You and Your Instrument: Gary

You and Your Instrument

Gary (euphonium)

I thought it would give a bit of my playing history as I am new to the band.

I started playing the tenor horn when I was eight. In those days the school would lend you an instrument for free.

I joined West Calder band with my brother. I can remember trying to figure out which valves to press by looking at what other people were doing. We also had lessons from a peri’ teacher in school.

I lived in Whitburn in central Scotland and joined the junior band there. Brass bands were a big thing in mining towns and the senior band there was the best in Scotland. Later I joined the senior band where my brother played the tuba. He later played tuba with the Halle orchestra.

I haven’t played much in the last 30 years except for a few of times I competed in the Beckenham festival.

I am finding it quite strange to be living through this event. I need to be extra careful as I take a drug for arthritis which reduces my immune system.

My wife is having to do all the shopping.

There are five of us in the house at the moment as our three grown up children are home to wait out the virus. Thankfully, we have a garden to be in during the nice weather we have been having. I feel for anyone who has young children in a flat with no garden.

I have bought an Arban tutor book so that I can keep up with my practice.

Bye the way there is a virtual pub quiz on Youtube at 8:15pm each Thursday. Just after the clap for the key workers. Quite good fun if you like that sort of thing.

You and Your Instrument Questionnaire

Q. When did you first start playing your instrument?

When I was eight. 1973.

Q. What or who inspired you?

I just enjoyed it and I wanted to be in the local brass band.

Q. Who taught you?

My first teacher in primary school was called Bunty. She was great and I remember playing twinkle, twinkle little star for her.

Q. Which bands have you played in?

Whitburn Brass Band, Besses o th’ Barn and briefly Crystal Palace Band.

Q. Name three highlights of your band playing career.

Winning the Scottish championship, playing in the national and European brass band competitions.

Q. Name one thing you would like to do in the future with BCB.

Just keep enjoying it.

Q. Please provide a photograph or two if you can of yourself playing or engaging in a musical activity.

Pictured: Me playing in a concert my wife organised for the British Heart Foundation. That was in 1997. I think it was in a church in Catford. My wife plays the accordion which you can see in the picture.