Bill Buffam, NYBB Career

Course Date Location Band Position Higher Neighbor Lower Neighbor Conductor Principal Cornet
Easter 1960 Bradford 2nd cornet, No. 3 Alan Galpin Ray Gay Denis Wright David James
Summer 1960 Brighton Repiano cornet, No. 7 Jim Wortley Ray Gay TJ Powell David James
Easter 1961 Preston Repiano cornet, No. 4 Malcolm Pickin Les Hall Leonard Davies John Clay
Summer 1961 Weymouth Repiano cornet, No. 2 Barry Smith Paul Brooke Eric Ball John Clay
Easter 1962 Ruislip (London) Solo cornet, No. 18 Les Hall [end of row] Adrian Boult John Clay
Summer 1962 St Austell Solo cornet, No. 10 Jim Wortley Desmond Burley Denis Wright John Clay
Easter 1963 Birmingham Solo cornet, No. 7 [end of row] Ann Blackburn Harold Gray Jennifer Gillingham
Summer 1963 Wallasey Solo cornet, No. 6 Terry Brotherhood [end of row] Leonard Davies Phil McCann
Easter 1964 Gloucester Solo cornet, No. 4 Terry Brotherhood Robert Morgan Denis Wright Phil McCann
Summer 1964 Wrexham Solo cornet, No. 3 Terry Brotherhood John Wallace Maurice Miles Phil McCann
Easter 1965 Huddersfield Solo cornet, No. 2 Phil McCann Terry Bryant Clarence Raybould Phil McCann
Summer 1965 Cardiff Solo cornet, No. 2 Phil McCann Terry Bryant Denis Wright Phil McCann
Easter 1966 Easenhall (Coventry) Solo cornet, No. 2 Phil McCann Terry Bryant Harold Gray Phil McCann
Summer 1966 Portsmouth Flugel, No. 1 [end of row] Dave Green Eric Ball Phil McCann

Notes and Trivia

Every year a few more brain cells die, so I wanted to get this information recorded before it evaporates for ever. There's always the chance that it will be interesting to someone else, so on the Web it goes.

[The NYBB of the '60s now calls itself the NYBBGB to distinguish it from other NYBBxx organizations.]

Summer 1964 It was only in the course of reconstructing this information, over 30 years later, that I realized who I was sharing a stand with all those years ago. I remembered he was a young Scottish slip of a lad from Tullis Russell Mills Band, and I remembered he only came to one course, but I couldn't remember his name. I remember thinking at the time that my perfect record of never having been outranked by a younger player was in serious jeopardy. But for whatever reason, John Wallace chose not to return to the NYBB. Incidentally, I figured out who he was through careful study of the course photograph and the concert program, both of which somehow found their way into the boxes of stuff that follow me around through every house move.

And while we're on the subject of regular-guys-who-became-famous, the Wrexham course also featured the "Top of the Dorm" contest, a musical trivia quiz loosely modeled after the BBC Radio show "Top of the Form". The team representing Fflyfon building (why does my brain retain useless information like that?) consisted of myself and Peter Skellern, who played trombone. And yes, we won the competition. Oh yeah, that must be why my brain retains useless information—so it can win trivia competitions.

Easter 1965 Logical band position was no. 2, but because I couldn't play the concert (Regional contest clash) I physically sat no. 6. Can't remember who sat physical 5 (logical 6) ("physical/logical" is software engineering talk, but it describes the situation rather well). Sitting no. 6 had an unexpected benefit: the little 13-year-old lad whose tenor horn was aiming directly at my left ear was obviously an amazing player - gorgeous tone, oh-so-perfect articulation and rhythm, and such musical maturity. His name was Kevin Wadsworth. Kevin went on to the big time as solo horn with Black Dyke.

There was an unnerving incident on this course. My brother Mike was sitting right behind me. One rehearsal, we were playing away and I became aware of the most gorgeous rich powerful cornet tone behind me. I was awestruck - my brother had suddenly developed a world class tone. I turned around to make sure I wasn't dreaming - and there sat Jim Shepherd! He was a tutor for the week, and I guess he wanted some playing time.

Easter 1967 I'd been looking forward to this course for a while. Phil McCann would have retired, and so I had a pretty clear run at principal. Except that Easter came early that year, so Phil just squeaked in another course. And I was an undergraduate at Manchester University by that time, and had little time to practice. Contracting mononucleosis (glandular fever) was the last straw. I didn't go.


Bill Buffam, musician