AFTER almost 40 years as musical director with Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society, Tom Wright is looking forward to his 50th show which starts next week.
And he is adamant that he is as enthusiastic about his music today as he was for his first production with the company, ‘Pink Champagne,’ a musical version of ‘Die Fledermaus,’ back in 1974.
Tom (73), from Kirkcaldy, got into musical theatre after playing the euphonium for years with the Barry, Ostlere and Shepherd band, while working as an electrical engineer with Scottish Power.
“When it closed down I was kind of left in the musical wilderness with nowhere to go, so when the Glenrothes Amateur Musical Association said it was short of an accompanist, I joined as a pianist and was with them for about 12 years.”
It was in Glenrothes that he met his wife-to-be Elizabeth who was a member, and when he started as an accompanist with Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society in 1973, she joined him.
A year later Tom became musical director and has been hitting all the right notes with them ever since.
“I love music and working with all the people in KAOS has been a lot of fun and we have made lots of friends over the years,” he said.
“We do one production every year with two every second year and we have done lots of greats over the years, including ‘Chess’ ‘Carousel’ ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Robert and Elizabeth.’ There are too many to mention and they have all been fun to do.”
KAOS started off in 1907 doing mainly Gilbert and Sullivan productions, but over the years it has moved more into musical theatre rather than operatic shows.
It has managed to maintain a strong membership of around 100, with around 50 in each production, and there are still a few of the members who were there when Tom first started.
“My job as musical director is to teach the company the music and help to interpret it into the show. I will advise the director and also rehearse and conduct the orchestra during the show, so there is quite a lot involved.
“It is a great hobby to have and I have thoroughly enjoyed all the productions.”
Judith Kerr, president of KAOS, said: “Having worked with Tom over the years as a chorus member, dancer and member of the orchestra as well as secretary and president, I know he works hard to deliver a quality sound for our audiences both in singing and in the musical accompaniment.
“The musicians in our orchestra enjoy working with him and several of them have been with us for many years.
“Tom is very organised and this has at times been a frustration to our stage crew and management team but always to the betterment of our productions.
“Tom’s service to our society has been extraordinary. We have made him an honorary member to acknowledge this, but our Kirkcaldy audiences have been the real winners over the years. Tom is a good, faithful servant to KAOS.”