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Joe Bell was born December 20, 1908 in Chester-Le-Street, Durham, England. He emigrated with his family to Canada in 1919 and settled in Toronto. He married in 1934, and he and his wife Anne had a daughter, Joan. He died in Montreal December 4, 1972.
He received musical training through membership in the Salvation Army Dovercourt Corps Band. He worked as a bank clerk, but wanted to earn his living as a trombonist. In 1934 he left Toronto and the Old Mill, where he had been playing with the Leo Romanelli Dance Orchestra, to join the Kramer Band in Montreal. There he played in numerous night clubs such as The Lido, Chez Maurice, and The Normandie Roof in the Mount Royal Hotel. From 1945 to 1965 Joe Bell played with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra as first trombone, and then as second. He also taught at McGill University's Music Department, as well as at the McGill Summer Music School in the Eastern Townships. He retired in 1965.
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