Dreams can come true!
Ian Stewart is currently the Principal Trombone at Friary Guildford. He started playing the Trombone at the age of 11 in 1966, and joined his first band two years later, West Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire. In 1968 Ian’s Father, Colin, took him to the Royal Albert Hall for the National Brass Band Finals, where they saw the top Brass Bands in the country tackle Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger. During the day Ian decided that he would love to play in the Albert Hall one day. In 1973 Ian embarked on a career in Army Music when he joined the Royal Green Jackets. This career lasted for 22 years and included a 3 year Military Bandmaster Course at Kneller Hall in Twickenham. It was during this course that Ian realised his ambition to play at the Albert Hall, which he did several times as part of the Kneller Hall Fanfare Team. On one notable occasion he played an Alpine Horn solo at the Albert Hall with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, but even so he felt unfulfilled, because he still really wanted to play in the brass band finals. Between 1986 and retirement from the Army in 1995 Ian was a Regimental Bandmaster, and didn’t play very much at all. However he was tempted back to the trombone with an offer to play for the Horsham Borough band at the 1st Section Areas in 1995. Some 10 years later Ian joined Friary Guildford on 2nd Trombone, finally becoming a member of a Championship Section band for the first time, at the age of 50! He has been principal trombone for the last 5 years. 45 years after a small boy had a dream, Friary Guildford Band have qualified for the Nationals at the Royal Albert Hall in 2013, and in October Ian will, God willing, finally play at the National Finals.