Virgil Reality Playing with Carl Cox

When I’m not working the technology side of life, I’ve had some great experiences playing trumpet and flute at a variety of performances. Recently I played at the Adelaide 500 Supercars with Carl Cox and Eric Powell’s Mobile Disco. I’ve played a number of shows with Eric and Carl at the Mobile Disco over the years and also their Hot Sauce events.

I’ve performed several times on Rock the Boat. At the Qingdao Beer Festival in China. At Grapes of Mirth and with New York DJ Nickodemus. I’ve toured New Zealand and played Adelaide’s New Year Celebrations. Corporate gigs for CommBank, Telstra, Optus and others. I’ve performed in several shows for the Adelaide Festival Fringe and a number of shows and gigs around Sydney as they come up.

It’s fun, I’ve met some great friends and there should be some more coming up.

Virgil Reality Videos

With Alison Limerick

Virgil Reality (Trumpet) with Alison Limerick, Carl Cox and Eric Powell. Riva St Kilda.

Long Way to the Top with Trumpet Bagpipes

Recently I was on the SuperCruise and so was AC/DC cover band Dirty Deeds. They got me up to play the Bon Scott bagpipe part on Trumpet.

Bands in the Round Concert

I’ve been lucky to play Repiano, 1st and 2nd cornet parts with the Sydney Congress Hall Band and Friends for the Salvation Army. There have been several great concerts of challenging music.

I performed on Repiano Cornet for this clip for Bands in the Round.

Ah Hum, Adelaide Festival

The roots of Ah Hum’s music and some of the musicians are directly from South America and the band also includes Nepalese, Japanese, European Aussies. This show was produced for the Adelaide Fringe Festival and was performed in the Spiegeltent for one night only. It was an amazing night and one of the most enjoyable performances I have ever done. Video by Patrick Stapleton.

Monkey Spanner

Here is Monkey Spanner Ska Band playing Baggy Trousers.

Highway Hotel Melbourne Cup Celebrations

A great day and night for Melbourne Cup with Maverick and Ali.

Catching up with a friend on Favorite Things

I don’t often get to see my good friend Alain Valodze. As an experiment he sent me some guitar audio. I spliced it up and added some trumpet to it, for some LoFi fun. I enjoyed doing it and it's another way we can get together even when we are apart.

Dino Jag Plays Amy Winehouse

When I performed on Cruise and Groove, as well as Rock the Boat it was with the Dino Jag Trio. Here is a video of a local performance of “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse

Retrospective Compilation

Here ia a compilation of performance snippets from over the last few years.

Retrospective Compilation Two

Here are some more performance snippets from over the last few years.

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I love playing all sorts of shows, though many of them are centred around improvised music (Jazz and DJ sessions). These gigs are a particular challenge as creating music on the spot has to add to what’s going on around.

You don’t usually know what track a DJ is going to play. You have to make up a line or solo that fits in with the music and seems part of, or an extra part of it. You have to take chances, work with the mood of the room and the crowd. It’s different from improvisation with a jazz group, where the same sort of things apply, though you might know the changes, tune or have rehearsed.

Either way I can hear the key of the tunes. Like public speaking I already have some things I might know how to say (play), though when the topic (the tune or style) changes, I’m able to say something new.

I can emulate things going on in the track. I can improvise solos in appropriate spots or create new melodies. I can make repeated sections. Sometimes there are moments where special things happen. Sometimes by design, sometimes out of the ether. I do this in real time adjusting to the show, using experience to know when and what to play.

It’s important to stay in tune with the energy of the crowd and adjust your playing in response.

Walking out in front of a large crowd and not having a clue how it’s going to turn out is scary and exciting. When it all comes together it’s a really amazing feeling.

I use a TC Helicon Voicelive Touch 2 effects unit. I have regular presets, reverbs, delays, flanger, doubling and looping. Working in conjunction with variations, mutes and techniques with my trumpet and flute.


Not many people know that this is my second set of musical years after taking a break. I got a job working in media and technology, and for a while I left music totally behind. My tech career continues to this day, though I got back into music gradually.

One day I was walking along George Street in Sydney and saw a Holton ST208 Trumpet (The Maynard Ferguson designed model) in a hock shop. I hadn’t played for a long time so I bought it. Once I paid the money and got it home, I realised that I had to play the thing.

I had a formal musical education when I was younger and I took a trip down memory lane to get my ‘chops’ back in order. I joined an indie band that was looking for a trumpet player and my rust didn’t seem a big deal to them.

The songs and sheet music were pretty simple and the gigs compact. I knew how to practise and build myself back up and after a while I started getting asked to do other gigs. A lot of those were jumping up to do a few songs, reading the horn parts or learning songs at rehearsals. Originals and covers. I joined a few bands, though I’d kind of done that when I was younger.

I just kept playing live, hearing things, learning things, improving both my improvisation and performance. 30-45 mins a day, practice every day, a mixture of formal books and exercises. Also playing along with tunes in my apartment, headphones on, using a Yamaha Silent Brass mute.

Carl Cox and Eric Powell Mobile Disco at Randwick Racecourse

Go to Column Two

Later I joined the Sydney Congress Hall Band and Friends of the Salvation Army. The Salvos (who have over 150 years of brass band tradition) have been fun. I’ve performed at some amazing concerts, reading and performing some very challenging music. For the last 3 years, I’ve played at the Carols in Martin Place. Since Mum and Dad passed on this has been a great lead up to Christmas.

When I was younger I could have pursued this as a professional career, though now the sum product of choices means I’ve actually ended up in a place with performance and composition where I have my own particular angle on it. I’m the best Virgil Reality while I’m doing it.

Carl Cox and Eric Powell Supercars Gig

How it started

The opportunity had arisen for my brother and I to learn at primary school. He played the trombone and I played the trumpet. Dad was keen for this as he played both trumpet and trombone.

My Dad had played trumpet in the Air Force band. He loved Jazz Music and introduced me to his ever growing collection of jazz recordings. We’d sit and listen to lots of great stuff. He’d drink whiskey and coke, while we listened.

As school went on I played in the school bands, local concert bands, big bands and youth orchestra. I studied music and while that was going on had joined a rock band at 17 and got a whole other set of education.

We played a lot of support gigs for touring bands and my trumpet teacher at the time got me horn section gigs with many of the touring acts that would come through Adelaide. He had incredible lead chops and I was a very reliable backup. Sometimes we’d get to go on tours interstate and that’s how I learnt how to be a commercial traveller.

There were opera orchestra gigs, horn sections, shows and many other things that trumpets are in.

I wrote music for plays, songs, recorded in studios, did some musical direction, arranging and composition. I’ve led bands and been a member of them.

Ultimately though, the Elector of Hanover is not a patron of the arts in Australia, so I went and got an amazing first tech job (ask me about it some time) and the rest is history. I jumped into tv, publishing, media and advertising and it has been an amazing journey.

I think my ‘chops’ can handle another year, so let’s see what happens.

Virgil Reality at Brass Band Rehearsal

Composition Sketches

These are some compositional sketches I’ve been working on as the basis of developing a score style.



Urban Bar


Appearing on TV

Sundays in Town

Short Film

Shouldn’t have!

Carry, MIDI Sketch


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