Tribute: Balcombe music teacher paved way for success

Maureen Preston, Jon Fielder, Jon's sister Pamela Haines, Celia Moore and David Gallachan last year
Maureen Preston, Jon Fielder, Jon's sister Pamela Haines, Celia Moore and David Gallachan last year
  • Jon Fielder died suddenly from an undiagnosed condition last month
  • He taught Ralph Moore at Warden Park, Ralph has gone on to manage dance DJ and producer Tensnake
  • Ralph puts much of his musical development down to Jon
  • Raplh’s mum Celia taught music alongside Jon for 20 years
  • She described him as the best teacher she ever worked with

A dance music manager and DJ has paid tribute to the music teacher who laid a platform for his success.

Ralph Moore, manager of German DJ and producer Tensnake, was taught at Warden Park by Jon Fielder, who died suddenly from an undiagnosed condition last month.

Jon was head of music at Warden Park in the 80s and 90s.

Ralph, who is due to start his own radio show on Capital Extra, said: “John Fielder gave me a platform. What we did back then led me down a path of music.

He taught me the importance of teamwork. Jon brought out the best in everyone. You’ll never find anyone who had anything bad to say about him.”

Jon was renowned for musicals he wrote and directed at Warden Park, and his tireless work out of hours.

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“He loved what he did. He never felt it was work. You don’t have to work a day in your life if you love what you do,” Ralph said.

Ralph’s mum, Celia Moore, taught music alongside Jon at Warden Park for 20 years.

She described him as ‘incredibly enthusiastic’.

“You would go the extra mile for him because he inspired you,” she said.

You would go the extra mile for him because he inspired you

“For you to want to go that extra mile takes someone very special indeed.”

She added he is ‘absolutely’ the best teacher she’s ever worked with.

Ralph performed as a teenager in Jon’s Ragamuffin Man on Blue Peter.

“We wanted to know the impact the show could have beyond West Sussex,” Ralph said.

“People thought it was fantastic. It was like going onto Top of the Pops, it was validation for what Jon was doing. This was as big as it could get.

“We spent months rehearsing them, it gave the kids a sense of purpose.

“I still remember the words and the music. I don’t remember my geography or history lessons. He’s created lifelong memories for people at the school, arguably not everyone gets that. We enjoyed it! It’s a testament to great teachers.”

Ralph went on to study at Haywards Heath College, then to Warwick University to study American and English Language. At the university he was editor of a student music magazine, and comedian Stephen Merchant wrote for him.

Ralph then worked for magazine Muzik, before pursuing artist Tensnake, the artist famous for the hit single Coma Cat, after seeing him perform at Fabric nightclub in London.

“Music drove everything I did, after five years of music with Jon,” he explained.

“It’s a long way from musicals but it’s still that experience that took me here.”

Jon helped Ralph develop a ‘musical ear’, as well as directed his singing in plays from 1986 until he left school in 1991. And Jon’s dedication and teamwork was an invaluable lesson, and admired his rare ability to write music, lyrics, melodies and dialogue.

“He gave as much as any teacher could to the situation,” Ralph said.

“He never finished at five o’clock, he was always doing stuff. He thrived on being busy. Finding talent like John’s comes along once in a generation. Warden Park was lucky to have him.”