Tim Lysons

1st Trombone
After narrowly avoiding being forced to play the violin, Tim was instead forced to play the trombone by his parents in 1988 at the age of 11. After spending a few weeks in the learners, Tim was fast-tracked into the Junior Band with the conductor quoted as saying “he was ok, and there wasn’t really anybody else”. After only two years of garden fetes and coffee mornings, Tim was approached by the conductor of the Championship Section, VSEL Works Band to take his place in the trombone section. Aching with pride, and with the encouraging words of the conductor ringing in his ears – “We’re really struggling for trombone players and we don’t know anybody else!” – he took the place that was to be his for the next 10 years – hiding on second trombone! At about this time, Tim also got his first taste of the big band sound, after the local dance band realised that he could fill the third trombone seat which had been vacant for years. Realising that there may have been an element of luck in his ability to find himself being asked to play in various ensembles, he decided that it was time to try and pay back the people who had blindly and involuntarily given him chances to play in some of the areas finest bands. A rigorous and extensive practice schedule, demanding heavy personal sacrifices, was considered and eventually discarded in favour of blind panic, as the area’s lead trombone player decided he was fed up and went off to be a taxi driver. This prematurely propelled Tim into the lead trombone seat in most of the bands he was involved in, simply due to the fact that there was nobody else. A further ten years of ‘on-the-job learning the hard way’ and Tim became the player you can hear today, enjoying playing with The La’al Big Band (who, you guessed it, were struggling for trombone players and couldn’t find anybody else).
Tim would like to thank Urbie Green, Bill Watrous, Carl Fontana, George Chisolm and the Lurpack Man for producing music which has been so jaw-droppingly good that they have periodically tempted him to quit!
TV credits include an appearance on the ‘Hairy Bikers’ programme with the Shipyard Band playing the Hovis tune for 30 seconds behind the Geordie who was holding some cold soup.
Other notable achievements are playing in the National Brass Band Finals, Grand Shield and a week-long residence in the pit orchestra at the world famous Palladium (Millom).
He also writes long profiles!

Sarah Taylor

2nd Trombone
Sarah’s attempts at musical greatness began at the age of eight when a lady came into primary school with a bunch of cellos. To cut a long and tedious story short, the cello didn’t last long and the trumpet became Sarah’s weapon of choice for the next 20-odd years. In 2008 Sarah suddenly came to her senses, had an epiphany and realised she should’ve in fact been playing the trombone all along. Coincidentally her trombone originated from South Cumbria and was purchased from a taxi driver who had once played lead bone in some dance band down there. Rumour has it there was a strapping young trombonist called Timothy who scared him away.
Aside from trombone, Sarah is responsible for the trumpeting Herdwick that is The La’al Big Band’s logo and creates all the artwork for the band. She’s a dab hand with the old paint and canvas, and if you want to see where her talents really lie, visit www.sarahtaylorart.co.uk

Jo Hewitt

3rd Trombone
The sound of the trombone has been compared to the sounds of a fart in a watering can. Jo first became obsessed with this ‘unique’ sound at the age of 6, when she heard the instrument used in ‘Ghost Town’’ by the Specials. Her other obsessions at this age were Adam and the Ants and trying to work out whether Boy George was a boy or a girl.

At the age of 12 Jo got the opportunity to learn the trombone. She was told that it was the hardest instrument to learn so, being a little bit contrary, this made Jo more determined to play the trombone. She has ADHD and dyspraxia so learning new skills was usually quite difficult. However, Jo took to the trombone relatively easily; proving that poor co-ordination and a short attention span is an asset for a trombone player.

Jo started her playing apprenticeship in her school and local brass bands and this is where she learned the basics important to any good brass musician – tight ensemble work and sarcasm.

Unfortunately, mastering these skills was not enough. With the alcohol tolerance of an anaemic piccolo player, an inability to march in time and the small matter of not wanting to look like an NCP car parking attendant, Jo knew she was destined to take her trombone elsewhere.

Big bands first came calling at 20 when Jo joined the Lancashire Student Jazz Orchestra with the great musical director Stuart Grills. Stuart was known and loved by all the students for his enthusiasm, patience and his unique conducting style, known as the ‘funky chicken dance’. During her time with the Jazz Orchestra, Jo toured Belgium and one of the highlights was the lead tenor player managing to get the theme to Rainbow into every solo.

Jo studied music at Bangor University but afterwards decided to run away from the circus to become a civil servant. However, she could not stay away from Big Bands.

Jo ended up playing lead trombone in a variety of big bands, usually because ‘we’ve asked everyone else’. However, she has always enjoyed bossing about a section and the relationship between herself and the rest of the section has been described as that of a rather stern carer, although Jo prefers to think of it as a benign dictatorship. Jo has recently given up the mantle of lead in order to gain more experience and now plays third trombone but still likes to occasionally make ‘helpful’ suggestions. Her latest suggestion in the La’al Band was to try and present a more uniform look as a trombone section at gigs. Unfortunately, Tim really didn’t have the legs for a dress.

Jo lives in Preston but was initially lured north to dep for The La’al Big Band by the Cumbrian friendliness. But now as a permanent member she now has no escape.

They occasionally let her out to play with The Managers Big Band, Lou and the Llamas and Fylde Sinfonia Orchestra.

Colin Hoodless

Bass Trombone & Musical Director
Colin’s involvement in music started in his school years – he began playing the trombone at the age of 11 and hasn’t really stopped since.
Over the years he’s attended various summer schools, workshops, and conducting courses and performed with orchestras, choirs, brass ensembles, brass bands, big bands, wind bands, jazz bands and musical societies as either a player/singer or conductor.
In September 2000, Colin was awarded an Honours Degree in Brass Band Studies, majoring in performance and composition.
He is currently MD of Whitehaven Male Voice Choir.