David rules the waves as cruise liner music boss

Mariner of the Seas musical director David McLeod.
Mariner of the Seas musical director David McLeod.
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A Teri is hitting the high notes as musical director on board a luxury cruise liner on the high seas of Asia.

David McLeod, 44, was among one of the first families to move into Stirches around 1978 and was introduced to music by his dad and grandad, both also called David McLeod

He told the Hawick News: “My early musical training was from the Salvation Army. My dad played brass instruments and my grandad, too, along with various other family members.

“I guess I didn’t have a choice but wouldn’t have had it any other way!”

At the age of 17, David, a former Wilton school pupil, got into the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and started to branch out into other forms of music. He explained: “During my post graduate year, David Crisp, a teacher, got in touch to say that there was a brass teaching post up in Midlothian and that I should phone a number he gave me.

“So that was that and I started teaching in Midlothian and did so for about 16 years.”

However, despite David teaching a subject he was passionate about, things turned sour. “I got disillusioned with education,” he admitted. “And found myself continually fighting budget cuts and having to manage people, some of whom were very disillusioned themselves but had been caught in a rut of doing the same thing for years and years.

“I decided I wasn’t going to be one of them.”

And on July 4 last year, David claimed back his independence and took voluntary redundancy.

“I registered as self-employed,” he continued. “And then one day was talking to a friend who is also a trumpet player and he gave me an email for a guy in Miami. Four days later I was on a plane to Dublin to get a visa and then to London to get a medical.

“Shortly after I was on a ship based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and travelling all round the Caribbean playing twice a night to 1,200 people in production shows, in big bands or for guest entertainers.”

David is now on board Royal Caribbean International’s Mariner of the Seas exploring south-east Asia and China.

And despite being away from his Gorebridge home, and wife Karen and daughters Emma, 16, and Sarah, 13, for seven months at a time, David says he feels lucky to be doing something he loves.