Gareth Williams, Head of Academic Music

Gareth was a professional performing musician for over 25 years before turning his hand and piano to teaching. He worked as a session musician on albums, TV, was a Jazz pianist/organist, Musical Director for big bands, keyboard programmer, arranger, conductor and musical supervisor for West End and touring musicals. He has a fondness for sharp suits, Piccalilli and Monte Carlo.

How long have you worked at Warminster?

This is my 6th year.

What’s the best thing about your role?

The variety. Every day is different, every day there are pleasant surprises, and working with a great team of musicians is the icing on the cake.

Describe a typical day?

There’s no typical day here, which makes it such an enjoyable place to work. The only certainties are coffee and sidestepping the biscuit tin.

What do you think makes Warminster a special place to live and learn?

The pupils and staff. It is such a friendly and supportive place for everybody here.

What would surprise us about you?

I can’t swim. As a child I even had lessons from an Olympian, she nearly gave up swimming!

What other Warminster role would you like to try for a day and why?

I’m more than happy with my current role to try any other.

That doesn't come as a surprise. The Music Department come across as a close-knit team. How does it compare to other teams/bands you have worked with? 

Musicians generally rally round each other, work hard and play hard, but the Music Department at Warminster excels in this, especially the latter!

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

Went through the usual options – policeman, fireman, soldier, but my most ambitious was a Dinosaur apparently.

What did your school reports say about you?

Quiet, hard-working, pleasure to teach.

Your note/advice to teenage self?

Never let anyone convince you that you can’t do something. Be nice to your parents!

Your mantra/motto or favourite quote?

‘Sorry, I’ve left my wallet at home again!’

What’s for you will not pass you by.

Hidden ambitions still to achieve?

I’ve entered a Marathon next year, but would like to do an Ultra Marathon if the body survives the Marathon.

A favourite possession you would save from a fire?

My suits, shirts and bamboo socks.

Biggest bugbear?

Lack of manners, even down to saying thank you for holding a door open. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.

Favourite musician/group?

Being a musician, I don't really have favourites. I enjoy all genres for what they are. Recently though, I’ve listened a lot to jazz pianist and vocalist, Diana Krall.

Favourite music event at Warminster?

It has to be Candlelit Christmas, just seeing the Minster Church lit by hundreds of candles and hearing the vocal solo at the start of 'Once In Royal David's City' means it's the start of Christmas.

‘Stand by me’, the song for our 2018 Christmas film was a beautiful recording and arrangement. The Music Department are always willing to help out when our Christmas film comes around, thank you for squeezing it in during a busy time!

It was a joy to arrange and record the song. A simple, but timeless song sung extremely well. The film shows the School in its true light, a community that rallies round and supports each other. 

Guilty pleasure?

Not so much a guilty pleasure, but I do love my bean to cup coffee machine. I also consume more than my fair share of Piccalilli.

MasterChef signature dish?

I cook a mean Beef Rendang, with coconut rice and thai fishcakes.

Favourite TV programme?

Can’t decide between Peaky Blinders, Sherlock or Taboo. Probably Sherlock, although Tom Hardy had the best one-liners and overcoat in Taboo.

Last book you read?

I’m not really into fiction, more biographies and true stories. I also collect biographies and historical books about Rugby League.

Last movie watched?

I recently sat down and watched all the Rocky movies over the space of 2 days. Took me back to my teenage years.

Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?

Having canvassed opinion from the Boniface boarders when on duty, it’s any one of the following: Robin Williams, Liam Neeson, Johnny Vegas, Tom Cruise, George Clooney (suggested 3 times), Johnny Depp, Robbie Williams, Steve Martin, Jason Statham, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig, Tom Hardy, and Martin Freeman. I’m as confused as you are, but probably the one with the sharpest suits would do.

Favourite tipple?

Newcastle Brown Ale, from my student days. In the summer, a nice pint of cider.

Favorite place/city in the world and why?

Monte-Carlo, for the glamour, glitz and weather. I worked there as a musician in the Casino and Sporting Club for 18 months.

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Christmas Socks II