While he can't read music, that didn't stop Geoff Sutcliffe from playing violin for some 50 years.
While he can't read music, that didn't stop Geoff Sutcliffe from playing violin for some 50 years.

He can’t read music, but he sure can play a fiddle

IN THE middle of busy market stalls, Sunday coffee ritualists and buzzing street corners in Rockhampton’s CBD sat a talented busker.

Yesterday morning, 83 year-old Geoff Sutcliffe rose out of bed for a 7am start outside the Kern Arcade where he began his set of country music classics with his trusty violin.

People wandered past with awe as the Frenchville man belted out some tunes, despite not being able to read sheet music.

That doesn’t stop him from performances in East St about every three weeks.

If one thing was certain, Geoff’s passion was enough to keep you watching.

“Country music is gradually dying, people have passed by and complimented on how it was great to hear the country songs,” he said.

One of the classic hits you could expect to hear is She Thinks I Still Care by the legendary George Jones.

And don’t expect Geoff to stop playing anytime soon.

The violin he performs with now is 35 years old, and cost him $20.

But it’s proven to be a worthy instrument.

While he’s got other acoustic violins at home, he modified this one to be an electric instrument.

Geoff, a self-taught violinist who has played the violin for over 50 years, said music runs through his veins.

He’d come from a musical family and started to play when he was 30 years old after his father had played the violin and piccolo.

In those days, there wasn’t television to keep the family entertained so they would perform together.

Later, Geoff would accompany his brother busking before he shifted from the region.

Geoff’s family has been in this region since 1951 when the Sutcliffe’s shifted from Kingaroy to Bajool where his father had purchased a property.

Geoff worked as a plant operator at the Department of Main Roads before he worked at the marble quarry at South Ulam for ten years before spending the last 20 years of his working life at the Department of Primary Industries.