Trumpeter blows last note for big band

John Card

John, back row second left, with the band in the late 80s

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

AFTER almost half a century of blowing his how own instrument, trumpet player John Card is sounding his last swingin’ note for a city brass band.

The 72-year-old will tonight play his last show with the Harold Elmey Big Band after 49 years with the group and its predecessors.

He is to reluctantly step down after struggling to provide the intricate lip movements needed to play the instrument.

The Kennington resident joined the then Oxford Branch Musicians’ Union Rehearsal Band, later the Oxford Big Band, in 1964.

Mr Card was inspired by the traditional jazz revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s through the likes of Acker Bilk.

He said: “I always wanted to play and that made me want to take it up. It seemed to be the least complicated thing to play.”

The grandfather of two moved to the city from Swindon to work as a house surveyor at Oxford’s Herbert Dulake and Co.

Apart from the swing band’s break in the summer, he has been a regular feature of Monday rehearsals at Marston’s Royal British Legion.

He said: “I have loved every minute of it and it is disappointing I have had to pack it up.

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“I just can’t play like I used to.

“I love the music and everybody in the band gets on, it has been great fun. It just makes you feel good. When it is in full flow and there are good players, it is an exhilarating sound.”

Mr Card – married to Kay for 42 years – said while he has not mastered the instrument, regular playing swiftened progress.

“The family don’t mind, they don’t hear much because I used a practice mute so I don’t wake up the whole street,” he said.

The Jackson Drive resident played lead for more than 20 years but is now fourth trumpet and has more recently looked after bookings and finances.

Tonight’s show is in his honour at the legion, in Hadow Road.

Musical director Bob Cutting said: “John is such an important person to our band, not just for his playing but for his encyclopaedic knowledge of big bands, the music and the people.

“I hope he will continue to be involved in the band and wish him a very happy retirement.”

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