Amazing what you can find on YouTube…

Elephant Show – Band on the Run – in 3 parts.

Sharon, Lois & Bram – I worked with SLB (and Elephant!) almost from the beginning of their career as Canada’s favourite kids’ entertainers, through the 1980s and beyond. The highlight from those years was musically depicting Elephant’s “emotions” on Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Elephant Show. Some nice person out there has uploaded many episodes including, “Band on the Run”, where we in the Band got to “act” as well as play. I still have my copy of the original script! (BTW, I can’t watch this without cringing because it’s very clear at one point that I forget how the chart goes (that we recorded in May!), whilst miming on camera, (in the following August!)! Go ahead. Have a good laugh on me!)

Shmenge Bros. – The Last Polka

A cult classic! Someone uploaded the whole movie in 6 parts and I play throughout the entire film a lot, but part 4 features my goofy, “made up” solo,(at 3:25) when the band leaves the stage and lets their tuba player go nuts! (The only guideline I received [from Eugene Levy] was that at no time should the solo get “jazzy”.) That’s a real polka band miming to what we did in the studio, and the weird thing is – I used to be that band’s tuba player! (See the photos section for a shot of me and my lederhosen during the time I was with the band!)

Rolie Polie Olie

“Polie Pox” – I played the background music on that show for several years. Every recording session, we would basically sight read a big stack of music cues onto tape. This episode, “Polie Pox” has a couple of cool tuba licks!

The Big Snit

an Oscar-nominated animation short from the National Film Board of Canada featuring (amongst other things) tuba, viola and piano in the score. Remarkable for its extensive use of the oinking “golden tone” technique, a sound I “mastered” while still in High School!

John Byner, Bizarre with special guest Henny Youngman and his Orchestra

(“Dis Band should disband!”)  – Yes, that’s the legendary jazzman, Rob McConnell cracking up throughout the sketch.  I’m in my usual place at the back!

Porky’s 2 – The Snake Scene –

What can I say? Cool, or what? There’s a story here as well. Paul Zaza was the composer of the score on this film. Well into my studio musician career, I hadn’t worked with Paul at all, until one day I was booked on a jingle that he had composed. At the session, I said something about the fact that I’d never played for him before, and that I would love to be on one of those film scores that he composed. At the end of the session, he said I had inspired him to use tuba on his next project – perhaps a dubious honour considering the nature of the tuba moment!

Jack Grunsky at International Horn Day in Toronto

OK. Not tuba playing. Jack Grunsky at International Horn Day in Toronto – I resurrected some 30 year old atrophied electric bass chops just for this!

China Boy.  Scarborough Civic Centre.

One of Joan’s horn students, Caitlin Coppell, playing one of my pieces, Shapeshifter.


Performing with… — 4 Comments

  1. I’m the developer of BackupBuddy and was happily surprised to see your website and that you were on The Elephant Show. I grew up watching it and this wonderful website brought back many fond memories! Thank you for being a part of the show. I love the eyebrow in the header too.

  2. HI,
    I was in the audience to hear Fergus McWilliam play Shapeshifter. I gather it is also scored for horn and piano, based on the recordings and videos, but I can’t seem to find anywhere to purchase a copy. I would love to work on this lovely tribute to Joan. I knew her from International Horn Day, from a Master Class she did here in Peterborough a few years ago, and a lesson I had with her.
    Where can the music be ordered?

  3. I started watching The Elephant Show again almost five years ago, and I didn’t know who you were. All I knew was that you were Elephant’s voice because she was nonverbal and needed a way to communicate her feelings and opinions

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