Musician Shaun Buswell scores big with Tube challenge

Shaun Buswell performs at the concert on Saturday night

Shaun Buswell performs at the concert on Saturday night

First published in News
Last updated
Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

AFTER months of stalking musicians on the London Underground, a Swindon musician has hit all the right notes to form a unique orchestra.

Shaun Buswell, of Stratton, started a musical challenge to create an orchestra made up of musicians he met while travelling on the Tube last year.

The terms of the challenge stipulated that the 36-year-old had to form a band to perform at one of 12 top London venues by December 12.

However, the date was pushed back to Saturday night, when around 70 people played at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, to raise money for the Daytrippers charity, which works with ill children.

Shaun is relieved that the gruelling project, which saw him approaching complete strangers who happened to be carrying musical instruments on the Tube, is over and he can go back to reality.

He said: “I think it went pretty well. Everybody is surprised that I am not elated, but I don’t think what we have achieved has quite sunk in yet. There were lots of people from Swindon who came up to support us which was great to see.

“I don’t think I realised at the beginning just how big a project I had set myself. I had to give up my life just to be able to get it all together and I am so thankful I have a supportive girlfriend and family who have helped me through it.

“I had a lot of mixed reaction, some people told me to go away, others said they didn’t have the time.

“In the end we had a great group of people though, all of which had not played together until Saturday night and it was a great evening.”

Shaun imposed a number of rules when recruiting the musicians, including not knowing them personally.

They also had to be carrying their instrument when he met them and the initial meeting must have taken place on the Tube network.

Some of the musicians were well established, with one trumpet player having recorded with Ray Charles.

He also recruited twins who he approached independently, two months apart in the same location, Tower Hill Tube station.

Leila Talmadge, of Daytrippers, said: “When Daytrippers first heard about Shaun we realised he had set himself a huge musical challenge, against the odds considering he cannot read or write music.

“Not only did he have to meet each of his future musicians personally in the limited confines of the London Underground, but he had to engage them enough to get them to contribute in his challenge and play his music whilst never breaking one of his many set rules.

“Daytrippers were inspired by this huge undertaking as the disabled children and their families that we work with also face many of their own challenges daily.

“We believe the 121212 Underground Challenge will make a huge impact with the story and bringing a community together, whilst having fun working hard towards making it happen.”

The Underground Orchestra event also premiered a documentary of Shaun’s journey carrying out the Underground Orchestra Challenge.

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