Above: Cliff in the 70s, outside Tanunda Show Hall
Above: Salisbury Band at the Adelaide Band Festival, 1990
Above: Salisbury Band late 70s
Above: Salisbury Band, Melbourne Nationals 1985
If ever there was a survey done about the most reliable people on this planet, Cliff Amor would make it into the top 1%.
He is always there.
Apart from the times when his partner has dragged him off to Alaska or Switzerland or a selection of other exotic tourist destinations, which happened during a five year flurry of intense travelling post retirement, and that one sad night when his dog died, Cliffy is always there.
Cliff Amor has a warm heart, a very giving nature, a sociable outlook and makes everyone feel comfortable. He also has a cheeky, impish “G” rated bawdiness, a sense of humour that is “rude”, but safe enough to be unleashed in the presence of your grandchildren and grandmother!
Over his 43 years in the Salisbury Band’s trombone section, there have been a succession of female accomplices who have all aspired to be his slave. Sorting out his music, telling him what letter we’re going from, making sure he knows the time and location of the next engagement, etc, etc. He makes them laugh, and in return they look after him, holding him in their collective metaphorical bosom. They love it and Cliff seems to feel right at home there as well!
Cliff Amor is a fine example of a success story in Community Banding. He has given unreservedly, both in terms of his musicianship and his contribution to running the band.
I invite you to take the time to read Cliff’s reminiscences. I promise you that you will feel better for doing so.
Geoff Meikle 2020
Clifford F. Amor
Just after my birth on 13th January 1943 in Reading Berkshire U.K., the air raid siren sounded. The District nurse then herded everyone down a flight of stairs, out to the back garden and down some steps into a small Nissen Hut being used as an Air Raid shelter. When my parents, brother, sister and nurse were settled someone said “where is the baby?” By then the Anti Aircraft guns at Caversham Heights were firing, so no one was brave enough to go back to the house. This is my excuse for sometimes being insecure or making a mess of things when playing in the Band. I think it is always good to have an excuse!
In 1962 Maureen and I married and over the next few years had our 3 sons, Damion, Gary and Darren.
We made the decision to emigrate to Australia and arrived on the ship "SS" Australia in April 1973. We lived in Modbury, Salisbury East and eventually settled in Hillbank.
I did not have any hobbies at that time, apart from taking the boys to soccer and footy, so I began to look for another interest. We all attended the Edinburgh Air show, while we were there the Airforce Brass Band marched through the crowd. I thought how fantastic they sounded, which gave me my first interest in Brass Bands.
Sometime later I was reading the local Messenger when I saw a local band was asking for players of all ages wishing to learn to play a brass instrument. So at the age of thirty four I turned up at the Salisbury Institute in January 1977 and had my first introduction to the Salisbury Brass Band.
The first person I met was a well known lady around the Brass Bands of Adelaide, Pam Pickett. A short time later I was introduced to Ken McMahon, who was then my tutor for the next couple of years at the Institute or in his home. Monday evening trombone lessons often ended having a drink from a small wooden wine barrel, the wine got thicker and thicker over the years.
It must have sent the family crazy listening to my attempts on the trombone, while they tried to watch the T.V.
After Easter that first year I came to play in with the Band, the Band had just competed at Wagga Wagga National Championship. I sat next to Greg Pursche who was the first trombone player. I managed a few notes that evening and thought how well the rest of the Band played, I went home feeling on top of the World.
The following month was the first year of the Salisbury City Band's Slow Melody competition, which was organized by Greg Pursch & Ken McMahon, and has continued for over forty years.
The first contest I took part in was later that year at Tanunda, in the tin shed on the oval. Our uniforms being old black ex army with white peak caps. Like most people at their first contest it seems to be a blur, I can't remember what we played.
Over the next few years my three sons came to the Band, Damion percussion, Gary cornet and Darren tenor horn, at that time Salisbury Band had a competitive Junior Band conducted by Adrienne Meikle. The two youngest sons gave it away after about two years. Damion played for the ten years. As always people come and go.
I have served on the Committee for many years and have become extremely competent in the art of doodling on the back of the minutes! We can't all be academics.
As I look back, I start to wonder how many people have had embarrassing moments while in the Band. I clearly remember one of mine (only one of them mind you), a number of years back, the touring English Rugby team were on the Adelaide Oval before playing, there were about 6 Brass Bands, we were all to start at different angles and all join together and march forward and come to a halt in the centre of the oval, where the Opening Ceremony was to take place including the National Anthem sung by Julie Anthony. As we all approached the Centre, the lyre on the bell of my trombone slipped round a bit. Without thinking I grabbed at it with my right hand and my slide flew off a number of feet in front, as I got close to it I bent down quickly grabbed at it and missed, I retrieved it on the second grab, as I did this the band person behind bumped into the back of me and the person behind into him we all came to a halt in front of everyone. I could not get my slide back in and had to stand there with two pieces of my trombone, while the Anthem was played. I now know what a hot flush feels like, I went hot from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. Afterwards I thought this could happen to anyone, I'm sure everyone else would agree.
I have been retired from work for 10 years and at an age where I sometimes reflect, and like other people say "where have all the years gone"? Looking back over all the Contests and Events, but most of all the wonderful people who you were with on these occasions, many of them now no longer with us but never forgotten, also the band camps, seminars at places like Tungkillo and the fellowship and camaraderie that brought us all together. Going on camping trips, dragging the net for fish at Pt Gawler, drinking Pam Picket's potato wine, climbing over sand dunes looking for firewood for the camp fire in the evenings.
When it comes to choice of music, to me you can't find better than the late 1950's and 60's with people such as Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond, Creedence Clearwater and even Shirley Bassey, so at my age I am allowed to say, they don't make "em" like they used to, but to me playing in a Brass Band is still something special, no matter what type of music we are playing.
I suppose some things I have written could be considered irrelevant to banding, but I believe the social events over the years have cemented our Band together and can only hope that we carry on doing the same in the future years. I know sometimes we worry about the future of Brass Bands, but when Band numbers are low people seem to appear at the right time to once again boost numbers, so at this time I remain optimistic about the future of Brass Bands.
As for what lies ahead for me, I am a little age challenged but hope to carry on for some time yet.