I was listening to a recording of My Fair Lady last night from this years BBC Proms and it set me thinking about my musical milestones. Why My Fair Lady? Because it was the last school production I took part in before I left Secondary school- but more about that later!
My first musical milestone was at the tender age of 9 at Primary School, when I heard for the very first time those opening notes of Beethoven 5 … Da da da dar, da da da dar… Well you know how it goes.. Why a milestone? Well, It was the first time I became conscious of classical music, and it was played to the class in a portacabin whilst outside a thunderstorm raged and torrential rain beat down onto the classrooms flat roof! so unsurprisingly it is ingrained on my memory!
On to Secondary school and I was a member of the school choir and the orchestra (2nd clarinet) and my next milestone was playing in the orchestra for the school production of Oliver! Which is still one of my favourite musicals today.
Other performances followed in either the choir or orchestra, but my first principle role was in My Fair Lady (see we got back there in the end!) I played Mrs Higgins the Professor’s mother (despite being at least 30 yrs younger than my maths teacher who played him) and endured silver spray in my hair during the run to age me! It was however great fun, brilliant songs and I had proper dancing lessons to teach me to waltz for the Embassy ball scene!
(Thats me fourth from the right in the pink listening to Eliza talking about her aunt and gin at the Ascot races!)
I left school to go to University where I studied music as my additional subject in the 1st year, and exchanged my clarinet for classical guitar ( I taught myself how to play at the age of 10 from a compendium of Christmas music!) and the University choir. The production that year was a long way from my much loved musical theatre, it was a full blown opera! Iphigenia in Tauris by Gluck, but thankfully we sang it in English and not the original French! Not exactly one of the most popular opera’s and certainly no famous tunes, but I got to play a priestess… Hey ho, an interesting experience none the less!
After university, music took a bit of a back seat in my life as I concentrated on my career, and then my family. But about six years ago I joined a local female voice choir here in Kidderminster, and it has rekindled my passion for performing live music. My musical milestone here was performing with not just my choir, but a choir of over 1500 singing in the Festival of Brass and Voices in aid of Cancer Research UK at the Royal Albert Hall with two fantastic world class brass bands, the Grimethorpe Colliery and the Brighouse and Rastrick.
Another choral milestone was becoming a “recording artist” ok, it may not reach number 1 in the charts, but the choir’s first CD is something I am proud of, and we have just finished our second which we are hoping will be enjoyed just as much by our friends, family and local supporters.
(That’s me taking a break from recording our 2nd CD!) Kidderminster Valentines website
I am sure there must be loads more musical milestones I have not told you about, such as my younger brother’s fantastic performance in Some Like it Hot at the Shrewsbury Playhouse, or the musical interlude on stage in A Midsummers Night Dream with the women’s morris dancers I belonged to, but I think I will save those stories for another day!!