As he prepares to leave More Music, community musician and composer Pete Moser looks back over the career that’s taken him all around the world.
Artistic Director, More Music (From 1993)
Arriving in Morecambe in the early 1990s, I realised that I wanted to stop touring work. Here I found a great context in which to work. The town was a typical seaside casualty, suffering an economic downturn and huge social issues. I joined More Music as a musician-in-residence, and was soon joined by Kathryn MacDonald, whose passion for making change in communities has been an essential driving force for the charity.
25 years later, More Music has developed in a series of waves, responding to changing funding environments. But it has always retained its vision for “a society where access to, and engagement with arts and culture transforms lives and communities”.
I define myself as a community musician and a composer in the community. I have spent over 30 years making large-scale community music projects that include a range of musicians from beginners to professionals. I work with marginalised people and use my practice to give individuals new opportunities to progress, and help transform communities.
At More Music, I have not only had the opportunity to develop my creative composition but I’ve developed an understanding of finance, project management, strategic planning, fundraising, staff management, partnership development and research methodology.
One-man band (From 1987)
A friend suggested I put a drum on my back and I’ve never looked back! First creating the Fastest One Man Band in the World, then the Victorian Knick Knack Man and the percussive Chilean Bird. Each one a celebration of coordination and a new take on a very traditional form. In 2017 I created a new sit-down band, Sgt Peppers Lonely One Man Band, for the 50th anniversary of this great album.
In 1996 I ran the first One Man Band Shebang Festival in Morecambe, bringing bands from all over the UK. Since then we’ve held the festival five times.
Collaboration with Adrian Mitchell (1983 – 2008)
I connected with Adrian while writing the music for the community film ‘King Real and the Hoodlums’ (a take on King Lear) in Barrow-in-Furness. Together we wrote six scores for music theatre shows at the Tricycle, for Walk the Plank, Playbox and the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, as well countless songs.
We shared a great love of humanity, as well as political anger and passion, and had great fun touring a show of songs and poems with his daughter, Sasha. We completed more than 50 shows over 12 years or more.
Welfare State International (1981 – 1993)
I had 12 brilliant years working with John Fox, Boris Howarth and many other inspiring theatre makers at Welfare State International. I started as a techie and went on to become musical director for projects in Japan and Tanzania, and across the UK.
A seven-year project in Barrow ended with a three-year, Arts Council England-funded ‘musical animateurship’. During this time I truly became a community musician – creating choirs, accordion bands, rock festivals, schools projects, a panto and a club night called ‘Rock the Boat’.
Childhood and becoming a musician
I grew up with classical music all around me, and then in my teens discovered The Beatles, west coast bands, blues, John Renbourn and Pink Floyd. Following an overland trip to Nepal when I was 17, I decided to study music and went to Southampton University with a focus on composition.
And now, as I leave More Music, it’s time for me to be a musician again.