A musical family tree – Keith Aplin

Keith gave us a family tree with a difference, rather than just the standard relationships he added in all the different musical instruments (and singing voices) that his immediate family have in common. He then gave us a history of his family and the links back to his grandparents from whom he felt the musical gene derived.
Keith told us that he was born and brought up in Somerset and he was very close to his maternal grandparents. His grandfather Harold Rogers had been a delivery driver and then a charabanc driver; he was musical and could read music and was able to play all brass valve instruments (but not the trombone) as well as the piano and drums. The xylophone that he played is still in the family. Harold played with the Teignmouth Brass Band and as tee-total bus driver he was able to drive the band to engagements. Harold’s wife, Flossie was Keith’s very dear grandmother, and it was her philosophy “them as eat survive” and she firmly believed that good food was essential and it was never possible to eat too much. During the war Harold played in concert parties as entertainment and for fund raising.
Their daughter’ Keith’s mother was also tee total, a Sunday School teacher, pacifist, non-smoking and she played the organ and piano. Keith’s father was, however, a sailor and a drinker. They married on licence during the war and Keith was brought up a non-conformist Congregationalist; he learned to sing (tenor) alongside his grandfather. At this point Keith played a recording of the Black Dyke Band (Onward Christian Soldiers) as this was typical of the music and influences he was brought up with.
Keith and his two brother all took piano lessons but Keith didn’t enjoy scales or Beethoven – Jerry Lee Lewis and “Great Balls of Fire” changed his attitude to music (we then heard the same piece of music). The three brothers sang barber shop as The Alpine Brothers – they performed together for their parents’ Golden Wedding.
He did try playing the organ but it was not for him – he preferred music like “The House of the Rising Sun”. His brother Jeremy not only plays guitar but he has also made a beautiful guitar since retiring. Keith’s son David not only plays guitar both folk and classical but also plays with Jeremy; Keith’s grandsons who live in Germany both play classical violin and Keith showed a clip of them playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in an orchestra.
This was a different slant on family trees for us and one that was illustrated with music as well as images.
[Margaret Lake ]

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