Mervyn began playing cornet with the Arley Welfare Band in 1965. In 1968 made what proved to be a decisive decision and moved onto baritone. In 1970, he successfully auditioned for the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and a year later joined the City of Coventry Band. In late 1979 he was invited to join the GUS Band, and played for 3 years until work commitments forced him to leave.
From December 1982 until February 1984, he played for Nassington Brass who had a less demanding schedule, but the buzz had gone. February 1984 saw him put down his beloved baritone and leave the band scene completely.
Over this period, he had been privileged to experience banding at the highest level. Playing under many renowned conductors, sharing the stage with many of the top bands and being a part of Harry Mortimer’s Men O’ Brass. Playing in prestigious concert halls across the UK and Europe. With many contest successes, TV appearances, records and radio recordings. Meeting many new friends on the way, be them well known or not.
Easter 2013 turned out to be another significant date, after being badgered by a friend he picked up a baritone again and joined the Coventry Festival Band.
With his banding appetite re-awakened and seeking to improve, a new chapter opened when he joined the Bilton Band in September 2014.
I was 14 when I agreed to play baritone, at the time an older musician told me “but the baritone is just for old men”. Well I am now officially old, but I didn’t make a mistake then! The words of a Joni Mitchell song however do come to mind “That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. Looking back, I am amazed at the things I just took for granted
On reflection, maybe the baritone was then the Cinderella of the Band, but hearing the baritone players of the best bands play today, it did get to the ball and what a beautiful instrument it really is.