The musical path followed by Neil McGough is unimaginable now. He played trombone and harmonica in brass bands, dance bands, jazz bands, radio and television bands. He arranged and conducted for musicals, ballet, light classics, and symphony orchestras. He wielded the baton when Auckland’s leading musicians experimented fusing classical with rock. He ran two busy institutions, both now unrecognisable from their heyday: the Musician’s Union, and the Auckland Musicians’ Club. And he was a key member of the QEII Arts Council.
Among many memorable musical moments, McGough jammed with the Louis Armstrong band, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk; played a small role in the early careers of Kiri Te Kanawa and Alan Broadbent; directed one of John Rowles’s best concert bands; backed Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees as he was bombarded by tomatoes; conducted the Auckland Symphonia when it backed Headband, Ray Columbus, Suzanne and Bunny Walters; and he came out of retirement to play harmonica in a TV special hosted by Patsy Riggir.