Cantus (on E.D.)

Brass Band

From Leanne Stamp:

“As musicians, I think we really identify ourselves and our existence on being musicians. And we collect these teachings and bonds along our path. But when does it happen? When does that moment happen that someone becomes an integral part of the fabric that makes you who you are? Or when can you pinpoint the moment that you realize that a person was essential in your path? I don’t think we know. And all too many times it isn’t until someone is gone that we truly reflect and try to figure it out.

When Ed De’Ath joined our band (Las Vegas Brass Band) he hadn’t played in over 20 years. He heard the brass band and decided he wanted to go back to playing, and within a few weeks became a member of LVBB.  He had grown up playing in Canada, where his father was a brass musician too, and Ed was quite an accomplished young euphonium player competing in competitions and playing in Salvation Army bands. But life happened and it lead him away from playing.

Even though I was in LVBB a few years before Ed joined, he quickly became an essential part of what makes that group a family. I spent the better part of a decade playing in the same section as him and then about 5 years sitting next to him on either side.

Ed always took a sincere interest in my playing. Praising the good and giving constructive criticism for improvement. For about two years almost every other Saturday was spent playing duets at his house.

I left to study at the RNCM in Manchester, UK, before returning to Las Vegas. My first rehearsal back from the RNCM Ed looked at me said, “here you go kiddo, you’ve earned this solo seat”. There was no ego. Only the wish for me to reach my potential. It was always so apparent with Ed the love he shared for the younger musicians and his desire for them to succeed.

Ed lit up the room with his enthusiasm and love for music – he just truly loved being there. That special quality that makes a band a family…he knew and treasured that. And although Ed wasn’t my teacher per say, he was an integral part of my fabric.

The way Ed left was sudden. He had been fighting bladder cancer in and off for quite a while but things were looking up. Tests were clear. And then a very aggressive pancreatic cancer stole him very quickly, almost without warning. And I will never forget how I felt getting that call. We decided to have rehearsal that night. And for one reason. Because Ed would’ve wanted us to.

I will always be grateful to Ed. Grateful that I got to learn things from him, receive advice, enjoy his company, and feel his love – part of him is with me whenever I play.”