In Pursuit of a Dream, subtitled Proclamation, tells of the germination, growth and eventual flowering of the CD of that name by Douglas Yeo and the Black Dyke Mills Band. In frank and unpretentious terms, the author outlines his own musical life as an amateur player "so undramatic and ordinary that (he) hesitates to tell the tale." His journey of discovery - big bands, brass bands, jazz soloists, symphonic music - is a story told in awe and admiration of those he cheerfully acknowledges to have enriched his life with their much greater musical talent.
Roger Green's obsession led him to join the International Trombone Association in 1981, and in an ITA Journal he read about the Ed Thayer valve for bass trombone, used and recommended by Douglas Yeo of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Roger's eagerness to own and play on a Thayer valve was frustrated by the complications of having it fitted, and a brisk correspondence with Doug was begun.
"A greater contrast could not be found between the musical achievements of Doug Yeo and myself" says Roger. "We have both gone different ways, yet we have ended up as happy trombone players. This despite a huge contrast in innate ability." But a common musical enthusiasm formed the basis of their ever-deepening friendship. Their exchanges of letters reveal concern for the bass trombone, its players and its music at every level of ability and in every style, resulting in a crusade to establish the bass among the more regularly featured solo instruments.
Doug Yeo's zeal for the British brass band movement and Black Dyke in particular found practical and desperately-needed expression the band made its debut at Carnegie Hall in 1993 - and ran into an unexpected crisis. Doug wrote to Roger, "Carnegie Hall was pressuring the band to change their name because they found it offensive to lesbians and blacks. Roger, what is this world coming to?" Doug and many more of his brass-playing colleagues moved heaven and earth to make Carnegie Hall see sense, and the result was a stupendous success for Dyke.
The real bones of the book are Doug Yeo's artistry and the Proclamation project. The blow-by-blow account of how this dream became reality extends to nearly 300 glossily-produced and generously illustrated pages. It is an intimate story of musicians and their work, their vision and determination, commissioning decisions and practical problems, with daunting financial obstacles - and elation, when the job was done.
Roger Challoner Green writes as he plays, with enthusiasm and honesty, though the attention of a professional editor would have eliminated occasional infelicities. The labour of love also includes a vast amount of historical background, discussion about technique and instrumental developments, and it overflows with an optimism that heralds a lot more limelight for the bass trombone.
White Horse Books ISBN 0-9529574-0-X