Above: 1988 Flugelhorn Champion
Above: Jeff with Adrienne Meikle ... ready to march
Above: Salisbury City Band ready to march at Tanunda
Above: Three generations of Wescombe Brass Bandies. Left to right, Ethan Hubbard (grandson), Neve Hubbard (grandaughter), Cathy Hubbard (daughter) and the man himself, Jeffrey Ian Wescombe
Jeff Wescombe is a knockabout bloke with a kind heart and a cultured mind. Apart from music he is also good at darts, 8 ball, cricket, riding a BSA “Goldflash” at 102 mph alongside his mate doing 100 mph on a Triumph Bonneville (Flat as a maggot, to be precise!). He can throw a keg of beer over his shoulder and consume the contents without raising a sweat, he can make you sweat, simply by watching him down pickled onions that are hot enough to blister the toughest taste buds in the known universe. He is fatherly, brotherly, cuddly and has forgiveness in his heart.
Having said all this, I would strongly advise anyone who thinks that it’s a good idea to have a blue with Jeffrey to keep it verbal.
I was having a beer with my father-in-law Ken McMahon, who conducted Jeff for the vast majority of the time that he was in the Salisbury Band. We both agreed that Jeff was a great bloke to have in the band, not just for his playing ability (soprano cornet is arguably the toughest chair in the band and Jeff played everything that was put in front of him with great taste and musicality) but just having him there made you feel more secure. Paradoxically Jeff is not the tallest bloke around but I always felt that the other players walked taller when he was there. He truly loves the music, he had a great collection of recordings that was meticulously catalogued. He could produce a “special” selection of different recordings of something like, say, the Carnival of Venice when requested to. At Salisbury he did his bit both on and off the bandstand and was completely reliable.
When Jeff left Salisbury I was the conductor and very disappointed, I was going through my “Bull in a China Shop” phase at the time and had deluded myself into thinking that if I flogged them hard enough we could have the best band and that all the best players would come running to play in the best band. I saw Jeff as part of that vision.
Glenn Madden alerted me to the fact one day that you can’t get blood from a stone, something that I should have worked out for myself, but, like Jake the Muss in the film “Once were Warriors”, I was lost in my own red haze. Jeff’s departure was a reality check, I had to reassess my own worth as a conductor and come to terms with the reality of my Dad’s advice of years before “Everyone finds their own level in this world”. What it also did was to make me appreciate how leaders before me must have felt when good players had jumped ship because the grass was greener on the “A” Grade side of the hill. Me being one them.
The notion of having grades, being competitive and everything that goes with it has a spurious feel about it for me these days. My inner jury is out on whether or not it truly represents reality in 2019.
What is real is Jeffrey Ian Wescombe’s commitment to Brass Band Music and our feelings for him as a person. When he came to our place for happy hour and cheeseburgers, and to discuss his contribution to this project, both myself and Adrienne fell into our respective positions as Jeff’s younger brother and sister.
The warmth, affection and respect is still there.
Please enjoy the story of a true Brass Band Afficionado.
Brass Band Profile: Jeff Wescombe
I was born 23/2/50 to Salvation Army parents and destined to play a brass instrument. After theory and practical lessons at about age 7, made it to the Junior Band by 9 years old. Graduated to Senior Band at about 12.
I wasn’t cut out to be a Salvo, so I left when 16-17 much to the displeasure of my parents, but they agreed it was my choice.
After a hiatus of about 6-7 years I was introduced to the Salisbury City Band through a workmate, Merilyn McMahon (Ken’s daughter), and so began 23 years of thorough enjoyment. While there I was a delegate, chairman as well as a player of course. I made many lifelong friends with a great group of people.
I still don’t know to this day, but after a few months on repiano, I asked Ken Mac if I could have a go at soprano, he agreed. From that time on (1973-74?) soprano was to be my instrument. Yes, I had stints on others, but always returned to “soppy”.
Both my children, Cathy and Terry also learnt when they were old enough while I was with Salisbury.
Many a tale could be told about the good times and camaraderie, far too many for this limited space.
In 1997 I moved to Queensland temporarily to see my first grandson and stayed with Cathy and Mark for 12 months. While I was there, I played soprano in the Gold Coast Band and second trumpet in the Hinterland Concert Band.
I returned to SA and re-joined Salisbury briefly but after a disagreement, left and joined Tanunda Band. Another chapter in my banding life starts.
At Tanunda, same story, friends for life, tales to be told, not enough time. It was while at Tanunda that problems with my ears started, hence my time was interrupted, but fantastic memories. Played nearly every instrument except trom and tuba, but spent a lot of years on 1st baritone. My last gig with Tanunda was 2009 Melodienacht, you guessed it, on soprano. Ear problems, once again, had forced me to take a break from playing.
Talk about “Karma”. I introduced my daughter to Veronica Boulton after she (Veronica) had left Tanunda to take up the “baton” at Marion.
My daughter had stopped playing (marriage, kiddies etc.) but was missing it. Anyhow, Cathy joined Marion and both her children started learning. I am not playing at this time, so Cathy tells Veronica to ask if I could help out at a couple of playouts, within 12 months I’m back playing.
I played with Marion and Warriparinga ‘til 2017 when at the time health issues were hindering my playing ability, “Boom” retirement, big call but I had to.
Two outstanding highlights for me in 44 odd years of banding were winning open flugelhorn solo in 1988 and three generations playing Buglers Holiday. Grandson Ethan 3rd, daughter Cath 2nd and yours truly 1st. Loved it! (with Marion).
So ends a brief account of my time in Banding South Australia (and Qld).
OMG How remiss of yours truly not to include my retirement from Marion/Warriparinga.
Unbeknown to me my daughter Cathy had arranged a “whip-around” with the band members and family which ended up as a return ticket to the British Nationals 2018.
Veronica Boulton asked me to come to a rehearsal (after the money was raised) to ask me if I wanted to go…..ME!!....you’re joking, of course I’ll go, what a retirement gift!
6 days in London, 5 days in Manchester with one crazy lady, Lee-Anne Holroyd (Dayman). Has not changed one bit (Pommy accent but!). A couple more days in London and back to Oz.
My pick, by the way was Cory, Brighouse, Fodens.
Official was Fodens, Cory, Brighouse.
Around the mark, hey.
Had a BALL!