It was with much sadness that Towcester Studio Band heard of the recent passing of a past long serving member, Ivor Floyd, better known as Dan to all of his band mates!
Dan joined Towcester Band in the Fifties and was a constant right through to 1994 when he gave up playing to care for Margaret, his dear wife, who went through a difficult period of poor health.
To set the scene …… As a young boy of eight years I attempted to play the side drum in Hook Norton Brass Band. My Grandfather played the big bass drum and I was instantly drawn to the life of a Brass Band roadie! However as I couldn’t read music my progression was somewhat inhibited. My mother knew of Mr Floyd, who lived in our village of Silverstone, and also played in Towcester Studio Band. She made contact and Dan Floyd volunteered to take me under his wing to teach me to read music. Dan decided that the best way forward was to teach me using a valve instrument, and the chosen instrument was a cornet! I believe that I was his first pupil and it wasn’t long before I was invited to join the Junior Band. My journey into the Brass Banding fraternity began and it was entirely down to the skill and patience of one IJ Floyd. I remain eternally grateful for all the help and support that Dan gave to me all those years ago.
Dan was a respected active member of the Band committee and during his time with TSB he held several key posts that included Junior Band Master, Deputy Band Master and Band Master. I was his first one-to-one pupil but he was very much the initial driving force behind the Junior Band. Many youngsters were coached by Dan, and with the backing of the main committee, several young players were sent off to Band summer school at Wortley Hall, near Sheffield. The week-long trip was paid for from Band funds and was testament to the investment that TSB made in developing its youngsters. For a period of years two or three young players per year were selected for this additional musical education.
Several of the players from the Junior Band went on to pursue careers in music, and the most famous is Martyn Brabbins, currently Director of Music at English National Opera. Back in the day Martyn’s chosen instrument was the Euphonium and under Dan’s baton the TSB Junior Band flourished in concerts and contests. Dan encouraged us all to participate in Solo and Quartet competitions to gain experience. It certainly helped cultivate raw talents and fast track young players to the Senior Band productions.
With regards to the Senior Band, Dan was a very accomplished player. He was probably best remembered as a Tenor Horn player, but we have photographic evidence that he played Cornet, Euphonium and Trombone at various times!
Towcester Studio Band goes on Tour …… during a school exchange visit in the early Seventies, Dan met Herr Helmut Blumenrather of Montabaur School. Montabaur is in the Westerwald region of Germany and in addition to being a school teacher Helmut played in the Musikverein Wirges. Wirges is a small town close to Montabaur. The two men discussed their passion for music making and developed a friendship that resulted in Towcester Studio Band being twinned with Musikverein Wirges and being invited to make a short tour to their homeland in 1973. The Tour was hugely successful on many levels and was the first of three trips to Wirges, the last was in the early Eighties! The Tour developed into a reciprocal arrangement whereby Musikverien Wirges came to Towcester on two occasions. It was the vision of Dan Floyd that created the opportunity for the TSB committee to arrange the Band’s first ever overseas Tour. This became a regular tradition for many years and one that the current committee intends to resurrect in the very near future!
A Final Farewell ……. On Thursday 2nd May Mr IJ Floyd was cremated at Three Counties Crematorium. This was followed by a Thanksgiving Service in St Michael’s Church, Silverstone. It was a wonderful service with great tributes paid to Dan. The hymn’s and retiring music was played by a group of current and ex-players of Towcester Studio Band which was a small contribution in recognition of the terrific service that Dan gave to TSB during his membership years! On a personal note it was an absolute honour to perform for the gentleman that taught me how to play, RIP Mr Floyd!