Gordon has a new tune after 33 years
At five years old, Gordon Smith could already play the cornet and memorise music.
His passion for playing is something he has spent his life sharing with others.
But after 33 years as organiser and supervisor of the Marshall Laing Music Group in Mt Roskill, he’s stepping down.
“I’ve had so much fun over the years,” he says.
The Saturday morning programme, which teaches a range of instruments to primary and intermediate school aged children, is held at Marshall Laing Primary School.
Although Mr Smith is looking forward to having his weekends free, he says he will miss the students.
“It’s fascinating seeing the results. It’s very rewarding.”
The west Auckland man learned to play at a very early age.
“My father was a band master. He had a tuba standing upside down so the mouthpiece was sticking out.
“I crawled over to it and put my mouth on it and got a bigger sound than he did with it up the other way. He decided it was time to teach me.”
After mastering the cornet, Mr Smith moved on to the violin and can now play any stringed instrument.
“I’ve had to teach them all,” he says.
He has also played a wide range of brass instruments, including performing the Last Post on a bugle for Anzac commemorations.
Mr Smith started teaching youngsters when he took his son for a trumpet lesson and the teacher never appeared.
He filled in and ended up taking the lessons for the next two years.
When the position came up at Marshall Laing Music Group, he went for it and had been there ever since, supervising the Saturday morning programme.
The programme is run by the Education Ministry and Mr Smith says lessons run in almost every classroom.
He makes sure there are teachers and rooms available and everything runs smoothly.
Although he is stepping down from the programme, he still teaches music classes in several secondary schools and plays for two small orchestras.
Cecilia Wong is the chairwoman of the parents committee – a group of volunteers with children at the music school who help run it.
She says Mr Smith will be sorely missed.
“We were very lucky to have someone like him. He is so committed and has worked tirelessly for the past 33 years.”
Long service: Gordon Smith is stepping down after 33 years as the organiser and supervisor of the Marshall Laing Music Group.