George Newns 1915 - 2016
In January 2015, Solihull Symphony Orchestra celebrated the 100th birthday of former violinist and Honorary Member George Newns. George played with the orchestra and its forerunner, Knowle Sinfonia since it was founded in 1990, and was in the audience on Saturday 24 January at Shirley Methodist Church for a special concert in honour of the occasion. During his last few years with the orchestra, George was helped greatly by the RNIB Music Advisory Service, and a collection for the RNIB was held after the concert.
George's father bought him his first violin for seventeen shillings and sixpence in 1925, and he took part in school concerts at a time when music hardly featured in the normal curriculum. During his twenties, George also played the Hawaiian guitar (above) with other guitarists and a singer in a small group playing popular songs of the day, way ahead of his time! In recent years, he has taken up the guitar again, and has recently produce a CD of Hawaiian dances.
George's advice for young musicians ? "If your parents encourage you to take up an instrument, stick at it, even if practice seems a bit of a chore. In later years it will provide solace, comfort, enjoyment and companionship second to none"
George died peacefully at home in Knowle on 16 December 2016 at the age of 101.
Photos © Brian Jones and Christopher Newns