The Slidekicks Trombone Quartet

the slidekicks

Mark Tong - 1st Trombone

Mark Tong - 1st Trombone

Mark was born in Spilsby and attended the Franklin Secondary School where he was first introduced to the trombone.  The peripatetic teacher for brass was Mr Cliff Senior.

At the age of twelve, Mark joined the Horncastle Prize Silver Band, along with his brother who played Eb bass.  Eventually, he was also given a place in the county wind band.  It was while playing with the Silver Band that he met his wife - Tracey Maplethorpe - as a young teenager, who, some thirty years later, became his wife.

Horncastle Prize Silver Band joined forces with the Jubilee Concert Band of Horncastle to become Banovallum Brass, whom he still plays with.

Just over twenty years ago, Mark and his wife Tracey were founder members of the Bluestones Big Band and still very much enjoy playing in the band.  He has played as a guest player for the Sounds Easy Big Band and had the great honour of playing with the magnificent Dave Pearce Orchestra.  Mark is also the second trombone for the Steve Walker Big Band.

Mark now relishes the challenge that playing in a trombone quartet brings, and thoroughly enjoys the broad styles of music as well as the friendships of the other members.

As a day job, Mark owns and manages his own business along with his wife Tracey - Tongs Hardware of Spilsby - a traditional hardware, ironmongers and DIY shop.

Tracey Tong - 2nd Trombone

Tracey Tong - 2nd Trombone

Tracey began her music adventure at the age of 11 when she started to learn to play the trumpet at school.  After about two months of hard work her music teacher told her: “Your mouth is too big for a trumpet so we are putting you on a trombone, plus your big brother is progressing very well and there is hope you may do the same!!”  

Well, ‘big brother’ has a lot to answer for as he has been Tracey's inspiration to succeed!  He has always been several steps ahead of Tracey musically which as a little sister has given her the drive to follow in his footsteps (not the bald head and beer belly), but to strive to play the unachievable notes, to perform solos with style and perfection, to improve the technique and attempt any musical opportunity offered.

The inspiration has driven Tracey to have played with Horncastle Prize Silver Band from the age of twelve, enjoyed time with the County Wind band and County Orchestra, depped for several brass bands in the Lincoln area, and for the past 18 years helped form and play with the Bluestones Big Band.

Tracey says: "It is with great delight and interest that I have been honoured to play in the quartet, learning so much during the last four years to where I sit today, hopefully performing to the best of my ability."

When not playing trombone, Tracey is kept busy as the 'Trombone Playing Nanna' to her daughter's newborn twins!

Lesley Cole - 3rd Trombone

Lesley Cole - 3rd Trombone

Lesley moved to Louth from Suffolk fourteen years ago.  Originally an Essex girl, she has become practised at fielding any comments about white stilettos.

The first part of her working life was spent as a registered nurse in London, where she had trained; and the latter, and longer part, in publishing, which began at a time when state of the art office technology meant an electric typewriter.

For several years she sang in a choir based at the Royal Albert Hall and having played the saxophone and cornet a bit, she was then given a trombone as a surprise present for her bus pass birthday.  Apparently, she'd once mentioned that she'd always wished she could play one.  So - be careful what you wish for!

By tremendous good fortune, she found an exceptional teacher living locally and it is thanks to him, the quartet's musical director David Pearce, that she is now delighted to be a member of the Slidekicks.  She also plays trombone with the Bluestones Big Band and the Louth Wind Orchestra.

She has no unusual hobbies to speak of, though from making cakes for St. James Church coffee shop, and for home consumption, she has somehow managed to accumulate a collection of nearly 60 empty Tate & Lyle Golden Syrup and Black Treacle tins.  They're just too beautiful to throw away.

In normal times, she enjoys her weekly Hens' sessions at Louth Men's Shed where she and another three ladies, under strict supervision and with a lot of endlessly patient instruction, create a variety of unstable wooden structures, best displayed outdoors.  The production of wonky planters and garden wobbelisks are a specialty! 

The only brush with celebrity she ever had was, some time in the last century, sharing a lift home from a party in East London with a young man who introduced himself as Noel Edmonds, a DJ on Radio Luxembourg.  She has never seen him again to verify this.

As a mature student of the trombone, to anybody who has ever wished they could learn to play an instrument, Lesley would say:

"Do please take the plunge and go for it.  It's never too late.  And the pleasure of making music with other people, at whatever level, is one of the greatest joys of life."

Richard Tagg - Bass Trombone

Richard Tagg - Bass Trombone

Like many, Richard started his musical journey at school.  He started on the recorder and enjoyed ensemble playing at a more advanced level on the treble and bass recorder to grade 7.

Richard also persevered with the piano (to grade 7), and often enjoyed playing the organ, but lacked the dexterity to master the pedals as well as the manuals.

His trombone playing career began after seeing George Chisholm playing jazz on the TV.  After seeing George, he asked if he could join his local Woburn Sands Silver Band.

Academic work prevented a continued band membership, but at school he played in the military band, doubling on euphonium, playing in orchestras and even a trad jazz and swing band.  He played at the Albert Hall when extra county youth brass were needed for a performance of 'Belshazzar's Feast'.

More recently Richard has performed with brass bands, swing bands, orchestras and amateur theatrical pit work in Lincolnshire.  He was a founder member of the Big Swing Band set up by the late trumpeter, Keith Baldwin, which is now run by trumpeter Steve Walker.  When Richard's son Josh reached a good standard on trombone, he relinquished the lead trombone chair for his son and went on to bass trombone which he thoroughly enjoys.

Richard is also a member of the Bluestones Big Band, and a member of the Louth Wind Orchestra, conducted by David Pearce.

After studying natural science at university and then building his own house, he spent 23 years making Lincolnshire Poacher cheese for F.W Read & Sons of Ulceby, where he's seen the business expand greatly.  Richard retired in 2019.

Richard is married to Sarah and they have two daughters; Lydia and Emily, and a son, Josh, who is a professional trombonist.