LOCAL trumpet player and chorister John Heritage has been appointed musical director for Andover-based brass band Test Valley Brass. John’s musical career has taken him all over the country and his final teaching post was director of music at Clifton College, Bristol. He has been a bandsman since the age of 16, when he played percussion for the renowned Luton Band. He then swapped to flugel horn and over the years has played for championship bands Flowers, Aldbourne, Wantage and Bedford, including in performances at the national finals at the Royal Albert Hall.
He is looking forward to taking Test Valley Brass to the area championship in Torquay on March 11, and has even roped in his Classic FM Hall of Fame composer wife Fiona Bennett to play ‘fourth-man-down’ on the front row of the cornet section.
“I’m more used to playing second or third cornet,” says Fiona. “So I’ll have some work to do on my upper register, but it’s going to be lovely playing in a band conducted by John again.”
Both John and Fiona sing with Newbury Spring Festival Chorus and Cecilia Consort and have both played trumpet with Newbury Symphony Orchestra. John is currently the flugel horn player with Hungerford Town Band.
Born in Newbury in 1960, he came back to live in his home town when he and Fiona – both students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the 1980s – met up on Facebook and married at Shaw House in July 2015. “I’m very excited about my new position,” says John. “I started rehearsals last week and the band made me feel very welcome. They’re a great bunch and I’m really looking forward to working with them.”
Test Valley Brass are a family of bands of all ages and abilities and perform at a wide range of concerts and events throughout the year. Visit www.testvalleybrass.co.uk