Anyone who is not aware of the Drum Corps family values or just how very deep the bonds of friendship runs amongst those involved, will start to get a small sense of that when reading this story.
They say that charity begins at home, and that is quite right, but we are also taught in life to respect others and to always extend a helping hand wherever possible, especially to family and friends.
Our Chairman, Paul Morgan, responded to a call from a very dear friend of his, Nigel Fotheringham-Jackson. Nigel was looking to help a project in the Philippines through his own contacts there and who were looking for instruments and anything related to enable getting a Drum Corps up and running there. Nigel’s story touched Paul so much that he decided to do all he could in order to help the effort.
Nigel and Paul have known each other for many years, and were marching buddies at both the Southern Knights Snr Corps, the first DCA UK full corps representative back in 1990, but also marched with the Blue Eagles Drum & Bugle Corps that same year together, Nigel on tuba and Paul on lead soprano bugle.
Below, in Nigel’s own words, he describes the effort, which both Paul and Thurrock Marching Brass are very humbled by. We did not support this effort for recognition, we supported this effort because it will make a positive difference to many youngsters in the Philippines, and because that’s what friends do – help each other.
Nigel Jackson wrote “This is my story of why being part of Drum Corps for over 40 years is like having a family that will always help you out if they can.
It begins with my gofundme page to help JE Drum & Bugle Corps from San Juan City in the Philippines. JE Drum & Bugle Corps was founded in 1985 by Joseph Estrada under the direction of Edgardo de dios Senior with a kind donation of used instruments from Lyceum University of the Philippines, sadly Ed Snr passed away in 1995, leaving the corps to be run by his 19 year old son, who has continued his fathers work to date.
All the people that know me, will tell you that the Drum & Bugle Corps activity has been my life for over 40 years, most of the Drum Corps I have marched with, I have been lucky enough to have been supplied an instrument, or bought my own.
But lots of people that start learning music cannot afford such a large expense of purchasing their own instrument. This could not be more so, than with some of the Drum & Bugle Corps from the Philippines, most of the units have to borrow or share instruments to play at rehearsal and gigs. So my mission, I would try to raise the money to buy a new brass line.
Unfortunately to date the funding has not come in as I would have hoped, so I put a call out for support to all my Drum Corps family around the world, and in less than one day, one of my oldest and dearest friends Paul Morgan, now chairman of the re-launched Thurrock Marching Brass stepped in and contacted me offering instruments for JE. To my shock it was not just a couple but over 40 instruments and, in addition, a large number of uniforms and shakos as well. It was enough to kit out the corps.
So with lots of messages back and forth and help from another drum corps brother in the UK, Nick Truscott, who picked up the equipment and has the task of sorting and packing the gear, which will then be transported to JE in the Philippines.
Nick and I still have a long way to go, as we plan to go and teach JE in the near future, but all of this would not have been possible if not for the kind donation of Paul Morgan, a true drum corps legend”.
Thurrock Marching Brass chairman, Paul Morgan added “Nigel has been an amazing ambassador for the Drum Corps fraternity, and what I really admire about him is his natural instincts to think of others first, and often ahead of himself. He won’t mind me saying this, but he has also battled many challenges health wise and often some very serious life threatening challenges on that front, but his loyalty to the fraternity is ever unquestionable. As a marine, the discipline that he shows when looking at complex projects and turning them into achievable outcomes serves him well, and when I saw his call for assistance, there was no way that myself, or any of us at Thurrock Marching Brass could ignore that. Over a period of time, I had been collecting instruments and uniforms and marching apparel that needed to get into kids hands, and for that there are so many people I would like to thank, not least of all my friends Martin and Rob Doe and everyone in Crawley, and also to Christine Smith in Essex for their unimaginable support and kindness. Our fraternity thrives on the friendships that we make along the way. Some good, some less so, but the common thread that binds us all is the love of all things Drum Corps, Marching Band and Performance Art. It was an absolute pleasure to help Nigel and I am absolutely delighted that instruments, that we wouldn’t be able to use here at Thurrock Marching Brass, have finally found a new home. They will be in the hands of kids who will now be able to start their own personal journey of discovery, fun and above all, lifelong friendships. Our sincere best wishes, luck and enjoyment is extended to everyone at JE Drum & Bugle Corps and our thanks to Nigel Jackson for having the forethought to extend his own hand to give these kids a fighting chance. Lastly we are working on extending another helping hand in a similar light and are in discussions to help start up a band/music program in Sri Lanka, which will hopefully culminate in giving troubled youngsters a more positive focus. We will, of course, update you on the progress of that project too in due course.”
Thurrock Marching Brass is proud to perform as much as they can within the community and you can keep up to date with all their engagements on our website below or by following them on Facebook.