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.
I 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
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