-St Albans Band member and also was believed to be the last surviving member of the St Albans British Legion Band, which amalgamated with the City Band in 1945. George started in the British Legion Band in 1934 aged 12 on Tenor Horn and was given his first music lessons by Derek Brett, the Solo Horn player at the Legion Band, but George quickly moved to the 'G Trombone' (Bass) position after learning Bass Clef whilst playing with the St Albans Light Orchestra. In his recollections George vividly remembered picking up the 'G' for the first time, and getting to grips with the handle on the slide that was a feature of that particular type of trombone. George's father, Jimmy Wright played drums in the City Band in the 20's and 30's, and although there were two bands in the city at the time, there was no rivalry between the two, and the bands helped each other out when the other was short of players for a job. Following the war, the remaining members of the British Legion Band came and joined the City Band, with some players transferring from woodwind instruments to brass, such as clarinet player Harry Johnson, who became a trombone player. With this new setup the Band went on to see a string of contest successes in the '50's and '60's under the auspices of Conductors Ted Longland, Tommy Boyes and latterly Nelson Morris. During these years, the band often employed a professional conductor for Contests, the most regular being Albert Coupe who normally conducted The Luton Band. George continued to play with St Albans City Band until a change in his personal circumstances forced his retirement from playing in 1971. He was one of the last of a dying breed, a man who grew up, lived and worked in the City and played with the local band simply because it was 'the local band'. Too often now we see players who are soley motivated by the successes and failures of a particular band, and we as players should take note of the dedication and commitment to one band of players of George's generation.
George had a distinguished military career, having served in the Royal Marines during the Second World War and spent time as a Prisoner of War. In civilian life he was a plumber and was a well known local tradesman as well as having been known to effect a temporary repair on instruments with materials that were to hand on more than one occasion!
George very kindly allowed himself to be interviewed for this website in 2005, and the resulting article is published here.