Culture vulture

10th June 2005 at 01:00
A big stretch

I started playing the trombone when I was 10. My primary school teacher, who played the instrument, brought one in for us to draw. I picked it up, started playing and that was it. I chose it because it was loud; it wasn't a flute or clarinet, and I was determined to play something different. My mum's face fell when I told her, but it's always been the right instrument.

People are really surprised. They say, "Really?" And then they say, "Is that the one with the thingy?"

Favourite reading

I'm into Patricia Cornwell. The most recent, Blowfly, is my favourite. You can't put them down. I finish them at 5am.

Best film ever

Moulin Rouge. I cry every time.

Best on stage

Les Miserables, without a doubt. It's the best musical ever written. It's got everything: love story, comedy, crime. I've seen it five times. The music is just amazing. When I first heard it I was 11 and I decided I was going to play the trombone part when I grew up, but I didn't practise enough.

On the bandstand

I like playing film music; Glenn Miller (pictured); easy-on-the-ear, foot-tapping stuff. For a number of years I played in the Saffron Walden town band. Now I play in the Faversham Mission Band. We play all over Kent: Herne Bay, Dover, Broadstairs, the Isle of Sheppey. You can't get as much expression into bandstand playing as you can in concert playing, because the sound gets lost outdoors. My favourite piece is called "Glasnost": a medley of the Russian national anthem, the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" and something else. At the end the whole band stops and the trombones play triple forte on their own. It's great.

Treat in store

Going on tour to the Netherlands with the Saffron Walden Band in August. We play in lots of different places and see lots of things; these people have known me since I was 10, and it's like going home.

Helen Amos, 25, is a secondary music specialist and supply teacher in Kent.

She was talking to Karen Gold

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