Gillian played oboe for many years from her early teens, and was a keen member of the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra when in 2004 she was seriously ill and a blood poisoning superbug lodged in her wrist and left her hand partly paralysed. She managed to regain much movement in her hand, but was advised that no further progress was likely. This meant that she would be unable to play oboe in an orchestra again.
Fortunately, Gillian was also a taborer - a player of pipe and tabor. She plays a one handed pipe with her good hand, and she can hold a drum stick with the bad hand well enough to beat her tabor. Out of her misfortune came the incentive to concentrate on this music.
Pipe and tabor has been played in Gloucestershire for centuries – there is a fine mediaeval statue of an angel playing in the choir of Gloucester cathedral, and another on a roof boss in Tewkesbury abbey. Whilst common throughout the middle ages, its popularity declined, but it continued right into the 20th century in the County when it was played to accompany morris dancing.
Gillian has played throughout England and as far afield as New Zealand and Australia. She has been guest overseas player at traditional music festivals in Arbucies and Vilanova in Catalunya, Spain. She plays music from mediaeval times to the present day dressed in costume of the period. Her repertoire includes mediaeval, Tudor, Georgian and Edwardian tunes, with a particular focus on the English collections of John Playford and John Gay. She has been described on Radio 4 as one of the world's best pipe and tabor players!
Gillian is Secretary of The Taborers Society
Videos of Gillian playing may be seen in the following links
English Dance from 13th century
Grimstock from Playford collection http://www.youtube.com/user/mayhillgurdy?gl=GB&hl=en-GB#p/a/u/0/ichhY80zNyM
Grim King of the Ghosts from Gay's Beggars'Opera
medley for jig doll to dance to
Gillian playing in the wonderful Alistair's Music Shop in Cuba Street, Wellington https://www.facebook.com/alistairsmusic/videos/791164527890920/
see also her activities in the duo Bygonz here http://bygonz.blogspot.com/
you can contact Gillian on email@example.com
Performances include ***7 January St.Mary de Lode, Gloucester ***10 January Plough Monday Longsword dancing, York ***13 January Stroud Wassail ***2 February Wassail at Hartpury Perry Pear Centre ***9 February Taborers Gathering, London ***17 February NYFTE Chippenham ***10 March Travelling Music Hall ***7 April Gloucester Residents Day ***1 May Mayday on May Hill ***5 May Brockhampton Estate ***27 May Arbor Day, Aston-on-Clun ***9 June Aethelflaed procession, Gloucester ***10 June Mediaeval Festival, Winterbourne Barn ***21 June International Make Music Day, National Perry Pear Centre Hartpury ***24 June Project Pilgrim Celebration, Gloucester cathedral ***14 July Flaxley Music Festival ***1 September Gloucester Day ***13 September Gloucester Heritage Open Day ***16 September York Mediaeval Mystery Plays***6 October Harvest Home, Byfords Farm Taynton***7 Oct Winterbourne Mediaeval Barn Orchard Day ***5 January Wassail at Byfords Farm ***14 January Plough Monday Longsword dancing, York ***12 January Stroud Wassail ***1 February Wassail at Hartpury Perry Pear Centre ***16-17 February Re-enactors event Worcester ***22-24 February Taborers Gathering, London ***3 March Llanthony Secunda Priory. Gloucester ***16 March Upleadon Wassail ***6 April Leominster Mediaeval Pageant ***21 April Brockhampton Estate ***1 May dawn on May Hill ***5 May Halswell maypole***16 June St Helens York***21 June International Make Music Day, Huntley***22 June Awre***23 June Droitwich Food Festival***21 July Mitcheldean Folk Walk***27 &29 July Three Choirs Festival Fringe ***11 August Brockhampton Estate ***17 August Stokesay Castle ***25 August Siege of Gloucester re-enactment***26 August Tretower Court***7 September Gloucester Day***12-15 September IPATF, Stratford ***16 September Gloucester Heritage Open Day