Please Note: Everything showing as available to buy is physically in stock in our UK warehouse and available for delivery!
Aidan McIntyre
Category: Gong Work


…. Am I really thinking about getting a gong???

   To even think it might be something that I would think about!!!  I surprise myself!

   But I just had to have one. It’s an expensive thing to buy. But it’s little risk really, if nothing else it looks nice hanging on the wall, and it feels wonderful when you strike it gently…

   That was how I thought then, after hearing and feeling the gong played by Don Conreaux close to me on a warm September afternoon in 1992 in Northern California. I was at a Spiritual Festival called ‘The Ascension Celebration’ held on the shores of Lake Siskiyou in the shadow of Mount Shasta. It was an unforgettable experience, and it would turn out to be one that would change my life forever.




I heard an unusual sound and saw people lying on a big patch of straw on the ground…

(“…There’s something happening here

But what it is ain’t exactly clear

There’s a man with a GONG over there

Telling me I got to be aware’…

Stop, hey, what’s that sound, everybody look what’s gongin’ round…”)

No, not Stephen Stills … But Don Conreaux…!


   So then as I sat with my dog on the ground in the shade of a tree, with others laying down on straw all around, Don brought the gong to me and in the course of his demonstration he waved the gong over everyone. When he came to my tree and played before me, I seemed to de-materialise and morph into the tree itself, and light seemed to be inside me and streaming out of my Solar Plexus, like I had a ball of light inside

me which was projecting outwards as the gong was played by Don… It was an Awesome experience (in the true meaning of the word). I sat there in the silence profoundly moved by what had just happened. Slowly the sounds of the forest and the people around became more prominent until I was well and truly ‘back’ in the forest with all the people again…

   The others were smiling and wandering off slowly. A few went to Don’s table which had cassettes and books (Dane Rudhyar, Paramahansa Yogananda) and lots of tapes. The Box Set of twelve cassettes had the name of a planet on each one. Then I became aware of the ‘Planet Gongs’ all played by Don, 45 minutes of each Planet gong. I chose the tape with each gong played for 5 minutes and a finale of all the planets played together.

   Those vibrations that I felt sitting under that tree never ever left me.They seemed so familiar somehow, and the people who had experienced that demo seemed to me like they too were floating, truly touched by the gong sounds.

   After selling tapes and answering questions Don disappeared into the crowd. The energy of that whole festival was transformed by Gong Master Don Conreaux and his 28” Symphonic gong. I experienced a little death and at the same time it felt like coming home too.

   When I was young it seemed all my friends wanted was a guitar, a drum kit! Their own band etc. I myself was crazy about music. Listening to it, watching it played, buying it with my hard-earned shillings, collecting singles, 45’s and albums but especially going to live concerts whenever the bands came to town.

   I saw Dylan, Mayall, Jethro Tull, King Crimson and even Art Blakey at Ronnie Scotts and many many more… I even saw Jimi Hendrix twice. Music was ‘my bag’…and where I spent all my money. ‘Music Soothes the Savage breast’ and sets one free. But with the gong…the music I heard in my head…the vibrations that came alive in my body…all with very little effort, it was a mini revolution…

   (Ultimately as I would find out, the best thing was, that when I shared my gong and played it for other people they seemed to love it too).

   So as soon as I got back home to Oakland California - I’m from England, but I had been living in the Bay Area since 1980 - I went to the only place I knew I would find a gong…China Town…and bought myself an 18” inch Wind gong for $175 ….! A lot of money for a circle of brass. Still I was hoping it would ‘do the trick’ and help to send me to that special place I had briefly glimpsed back in Shasta.

   Just Had To Have One…Any Gong… (hence the title of this piece…)That little 18” inch wind gong lived in my car, and I played it at every opportunity. The stand was a fallen tree from the local cemetery and I got a few different mallets, and a singing bowl too.

   I loved it and shared it with many people but ultimately, I did realise that it was not the sound that I needed. Which is when I called up Don Conreaux in New York…I told Don of my journey so far with this gong and asked him about the gong he used that had such a powerful and profound effect on me that day in Shasta. He shared that it was a 28” Nickel Silver Tam Tam made in Germany. As our conversation deepened, he spoke of the work he was doing, his campaign to get 24hours of World Peace. And his project he called The World Bell Peace Gardens and I saw the plans.

   Soon after that conversation I visited him in New York and went to some of his performances and it soon became clear that I had to save up and get a real Tam Tam from Germany.

   Don’s work was inspirational, and a fire was lit inside me. I wanted to be a part of this musical initiative, of Peace through the healing sound of the Gong and the music of the Spheres. I thought I could perhaps help him and be part of this mission of Peace and the journey going forward…

   In my efforts to find a better gong I contacted Paiste and discovered a little-known fact that beneath the house of Thomas Paiste was the world’s only Subterranean Gong Chamber! Where all the different Paiste gongs where represented.

   That blew my mind because I really needed to find MY gong, the one that I resonated with…the one that was such an inspiration …that gave me that same thrill, that out of body experience, when I disappeared into the light…

   It wasn’t long before I found myself outside the house of Thomas Paiste knocking on his door in Nottwil, Switzerland. His son answered, and Michael went upstairs to ask his Dad if this guy (me) could go into the chamber to hear the gongs.I got the ok and Michael took me into Gong Heaven…

   That green light meant I got to spend the day playing and recording all of the gongs. What a blessing that day was.!

   As soon as I got back home to California, I listened to all the recordings then called up the Paiste warehouse in La Brea to be sure they had my new gongs in stock - Sound Creation Moon and Sound Creation Earth.

Then I drove down the coast - six and a half hours - in my old 1962 Rambler Ambassador to pick up two gongs and bring them home.

  Excited to say the least …I called up Gong Master Don to share my joy, to my surprise he said “that’s great timing, I have a few gigs in England so please come and join me there with your gongs and we can make some ripples together…”


   “Please join me there in England with your gongs!!!"

   So not only was I the proud owner of two beautiful gongs and a singing bowl but also ‘The Grandfather of the Gongs’ Grand Gong Master Don Conreaux asked me to join him and play on tour in the UK… (It’s worthwhile remembering that travelling with the gong was a real labour of love…this is HEAVY METAL all the way (with the stands etc)…and labour intensive…)

   Back home in Oakland I was gaining more experience. I felt the peace gongs had to be shared with as many people as possible. So I introduced the gong to school assemblies, hospitals, hospices, day care centres, played at weddings, birthdays, memorials, big openings, quiet yoga classes. In fact I did gong baths far and wide.

   I met another amazing gong player and mentor KAREN STACKPOLE and after a while we formed a duo called EUPHONICS and played gigs around the Bay Area. We even opened up for the San Francisco Ballet at the Concord Pavilion.

   I became the thirteenth instrument in JON BIRDSONGS HIEROGLYPHICS ENSEMBLE…(a big all brass jazz band) and along with RALPH CARNEY (Tom Waites; sax player) joined in with his jazz band called ‘Special Parrot’ on a few gigs.

   My original wind gong lived in the boot of my car along with a conch shell. Wherever the gong is played we always had the Conch Shell or Conch Horn. An amazing primal instrument, used globally at all important ceremonies. The shell became an indispensable instrument in our ‘Medicine Bag’ and continues to be one of those instruments that … ‘you don’t leave home without.’

   And as time went by, I did what I could to gain more and more experience not only in performance but in my first motivating factor…to share the gong of peace with as many people as possible to help and inspire them. For many it had a profound effect…special needs and autistic children, troubled teens, and young adults too.

   It was the Gong of Peace and a new sonic experience for most people. Not new of course because the gong has been around for thousands of years in sound ceremony. I could really feel how the sound calmed people, relaxing them even for a short time. It worked wonders! And a far better alternative to drugs.

(The Kundalini Yoga pioneer, Yogi Bhajan had been treating heroin addicts in LA, to try and get them to change the direction of their lives by ‘blasting them into oblivion’ with gong tones from his 28” gong, for years).

   By then the New Age was gathering momentum, yoga studios and alternative therapies became the order of the day, and the eastern bloc countries opened up to the West.

   Don and I would speak often and would meet once a year in England for the Mind Body Spirit Festival and the Gong Master Training course. We met in Brazil, Australia, New York and LA, for various concerts and workshops with different musicians who possessed a variety of skills.We organised the concerts Don called ‘The Mysterious Tremendum’ concert for World Peace.

   For the Mind Body Spirit in London - which was then 8 days long - all day, every day we did gong sessions performances and workshops. I began spending one month a year, then two months a year, then three months in England with Don.

   One year I drove the gongs, stands and all the equipment to Toscana near Rome and back. Unfortunately our workshop was cancelled as it was the day the Italians won the World Cup! I had bought a car and parked it at my Mum’s all year. That was a big saving, and to have a car opened up the UK and the EU.

As time went by, I got us some gigs in Poland! It would be Don’s first journey to that part of the world and mine too. A big Concert at ‘The Castle’ in Poznan and lots of smaller events scattered round Poland, a week-long workshop, as well as a week of therapy sessions at a healing centre in Poznan.

   Now the Gong of Peace was gathering momentum and quite a following,Don was finally getting paid for bringing the gong and playing in new territories, teaching others by sharing his expertise and how to play the gong too. People thronged to hear the gong well played and to discuss its capacity to heal. It was all about being able to share this treasure of Vibrational Therapy with as many as possible, seeking out the places and the people who would benefit the most.

   So the gong kept moving onto the next event with Don at the helm, leaving an echo behind in the shape of Peace, Loving Kindness and Transformation…

   Students from the four corners of the world, and from the eight corners of heaven came under Don’s tutelage during the more than half a century that he travelled with the gong. Soon there would be no need to even bring a gong with him because all the students would bring their own.

   A gong well played can heal and repair and it’s a full orchestra of holistic sound in itself. Don’s books and training manuals are a tour-de-force of instructions on how to play well and connect spirit and soul, hand and eye with this incredible instrument.

   So inside these early ‘sound baths’ Don called them ‘GONG BATHS’ (Don being the first person to name them that) were gifts for the few. At that time most people found out about the gong only by word of mouth. The doors slowly opened and before long there were requests for workshops and concerts. Then there were big public Gong Baths where the ‘GONG’ came into its own.

   Communications across the world became more important. We were in Kraków - me and Don - and we had the morning off. The trumpeter of St. Mary's started playing from the church tower…

“It was time” I said…

“Time to get an email for you…”

   Although at first Don put up some resistance it wasn’t long before GONGMASTER2001@YAHOO.COM was created.

   As time went by there was MY SPACE. And it’s hard to remember what came first ... the Egg or the Hen …but then there was YouTube… I bought a recording device and we recorded everything…listening in the car on the way back. Don made tapes back in New York and then eventually CD’s took over and videos and then film etc. International events and appointments followed and we travelled with the gong …. going round the world twice…

   Teaching the Magic of ‘The Way of The Gong’ became my life’s work. I had no doubt that at the heart of the matter was ‘The Gong of Peace’ and it needed to be shared and played so that more people could have the opportunity to feel that ‘Inner revolution’ that changed my life.

   No more so than in these troubled times is the message of Peace more resonant. If the power of the gong can go some way to make peace a reality for humanity, then that is power to the people indeed…

   We are blessed to be able to welcome the Grand Gong Master Don Conreaux to Hawkwood College, Stroud this July at what will be his last international training in the UK and the EU.

   It is fitting that as he approaches his 90th birthday in early September that the country in which he taught his instrument at Gong Master Training will also be the last to receive his final instructions. Following Don's retirement GMT will continue with myself, Aidan, and Tim Byford at the helm with dates for 2025 and 2026 are already booked at Hawkwood College.

   This year which will be the 29th year of Gong Master Training (GMT) and run from Friday 26th July 2024 until Sunday 4th August 2024.

For more information and to book visit

Your basket contains:0 items