Musical Background - The Early Years
I developed an interest in singing during my last two years at secondary school. Coatbridge High School had a high reputation for performing Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and they normally spent three weeks during May and June rehearsing their show in the school assembly hall. During the production of "The Gondoliers" in 1976 I was recruited to help in the stage crew. At first, it seemed like a good excuse to avoid some redundant classes during the period between the final exams and the end of term, but I soon enjoyed watching the rehearsals and sampling the atmosphere during the week of the show.
Coatbridge High School
In my final year, I decided to take part in the production of "Ruddigore". It was one of the lesser known G&S operas, but it became one of my favourites because of the new experience of performing in it. I auditioned unsuccessfully for the part of Robin Oakapple, but I was happy enough to be part of the chorus. Music rehearsals took place once or twice a week at lunchtimes during the school term, but most of the floor rehearsals were scheduled for the three weeks prior to the show.
The show was performed in the school assembly hall in front of an audience of family and friends. Much of the back stage work was done by staff and pupils with particular talents for scenery construction, make up and costumes, and the orchestra consisted of former pupils from the surrounding area. It was a real team effort and a very enjoyable experience during my last few weeks of secondary education.