AT its January 16 meeting Shobrooke Friendly Club, held at Newton St Cyres Parish Hall, Chairman Jack Fey welcomed Peter Cripps of North Tawton, who spoke about “The Life and Times of The Queen’s Trumpeter”.
Mr Cripps began by saying that he had been born in Kingsbridge, and that at an early age he and his parents moved to Kingston-upon-Thames.
His family were involved in the Salvation Army movement, and this is what sparked his interest in musical instruments, in particular the trumpet family.
For one of his first tests to ascertain his aptitude, he was asked to see if he could play a euphonium, which as it turned out was just as big as he was, if not bigger.
Apparently he was able to get an acceptable noise out of it. At about the age of seven he was playing the trumpet with the Junior Band of the Salvation Army.
As well as being good at playing such musical instruments, Peter was also very good at football. There then came a time in his life in early teens when he had to decide either on a football career or a musical career in the Army.
He had been offered a place at the Football Academy of a well-known football club. The Army won. In his interview for the Army as a boy musician he was told that he would be able to play any sport that he wished, as well as being able to further his musical talents.
At about the age of 14 he was being trained for the Royal School of Music, and the Royal Academy of Music.
The year 1953 saw the Coronation of Her Majesty the Queen. After many hours of practice Peter, to his great pride, was picked as one of the trumpeters to play the trumpet anthems and fanfares in Westminster Abbey, where he was the youngest player.
After the Coronation service they were all invited to a reception at Buckingham Palace, where he met the newly crowned Queen, who thanked them all for their magnificent efforts that day.
Peter qualified as a Bandmaster in the Army, and played at many venues abroad, sometimes with well-known artists of the day.
He demonstrated some of the trumpets he brought with him, and finished his talk with a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”, and also telling us that he had declined the invitation by Matt Busby to join Manchester United’s Youth Academy.
The next meeting of the Club will be at 2.15pm on February 20, again at Newton St Cyres Parish Hall, when there will be a talk by Mr Spencer Kingdon, entitled “Open Nearly all Hours” which sounds rather interesting.
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