Like many in POWERHOUSE, George’s musical start began as a child sitting at the piano for a few years. But it wasn’t until high school that his musical training began in earnest. “My father was very interested in music and he wanted me to play oboe. But my instructor in high school was a trombone player and he said ‘I’d like you to play the trombone’. That’s how I got started.”
While still in high school, George joined the Mohawk College Jazz band, something that would continue for three or four years while George next moved on to complete a degree in music composition at McMaster University. While working on his classical-based music degree at McMaster, George continued to study jazz improvisation and harmony with Jim Howard at Mohawk College. “I was sort of the bad boy in the music faculty at McMaster because it was all classical and I played jazz,” says George, with a laugh.
After university, next came a trip north to Thunder Bay to join the Thunder Bay Symphony. A general strike by the symphony meant George would return home after one year to begin a 29-year career teaching instrumental music with the Hamilton Board of Education. Throughout his teaching career, while starting up a number of instrumental music programs in area schools, George continued his own trombone career in a number of varied capacities. He’s played and recorded with members of Canada’s ‘Boss Brass’ and when Lech Wałęsa came to town, he was a member of the symphony orchestra that played ‘New World Symphony’ at Copps Coliseum with Anton Dvořák, the grandson of ‘New World’ composer Antonin Dvořák. George has been a member of the Jim Stahl Big Band for the last 25 years and has continued to play with the R&B group, ‘Backroom 11’, since 2007.
When not involved with music, George is a busy man. He travels the world regularly with family – the picture to the right being from his latest European trip, sampling one of the fine German brews. He’s an avid downhill skier, has been a scuba diver (mostly in the Caribbean) for 30 years, and he played in the Canadian Masters Badminton Tournament in 2011. But mostly, says George: “My whole life has been about music. Some people did something else during the day. I just did music all day long.” And as of the summer of 2016, George is now a member of POWERHOUSE.