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Tony Whennell Obituary

Tony Whennell Obituary

Tony tragically died of Covid-19 on 5 April, having fallen ill a few days previously. 

Tony grew-up in the Windsor area and attended Windsor Boys School in the early 60s. An extremely talented musician, he spent 25 years in the world of military music, including placements at the Royal Military School of Music, the Household Cavalry Regiment and, finally, the band of the Blues & Royals where he attained the rank of Corporal-Major (equivalent to Band Sergeant- Major). A multi-instrumentalist, throughout his playing career Tony was renowned for being able to play every type of saxophone, from bass to soprano, as well as for his skills as a clarinettist and flautist. His enormous musical versatility and engaging personality meant that he was greatly in demand on the professional circuit, whether playing in orchestras and jazz groups or in the annual pantomime at the Theatre Royal Windsor.
Tony began working at Eton in 1988. In addition to teaching saxophone and clarinet he directed a number of ensembles including the Junior Concert Band and, most recently, the Dixieland Band. During his time here he was also frequently called-upon as a player, most notably in the highly popular Jazz Masters Concerts, and as a band member in the ‘The Producers’ at the start of this academic year. An inspiring figure to his pupils and his colleagues, Tony was an exceptionally kind man who was well known for his positive and humorous outlook on life, as well as for his highly amusing introductions in concerts.

Having announced his retirement just a few weeks ago, the Summer half was due to be his last at Eton. Despite this, he had embraced the challenge of remote instrumental teaching with energy and enthusiasm. He will be hugely missed by those who knew him and the common room in the Music Schools will not be the same without his laughter. Tony’s self-penned Linked-in biography said it all - “A very nice bloke, handsome and modest”.
Our thoughts and best wishes are with Tony’s wife Betty, with whom he had recently celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary, and with Tony’s children and grandchildren. 

Tim Johnson 
Precentor and Director of Music

DATE POSTED: 14 April 2020
2020Parents & Pupils

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