Music teacher inspired all

Zoe KeenanGeraldton Guardian
Instrumental music school services teacher Anne Williams said of Greg McMurdo, ‘He was an amazing music educator and I always aspired to be like him. ‘
Camera IconInstrumental music school services teacher Anne Williams said of Greg McMurdo, ‘He was an amazing music educator and I always aspired to be like him. ‘ Credit: Supplied

A big smile, an even bigger heart and a friend to all is how John Willcock College music teacher Greg McMurdo will be remembered after his funeral in Geraldton last weekend.

Mr McMurdo, 38, died suddenly in Perth on April 30.

He started working at the college in 2009 and with his passion and enthusiasm for music he quickly made his mark.

Colleagues and friends shared memories and thoughts of the man with The Guardian.

All agreed he was someone who was always willing to help and was an inspiration, not only to his students but to teachers as well.

Geraldton Senior College music teacher Timothy Stewart went to school at Geraldton Senior College with Mr McMurdo and said he was the reason he had a career change.

“He was pretty much the one who inspired me to do the teaching course for music. I was a chef for 12 years so he was the one that made me make the decision to go back to study music,” Mr Stewart said.

“He was a friend for everyone, he helped me a lot because he had been teaching a bit longer than me so he was always the person to go to for me to get advice and help with anything really.

“He was always willing and always made the time to help anyone and everyone.”

Teachers and parents have said Mr McMurdo has left a mark on the students he taught after putting so much of his time into making sure his students did well.

“He was just a really happy man and happy doing what he was doing, he always put music first and I think every spare minute he had was doing something for some kind of music program or setting up something new for the kids,” Mr Stewart said.

Instrumental Music School Services teacher Anne Williams said Mr McMurdo replaced her during her maternity leave and his unselfish nature meant he always put music first.

“He was always doing something for other people, he’d never say no. He was constantly about the students, about making sure his students were successful and loved music,” Mrs Williams said.

“With his ATAR students, he would just give them extra time, he would make sure they knew every aspect of their exams. He just wanted them to succeed.

“He’s completely unselfish in that regard — made me feel guilty at times.”

John Willcock principal Julie Campbell said Mr McMurdo’s outstanding qualities as a teacher led him to be one of four finalists in the Secondary Teacher of the Year category for the WA Education Awards in 2015.

She said he was an extraordinary teacher who loved the students and they loved him.

“He was forward-thinking, innovative and took students places where I think some of them probably didn’t think they could get with their music,” she said.

Mrs Campbell said some highlight moments during his time was when he took students from JWC and Nagle Catholic College to Sydney to perform at the Sydney Conservatorium and Sydney Opera House.

He also produced a performance that students played at John Willcock for then prime minister Kevin Rudd and Federal MPs.

Parents Yuvarase “Bunny” and Raymond McMurdo said they would like their son lovingly remembered through the verse: “Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure, you are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.”

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