Meet Nigel Rich – Heritage Manor resident and drummer extraordinaire

Meet Nigel Rich, one of our beloved residents at Heritage Manor, Morwell, Victoria.

At Baptcare, we love to see our residents continue doing the things they love – and Nigel is no exception! A talented drummer with a deep love for music, he started drumming lessons in 1958 at Ivan Lol’s Drum Centre. After a year of lessons, Nigel purchased his first drum kit, a three piece set obtained second-hand from the Drum Centre - and it’s fair to say, he’s never looked back.

A band of brothers

Nigel and his brothers – Adrian, Peter and Colin – started a band with their mate, Johnny, in the late 1950s. Performing as The Rich Brothers, they played their first gig at Morwell’s Kernot Hall in 1959 as a support act for The Thunderbirds. Their group was in great demand, performing all around Morwell, including a town parade attended by Bert Newton.

Bert wasn’t the only big name The Rich Brothers encountered! Nigel’s favourite gig was a fundraiser for the local football club at the Moe Town Hall in 1959. The Master of Ceremonies was none other than famous race caller, Bill Collins.

Joining The Firebirds – and finding his soulmate

The brothers decided to disband in 1961. But performing was still very much in Nigel’s blood, so in 1962, he joined The Firebirds. They played all around Gippsland, including the YMCA, RAAF Base, The Karma in Morwell and at local rock’n’roll dances. Nigel performed with many well-known artists including Alison Durbin, Yvonne Barrett and Dave Rebecchi. By 1969, he had formed his own band – The Nigel Rich Quartet.

Shortly after, Cupid’s arrow struck when Nigel met the lovely Brenda, a friend of his sister. After they married and had a little girl, Nigel decided to give up performing, becoming an Industrial Electrician at the APM. It’s a decision he never regretted, allowing him to spend more time with his family, which had grown to include two beautiful daughters.

New tech – electronic drum kits

Nigel continued to play drums in his spare time and took a big step forward in 2012, purchasing his first electronic drum kit from a former U2 tribute band drummer. Recently, he felt it was time for an upgrade and so has spoiled himself with a brand new electric drum kit, which was set up for him in one of the Heritage Manor nooks.

Now Nigel can play the drums through his headphones without disturbing his neighbours. Of course, they still like to stroll past from time to time and listen to him play out loud. Follow the sound of the drums and you’ll soon see our residents dancing and singing along to Nigel’s tunes. Almost 70 years after those initial drum lessons at the Drum Centre, he’s still the consummate entertainer!