When 76 year old musician Keith Parker from Kingston-upon-Hull suffered a spinal injury, he thought it was the end of his brass-playing career.
However, thanks to British ingenuity and the friendship of both his grandson and one of his friends who had been left with life-changing injuries after a road accident, he has opened a new chapter to his musical journey.
For more than 60 years Keith played trumpet with the greats — including Gene Pitney and Motown singing group The Supremes — on a busy schedule of tours, shows and television. But his career as a professional trumpet player came to an abrupt halt when he suffered a spinal injury.
Overnight, he found he was unable to play his trumpet because of its weight.
"It was devastating but I count myself lucky that I survived. However, I thought my trumpet-playing days were over,"he told 4BR.
Then Keith then came across the pTrumpet — an instrument made of recyclable ABS plastic from Warwick Music Group.
"It opened up a new chapter for me. Being so much lighter, I could easily hold it and it reinvigorated me,"he said.
Keith has since bought a black pTrumpet hyTech — the hybrid instrument still with the lightweight plastic body but with the addition of metal valves.
"The instrument is unbelievable. So light but blows just like my old traditional trumpet,"said Keith.
Keith has been further encouraged by his grandson Joe, who recently started at Leeds Becket University studying music production, and had previously been in school orchestras and the East Riding Youth Jazz Orchestra.
Hit and run
The two enjoyed playing duets, but when tragedy struck when Joe's best friend, Kiernan Roberts was involved in a near fatal hit and run incident. He suffered a fractured skull and broken neck when hit by a motorist who was more than two times over the legal drink-drive limit.
Kiernan, 19, underwent three life-saving operations and has embraced extensive rehabilitation to make the most of his life including music and playing.
With the encouragement of his best friend Joe, Kiernan visited Gear4Music in York where he also came away with a pTrumpet hyTech. The lightweight instrument proved ideal for Kiernan who has found that it has also given him the opportunity to play again.
Talking about his and Kiernan's experience, Keith added: "All through my life I have lived and breathed music. It's a great leveller, a great way to bring people together and above all, great fun.
I thought my days as a musician were over but British ingenuity has come to the rescue. The fact that I've been able to introduce this to both my grandson and Kiernan makes me feel enormously proud. The instrument has helped a young man who has suffered such trauma to his life."
pTrumpet and pTrumpet hyTech were developed by Warwick Music Group, which has recently been awarded the 2019 Queen's Award for Enterprise for its innovation of the world's first plastic trombone, pBone.
The fact that I've been able to introduce this to both my grandson and Kiernan makes me feel enormously proud. The instrument has helped a young man who has suffered such trauma to his lifeKeith Parker
Fantastic to hear
Speaking about the story, Steven Greenall, CEO of Warwick Music Group told 4BR: "When we set out to create the world's first plastic trombone nearly ten years ago, we had no idea where that journey would take us.
Our sole desire is to make the joy of music accessible and fun by creating quality brass instruments. Keith's moving story epitomizes that — it's fantastic to hear of different generations of musicians playing together, and the fact that hyTech has enabled them to do that is wonderful.
We are all delighted and wish Keith, Joe and Kiernan many happy times together playing and enjoying music."