*** I've just had my first study day at St Andrew's University for the Certificate in Jazz course - totally and utterly fantastic and brilliant!!!  I can't wait until the contact day in November...***

I have been playing the trumpet since I was old enough to be able to hold it ... I was really lucky in that my maternal grandfather, my 'papa' - Jimmy McLellan (trumpeter, band leader, brass tutor, etc) taught me the trumpet and, my paternal grandfather, my 'pappy' - William McMillan (pianist, organist and piano & organ teacher) taught me the piano and theory of music.  (Plus of course I have to mention and thank Mum & Dad's input - they wouldn't let me or my sisters give up this unique opportunity to learn two instruments and ensured we kept practising!!!)

Through my grandfathers,  I progressed through the London College of Music grades (Grades 1-4 for theory and Grades 1-5 for piano) and the Associated Board Of The Royal Schools Of Music grades (Grade 5 theory and Grades 3-7 in trumpet).  After Papa died, I continued to work on my trumpet skills and sat my SQA Higher Music (Parts I, II and IV - my project was on the three trumpeters Louis Armstrong, Harry James and Wynton Marsalis) and was awarded an 'A'.  I missed the chance to sit my Grade 8 trumpet whilst still at school (left 2 months before the 'time slot' for the music exams!) but I continued working on it and was fortunate enough to meet Geraint Evans (trombone tutor) whilst at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.  With his guidance, I sat my Grade 8 during the summer of '96 and achieved a pass with merit.

I have played in numerous bands from the moment Papa let me first join his big band - the KVO (Kirkintilloch Variety Orchestra) - at the age of 11 or 12.  Oh, and I haven't always played jazz, swing, big band and blues although that's where my passion lies and how I was brought up*.  I had played for many years with the Highland Chamber Orchestra until my health deteriorated before my transplant and, whilst at school, I played not only in Lenzie Academy's School Orchestra (from P7), Wind Band and Concert Band but also the East Dunbartonshire Senior Orchestra (even playing lead & solo trumpet with Lorna in Shostakovich's Symphony No 5 in S5!), Concert Band, Wind Band, Jazz Group, and successfully auditioned for the National Youth Wind Ensemble For Scotland and played with them in Ayr for several years.  Plus the fact that I now work in a Highland school (and have done for the last 11 years) means that you can't escape from helping out (the music department won't let you!) with the school's orchestra, jazz group, brass group, wind band, etc plus the local Ross-Shire Wind Band, Ben Bhraggie Band (when it was running), etc!

I continue to push myself hard in my music - I have now been to two Fife Summer Jazz Courses (2006 & 2007) to improve my improvisation skills (I had originally attended a jazz workshop whilst at uni during 1996 and managed to gain 5 credits at level 1!) and now I've signed up for the University of St Andrews Scottish Certificate in Jazz starting in October 2007.  Oh, and I will have joined the Musician's Union once my next pay cheque arrives.

Oh, and over the last year or so I've been learning the bass ...

... and the guitar and some other instruments!

(I had asked if I could borrow a cello as I've always wanted to learn the cello, so they gave me an instrument that looked like it was a cello ... I soon discovered it was a half size bass as they needed a bass player!!!  I've now borrowed a 3/4 size one, totally love playing it and haven't really looked back as I'm now in so many bands because of my bass playing although i do still dream of playing a cello one day... )

Below are a couple of links to some of the bands I'm currently playing with regularly (plus some photos!) ...

"My Wee Band"*
*(we need a name - so ideas on a postcard to ...)

Well, I have finally got around to forming my own wee band.  Our first rehearsal was on Wednesday 29th August 2007 and we meet in Crown Primary School (Inverness) each Wednesday night.  So far we don't have a name yet so it's often referred to as "June's wee band" or "the Wednesday night one" or "June's boys"(!) except I'm not the only female now so it's also called "June's 'Boys' plus Margot!" but I hope to have that all changed by this Wednesday (26th September 2007) when we vote on our new real name.

We play a variety of music covering all styles from swing, big band, jazz, blues, etc plus all the old 'standards' and just recently we've been working our way through a whole load of Dixieland music thanks to Gordon.

I hope to have a website for our wee band available soon with a link here to it but I can't publish it right now until I know what our name is ...

Band members ...

   June McMillan
 (band leader)
 Bass;  Trumpet;  Vocal
   Kenny Burnett  Piano;  Keyboard;  Vocal
   Harold Hepburn  Drums
   Walter Geddes  Trumpet;  Vocal
   Gordon Leys  Trumpet;  Vocal
   Margot Tuley  Clarinet;  Alto Sax
   Rob Thompson  Alto Sax;  Piano;  Keyboard
   Iain Wilson  Tenor Sax;  Alto Sax
   Alastair  Trombone
 *NEW*  Malcolm Vannan  Alto Sax


"The Cromarty Five"
(why isn't this aligning properly unless I write this?)

I think this is the first mention of this band online (but I could be wrong)...

Gordon (band leader) kindly invited me along to practise my bass in his band as at the time I didn't have a band to play bass in and, he wanted me to develop & improve my bass playing by forcing me to practise for his band!  Plus I think he needed a bass player and he must've been really desperate ...

And it really has been a learning experience!?  But I've loved every second of it even if he does keep me on my toes ALL the time ... like giving me all the chords in concert pitch but writing the bass music (if there is any) in treble clef (as opposed to bass clef) without telling me!  (And this can be like this week (20/09/07) where I've played bass all night in bass clef at my band on the Wednesday night followed by playing bass all night in his band but in treble clef ... no wonder my head hurts trying to work out what I'm meant to be doing!)

Anyway, they rehearse in Cromarty on a Thursday evening by prior arrangement and have regular gigs across the Black Isle, Inverness, etc

Band members ...

 Gordon Leys (band leader)  Trumpet;  Vocal
 Charlie Gallacher  Trombone;  Vocal
 Harold Hepburn  Drums
 Rosemarie  Piano;  Keyboard
 me  Bass


Highland Swing

For details of our latest adventures, where we're playing next plus the ability to hear us online(!), please visit our website at


Highland Swing Concert (in aid of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Transplant Unit) Friday 2nd September 2005

"Wee Swing" playing at Crown Primary School Fun  Day (18/06/05)

Highland Swing playing at Crown Primary School Fun Day (18/06/05)

Inverness Courier 14/06/05



(*  I should just clarify that I was brought up under an extremely wide and varied/disparate range of music and music styles ... anything from swing, big band (Glen Miller, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie to name a few), jazz (Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, etc), blues (Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, etc), boogie, Dixieland, classical (Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Haydn, Telemann, etc) '60s music has been a very big influence on me (favourite band is "The Monkees"!!!), '20s-50's (thanks to my grandparents and my Dad), Eva Cassidy (her "Live at Blues Alley" album is amazing and in my top 3 favourite albums ever list if i had one), Annie Lennox (she just gets better and better), David Bowie, '70's-now (because i was born in the '70s and have lived through the '80s, '90's and the '00s and love each decade's new styles!), musicals (anything & everything from Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd" to Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats"), operas (thanks to Lenzie Academy's Music Department collaboration with the Glasgow's Theatre Royal which enabled me to spend my sixth year going to loads of workshops, behind the scenes meetings, etc for various operas from "Les Troyens" to the "Cunning Little Vixen"), the Carpenters, Simon & Garfunkel, Phil Collins (+ his early days with Genesis), Anastasia, Dido, Sheryl Crow (I totally love her stuff and her voice), Madonna, etc, etc, etc and, even Harry Lauder courtesy of my father's questionable taste in music.  :-)

 So, a typical day could see me arranging my own version of something like "Angel Eyes" for my own wee band whilst listening to Annie Lennox's "Bare", driving to work listening to MFR (Moray Firth Radio), listening to the soundtrack from the original "Wicker Man" at work if I'm on my own or "Pirates of the Caribbean" or any Chet Baker/Miles Davis album if I'm not, ensuring I've got the Dixieland music photocopied ready for tomorrow night's rehearsal and, going out later to see "Swan Lake" at Eden Court, Inverness with friends!!!  Oh, and I'm currently listening to Mel C's "Northern Star" album as I update this ...