I started playing music at the age of 9 with the oboe, discovered I had a talent and rose through the grades, adding in bassoon when I was 13. I achieved Grade 8 in both when I was 15 and decided to focus on the bassoon. My background is classical and though I chose a scientific career as a geologist, I have continued to play bassoon with various orchestras as I have moved around Britain.
I had been toying with adding sax to my collection as my Grandad played in a big band, but had sold his sax to buy Granny's engagement ring!
6 years ago I had the misfortune to be diagnosed with cancer, and after 10 months of gruelling treatment (they "threw everything" at me!) I came out the other end and decided to finally buy myself a sax as a reward for surviving.
Rather than just add another classical instrument, I chose to step outside my comfort zone and took lessons in jazz improvisation, which is a whole new mindset and language! My teacher told me about ASO, and I have been really inspired by playing under Richard Ingham's superb, fun and positive direction, so much so that I studied for the Advanced Diploma in Jazz with him at St Andrews.
I also play sax in the big band at Jazz at the Blue Lamp, as well as bassoon in the Inverurie and Aberdeen Chamber Orchestras. However, ASO is special as it is a unique experience of playing in a massed saxophone ensemble, which sounds way better than you might expect! We play a variety of music including jazz, classical, bespoke arrangements by our players and original compositions by Richard.
I've just discovered that I really enjoy doing arrangements and I’m hoping to get a couple of mine played in the near future. There is the opportunity to try out the more unusual sopranino and bass saxophones in ASO that you wouldn't get elsewhere, but above all it's a friendly, fun and inclusive place to make music.