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COME FLY WITH ME

What does a 2015 Saint Clair Reserve Wairau Sauvignon Blanc, a Sacred Hill Riflemans 2014 Chardonnay, creamy camembert, Steinlager, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Pink, Wonder Woman the movie and John McGough the Trumpetguy all have in common? They are all carefully selected for your pleasure on board your next international Air New Zealand flight.

As from the 1st December 2017 my album “Two Shades of Brass” was loaded into the easy listening and New Zealand artist section of the Air New Zealand inflight entertainment system. This was a huge thrill and a fitting end to what was a whirlwind year of excitement. The album sits alongside artists such as Michael Buble, Gwen Stefani, The Corrs and Van Morrison in the Easy Listening section and local artists like the Black Seeds, Six 60, Aaradhna and Dave Dobbin in the New Zealand Choice section.

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In March 2017 the album which was produced many years ago was re marketed with a new album cover. It went from a 19 track album to a 12 track and was placed on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. After careful consideration Air New Zealand then selected all 19 tracks to put on their flights saying “it was just the right fit” and “let us know when the next album is released”! The original recording was completed to sell at my existing gigs and to have the satisfaction of having a professional recording of my work. The power of the internet has certainly made it more accessible worldwide. “Two Shades of Brass” features classic trumpet tunes like Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White, Rise and Feel So Good. Classic covers such as Knockin on Heavens Door and Private Dancer are listed as well as some great jazz standards like Misty, Summertime and Route 66.

The album was recorded and produced by one of the most respected keyboard players and musical directors in the business Ben Gilgen, now entertaining in Australia. He also contributed with some of the backing tracks and backing vocals. Three tracks were recorded by master engineer and my cousin Steven McGough at Stebbing Recording Studios, while the majority of the musicianship behind my trumpet was from the expertise of Mr Kevin Crowe. The album cover was given a well improved facelift by removing my face and replacing it with a very classy trumpet cover by Trend Rule. It certainly is a real thrill to have this musical journey, completed so many years ago come alive again in this way. One of my favourite tracks on the album is “Wind Beneath My Wings” it had two family links to the track in the fact that my talented sister was one of the dances in the movie Beaches where the song came from, and I also dedicated it at the time of making the album to my dear mother the late Bernice McGough for always being, the Wind Beneath My Wings.

In summary 2017 was an epic year. We had some amazing gigs at my regular venues. These really give an entertainer some stability in a vulnerable industry. I was involved in the winning performances at the New Zealand Brass Band Championships with the Nelson City Brass in the C Grade, as well as celebrating and hosted their gala dinner for the bands 160th Anniversary celebrations. Appeared twice on Shane Hales Rockin The Planet on Face TV’s Sky Channel. Represented New Zealand at the World Championships in Holland with the National Band of New Zealand finishing 2nd in the world, and judged a combination of solo sections, entertainment value and test piece music at three provincial brass band championships as well as a solo event at the National Championships.

I love the judging but it really sucks the energy out of you with intense concentrations for up to 8 hours a day. Doing this three weekends in a row was indeed a challenge and would I do it again…..absolutely. It was a honour to listen to soloists and bands from the regions of Canterbury, Waikato Bay of Plenty and Auckland. I so admire any performer that puts their talent up for scrutiny in a competitive environment and I hope this was returned with encouraging feedback and suggestions. There were some stunning performances but I do recall some really treasured jobs (for many different reasons) from bands like Nor West Brass and Timaru in Christchurch, Eastern Bay of Plenty and Hamilton Brass in Gisborne and North Shore Brass, Auckland City Brass, Te Awamutu Brass and Kumeu Brass in Auckland.

To start 2018 I will be playing at a number of race days at Ellerslie performing the “Call to Posts” prior to the horses coming into the birdcage. I have already completed days there last year on Melbourne Cup Day, the Boxing Day races and on New Year’s day (yes without a hangover!) Many other musical highlights are beckoning as you will see by the gig guide and also a few personal goals to complete away from entertaining with lots of bike riding, walking the Tongariro Crossing (not sure that’s a great idea) and a holiday in a place I’ve never been to but can’t wait to experience, Hawaii.

There are many dates free for entertaining at your venue, party, corporate function or special occasion and you only need to say the word!

Let’s start a party!

Bye Bye from the trumpetguy.

John McGough