Inside King's-Edgehill School

KES Alumni  - Craig O'Neill

Posted by KES Blogging Team on Aug 11, 2019 9:11:00 PM

Craig ONeill AlumDuring the summer of 1984, I had asked for a guitar for my birthday so when I came back in September, I started taking guitar lessons thanks to my roommate Pat Andrews (1983-86) who had taken lessons the year before. I was listening to AC/ DC and Van Halen and we borrowed each other's cassettes so I discovered Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. I really enjoyed hard rock music so learning guitar was the right instrument for me. I practised every chance I could get while at School. Over time, I wouldn't even go out into the quad on break to socialize, instead I would stay in my room and practice.

I remember one weekend the teacher on duty asked me where I was all night and I explained that I was in my room practising the whole time, and he barely believed me. My highlight performances at KES included a very nervous Christmas concert where we performed two songs in front of most of the School. As a Prefect in Grade 12, I decided to do guitar wake-ups while on duty; my fellow prefects helped me by carrying my amplifier floor to floor. My favourite was doing wake up for the whole School on graduation day in the middle of the quad. I had to plan that one with the Headmaster. After KES, I would teach myself by using books, playing by ear and learning from friends. Recently, I furthered my education by attending Berklee College of Music online. I just graduated this year (2018) with a guitar master certificate, and it was an amazing experience. While at university in the 80s, I played with various people for fun still trying to learn as much as possible. Once I was out of university I really got into playing live with various bands, and I had a lot of luck with some of those early bands in getting gigs. For the last 18 years, I have been in a band called oldSchool. After 25+ years of playing live, I am retiring at the end of 2018 with one final show in early 2019 to say good bye. I am happy to spend more time at home and playing different styles of music that I learned at Berklee just for my own entertainment.

Music has been a great stress relief from my day job, and it has provided a pile of nice guitars including my dream guitar a 1972 Les Paul Deluxe cream color (just like the one Randy Rhoads played) and other professional grade equipment all paid for by playing music. I have had the privilege of playing in NB, PEI, NS, NFLD and Las Vegas. We have also played many major outdoor festivals across Atlantic Canada. We have also played for the CFL, and the NY Islanders NHL team; as well as many bars and company parties over the years. I have personally met many of my musical heroes and enjoyed their conversations and concerts. You just can't ask for anything more positive in life than the musical experience.

Does this make you nostalgic for your days at KES? Stay in touch with us and each other, and keep up with all the goings-on at School. More reasons to be part of our alumni database - here.

 

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