Music runs through generations of my family and the tradition still carries on to this day.
I personally love music from the 50’s, 60’s & early 70’s, especially Rock ‘n’ Roll and also like & appreciate most other types of music, apart from Heavy Rock and Rap music.
Music reminds me that, like most cars, apart from a few good good ones, that the basic plot was lost in the early 70’s. ( Only my personal thoughts ). Cars became more plastic, electronic & disposable, and music has become more commercialized and electronic.
Just look at the early shows of any old Rock ‘n’ Roller or musician worth his salt, like Elvis, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, the Beach Boys, etc. When people went to see them, they went to see the artist and hear the music. In those days, you could sit down and listen to the music, or get up and dance to it.
These days, you have to go to a large stadium, or similar venue, crowded with people and unless you get front row, your lucky to see the artist live, apart from watching the stage on a large TV screen, while trying to hear yourself think over the excessive volume of the loud-speaker systems.
In saying this, though, there is still some good musicians and singers out there today, who still make some good music.
Back to Music in our family:
Being from a mixture of English, Scottish, Irish & good old NZ backgrounds, music has always been part of our family.
My Great Grandfather, Giles Ardern, who came over from Cheshire to NZ in 1874, was a one stage a Band Master in Thames, NZ.
My Grandfather, William Edward Ardern, used to be good tap dancer and could play the mouth organ, the saw and the spoons well.
Dad’s brother, Bill Ardern & his sister, Thelma, used to play for the Silent Movies in Auckland.
Dad & his brothers formed a wind instrument band in Waihi called the ‘Blue Ribbon Band’ and used to play for various dances during the holiday periods..
Dad’s youngest brother, Les, formed the original ‘Auckland Harmonica Band’.
Dad, and his brothers, Bill & Dudley, were responsible for starting the ‘Ponsonby Brass Band’ in Auckland.
My father, Robert Lear Ardern, could play most instruments, including a saw & the spoons, like his father, but was mainly into wind instruments, including the Tenor Horn, Trumpet & the Cornet, and he also played the Mouth organ. I can also remember him showing us how to play a tune on Glasses filled with various amounts of water, which gave out the different tones.
My Mother, Winifred Mabel Ardern, nee Merrick, started to learn to play the Lap Acoustic Steel guitar but never really followed this up after she found out she was expecting our oldest brother. Murray. She was however very proficient on the Piano and got much enjoyment from playing it.. ( My brother Murray eventually inherited the Lap Steel ).
Her Mother, my Grandmother, Margaret Merrick, nee Francis, played the Piano, & the Violin, and used to play the organ for local church services at the Omokoroa School which were held by visiting ministers. She actually brought her organ and violin with her to NZ when the family emigrated here in 1902.
Many of the local country dances were also held in the Merrick’s Barn at Omokoroa.
Grannies brothers, Robert & Willie Francis, were also accomplished Flute players and their music was often heard drifting around the country-side at Omokoroa.
My Great Grandmother, Anne Jane Francis, nee Greer, played the organ for various services at St Patricks Cathedral in Armagh.
My eldest brother, Murray, can play the Accoustic Guitar, Banjo, Ukelele, Bass Guitar, Lap Steel & Dobro, but his forte is the Pedal Steel Guitar that he has played for over fifty years.
He formed his first band when he was just 14 years of age and still continues to play and teach music.
(Murray’s wife, Ruth, also played Percussion in his band for a couple of years, & can play the keyboard).
Another brother, Barry, plays the Banjo and the Ukelele, my brother, Reg, plays the Piano Accordian, my sister, Irene, plays both the Piano and the Organ, my twin brother, Marcus, (Mark) can play the Piano and I play the fool.
Actually I like the Mandolin, Ukelele & Banjo as musical instruments and have owned a Concord Electric Ukelele (which went missing in a house shift) and presently own a G.H.& S (George Houghton & Sons) manufactured a melody Banjo Ukelele and a Mandolin, not that I can play them, as I spent too much time cruising the country in my cars instead of spending the time to learn how.
BUT !!!! I must be musical. I have organs in my body, Drums in my ears, and when I take my shoes off, My feet humm.
Footnote: Various cousins, uncles & aunties, nephews & nieces & in-laws, also played or play a variety of instruments and we used to have many an impromptu musical evening when rellies would come to visit.
Also, my brother Murray used to hold his band practices at home, once a week, so as you can see, I grew up with music all around me.