Family Background

I was born into an established musical family with Salvation Army roots. EVERYONE in my family played an instrument, including my mother who at age 58 had to march playing the cymbals for the farmers Queen St Christmas parade. My two brothers and I sang grace in three part harmony before dinner, band practice two nights a week, marching practice on Sundays during contest time, we practiced before and after school, and most nights my father regularly taught brass instruments for free in the downstairs music studio.

I thought it quite normal that we were only allowed to listen to I.Y.A on the radio, all other music at the time, classified as rubbish by my late father Lloyd Thorne Q.S.M who was compeer on "Brass Bands on Parade" for 20yrs and conductor of the winning National Brass Band of New Zealand in 1980.

We didn't own a TV until I started appearing on it with Max Cryer's "Do Rei Max" children's television show. I was able to remain a member of his choir from age 12 till 15 yrs old because I was short, flat chested and had a good ear for harmonies. I worked alongside Crunchie the clown, Jon Zealando but I got a lot of teasing about the choir when I was at Epsom girls Grammar, which I lived across from and although I continued to sing in the church choir I didn't take singing very seriously but took up the trumpet with a vengeance to prove everyone wrong, and escape most classes except for music.

I was sent to private piano/ theory lessons from age 9 and wrote my first composition at age 12. I had grade 8 theory, played trumpet in the National Youth Orchestra, the Auckland Symphonic Band under Hugh Dixon, and numerous brass band situations by the time I was asked to leave E.G.G.S having achieved only one subject in my two years in the fifth form which was of course, Music. Incidentally, my former Head mistress Miss Blakey rang me while I was studying for my music degree in Boston to wish me well and say how much she enjoyed my company as I was often in her office for wagging. After a year of cleaning, waitressing and other banal jobs, I moved to Wellington and studied for a diploma of music at the Polytechnic Institute.

I joined the first Golden Horn Big Band that changed name to the Roger Fox Big Band when Roger left that music shop to start his own with Roger Sellers. I performed with the legendary “Red Mole” theatre group who later went to N.Y, many T.V shows like “grunt machine”, quite a few recordings and taught brass at local schools. I toured in the backing band with Bruce Forsythe, Harry Secombe, Vince Hill. West Side Story and with an international circus show.

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After receiving a grant from Zonta for women of potential I left New Zealand in 1979 to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Because I could read written music well I was placed in all the best bands and was able to test out of lots of basic subjects saving heaps of time and money so that in 1982 Cleo Laine presented my bachelors degree to me with my proud mother in attendance and then I moved to New York.

Well that is the first 25yrs of my life; the rest is well documented on my website www.edwina.net.nz and in various documentaries’. But I could tell all the juicy bits another time if interested