Meet our players – Nigel Shires, double bass

Player profile: Nigel Shires, double bass player and our new social media guru

Nigel Shires plays the double bass in the orchestra and has recently taken on the fun task of looking after our social media channels. We thought it’d be nice to find out a bit more about him…

Can you give us a three-sentence summary of your musical career up to now?

I have had a varied musical career, classical orchestral with several orchestras wherever I have lived, vocal (Bath University Chamber Choir and now the Cause Chorus), a ceilidh band (folk), a club band (The Julie Hayes Band – we wore red shirts and silver ties!), rock (a Thin Lizzy Tribute Band called Borderline), jazz & blues (I’ve recently started playing Hammond-style organ in a jazz blues quartet), musicals, and now… bluegrass!

How did you first become involved with the NWSO?

As an extra when double bass players were hard to find.

You play the double bass – what made you choose an instrument that is so awkward to transport anywhere…?

My music teacher at school, David Sanderson, made me choose the double bass. I’m still in touch with him even so!

What do you enjoy most about playing in an orchestra?

The team effort when it goes well.

What has been your favourite concert over the years?

I don’t have a particular favourite, I have enjoyed almost all of them.

Has there ever been a ‘catastrophic’ concert or gig – either with the NWSO or any other orchestras/ groups you are part of?

Too many to mention in public.

If you could play any other instrument, what would it be?

I’ve just taken up Bluegrass Banjo in the Earl Scruggs style. Still early days…

What music do you like to listen to – apart from classical?

Blues, Bluegrass, Van Morrison, Tubular Bells, Pink Floyd.

Who would you say has been the most influential person in your musical journey?

It has to be my music teacher, David Sanderson, who set me off on this journey, but I have met many very inspiring people along the way.

Any top tips for aspiring musicians?

Join many groups and play with others as much as possible, and keep practising!

And a few quick questions:

Favourite piece of music? “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd from “The Wall”

Most disliked instrument? There isn’t one I dislike, I even like the bagpipes.

Favourite drink? Several pints of Real Ale.

Famous person you’d most like to meet? Stephen Hawking