Elizabeth's Story

Elizabeth tells us a tale of clandestine Jazz and how she discovered the trombone by way of the viola.

“Started piano aged 7 (in the Netherlands). Good dutiful old fashioned lessons. You could play a Beethoven sonata, but not Happy Birthday by heart at a party. Didn’t know Fred yet but the Jazz Club was the “in” thing. Always had to lie to my parents about where I went because… JAZZ???

“Anyway, Fred and I got married very young in 1956. He went into the Army then, but if you were married you got weekend leave. I lived with my parents and became an accountant. Switzerland, Australia and young children, part-time work…. Not much room for music. Only to listen to.

“I always loved string quartets and when we joined the ACMS I wanted to play them. So I took up the viola when I was 56. Crazy… but from the ACMS we got to know a lot of good tutors and they were fascinated to teach an older woman. I then really worked my guts out. Practised a lot. Played lots of quartets with different violinists. Don’t ask how well! (haha) And then there were the orchestras (Wollongong and Sutherland Shire Orchestras).

“My viola buddy in the Orpheus Strings played cornet in Volker Schoeler’s Blue Mountains City Band. She enjoyed it hugely and invited us to their Christmas Concert. Volker gave a great speech about how much fun a Band was and you are never too old to learn and he would start a beginners group…. Fred and I got totally sucked in. Don’t ask how, but I knew it was to be a trombone. At 75 the best musical decision in my life. Absolutely Love that thing. Got totally bonded. After that, there was a great time playing with Garry (Clark) and Blue Mountains Concert Band.”

“Never feel you are too old for things.”

Fred and Elizabeth retired from Blue Mountains Concert Band earlier in 2021.