Bill immediately replied that he was in urgent need of a percussion dep for a gig in Cambridge, so Felix’s mum drove him up from their home in Oxford to join the band.
His first look at the charts came about half-an-hour before the performance – the music was harder than anything he had seen before but most of it was on vibes and afterwards it seemed that he had successfully passed the ‘audition’.
Following that baptism of fire, Felix came in from time to time to dep gigs but he was unable to regularly attend NYJO’s Saturday morning rehearsals because he had school on Saturdays.
It wasn’t until 2012 that Felix graduated to the percussion chair full-time – with occasional forays on drums to ring the changes – but that meant he was the featured percussionist in NYJO’s BBC Prom that year, as well as on the album The Change.
During his time with the band Felix found that his sight-reading ability developed enormously and he considers this to be the biggest advantage it has given him as a professional musician – to be able to sit in on a gig and read the charts well. People book players just for that ability.
Since leaving the band at the end of 2014 Felix has been doing either pop, which is mostly on hand percussion, shows or functions. He has also had to dress up as a Russian percussionist for a film about Anna Karenina…