The Musicians Benevolent Fund supports musicians with exciting careers and a wealth of experience. Bradford-born Jack Brear has spent 60 years as a trombonist, keyboardist and percussionist. We speak to Jack and hear his amazing memories.
Jack started playing the trombone aged 11 in Bradford boys’ band, having been drawn to music from a young age:
‘There was no music at all in my family. But I was always musical. When I was younger, I used to do plasticene big bands. And I would be the one in front!’
In 1951 Jack joined the RAF’s band in Cranwell and spent a month rehearsing for the Queen’s Coronation. Jack recalls one afternoon:
‘We were marching - it was windy, and my hat flew off. I took my hand off the trombone slide to get my hat, but my slide slipped off. The band marched round it, but the cadets at the back didn’t see it. You could hear the crunching!’
After leaving the RAF, Jack spent several years as a trombonist amongst other things. Finding regular work is never easy as a musician and between gigs, Jack worked as a car park attendant and ‘timekeeper’ in Campbell soups.
In the 60s Jack began playing in dance bands as a keyboardist, touring for up to 18 weeks in his caravan. Soon, he embarked upon his third musical career:
‘This was in the mid-60s when the Beatles were on the road and nobody wanted the normal line-up for dance bands anymore, so I went onto drums’. (pictured, Jack on far right)
Jack came to us in 2009 and we continue to offer him ongoing support in retirement including annual visits. Now, aged 80, Jack directs two bands and has been developing his skills as a pilot (pictured). Jack says:
‘I was 73 - I just got the urge! When you get to that age, you have to start doing something’.
Find out how we could support you in retirement here.