I thought it would be great to start my first column of 2013 with an interview. This time, with one of West Norfolk’s well known and loved musicians, Rob Galliard.
Rob and I met recently and we had a wide ranging conversation covering his distinguished musical career and plans for the future.
He was born in Crewe and sang as a boy treble, winning the Blackpool Junior Rose Bowl, aged thirteen. Over 200 youngsters took part, quite an achievement for a young lad! Rob trained as a teacher and went on to teach music in Waltham Cross. It was here he was introduced to the joys of wind bands, by the Head of Music there, and then eventually moved to the newly formed Springwood High School in 1980.
From this time Rob really made an impression, enriching the musical life of West Norfolk. He established the West Norfolk Music Centre in 1980 and played tuba with the West Norfolk Jubilee Youth Orchestra; however three years later he was replaced by a better young player! Rob also conducted The West Norfolk Gilbert and Sullivan Society in the early eighties and later sang in the chorus and took on some principal roles; Rob enjoys variety and is certainly a versatile musician.
The Springwood Concert Band was formed by Rob, and performed for the first time at The Royal Festival Hall in 1988. The programme included his own Springwood March – the pinnacle of any musicians dreams.
A tradition of annual Band Tours followed, taking them to many British and continental venues, the band also performed at the Sandringham Flower Show every July. They even appeared on French TV!.Getting to know Sir Malcolm Arnold was also a memorable experience.
Other highlights of Rob’s career have been the commissioning of pieces for the Concert Band (one work by Martin Ellerby was performed in this year’s Proms series). Other works have included “True’s Yard” and “Songs of the Fisherfleet” based on the folk songs Vaughan Williams collected in King’s Lynn.
Retirement, which comes to us all, has not seen Rob idle. He has worked as an A-level examiner, music consultant, and, being a football fan, co-edits the matchday programmes for King’s Lynn Town FC. He still conducts the wind band and orchestra at the Music Centre on Saturday mornings and has taken over conducting WNJYO Orchestra, planning to perform at a Hanseatic Concert later in the spring.
With the small amount of free time Rob has left to himself he delves into family history. Rob certainly does his bit for the community in musical and many other ways - long may he thrive!