After attending Redby Secondary Modern Boys' School (Sunderland), West
Park Central Boys' School and Monkwearmouth Grammar, in 1960 Keith Trewhitt
went to the Royal Manchester College of Music. His first teaching post, from
1964, was at the South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys.
Mr Trewhitt took over on from Mr Jackaman who had been teaching at the school since
1947, and began reviving a musical tradition in the school which had waned a little
as Jackaman approached his retirement.
Spring Concerts, Summer Concerts and Carol Concerts were all attacked with a lively
enthusiasm, which rubbed off on the boys. He would compose and arrange music for the
choir and orchestra (most notably in 1968, when he was in hospital with appendicitis,
he arranged "Songs of the Sea", which included an arrangement of "Rule
Keith Trewhitt was lucky - he didn't inherit the old music room at the end of the
Technical Block. Instead, he had a brand new music room in the Art Block. The "inner
music room" became something approaching a social club, and many breaks and lunch-times
were spent by a large number of music enthusiasts. Unlike Mr Jackaman, Keith Trewhitt's
musical tases were somewhat catholic and the music room would often reverberate to
the strains of his jazz piano, or a record from some popular "beat combo"
of the time.
Although the school had done musical plays in the past, there had been something
of a lapse in these. Instead, an annual School Play had become the tradition under
the direction of Les Seaword. When he left, the School Plays stopped and in 1969,
Keith Trewhitt (with the Girls' Grammar) filled the gap with Gilbert and Sullivan's
The Pirates of Penzance - this was followed two years later by an equally successful
The new music room was the target of two vandal attacks. In 1972, someone threw burning
newspapers hrough a broken window (broken by Mr Trewhitt in his attempt to kill a
wasp) and set the grand piano alight - on another occasion, they broke into the inner
music room and took violins with which they made a bonfire.
As Keith Bulley puts is:
Not only a first rate teacher but also a talented and energetic pianist, organist
and choirmaster who was at home in a wide variety of musical styles. Unfortunately,
music was a bit of a 'Cinderella' subject at our school ... and he was far too good
to be wasting his talents where they were plainly not being appreciated ... As someone
who studied music at university, I can honestly say that I was never better taught
than by Keith Trewhitt.
Although I should add to this that Keith Trewhitt's talents were appreciated by many,
both inside the school and out ... it was just the school administration that failed
to appreciate the jewel that they had.
When he left the school in July, 1973, he started lecturing at the Newcastle College
of Arts, and in the same year started as musical director of the South Shields
Amateur Operatic Society, taking over from Stewart Blenkinsop and conducting most
of their shows over a period of thirteen years.
In 1986 he left teaching altogether. Using his amazing pianisitic skills, he started
a new career aboard cruise ships, including the QEII, which is where he is today.