Ian Kerr

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Ian Kerr

On leaving Telopea, the main thing that stood out for me was music.  When we were in 5th Year, Brendon Jones, my hero as a piano player, played the School Song and God Save the Queen at school Assemblies.  I was aware that in the following year, they’d need someone to replace him, but Jenny Fielding was a better piano player than I was, so I thought she’d probably do it. When the opportunity came up  I checked with Jenny, & she didn’t seem to want to do it, so I offered.  I soon found out why Jenny didn’t want to do it.  It was nerve racking as Hell!  In my first go at it, my hands were shaking so much that I wasn’t sure if I could finish.  To make matters worse, & probably no-one will remember this, but in playing the school song for the very first time, I forgot to do an introduction. This meant I was steaming ahead, 4 bars ahead of the school, & into the middle section, without realising the school was still singing “To strive for honor truth & fame, for ay’ we will endeavor”.  The whole thing was becoming a mess!  Mr MacPherson stopped everything & asked me if I could play an introduction.  I said no.  So he helped me save face a bit in front of the school, by telling you, you should’ve started singing straight away with no introduction, (very decent of him!), & we all started again & got to the end.

At the end of school, I knew that my passion was music, but knew that I wasn’t ready to make a living from it just yet, but I did think that if I taught Maths by day, & played music at night time, I could work my way into music, so that is what I did.  After a degree at the ANU & heaps of fun with the Uni Revue, I went to Sydney & started Maths teaching at North Sydney Boys High, while working at night as a professional piano player, under the name of Ian Laurence.  I actually loved teaching, & stayed on longer than I intended.  

In 1982, I was making plenty of money from music, & left teaching, in order to add Film Composition to my endeavours.  I spent the following 20 years making music as a film composer, for the advertising, television & film industries.

In 1995, I started also giving workshops in acapella singing.  I’d just felt that that music as a film composer loses the benefits of “live” music, & I’d always thought acapella was a great form of music (singing without musical instruments).  I began two choirs: “Jonah & the Wailers” - a choir of about 50-60 singers, and an auditioned choir, “The Elementals” - a choir of about 15-20 singers.  The advantage of acapella was that the music was my choice.  The whole project was my creation.  Not that I had anything against making music for a film, but after all, the film was someone else’s project. This was my project.

In 2000, I met my wife Monique, who I married in 2003.  Yes, romance had been a bit thin on the ground in my life which had up until that point, consisted more of energy devoted to “career”.  I haven’t had any children, but from the sounds of other Telopean life stories, others have made up for that in supporting the maintaining of our population.

My other major interest in my life has been psychotherapy, which I began as a client in 1975.  I have also recently gained qualifications as a psychotherapist myself, and consequently, begun a new career in parallel with my music career.  Monique & I now have our own psychotherapy practice at our home in Mosman, Sydney.

I’m loving all this Telopean revival stuff, loving catching up with those of you who are available – so would love to hear from anyone that feels like catching up.  I still visit my wonderful home town regularly, as my Dad recently passed away in 2008, & my mother still lives in Canberra.  Look forward to seeing as many of you as possible ... Soon.  Our next gig by the way, is at THE BASEMENT in Sydney,  Sunday September 18, 2011.  Would be great to see anyone there who can make it.

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