MUSIC students from across the country will be converging on Chester next week .
Former pupils of Upton-by-Chester High School are travelling from as far afield as Ireland and London to play in a celebration concert to mark the retirement of John Tennant, head of music for 34 years.
John joined the school in 1975 not long after it had become a comprehensive. It was his first job in teaching and he had previously worked in the insurance industry.
Highlights from his time at the school include performing with astronomer and TV presenter Patrick Moore.
“He played the xylophone with us on the back of a lorry at Chester Zoo!” said John.
He has seen many of his students make their names in the music industry.
“At one time we had three students at the Royal College of Music in London. Two went on to play orchestral music and one, Phil Venables, is now a composer.”
Paying tribute to John, Phil said: “He was a fantastic teacher. The main thing was his love of music and he passed that on to all his students. I certainly wouldn’t be a musician now without him.”
Phil is unable to attend the concert as he is working on an opera in Berlin.
Former pupil and tuba player Kevin Norbury, who now teaches music, reached the final of Young Musician of the Year in 1992.
John, an organist, is looking forward to having more time to practise his church music when he retires.
“I’ve just become a grandfather for the first time,” he said. “And I’m looking forward to doing some more mountain walking.”
If you played an instrument at Upton you are welcome to a rehearsal on Thursday July 16 at 1.30pm for the concert at 7.30pm.