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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Sepia Saturday: Musical Moments

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history and memories  through photographs. 

I felt sure there was a photograph of me playing the piano, but no - it was not to be found, just this inanimate piano shot below. 

Take a look at interior decoration in Edinburgh  c.1968 - obviously  Christmas judging by the hanging lanterns and Christmas cards on the piano.  The picture on the wall had a recessed frame with a light above it. I remember my mother painting the walls  peach, or were they orange?  But must admit I cannot recollect the other side of the archway being green.

And the story of  the piano in family life:
Mary & Albert Weston - my grandparents
  • My father in "Memories of his Broseley Boyhood" recalled:

    "We had a “palace” organ double keyboard, Mum was very musical and Dad, who so far as I know, had never had a music lesson, played in Coalbrookdale Brass Band, he could also play the violin.  From time to time Mum would play the organ on a Sunday night and Dad the violin - hymns from the "Ancient & Modern " hymnbook. There was one unusual feature about his, he never asked for a number but the tune e.g. Moscow, Bishopthorpe etc."

    The family were keen churchgoers.  Eldest son Fred sang in the choir at St. Mark's 's Church, Warwick and my father sang in the church at Broseley. Shropshire and later at St. Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde. Lancashire  where I was baptized. 

Broseley Church, Shropshire where my father sang in the  choir from the age of 7.  

My uncle - Fred Weston, as a choir boy.

  • On my mother's part, she always wanted to play the piano and I got the impression that she was rather  aggrieved that her older sister Edith learned to play (she became a teacher), and her much younger sister Peggy did - but Mum missed out.  So she was determined that I had the chance, and the piano, complete with candlesticks, was transported  from my grandfather's house to our cold front room, which only had a fire on for special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas - not conducive to nimble fingers across the keyboard!

    One of my worst experiences, at the age of 12, was   to take part in a local musical festival - I hated it, but reckon the adjudicator must have felt worse having to listen to  us children playing (or murdering) the same piece of music over and over again. I vowed never to go through that again. 

    didn't  progress beyond Grade 3 as we moved house across country and I never took up lessons again, but the love  of music stayed with me.  And my limited piano playing ability  (for hymns, community singing and party games) did come in useful in applying for a job as a school auxiliary. 

    My parents and aunt were the people I have to thank for making music so much a  part of my life from an early age, introducing me to musicals, operetta and ballet (my most favourite art form).  I was lucky to grow up in Blackpool, Lancashire which  had regular touring companies to the Opera House and Grand Theatre.  

    Singing in a choir (school, church, community)  has been a key activity throughout my life from primary school days onwards, whether it was folk songs from round the world, spirituals, carols, sacred music, opera and operetta choruses,   or songs from the shows - musical tastes that still mean a lot to me today. I was very happy to be a chorus girl, with no pretensions to be a soloist - I knew my limitations!

    It is a marvelous form of music making, whatever your age, a great creator of the "feel good factor",  and there is nothing to beat singing with the full blooded accompaniment of an an orchestra or  organ. 

    And what tiny bit of musical family history research delighted me?  Discovering  from an obituary in the local paper  that my Great Uncle George also sang in the choir at St. Chad's Church, Poulton. He was killed  on the Somme in 1916 at the age of 22, 

    St.Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde

Click HERE to discover other musical  delights from Sepia Sepians


  1. Reading about all your various exposures to music makes me realize there was much more I could have done with my own SS contribution for this week.

  2. My family wasn't very musical, and I am definitely very nonmusical.

  3. I remember my grandmother often told me I should keep studying piano because I could play it at parties. I never attended any parties where a piano was played but it sounds like you had a different experience!

  4. Bravo for reaching Grade 3; worth the freezing digits! Wonderful to read of your family's musical traditions.

  5. Enjoyed reading your musical "notes"....(pardon the pun)...

  6. Great Story, Enjoyed it. Thanks

  7. So you played your piano in a cold front room, & I played mine in the basement. Did you have a little heater? I remember there was a little electric heater down there that if placed within three feet of me, would keep my feet & legs warm, but my fingers - not so much! :))

  8. Thanks for your post. I am sorry your learning had so many challenges.

  9. Love Broseley...lovely building! And I think that naming hymns by their standard names (rather than page number) is an Episcopal thing: my mother always did the same thing!

  10. Great that you have a musical family history! I can't play or sing myself, but I do appreciate and enjoy listening to others who can.

  11. I enjoyed your post - lovely to have so many musical memories of your family to get to know them all a bit more.

  12. The cold front room with a fire only on special occasions struck a chord with me. Mind you I don't think there was even one note of music played in ours when I was a child.

  13. What would we do without music. Once I even tried to invent a spoken language that was made from just musical notes instead of the sounds we make and call speech. I didn;t get very far !

  14. One of my friends tells a story about having to get up early every day to practice for an hour before school, and her brothers (still in bed) yelling out cheek when she made mistakes.
    Great-uncle George's story is sad - so much was lost in that war.

  15. What a wonderfully musical family : the best I can do is an uncle who played piano in a Working Men's Club

  16. A great post and I liked reading about the discovery of your great uncle's singing history. It is very hard and usually impossible to learn much about personalities and interests of our ancestors. But singing puts them into an activity that we can immediately understand and even recreate the echos across time.

  17. I could play the piano but wasn't one for singing - at least I could participate


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