On the 29th of December 2018, I got the opportunity to meet not only my personal trumpet idol, but a celebrity in the brass community, Mike Lovatt.
I’d first heard about Mike, after listening to recordings of top trumpeters, and he appeared frequently among them. He has a long list of accolades: Principal trumpet in the John Wilson Orchestra, Lead trumpet in the BBC Big Band, Professor of Trumpet at the Royal Academy of Music, regular Trumpeter at the BBC Proms, numerous Film and TV work, and he has played in lots of West End orchestra pits, most recently at 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. He has appeared on numerous CD albums, however in 2018 he released his own solo album, accompanied with the world famous Foden’s band.
As an aspiring young trumpeter, myself, I am aiming to play in West End pits in the future. With this I mind, I decided to contact Mike, to see whether he could offer me some advice. Mike invited me to join him in the orchestra pit at 42nd Street, so I could get a feel to see what it’s like to play professionally in the West End. The orchestra was conducted by Jae Alexander, and Mike was the leader of 3 trumpets. The score of 42nd Street gives a Big Band feel, something Mike was very accomplished at, and featured the trumpeters using techniques such as growling, trills, and muted sounds, to create an atmospheric dance feel, to match the tap dancing ‘hoofers’ on the stage! There were some lyrical sections, however the majority was up-beat, so the trumpeters had to maintain stamina to get through the 2-and-a-half-hour performance.
Once the show had finished, I left the stage door with loads of advice and wisdom from the musicians in the pit, who were very obliging and full of encouragement! Mike has also offered to give me some private lessons in the future, which I am very excited for!
Overall the experience was so amazing, and it was refreshing to see that top musicians of their field are willing to support and encourage up and coming talent! I’d like to thank Mike, Jae and the team in the pit, for having me!
Grace Harman, aged 16, Ipswich, Suffolk