Geoff’s a one man band with a difference!
By John Dooley
MILDURA resident Geoff Quennell loves nothing more than to set up a seat under a shady tree down by the river where most days he plays his viola, with the accompaniment of his ready-made backing tracks.
When the Weekly met up with Geoff, the sun was shining and the day had turned into a beautiful afternoon, following thunderstorms and heavy rains in the morning – perfect weather to be down by the river.
“I just like to come down to the river front at the Rowing Club and do a little practice,” Geoff said. “I come down most afternoons and sit under a tree and look out at the beautiful Murray River, and it’s just nice to be able to relax and do something that you really enjoy and people come around and listen, and so it’s very nice.”
Originally a violin player, Geoff now has a viola, which together with his electronic backing tracks, combine to make his one man recitals a pleasurable listening experience for those in earshot.
“I’ve got more than 180 tunes on the USB and I just play whatever comes up,” he said. “The viola is about and inch and half longer than the violin and it’s a fifth down in semi-tone and not as high pitched as the violin, which is a lot higher.
“I’ve only been playing the viola for 18 months, and in addition to the violin, I’ve played the banjo and piano. While I don’t do this professionally, I like to play to groups at the nursing homes when I can, unfortunately that hasn’t been possible for some time now due to the pandemic.
“My wife Pamela and I like to go up to Princes Court where my father-in-law is a resident and we play some music for him and Pamela plays the ukulele. We are also part of some local music groups including the Rio Vista Social Club who get together to play the ukulele and have a singalong, Stray Notes and the Strum Chums.”
Geoff is a former paramedic who retired recently after 49 years in the profession, calling it a day in September last year. “I actually retired from the Ambulance Service 10 years ago and my wife and I then established the Royal Flying Doctor Service patient transport in Mildura – it was a rewarding career and I loved every minute of it – it was a wonderful profession,” Geoff said.