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Terry Trower

July 29th, 2022 | 4 min read

By admin

Terry started to play the drums at the age of 8 and according to him “my lucky breaks were in my early life in the music profession as a drummer”. At the age of 15, Terry formed a quartet and played at local dances. At the same time he started studying with the retired principal percussionist of Covent Garden who lived locally. Later in his career Terry would play at Covent Garden in Wagner’s Rhinegold under Sir George Solti. His teacher got him his first professional engagement at Butlins in Wales with the then BBC organist Terence Casey. “While I was there, I would sit in with the dance band once a week. I had always wanted to play in a big band since the age of 8 when I started playing the drums and I heard Gene Krupa with the Benny Goodman dance orchestra. Incidentally, the drummer in the pop group was Ringo Star before he became the Beatles drummer”.

Terry then joined the Coldstream Guards Band at Terence Cacey’s suggestion, as they only worked 2 hours a day and there would be plenty of time to do freelance work. Terry enjoyed playing the broadcasts and concerts, notably Friday Night is Music Night which at the time of writing is still going on, and Music While You Work which started in the WWII years. Terry went to Kneller Hall for 18 months where he first played the Crown Imperial March by Sir William Walton which influenced his composing for the wind band pieces composed later. In 1999, Terry composed a work for the gala concert for band with fanfare trumpets and organ called “The Knights Templar”, conducted by the director of music and published by Bandleader Publications and in 2018 I composed and conducted The Band of the Coldstream Guards at the band reunion “The great ships to New York.”

Terry left the band after 3 years. And his first job out of the army was as the drummer for Eddie Calvert “The Man with the Golden Trumpet” at the Raymond Revue bar in the west end. He started freelancing as a drummer including playing at the new Royal Lancaster Hotel on the 18th floor restaurant overlooking St James Park where he had played on many occasions with the Coldstream guards’ band. The J. Arthur Rank film company opened the Royal Lancaster Hotel, so they had many film stars at the opening.

When Terry was 22 and had left the Coldstream Guards band, he joined the Guildhall School of Music and within a few weeks was working as an extra and deputy with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Concert Orchestra and would go on to play with most of the BBC orchestras. At the same time as working with symphony orchestras Terry became the percussionist at the London Palladium.

While he was at the Palladium, Terry started to be an arranger in the pop business and had another bit of luck when he walked into Southern Music and met the American black R & B singer Donnie Elbert. Terry was 24 and became his drummer, arranger and musical director. Terry arranged “Where Did our love Go” the Supremes hit, and it was Donnie’s first hit record. Later on, Donnie would sing Terry’s own song “Reaching for a Dream” which was released on Motown Records in the U S A.

Terry was then signed to Dick James as a song writer, arranger and record producer and composed and produced the incidental music and several songs for the pop feature film “Three For All’. Later in 1980 he decided to take a year off and returned to the Guildhall School of Music to take his post graduate course in contemporary music and conducting. Terry had just composed several pieces for the Worthing Municipal Orchestra during its last year including a piece for Dame Naomi James, who had just sailed around the world which got him into the GSM for the second time. Whilst there, Terry composed the music and conducted for several plays for the drama department, including Shakespeare’s play Love Labours Lost. He also had the opportunity to conduct contemporary pieces including Waltons Facade.

In the BBC Symphony Orchestra Terry had played a lot of modern music and came to understand it from the composer’s point of view and learned to love it. This would stand me in good stead when he started to have some of his more atonal pieces played. Daniella Geneva played his Marimba sonata at the Purcell Room and the late saxophonist Hannah Marcinowicz played his New York Suite for Alto Saxophone (published by Warwick Music) several times.

Soon after leaving the GSM Terry was introduced me to a producer at Thames TV and started a long relationship with the company. One of his children’s shows “T Bag” ran for over 12 years. During this time Terry started his children’s concerts at the Purcell Room - Pied Piper Musical Stories.

A friend from my video club asked me how I compose my music. So, I will try and explain. I am not a very good pianist therefore I cannot play anyone else’s music. All my music is different. When I first studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, my teacher Patrick Stanford said to me that he was glad I didn’t play the piano. Music that I haven’t been commissioned to write, I first see the outline of my music visually, either lying down on a sofa, or in the summer on my boat. After my first commission I bought myself a boat from Holland and I had a small yacht piano on it where I would work. After my 1st trip to New York, I bought a book of New York photos. By the time I had got back to the UK, I had the visual outline of my orchestral work “A Portrait of New York City” with its afro Cuban and jazz influences and rhythms from start to finish in my head, before writing a note of music, but not necessarily in the right order.

I have written 2 musicals. The first was Magna Carta 1215 first performed at the Millennium and also at the Reunification of Magna Carta in 2015 where I was presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury and Admiral Timothy Lawrence in the presence of the Queen at Runnymede.

My second musical is titled ‘Hollywood Afloat’ which I managed to make a video of during the period of lock down in 2021”.