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‘Without Moray Concert Brass, I wouldn’t have this music career’: How a community brass band that removes financial barriers helped a Welsh Guard musician

Welsh Guard musician Gavin Elder on the importance of Moray Concert Brass band removing financial barriers for people learning how to play music.
Welsh Guard musician Gavin Elder on the importance of Moray Concert Brass band removing financial barriers for people learning how to play music.

Gavin Elder has reaped the benefits of the Moray Concert Brass’s mission to remove financial barriers for people learning how to play music.

The member of the Band of the Welsh Guards first started playing the tuba at the Moray brass band when he was 12.

Since then, he has toured the globe as an army musician.

His work has taken him from the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace to performing for the troops in Afghanistan.

Importance of Moray Concert Brass

For many years, the band supported hundreds of young people through Moray Council’s music instruction service.

It also held regular concerts raising money for local charities.

Last year, the group became a community band and gained charitable status.

Current Moray Concert Brass member Joshua Toonen and founder Glenn Munro.

Gavin has hailed the band’s founder Glenn Munro for guiding him towards an army musician career.

He said: “I wouldn’t have this career without Moray Concert Brass.

“The band got me hooked to playing music.

“Glen Munro was a fantastic and dedicated teacher.

“The band leased a tuba to me for free and you are talking about a couple of grands worth of equipment handed to me as a 12-year-old.

Glen Munro is brilliant at getting the best out of young people who playing instruments is alien to and give them confidence.”

Gavin Elder

“Instruments are really expensive, so Moray Concert Brass play a major role in giving people an opportunity to play music.

“I heard about army music through Glen.

“Glen Munro is brilliant at getting the best out of young people who playing instruments is alien to and give them confidence.”

Gavin Elder’s adventures

He joined the Band of the Prince of Wales’ Division in 2009 on completion of phase two training at Kneller Hall.

Then he went on to serve in the Band of the Royal Artillery and now the Band of the Welsh Guards which he joined in 2019.

The 34-year-old said: “I joined when I was 20.

“I get paid to travel the globe and play music, which is a dream job.

“Being based in London, my main duty is the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

“It is a real honour to do that and tourists love watching it.

“As I do it a lot, sometimes you take it for granted to an extent.”

Today was a special guard for Cpl Becky Elder (right) of British Army Band Tidworth and LCpl Gavin Elder (left) from the…

Posted by British Army Band Tidworth on Friday, 1 October 2021

‘Trip to Afghanistan was eye-opening’

In June 2013, he travelled to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan to perform for the troops.

At the time, it was the main British military base amid the war.

The camp situated north-west of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, accommodated 28,000 people.

Gavin said: “It was an eye-opening experience spending two weeks at Camp Bastion.

“It was for musician support and to boost some morale at the camp.

It was a real honour to get to perform for the troops.”

Gavin Elder

“We visited different units and parts of the camp.

“The troops appreciated something to change the day and bring a bit of light into their routine.

“It was good to see the other side of the coin as we were used to travelling to countries like Switzerland with everything.

“While flying to Afghanistan, you put on body armour and helmet.

“It was a real honour to get to perform for the troops.”

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