ELVIN YOUNG – MUSIC – 1965-1968
Having done two jobs each of one year in a bank and in the Civil Service I joined Bretton Hall in 1965 to train as a teacher with music as my main subject. This was not surprising as I had been playing the piano since the age of four and had been a cathedral chorister.
At Bretton I joined as many musical groups as possible and learned the trombone from scratch and found myself in the college first orchestra by the beginning of my second year under Harvey Marsden and Guy Woolfenden.
I remember playing in concerts including Street Corner Overture by Alun Rawsthorne, In the Steppes of Central Asia by Alexander Borodin, Symphony no. 4 in D minor by Robert Schumann and finally the F major Piano Concerto by George Gershwin with Keith Swallow who was also my piano tutor. The wind band under Gerald Arran was great fun.
The Chapel Choir was taken by William Crust who was also the college warden in my first year. Sadly Mr Crust died unexpectedly over the summer holidays in 1967. The A Cappella Choir under Brian Longthorne took us to Coventry Cathedral in June 1968 where we sang the weekend services. I remember that our overnight accommodation was in the Undercroft!
My two teaching practices were at Oulton County Primary School near Leeds and at Thornhill County Primary School near Dewsbury. At the end of my three years at Bretton it became evident that, after all, I was not cut out to be a teacher so I returned to Gloucester and entered local government with the County Council in the Education Department. Most of my subsequent working life was involved with the administration of teachers’ records and pensions which suited me quite well!
Musically I have continued singing – Gloucester Choral Society, Saint Cecilia Singers (Chamber choir) for 44 years and still counting – and 26 Three Choirs Festivals. The trombone gave way to the French Horn many years ago and I’ve played in numerous concerts and shows locally since.
Over the years I managed to keep in regular touch with one of my music tutors, Paul Mann, who joined Bretton at the same time as I did. Paul produced a booklet “Sounds and Sweet Airs” – the Development of Music at Bretton Hall 1949-1989 – to the memory of Daphne Bird, Head of the Music Department 1949-1979. Sadly Paul died a few years ago but I’m still in touch with his widow, Mary.
I’m so sorry to see the destruction and demise of Bretton Hall as a college and of so many of the buildings all of which I have many happy memories together with my fellow students. My time at Bretton certainly helped shape my life for the better particularly in the field of music albeit outside the scope of teaching.