Gor­don has a new tune af­ter 33 years

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

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.”

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Long ser­vice: Gor­don Smith is step­ping down af­ter 33 years as the or­gan­iser and su­per­vi­sor of the Mar­shall Laing Mu­sic Group.

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