Father and daughter duo Brad and Gabbi MacClure have recently completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Music at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) and they’ve had plenty of fun along the way.
A piano technician for 30 plus years, Brad also played the guitar for 40 years and has gradually added more and more instruments to his repertoire.
“Now I play many, including mandolin, fiddle and keys,” he says.
Daughter Gabbi, who grew up surrounded by music, says the decision to pursue a career in the industry was a natural choice.
“Growing up around music certainly helped set me in the right direction.”
Brad was running a music store when Gabbi was born and travelled overseas several times with the likes of ‘Pipin’ Hot’, playing mostly keys, and a little acoustic guitar.
In the early 90s he was involved in the folk scene and learnt tunes to play ceilidhs or barn dances.
“I went on to play ‘plastic paddy’ music for a while, Poguesy type stuff, and still play in a covers duo that has a little bit of a strand of that to it.”
He is interested in many other types of music too and has been known to play the fiddle in a jazz group from time to time.
Gabbi on the other hand is both a singer and songwriter and plays the guitar, bass and keys. She has big plans for her immediate future.
“I'm heading up to Wellington after Christmas to pursue teaching opportunities, and to keep up with my songwriting and performing, which will eventually lead to producing an album sometime in the future.”
Both found their studies thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding, with Brad saying as a musically literate old person most of his study wasn’t overly challenging, but it was inspiring.
“The research project and the well-designed GEN200 paper that led into it, were really inspiring for me.
“Also the mass culture/postmodernism…etc was very interesting.”
Gabbi was just 17 when she first came to SIT, so it has been quite a journey for her with ‘some ups and downs’ along the way, but she’s thrilled to have graduated.
“I have learned and grown so much and am ready to take on the world,’’ she says.
The pair were comfortable studying together with Brad saying they treated each other like classmates.
“We didn’t cross paths study wise that much, except when I played for her third year concert, which I enjoyed doing very much.”
Gabbi says her father has always been quirky and a lot of fun, so studying together was a cool experience.
“A little bit of extra motivation and moral support with assignments didn't hurt either,” she says.
Brad says the degree programme is well balanced and designed and he has been blown away at the quality of some musicians now emerging from the course.
He would like to study music more, perhaps towards a Masters, but his reasons for more study would not be to get another job.
“I just enjoy learning so much,” he says.
Gabbi is taking a leaf out of her father’s book by making an effort never to lose the sense of fun in anything.
“While there's always hard work, and he always encouraged us to be better, that quirky sense of fun will always stay with me,” she says.
“What's the point if you don't enjoy it, and make plenty of puns along the way?”