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Moe Wozniak, A Personal Reflection

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In the fall of 1973, as a wide-eyed 1st year music student at the University of Western Ontario, I became aware of a much talked about student who recently graduated from this close-knit community. His name was Moe Wozniak. His reputation was a combination of his musical prowess as demonstrated by his position in Orchestra London and some rather remarkable stories associated with various social activities at the faculty. One rumor that I was never able to confirm was that of a spectacular ride down the middle of the football field (during the game) by a convertible car driven by a man clad in a full-length fur coat….hmmm….

In the early 1980’s when the HSSB was in its infancy, Moe Wozniak was a founding member. He settled into the 2nd Baritone chair for a remarkable run of over 25 years. His artistry can be heard on many recordings we made in those years. Take a moment to listen to the Variations for Brass Band by Vaughan Williams. The Euphonium/Baritone section is simply world-class. It was always a formidable sight from my perch in the Solo Cornets across the band to Moe, Herb, and Ian.

Moe had a mischievous side that we all loved. Who could forget the late-night antics of the “Tubettes” on our 1987 tour of the Maritimes or of the hilarious nicknames we gave one and other? All conceived by Moe, of course.

How about the 3-foot pyramid of slick purple hair crafted by his colleagues in advance of the HSSB’s legendary performance at the Winnipeg New Music Festival. To see the look on the face of Bramwell Tovey as he came on stage to conduct was priceless.

Then there were the many bus rides to a variety of Ontario cities for run-out performances. The back of the bus was always a fun place to be, and Moe was always the ringleader.

However, there was a serious side to Moe as well, one that existed under the radar and that I particularly appreciated. In addition to his musical artistry, Moe helped with creating artwork for various fundraising events, posters to promote concerts, house concert programs and most importantly, created and managed the Band’s very first website.

I will miss Moe; he was one of a kind.

Ray

Maurice Wozniak

  • St James Park, 1983