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Hi people, my new album Doppel is available from Amazon by clicking on the links below.

I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did recording it.

Billy Currie - Doppel download from iTunes
BIOGRAPHY

I was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, 1950. My full name is William Lee Currie. At a very early age I sang a lot, becoming aware that I had a keen ear for music. My cousin bought me a guitar when I was ten and it "blew my mind" to see that the melodies, I was singing, could be played by changing the length of a string with my fingers!

 

1961 was the year that I took up the Violin at school. I also sang in the choir performing with the "Huddersfield Choral Society". (Before my voice broke!) The following year I was in the school orchestra, and as I did so well, I was informed that there was a chance for me to get a place at the Huddersfield School of Music. This was a chance I would die for, so it only seemed a minor setback to be told that I would have to change over to the Viola. I had extra lessons at the weekend and had to forfeit my position of captain for the school football team!

 

Changing over was quite confusing, because of the different Clefs, but I made the grade and secured a place at the Music College in 1965. The course was to prepare me to become an orchestral player (I had started too late to do it on the Violin) with the piano as my second instrument. Composition and Harmony was also taught.

 

Playing the Viola had it's perks, it meant that I was invited to play in the best string Quartets!, led the Viola section in the orchestra and performed in a Viola, Clarinet and Piano trio with a friend. I loved the unique sound. In the second year the Music College moved to a new and fantastically well equipped building. This had a lot to do with the government of the day's priorities and good funding ("Harold Wilson" the Prime Minister of the time was a Huddersfield born man). This place had a large record collection and listening rooms which I used so much that I was eventually banned from! It was incredibly exciting to discover composers like Bartok, Schoenburg, Honegger, Varese (both Honegger and Varese used electronic sounds).

 

I thought it was very radical, back then, when I heard the last movement of the Bartok fifth quartet. Bartok starts up a southern American style, down home, hillbilly type country vibe which deliberately goes way out of tune just before the end of the piece. He also belts out a blues riff like a rock band.

 

This was a very full and stimulating time of my life! The orchestra played a lot of concerts, I was studying art and even had singing lessons (which had to be abandoned because of acute Tonsillitis). Herbert Whone, my Viola teacher was also a painter. Being more used to string playing it wasn't a natural, immediate affinity with the keyboard. Playing the piano started me off composing though. It was an interesting and elevating position to view things from. At this time (1967) I was becoming more and more interested in rock music. What grabbed me was the fact that some musicians, playing together in bands, were composing and creating something unique and original together! I found bands like "Spirit" (an American band) really interesting in the way that classical strings were used with a fantastically emotional guitar solo. Beautifully soft, shiny strings with a very intensely improvised metallic electric guitar.

 

The idea of improvisation amazed me. Orchestral players have to put the sole of the composer into the music at the time of performance. Miles Davis (the jazz trumpeter), on the other hand, was the Composer and performer, giving himself the freedom to explore inspirational moments, and change the form immediately if he felt the need. I noticed that some Rock bands where getting, for themselves, the best of both of these two worlds! It really was the start of fusing different styles of music together and I was totally captivated by the movement!

 

Moving up to 1969 things became a little intense! I achieved what I was at college to achieve by getting a place at the Royal Academy of Music in London, but I decided not to go. The amount of training that a musician goes through to get into a top orchestra is phenomenal! If I had gone on to the Royal Academy it would have been an extra five years of training making a total of nine years. I have all the admiration in the world for these amazing musicians but I felt that I just had to break into these other arias of music that were happening at the time.

 

The crossover music of Terry Riley intrigued me at this point. A drummer friend of mine, from Huddersfield, called Wayne Goddard had been working with "The Graham Bond Organisation" in London and was leaving and setting up a new band! I impulsively joined this band and found myself "getting it together in the country" at a beautiful house in Norfolk. The instrument line- up was Hammond Organ, Guitar, Alto and Soprano Sax, Drums and I played Viola (with an electronic pick - up). This was a Rock Band with strong Jazz and Blues influences! I felt that the Viola and the soprano Sax worked well together especially when improvising. We moved to London, living on Portobello road, and invited into the band an American female singer. We all lived next door to "Skid Row" Gary Moore's (x Thin Lizzy) band! This band had a lot of names but eventually settled on "Company Roadshow". Notable achievements, I remember, were doing music for a T.V programme about Yoga and being able to improvise it all, and jamming with Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) at an open air festival on Eelpie Island, London. The very high point was at Sussex University where we went down a storm!

 

After I had done a lot of improvising that year I found that I wanted to move on. I had experienced a little of what it could be like to be in a successful band but it wasn't the kind of music I really wanted to make. In 1970 I moved back to Huddersfield and found myself getting involved in a Fringe Theatre Group put together by a drama teacher from the college called Barry Edwards. This was an experiment made up of four musicians and four dancers. Known as "The Ritual Theatre" all the musicians where classically trained but, like me, could improvise. I worked with Flute, Japanese Flute, Cello, Bassoon. The music began very atonal and eventually came to rest on a chanting and celebratory feel. The whole cycle of the ritual was one of reaching out for inspiration and becoming very powerful! Lynsey Cooper from the band "Henry Cow" played bassoon. We were friends with "Henry Cow" and did some gigs together.

 

This was an occasional project so I went to live in Bristol where I joined a band called "Flash Gordon" The guitarist was the guy who later had some success with "The Only Ones" This was my first disaster! At a gig in Birmingham I got blown of stage. My cheap and lousy Violin (I had moved to Violin) pickup could not compete with this band who thought they were " The Who" and played as loud! This was a big lesson, which stood me in good stead later when I could afford decent equipment!

 

I moved from Bristol to Bath and started working with a singer who also played guitar. This was in the Tim Buckley and Van Morrison vain. We wrote songs together with me now playing acoustic Piano as well as Viola. We had no group name. This was the first time that I played the piano at gigs. My classical style piano playing worked in a very interesting way with his soulful voice! This guy was called Jeff Starrs, he later recorded an album on Virgin Records with a band called "Interview". Notable achievements were supporting "The Strawbs" when they were number one in the British charts with "Lay Down". I can't remember where this gig was except that it held three thousand people and was near London.

 

The ability to improvise on the viola led me to work with another singer/guitarist of a more classical/folk nature. I met him in East Grinstead when I had a brief flirtation with the Scientologists. We were called "Wild Oats"(what a name!) and played at their parties, we also supported "Hawkwind" at Bradford St Georges Hall. That was FUN!

 

In 1972 Ritual Theatre got back together and performed in Holland. We also performed at the Edinburgh Festival, Sheffield Crucible, I.C.A London etc. I was playing music in a very theatrical environment. The expression of the music through my body became a very important part of performing for me. I incorporated this experience, later, into Ultravox.

 

I remember being in London later that year and we were all waiting nervously to hear whether we had got a grant from the Arts Council. All the money for the study of Ritual went to Peter Brook. This man had been studying Ritual for years and "there it is!" We just weren't credible enough for the Arts Council! I quit the group, deciding to concentrate on music.

 

One of the dancers/actors (Ed Francis who later put together the acts "Gloria Mundi" and "Eddi and Sunshine") from Ritual Theatre started dancing on stage to the music of a new band from London. This was 1973 and I had, again, moved back to Huddersfield and started working as a paste-up artist. A phone call from Ed made me get my skates on and I moved back down to London.

 

Ed introduced me to John Foxx the singer of this new band called "Tiger Lily". John and I played together acoustically first (John on guitar and vocals and me on violin) and got on well! The music of the band sounded very refreshing and new! It was tough and stripped down to the bare essentials. There was no improvisation at all, but that was the stance! I felt that this band wanted desperately to close the chapter of the 1960's (that was over staying it's welcome) and start something new!

Tiger Lily gig. Pied Bull, London 1975

 

One track had a very sensitive feel of classical music. This was a project I could really get to grips with and take part in its development. We worked hard rehearsing four nights a week and all day Sunday. I worked in a warehouse at this time, which was a lousy job, but I new we were going to get somewhere with this new kind of music! At first I just played the Violin. At the rehearsals I stood there doing nothing most of the time. Violin wasn't needed on every track and I agreed with that!

 

In 1974 we got a chance to do the soundtrack to a soft porn film called "Ain't Misbehavin" This was released as a single and the money went to buying an Electric Piano. Even though it sounded pretty awful I was able to get right into the heart of the writing process which now did include some improvisation.

 

1975 brought some good luck! We met Steve Lillywhite who worked in Phonogram studios, London. When no one was using the studio he invited us in to lay down our new songs. After a year we had good demos for about twelve songs. This was 1976 and Island Records signed us. As part of the deal Steve came along as house producer. Having had quite a bit of time to develop our sound we had, as well as the tough stripped down tracks, created a more expanding experimental style with European, filmic and anthemic melodies. We changed our name to "Ultravox". The three albums we did for Island were "Ultravox" produced by Brian Eno, Steve Lillywhite and Ultravox - "Ha! Ha! Ha!" Produced by Steve Lillywhite and Ultravox - "Systems of Romance" produced by Conny Plank and Ultravox. These albums came out in 1976 - 1977 - 1978 respectively at a time when Punk Music was dominant. Our music stood outside Punk (even though we were partly originators of it) because we would always experiment. 'Island' was definitely a label for musicians and financed the band to tour, many times, all over Europe.

 

It took till "Systems of Romance" for our music to really take shape and become more focused. As the album title suggests it was sensitive and electronic at the same time. We had finally found something that we could truly call our own against all the odds. Credit to Island records for sticking with us this far but because of low sales they had to let us go!

 

1979 started out with our first tour of America. We were getting good responses but all this was overshadowed by the fact that we had no record deal and our vocalist "John Foxx" was going solo on our return to England. I had become a bit of a survivor by now so I put myself about looking for a gig. I met a D.J. called "Rusty Egan" who invited me down to his club called (funny enough) "Billys". He was playing tracks from "System of Romance" especially the synthesiser based dance track - "The Quiet Man" as well as "Bowie, Kraftwerk etc". He asked if I would be interested in joining a band called "Visage" that would make music to fit the scene in his dance-oriented club. This seemed like a fun thing to do so I said " Why not!"

 

At this time I was also rehearsing with Ian Brodie (Lightening Seeds) who was putting a new band together called "The Original Mirrors". They sounded too much like Ultravox so I passed on this project. I started hanging out with the guys who were to be "Visage" - Rusty Egan, Steve Strange, Midge Ure, Barry Adamson, Dave Formula and John McGeogh. Adamson, Formula and McGeogh were from the band "Magazine" who I had crossed paths with in Europe while on tour with Ultravox. Early that year I went to check them out at the Drury Lane Theatre (London) and bumped into Gary Numan. Gary invited me to play on the British tour he was about to embark on. I was happily surprised how much he was into Synthesisers and how much he was into Ultravox!

The backing track for the Visage single "Fade to Grey" was written, while on tour with Gary, by me and Chris Pain (keyboards) during the sound checks. I took Chris and Ced Sharpley (Drum Machine and Drums) into Martin Rushents Studio (where the first tracks of the Visage album were being recorded) and put down the master backing track for "Fade To Grey". I suggested using it when Visage, at mix stage, realised that we were short of tracks for the first album. Midge put the vocal part on top. After the tour I continued making the album with Visage and later invited Midge Ure into Ultravox so at the beginning of 1980 I was in the amazingly productive position of finishing off two albums!

 

These albums - Vienna by Ultravox (produced by Conny Plank and Ultravox) and Visage by Visage (produced by Visage and Midge Ure) were very successful throughout the world! Ultravox signed to Chrysalis records U.K. and Visage to Polydor (New York).

 

 

 

1981 - Visage released the album The Anvil. Ultravox released the album Rage in Eden produced by Conny Plank and Ultravox.

 

1982 - Ultravox release Quartet produced by Sir George Martin

 

1983 - Ultravox release Monument - The Sound Track Produced by Ultravox.

 

1984 - Ultravox release Lament produced by Ultravox.

 

1985 - Ultravox perform at Live Aid Wembley Stadium London.

 

1986 - Ultravox release Uvox.

 

1988 - I release Transportation produced by myself.

 

1989 - Steve Howe recorded his "Turbulence" album in my Studio. I contribute Viola & Keyboards. Bill Bruford on Drums. I put together a new band called "Humania" no record release. Ray Weston plays drums.

 

1990 - I work on Stand up and Walk.

 

1991 - I release Stand up and Walk produced by myself.

 

1992 - Recorded the Ultravox album "Revelation."

 

1993 - I take part in a German film project dedicated to the late producer Conny Plank. I improvise with various musicians (that Conny worked with) from Can, Kraftwerk, D.A.F, Cluster, New Order etc.

 

1994 - Recorded the Ultravox album "Ingenuity"

 

1995 - Worked mostly on my own this year. I also travelled to Brussels to work with the violinist Blaine.L.Reininger from the (late seventies - early eighties) American band Tuxedo Moon.

 

1996 - Early this year I toured Germany performing the music I had written with the Tuxedo Moon Violinist. I concentrate mostly on Viola. We also did one gig at the "Garage" in London.

 

1997 - After soaking up the experiences of the last few years I felt the strong urge to start writing another solo album. So I moved into a West London Studio to make a start on what was to become Unearthed.

 

1998 - Unearthed was completed. Did two gigs in London performing “Unearthed” with a string section. I conducted and played Viola and Keyboards (Not at the same time).

 

Started writing new material with newly acquired digital recording equipment.

 

1999 - Continued writing new material. Started work on the music for a short film called "The Fragile Skin".

 

2000 - I put together an album called "Keys and the Fiddle" which contains the completed soundtrack to "The Fragile Skin" & my new Tracks plus some music I wrote and recorded for a Solo album in 1983 with Steve Howe & Hazel O'Connor. Also "Tekapo Blue" the lost track from "Transportation."

 

2001 - The release of "Transportation", "Stand up and Walk", "Unearthed", "Keys and the Fiddle" on my own label. PUZZLE. Continuing work on a new album.

 

2002 - My album "PUSH" is completed and released in October. I perform with Optik in London.

 

2003 - The release of my first Puzzle compilation album “Pieces of the Puzzle.”

 

2004 - My album "Still Movement" is completed and released in November.

 

2005 - The putting together of the Humania album “Sinews of the Soul”.

 

2006 – The CD release of the Humania album. I write sleeve notes about that time. I complete my album “Accidental Poetry of the Structure’ and release it as a download in July.

CD Release in November of Accidental Poetry of the Structure with new photos & 8 page colour booklet.

 

2007 – Start work on New Album.

 

2008 - Ultravox reform.

 

2009 - Release my album Refine. Ultravox perform the Return To Eden Tour in the UK.

 

2010 - Ultravox start work on a new album in Canada.

Ultravox perform Return to Eden pt 2 in England, Scandinavia & Europe.

 

2011 - Ultravox work In LA, Canada, Bath and London. The album is finished in November.

 

2012 - I start work on a new album.

The Ultravox album Brilliant is released in May.

Ultravox tour the Brilliant tour in Britain, Europe & Scandinavia.

 

2013 - I complete my ninth album Balletic Transcend. It is released as a download & CD in November.

My Refine album gets a CD release.

 

2014 - Start work on my 10th album.

 

2015 - Complete the writing and recording in October.

 

2016 - It is the 40th anniversary of the release of Ultravox! the first album by the band.

          Ultravox! Ha! Ha! Ha! & Systems of Romance are re released as a boxset.

 

          After 43 loyal years I decide to draw a line under it.

 

          I mix & master my new album Doppel at Music Box 3, London, with Peter Dudley.

          Doppel is released in May.

MUSIC
GALLERY

The Early Years

Recording Rage In Eden

Recording Quartet

Montserrat Holiday in 1985

Live Performance

All Sorts

Education

PHOTOS FROM SCOOL AND COLLEGE

THE POLYCHORDIA QUARTET

This is a photo of the first String Quartet I joined. I was 13. 1963. We were called The Polychordia Quartet. The photo is from the Huddersfield Examiner. We had just won a music competition. The two guys are brothers. I met Rayford, the one on the left, again in a bar at a Belfast hotel while on tour with Ultravox. Early eighties. It was great to see him again! He was playing Cello with the Halle Orchestra. His brother, a Violinist, became a Vet. I lost touch with Megan.

 

I was very lucky to work with these excellent musicians.

It happened because I moved on to the Viola from the Violin.

THE SECOND QUARTET

This is a photo of the second Quartet I joined. I was 14. 1964. I cannot remember what we were called. The photo is from a newspaper in Harrogate. We were still winning music competitions. I was with the Violinist Megan, we stuck together, and we had Helen on Cello. I have forgotten the name of the first Violinist.

THE COLLEGE ORCHESTRA

This is taken in the Orchestra Rehearsal hall 1966. I am in there somewhere. The guy with the short fringe. I was a bit of a Mod at the time. I was in my second year at the Huddersfield Music College. We had just moved into a new building. This rehearsal hall was Hexagonal shaped. A fantastic place to practise in. The sound was excellent! I led the Viola section from 1965 to 1969.

ME AND MUM

This a shot of me and my mum. Taken in 1978 outside our front door in Huddersfield. It was August and I had lots to say as so much was happening for me at that time. My Mum and Dad were always very supportive and very interested in what I was up to in the Music world. I lived in London and I think I had not been home for a while. I remember telling my Mum and Dad about working with Gary Numan, about the Visage album coming along nicely and especially about Midge Ure. I had just invited Midge into Ultravox. I brought him to meet Chris and Warren in a pub at Turnham Green, West London.

COLLEGE ORCHESTRA - LEADING THE VIOLA SECTION

This is a photo from way back in 1968. I am in there leading the Viola section, with the long hair. When I was at the Huddersfield Music College we did lots of concerts around the Yorkshire area. Not sure where this is though. The Bruch Violin Concerto is being performed here. My viola teacher is playing the solo violin part. This is a very emotional piece. We all had our hearts on our sleeves. If you look at my teacher, Herbert Whone, you will see his fantastic technique.

 

The bowing arm is producing power and pressure on the string without tension. You can actually see that from the photo! I spent four years trying to learn that from him.

Many a time I would be playing the music for him in my lesson and he would just suddenly grab my arm to demonstrate how tense I was. Being left handed my fingering hand was light years ahead of my right handed bowing arm.

 

If I had gone on to the London Royal Academy, where I managed to get a place, I am sure I would have got quite close to accomplishing this technique through the oncoming five years there. It was not to be!

 

I have a different type of technique now after playing in Performance Art groups and Bands for many years. I learned how to apply the bow, with pressure, near the bridge when I needed high harmonics and sometimes a screaming sound. It has become my electric violin style. An electric violin sends out these harmonics in a much more powerful way! It is an exciting journey which I am still on.

SCHOOL ORCHESTRA - 1964

This is a photo of the school orchestra. It is 1964 and the school is Mount Pleasant in Huddersfield. I was 14. I think we must have been rehearsing with the choir here. When we performed to an audience the choir would be up in the gallery stage left. I am up there on the left of the conductor in the deputy leader place. A few weeks after this shot I would start having Viola lessons to prepare myself for Music College to start the following year.

 

These lessons were on saturday morning so I had to miss football. That was tough because I was the joint captain for the under 15's. The games were played on saturday morning. I still had my Violin lessons during the week so for a while I did not know what day it was! The Viola was in the Alto Clef and the Violin was in the Treble clef. Very confusing. I got there eventually and moved to Viola in the orchestra at the start of the second term. I had just managed a distinction for my Grade 5 Violin exam and now had to get a distinction mark for Grade 6 Viola to receive a place at the Music College. That really was a massive amount of work to do in such a short time. Four months. In April 1965 I achieved that mark. I was very happy. Music was the only thing I wanted to do with my life so it was do or die!

I also loved art. I studied art at college with music as my main subject!

 

Just to go back a bit to give a clearer view of how I got to this position. The moment on this photo.

When I was very young, like five, I remember my dad singing. He had a great voice. He also played the mouth organ brilliantly. I could never never play that! I cannot remember what he sang and played but I do remember a very Scottish element to his performances. His dad was scottish. He moved to Yorkshire to work on the huge reservoirs. He was a foreman on the Digley reservoir near Huddersfield. My mum was very interested in music. She played classical orientated songs from musicals like "The King and I". She loved singers. She was from Lancashire and often told me that one of her cousins played in the Halle Orchestra. He played a brass instrument. It was only when I got to about nine that things started happening for me. A friend of my dads, from the war, used to come and visit. Maybe once a month. He was older than my dad. I was amazed when he started bringing a Violin. He played it for us and even let me have a go. This lovely fellow kept telling my mum and dad to get me started with violin lessons. Obviously that was an unaffordable dream. Unfortunately!

 

My dad had loads of brothers and one, which I named my son after, was called Tom. He lived in Stockport. His son, called David, used to come to visit bringing loads of records. These were all from his generation, not mine, but I picked up on his enthusiasm. Singers like Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis. He then bought me a guitar and started to teach me how to play the vocal melodies. This then got me into starting a group with a couple of my schoolmates.

 

We sang songs like Poison Ivy. This was before the Stones though. We performed at the end of term school concerts.

 

I sang and played guitar. One of the guys sang with me and the other banged drums or anything really. I can't remember the other songs we chose now. I think an Elvis song and a more meaty Cliff Richards song like Dynamite or Hi class Baby. When we all left our junior school, with me going to Mount Pleasant, we still stuck together and put on two concerts. Our old junior school had a lock-up garage that stored chairs. They let us turn it into a gig. We made a stage and put out all the chairs for the audience. We performed two nights as "The Moonlight Brothers".

 

Great fun! This was the first time that I experienced the music press. My mum phoned the local Examiner paper and the reporter came up to my house to interview me. He did not actually come to the gigs though. It was fantastic to get the feature but frustrating to see him get quite a few of the facts wrong. He said the concerts were held in my house! A bit of an early lesson here. I had just started at my new school and my new friends now thought I was rich AND precocious. LOL

The first year at Mount Pleasant gave me a chance to sing in the choir as a soprano. In 1961 the Liverpool Philharmonic came to play at the Town Hall.They were performing Benjamin Brittens Spring Symphony. They needed a boy soprano choir for this piece. They chose us to do it!

To be sitting in the middle of the Liverpool Philharmonic was amazing. The bit we did was quite small but I really enjoyed doing it. I can still remember some of the lyrics. "When does the rye reach to the chin and chop cherry chop cherry ripe within"

 

When an orchestra came to our school to play for us, offering free Violin lessons, I jumped at the chance. My parents still had to buy the Violin though. A small amount a week could be paid until it was paid off!. My dad took some convincing! My mum was just well up for it!!!!!!

 

I have fantastic memories of listening to classical music with my mum. When I got going on the violin our favourite music we listened to was Tchaikovsky violin concerto and Mendelssohn Italian Symphony.

 

I was also mad on the Stones, Kinks, Yardbirds, Soul music. This was an amazing time for music!

 

Jumping forward to 1965 when I had secured my place at the Huddersfield Music school. Before I left Mount Pleasant I was asked to play for the whole school in the chapel where the school orchestra played every morning for the school assembly. It had a balcony all around. Definitely looked like some of the gigs I did later with Ultravox!

 

Good practice for being in front of an audience.

 

There was no getting out of this!

My teacher, Mr Bentley, was a lovely man who put so much effort into helping me. We chose a piece that highlighted the Violas contrast of the mellow low C and G strings with the high cutting A string. I had just started playing in the higher fifth position that made the high A string very cutting. I demonstrated that.

 

It went well! I remember being very nervous. I owed so much to my school. It was now time to move on.

SOLO VIOLA - 1965

This is a photo taken at school just before I left to go to the Music College in Huddersfield 1965.

It is taken just before I played solo Viola, with piano accompaniment, in front of the whole school at Mount Pleasant.

 

I look nervous but it went very well!

MOUNT PLEASANT SCHOOL ORCHESTRA - 1963

This is a more close up shot of the Mount Pleasant school orchestra. 1963. The leader is on my left. I can't remember his name now but we got on in a fairly jokey but competitive way. He started the violin at the age of nine whereas I started at the age of eleven so there was a little resentment. I just wish my parents could have afforded to let me have lessons earlier.

I understood why though. The expense!!!!

 

I joined the school orchestra after learning the violin for about a year. I played with the orchestra every school day for the next two and a half years. Up to 1965.

 

My school days started with my morning paper round. I would then ride on my bike the three miles to school. I had a raleigh blue streak, five gears. Fantastic! It had a frame on the back which held my Violin with straps. I lived up on a hill at a small village called Netherton so it was brilliant to just jump on my bike and go down to the main road past the bus stop that had many school friends waiting and down a mile long hill called Big Valley. Great name that! It was such an exhilarating feeling going very fast so early in the morning. A good start to the day! When I got to school I turned left to the chapel and parked my bike down the steps by the woodwork/metalwork department which was in the basement of the chapel. While my class mates turned right and went to registration I went into the chapel to get ready to play in the school morning assembly with the orchestra. There was an area, behind a curtain ( stage left ), to do this. Getting the fiddle out, putting resin on the bow, changing strings and most of all having a laugh with the other musicians. I had a close friend called Andrew Haigh in the orchestra. I had sang with him in the school choir and he played Oboe in the Orchestra.

 

We then got up on stage ready to be told what classical piece we would play when the school kids came in and what we would play when School Assembly ended. We sometimes had a quick chance to practise the piece first. We were also given the Hymn to play that the school kids sang. I sometimes had to read from the bible as well! I was a good reader but sort of lost interest in English because I was forced to take it at Music College. They said it would come in useful if I decided to be a teacher. I said "But I don't want to be a teacher I just want to play in an orchestra".

 

I got used to being in front of an audience and slowly began to realise that I loved it. I did get a bit over confident though. When I changed to Viola I had to sit further away from the kids. In the middle behind the Conductor. I felt like I had been demoted. I knew that changing to the Viola, from the Violin, would get me a place at the Music College though. No mistaking that!

 

I clearly remember this happening:-

We had been told by Mr Whitehead, the conductor, that we would just play the piece to a certain point because we were running late. I carried on playing past that point, by myself, thinking that I was correct and everyone would then follow me.

 

Very embarrassing! I was wrong and had to stop playing. That got a few laughs from the kids. The leader, who is in the photo on my left, gave me a smug grin. Classical musicians are just as competitive as the pop/rock/electronic musicians I came to meet and work with a few years later in 1969! LOL

instruments

Instruments That I Use and have Used