My Burnley: Accomplished musician, composer and teacher John Garrett gives his views on the town

In the fourth of our new series ‘My Burnley’ accomplished musician John Garrett gives us his views on his hometown.
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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am 56, a musician, teacher and composer. As well as choral music I have also written music for TV, including The Jury Room for CBS. I am the conductor of Burnley Community Choir and Nelson Ladies’ Choir and I also teach singing at Springfield Primary School and piano at Blessed Trinity RC College. I started my teaching career at Walton High (now Pendle Vale, Nelson) and after a year I took the post of head of music at my old school St. Theodore’s in Burnley. I combined both teaching and freelance singing work, and later studied with renowned vocal coach, the late Patrick McGuigan, who also taught Russell Watson. In 2014 I was awarded a fellowship from the London College of Music.

In 2004 I left teaching and worked freelance as a vocal and piano coach. In 2017-2020 I returned to the classroom as music teacher at QUEGS in Blackburn. I have recently returned to the concert platform and raised money for Ukraine and for the homeless people of Burnley at Christmas. Both concerts combined raised just under £5000 in total.

Musician John Garrett is this week's My BurnleyMusician John Garrett is this week's My Burnley
Musician John Garrett is this week's My Burnley
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How long have you lived/worked in Burnley? Apart from spell out to university, I’ve lived in Burnley all my life.

Why did you choose to live/stay/work in Burnley? I chose to live in Burnley as I enjoyed living in Burnley when I was growing up. It gave me lots of musical opportunities as a youngster and when I finished university, I wanted to return and give something back through teaching. Also all my family are here. I love the surrounding scenery, and as I’ve just recently began painting in oils, this has been a great inspiration in my paintings.

What do you think are the best parts of the town? If I had to pick a part of town, I guess it would be Cliviger and Brunshaw area. These are special areas to me. And, of course,Towneley and it’s hall are a great asset to the town.

Is there anything you dislike about Burnley?


How would you describe Burnley to a visitor who has never been here before? I’d tell them to watch the film Bank Of Dave which I feel portrays Burnley in a fabulous and positive light. Too often the media portray Burnley in such a negative light yet in truth it is in my opinion a great place, with great people and beautiful countryside. Also it was great to be sponsored by Dave Fishwick for both my recent charity events which helped raise lots of money.

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