Join date: Nov 2, 2020
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(Filling in my profile in the hope others are encouraged to do the same)

I had never played guitar (or any other instrument) until my late 30s. After failing to teach myself (or then 7 year old son) I discovered "Dan" Dare at the Spanish Guitar Centre in St Mary's St and had lessons with him for a few years. While sat in his waiting room I saw an SCGS flyer and thought it might be interesting.

I had never been in any club, but joined SCGS in Sept '91 and received a warm welcome from the small but enthusiastic membership. I rarely missed monthly meetings at King's John's House and classical guitar became a big part of my life.

While attending the West Dean International Festival in '94 I met members of West Sussex Guitar Club and joined that too. (I live medway between them). It was just as welcoming but with one major difference: they had professional concerts. I later learned SCGS used to have them but but stopped after 'catching a financial cold'.

Having joined the committee a few months earlier I made the mistake of suggesting we should try again and, of course, got charged with the responsibility. I'd never organised anything! I didn't know any professionals. Nor any venues. I was given phone numbers for John Mills, the old Gantry Theatre and a budget (£250!).

I made a lot of mistake but somehow it was a success. I was hooked! Over the next 20 years I put on over 60 public SCGS concerts and about 50 less formal, short recitals at monthly meetings. It is hard to believe international star Xuefei Yang played at KJH in 2001 for £50 (+ train fare) while a student at the Royal Academy of Music!

During that period I have acted as Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Concert Organiser, Newsletter Editor and Webmaster. As should be obvious, the society is very important to me though in recent years I have taken a seat right at the back.

In 2005 I retired from the committee (I thought for good) and the following year was granted Honorary Life Membership, something of which I am very proud. I was persuaded back in 2008 "for a year to sort a few things out"! I retired again in 2013. This time I think it is permanent as the society is being well run by others. It is in safe hands as we approach our 50th anniversary in 2022.

As for my playing, I passed grades 4 and 6 with distinction in 1994 and 2000 but have not looked at further the exams. I think I have played grade 8 pieces reasonably quite well in the past but I couldn't now. Two separate shoulder injuries forced me to take short breaks from playing and other interests (grandchildren, a move to a house with a big garden, non-classical music and football) were resurrected to fill the void. My guitar is still out in my study; music is on my stand and I do play it from time to time.

After hardly missing a meeting for 25 years, I've only made about 50% recently (even before the pandemic got in the way!). Online meetings don't work for me: classical guitar is such an intimate instrument I just HAVE to be there.

Hopefully we'll all be back soon. Perhaps I should start practicing in readiness?

Wayne Lines