A cultural exchange student from Perth, Western Australia, Pippa’s association with the RTO has been long and fruitful, literally. For it was at orchestra practice (which she doesn’t) that she met Hugh, fellow trumpet who does (practise), and they became the first, as far as anyone knows, RTO couple. Marriage followed, and then George, now five and an RTO guest drummer. Perth’s loss was Edinburgh’s gain for Pippa not only keeps Hugh in line (‘it’s a B flat sweetie’) but the whole of the RTO. If it weren’t for Pippa, there would be no music, no discipline, no helpful interjections from the back row – and definitely no trumpet solos (see other trumpets below). Pippa’s Prelude from Charpentier’s Te Deum at the 2008 Canongate concert was in a class of its own. As is Pippa.
Hugh Lockhart (see Pippa above)
Katharine (Nurse) Trotter (trumpet)
The precision and speed with which she administers first aid to St George’s school girls is sadly not apparent in Katharine’s playing. She has been known to guest in the school jazz band in a dire emergency but otherwise is on contract to the RTO, where she plays third trumpet by mutual consent. Unflappable and outspoken in her professional capacity, Katharine is prone to quiet spells in trumpets, especially when Pippa is away, and could probably benefit from coaching – or therapy. Still, the RTO is taking her to New York, a bit of a risk but one the Chairman has agreed to underwrite in light of Katharine’s other expertise.
Ninian Hewitt (trumpet)
Like many doctors, Ninian has musical pretensions matched only by his musical limitations. With a high achieving family, including at least one professional singer, other fathers may have been discouraged, but not Ninian. He believes his trumpet playing is at an all-time high and claims he now starts at the same time as Pippa and co and finishes within a few notes. If only it were true. As rehearsal regulars know full well, Ninian may start at the same time but not with the same music. If he could get this right, everything else might fall into place. Then again, it might not. Ninian says Susie Stevenson, the chairman’s wife, suggested he join the RTO but she remains unavailable for comment.
Herbert J Gold (trombone)
On retiring from medical practice, Herbert was persuaded to take up the trombone by the McCall Smiths, ostensibly to save him from degenerative idleness but with the hidden agenda that the RTO needed a trombonist. So after a fast-track year he was welcomed as the first trombone player – such is the spirit of the orchestra! He reflects that the highlight for him is the regular sampling of the RTO cellar and admits he would be lost without the rest of the section, which is already lost.
Mike Cash (horn) (Grade Eight)
Mike became the RTO’s principal horn in 1996 and since then has made the position his own with an unparalleled ability to turn a deaf ear to the second trumpets on his right and an utter lack of competition. Mike enjoys most of all making amusing remarks behind his bell during rehearsals and trying to guess the number of RTO flautists (103 at the last official census).
Loves: slushy, romantic or swing pieces.
Hates: transposing and missing Champions League football on Wednesdays (rehearsal night).
Malcolm was a founder member who played the trumpet for a number of years without showing any signs of improvement. He recently switched to the horn in the belief that it was more dignified and might lead to invitations from the woodwind section to play in wind ensembles. He has not received any yet. Unusually for the brass section, Malcolm is not a medic.
Richard Denison (horn) (Grade Eight)
Richard embarked on horn lessons in his forties, around the same time he learnt to read music. A stint in several more serious amateur orchestras led to an enticement to join the RTO from his medical practice partner, Elizabeth McCall Smith. Richard, who says he’s passed Grade Eight, is now on his third horn which does beg the question, what happened to the other two?