RAY THOMPSON – SECOND TENOR(only because I had the operation!!!!)


A member since day one when the current Mr Chairman, that Dawson chap, “dragged” me along to the first rehearsal at Lydgates School.  I tend to sit on the back row at rehearsals with Rod, Mark and Steve Duffton, but being a little chap, my concert place is usually on the front row.

Once established, members took on various roles to help run the choir, and I was proud to be elected its first Chairman.  Since then many others have served the choir and their various skills has helped us reach our 15th birthday.  Thanks guys.

Born in Bradford, September 1947.

Junior education also in Bradford.

Cubs and scouts were main interests where a scout leader persuaded me to have a go on a bugle.

Moved to Wakefield when 11 years old.

Secondary education at Wakefield Cathedral School.

Having started playing bugle, Mum said that I nattered for a trumpet (Mum would have preferred saxophone), and so my 13th birthday present turned out to be my first proper instrument – to shut me up I suppose!

Joined Horbury Victoria Prize Band (near Wakefield).

Left school to become a draughtsman.

Soon became clear music was more up my street – passed audition for Huddersfield School of Music.

Trumpet and cornet lessons from the legendary Jack Atherton (conductor of Carlton Main Colliery Band) led to an invitation to play with this Championship band.

My musical journey continued when I joined HM Forces as a musician with the Royal Artillery in Woolwich. Basic training soldier style came first, but once I had learnt the marching bit, the sergeant at morning parade would say (oops! SHOUT) something like – ‘Troop, right – except Thompson who needs to bugger off to practice, and left – TURN, quick march.’ My first job with the band was a “Keep the Army in the Public Eye Tour” in Wakefield schools, so I could stay at home that week! A posting to the Royal Artillery (Mounted) Band, in Dortmund, Germany was the next step, and when extra brass players were needed, I gained valuable experience playing in the Orchestra of Dortmund Opera House.  Spending some time with the Army Education Corps, teaching began to have a strong appeal, so I returned to Huddersfield for a “music in education” course.

Met good looking lass, Hazel, who often wore a good looking short skirt – end of story!

Both flew south to gain teaching qualifications, London and Reading Universities (showing these southerners what’s what!).

Back to Yorkshire to take up teaching posts.

Married in 1974, Hazel and I have two daughters, Joanne and Hayley – prior to which my hair was somewhat darker!

Grandparents to Benjamin, thanks Hayley and Ashley.

Retired last summer following 32 years teaching instrumental music.

Having taught a fair few youngsters over those years, it is good to know that some are now teachers, and others continue to play as a career or just for enjoyment making the job I did so worthwhile.

Music was, and still is my hobby, so I have been blessed to find an enjoyable pastime which has also paid the bills!