In 1950 The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra undertook an extensive tour of America lasting several weeks, and at the time several of the regular members of the orchestra were unwilling to leave home for such a long period of time. Consequently extra players were approached to fill the gaps including some bright boys who had just left College.
I was one such a beginner who took the opportunity to gain professional experience, especially under a conductor of Sir Thomas Beecham’s repute. The drawings were done at odd times on buses, at rehearsal and so on. Being an extra player, only 25 year of age and at the back of the first violin section, I was limited as to which professionals I could approach – some of them were asleep when drawn I confess, but when not asleep they were well-known London figures. The same could be said of course about Sir Thomas himself. Now, at this distance, there remain only a few rough images of players I scarcely knew and who mercifully indulged a new boy in his first ever orchestral experience.