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Army musician Joe comes back to school

Former pupil Joseph Purbrook hit all the right notes when he returned to Ipswich School in October. Joe, who was a pupil here from 2008 to 2013, is now a trombonist with the British Army Band Colchester, who opened the school’s Festival of Music on Thursday 6 October.

After a performance to visiting primary schools and workshops with senior school pupils who would be playing with the band in the evening concert, Joe took time out to speak to us about his life as an Old Ipswichian. “I studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, and had friends in the band, so I knew a bit about it before I met the recruiting team at university. The British Army Band Colchester was always my first preference of band to join, as it’s close to where I live. You start by doing the same basic soldier training as everyone, and then you start your trade training – which was the musician training with the band for me. It does take some time to get used to marching and playing an instrument at the
same time!

“We were recently one of the tri-forces bands which took part in the funeral procession for HM Queen Elizabeth II. This was really special, and it’s hard to put into words what it felt like. We spent the week before practising everything so that it was right on the day. We were part of 700 musicians in the different
processional groups. I’ve also been able to travel abroad with the band to perform, which has been an exciting experience.

“Coming back to school has been great. Mr Shepherd was my trombone teacher when I was here, and he’s still teaching at the school now. I played in the school orchestra and Big Band, and took part in the soiree and Snape concert. I was always keen on music and appreciated the musical opportunities at Ipswich School.”

We were delighted to welcome Joe back to Ipswich School, and we hope that the students who played with the British Army Band Colchester will also be inspired to make a future career in music. Anyone who would like to find out more about a career in music with the Army can click here – please select British Army Band Colchester from the list at the bottom:

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