Master Musician – Gerallt (Gerry) Hughes

29th November 1917 – 19th February 2011


Given a cornet at the age of ten years on which he excelled without any formal training, it was just four years before other members of the band suggested they try the boy in the principal’s chair. It was 1931 and the Ystalyvera Town Band near Swansea won the National Eisteddford. It was at this time he beat all comers in a major open solo competition when the adjudicator described him as a master cornet player. His playing for the band on live radio broadcasts attracted the attention of several of the country’s leading bands and it came as a shock to them all that his reason for not taking up their offers was that he was still a pupil at the local Grammar School. Such was his ability and skill.

On leaving school he worked for a short time as a civil servant then left for London to join the famous Callendars Cable Works Band where he soon became one of their leading players. At the age of twenty three the war intervened and he finished up as a store man in North Africa performing with the Army Ordnance Depot band on trumpet. On his return he entered Bamber Bridge Training College in Preston and on graduation he returned to Surrey where he pursued a very successful career as a teacher. His first headmaster said to him, “You are a Welshman, take over the music”. Shortly afterwards the adjudicator at Woking Music Festival had this to say:

Ensemble: “I could not find a flaw in this art. This is some of the best recorder playing I have ever heard from a school group. It was truly magnificent”.

J. Ainsley Cutmore.

Following a period as Musical Director of the Sandhurst Silver Band he was instrumental in the formation of the Camberley Silver Band.  Famous for teaching brass instruments it was not unknown for him to give the wayward boys an instrument to play after school, which was not a bad detention was it!  No matter what the instrument, if a child brought it to him, he taught them to play.  A gifted teacher he never charged a penny for a single lesson.


During his career he was a past President of the local National Union of Teachers and Treasurer of the Southern Counties Amateur Bands Association where he had an unrivalled record within the Associations Quartet Championship having competed for more than fifty consecutive years and winning the Championship twice.

He was awarded the Diploma of Honour from the Worshipful Company of Musicians for his lifetime contribution to the teaching of young musicians. One of the few, who gave to us all, turned no one away, then expected and took nothing in return.

Michael Cherry