Meet Our Founder: Colin Driver

Updated: Mar 19

For Colin, it all started at age 5 when he took an interest in learning to play the piano - this led on to picking up the cornet and not being able to put it down!

At age 15 Colin auditioned for the army. He was accepted first time due to his musical talent however the Director of Music asked that as the army already had many cornet players and a shortage of woodwind players (as is the still the case today!), would he consider taking up the clarinet instead. Colin happily agreed and found a passion for a new instrument.

After a year of training at Bovington Junior Leaders, Colin was posted to the Rhine Staff Band of The Royal Tank Regiment where he played for another year. In 1981, he was posted to Kneller Hall where he learnt from Professors Paul Harvey and Mike Farnan. This time for a longer stint, Colin headed back to The Rhine Band in 1983 until 1990, when he successfully auditioned for the Royal Signals Band in Blandford and moved back to the UK permanently.

One day he was asked if he fancied going on an instrument repairs course and he agreed, thinking “why not?”. Little did he know this would be the start of a whole new venture. From the first course Colin was hooked and returned several more times to master this new craft under the guidance of Kevin Hime-Knowles.

In 1998, Blandford Woodwind was born, initially as nothing more than a hobby. In 2002, Colin retired from the army and began working on instrument repairs full time with InterMusic, owned by Richard Webb, repairing Brass & Woodwind instruments.

In 2012, Colin decided to take his passion for music and years of experience in repairs, creating… PLAY IT AGAIN UK! Colin harnessed this knowledge and experience and began to produce unique reconditioned instruments as he realised there was a demand for high quality instruments at a more affordable price range.

Up until this point, Play It Again UK had only been the workshop as the store front was owned by an estate agents (which some of you may remember well). In 2018, with the estate agents closing combined with Play It Again UK’s growing success, it seemed like the perfect time to move into a physical store to provide a more personal buying experience.

Today, Colin aspires to encourage younger generations to share in his love of music and inspire them to pick up an instrument. With the help of his son Rob and endless connections in the music industry there are many exciting projects in place for 2021 which will all be documented on our website and social media if you want to follow the journey and get involved!

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