Composer Martyn Thomas has strong musical roots, especially with the Salvation Army. As far back as 1918, Martyn’s grandfather Walter Thomas, had been associated with the Salvation Army’s Music Editorial Department, himself having compositions published also. Indeed Martyn’s father, Stanley Thomas, continued the musicianship in the family by being appointed bandmaster in 1961, succeeding his own father. Martyn’s uncle and brother were also Salvation Army bandmasters, so there is little wonder that Martyn was inspired to follow in their footsteps.
Martyn began playing the piano, by ear, at the tender age of just 2 years old. When he was 8, he began learning both guitar and cornet. He was still young when he joined the Salvation Army Band and often sang and played in various groups around the area. He enjoyed the rock, jazz and blues genres the most. 1978 saw Martyn win a top music award at the Welsh School of Music.
1988 saw Martyn join Portsmouth Citadel Band as their soprano cornet player. Here he stayed until 1990. However, in January 1992, Martyn re-joined the band and played in the principal cornet seat. This was until October 1996. During this time, his favourite solos to play were Golden Slippers, Silver Threads and Life’s Pageant.
In 1995 and 1996, he became an instructor at the Star Lake Music Camp in the USA. In 2005, he achieved a DMus in Composition. Between 1997 and 2009, Martyn was the lead trumpet player at the Clive New Big Band. He took over as leader for the 5 years after Clive sadly died.
As well as his playing experience, Martyn is also a composer, who has become very well-known. His first published piece for brass band was a march entitled South Coast. His piece was included in the ‘Favourite Marches of the Salvation Army’ journal.
He composed many more popular pieces. Notable examples are England Swings and Fanfare for the Olympics, both published in 2012.
Presently, Martyn Thomas lives with his wife Val in the south of England and plays principal cornet for the Solent Fellowship Band.