2008 saw a special celebration for one member of the Band. Peter Almond, Solo Horn player, will be 80 years old this year and as a special birthday treat has been asked to select the music for the Band’s concert at Taverham Village Hall on April 12th.
Peter has had a long career in music which he commenced in his teens as relief trumpet player at the Norwich Hippodrome Theatre, before successfully auditioning and joining the RAF Band at Cranwell in 1946. There he played with many top musicians including the Joe Loss Orchestra and some of the top brass bands in Britain. Peter spent 3 years in the RAF where he also played in Big Bands which were popular during and after the War. After leaving the RAF, he returned to the Hippodrome in Norwich for 10 years until it closed in 1959. It is now the site of the St. Giles Car Park. In these 10 years he supported such stars as Laurel & Hardy, comedian Vic Oliver, Randolph Sutton, The Leslie Brothers and Vera Lynn as part of a 15 piece orchestra which of course was common in every theatre in every town and city.
1959 coincided with the opening of the Britannia Pier Theatre in Great Yarmouth, which in those days saw a summer season lasting 20 weeks, 6 days a week, supporting such acts as The Beverley Sisters, Mike & Bernie Winters, Morecambe & Wise, Bob Monkhouse, Des O’ Connor and Ken Dodd. The Regal and Wellington Theatres in Yarmouth also provided work for Peter working with Jimmy Tarbuck, Bruce Forsyth and standing in at short notice on 1st Trumpet for a 2 week show with Matt Munro, the principal trumpet player’s house burning down in London creating the last minute panic!
Between 1969 and 1974, Peter worked with Norman Evans, the conductor from the Britannia, during the winter in Pantomime at Birmingham and there worked with artists such as Frankie Howerd, Ronnie Corbett, Frank Ifield and Cilla Black. Whilst no fee was paid for the Cilla Black shows, these were broadcast on the BBC and Peter received many a repeat fee when screened. It was at this time Peter started Circus work, firstly at the Belle Vue in Manchester with sellout shows of 7000 people twice daily and 4 times a day at weekends.
Peter’s work with the circus continued until 1984 with the Yarmouth Hippodrome until it was taken over by Peter Jay. The shows were produced by Mary Chipperfield and Peter also worked with Mary in her own travelling shows before and after the Hippodrome season.
Peter retired as a professional player in 1984 and worked for several years as Brass teacher at the Town Close school in Norwich. It was in 1984 that Peter fully joined the Taverham Band having been ‘part time’ from 1975. He played Flugel Horn for many years and also Solo Cornet before taking up the Solo Tenor Horn position in 1997 which he still retains today.
His knowledge and experience have been ‘instrumental’ in the development of the Band and the selection of music for the concert, heavily influenced by artists such as Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, reflects the level of dedication and professionalism shown by Peter over what he describes as the ‘best years to be a professional musician’.
In 2016 Peter marks his 40th anniversary of joining Taverham Band, and featured in Just Drayton and Taverham magazine January 2016 issue.
Please click the image below to read the article.
Please click the play arrow below for a short video interview (from 2010) and to hear Peter play live!
Video courtesy of and © Norwich Evening News