As Rosie progresses through her cycling challenge, we are sitting down with her (virtually) to find out more about her. In this week's blog, we catch up with Rosie about her relationship with music and how it has impacted her life.
When Rosie was 6 years old, her Mum gave her a recorder and a tutor book and she taught herself to play! Rosie says, "I used to take my recorder to school and play at breaktime which drove one teacher a bit nuts, so the school gave me and another recorder-playing friend a form for Saturday morning music school and suggested we should take our instruments there instead!" That's how Rosie first got involved with the Suffolk County Music Service. Rosie remembers David Bramhall, who led the choir and taught music theory, and Malcolm Roberts and Viv Kemmett who ran recorder groups. "That's probably when I really got the bug," she says.
For a long time Rosie wanted to play the trumpet: "As a small child I loved listening to the Salvation Army band at Christmas and didn't realise it was cornets they used, but that's what I wanted to play. It was only when I got to high school and my parents went to their first parents' evening that my music teacher, Robin Highcock, suggested the French Horn." The next thing Rosie knew, she was having lessons with John Hemmings on a strange, smelly, lacquer free instrument held together with a lot of her Dad's soldering skills! "John used to joke that if I rubbed it hard enough a genie would pop out!"
Rosie didn't grow up in a very musical family, although both of her parents like music and her dad had learned the trumpet as a teenager. When Rosie started learning the French Horn, one of the Malcolm Roberts roped her into joining the Ipswich Hospital Band. Rosie told us, "I'd been playing the horn for only a few weeks at that point, but Malcolm had known me for a few years as a recorder player, so knew I could read music well. I am certain the Hospital Band helped me learn very quickly, and Dad ended up getting roped in too, playing cornet, so we actually went on a couple of band tours together!"
Rosie loved the horn and, as she could already read music and played it non-stop, she got to Grade 5 in just 18 months. John then suggested she joined South Suffolk Youth Orchestra. Rosie carried on with Saturday morning music school too and did until she went to uni. In the later years, Rosie mainly helped out and this helped her to decide she wanted to be a music teacher.
In 1994, Rosie joined Suffolk Youth Wind Band, with Sue Taylor looking after the horns and, the following year, joined Suffolk Youth Orchestra and embarked on her first tour to Prague.
SYO on tour in either Prague (1995) or Budapest (1996).
Rosie has some amazing memories of her time in Suffolk Youth Orchestra: "Every tour was amazing. I room-shared mostly with Claire Watts, Lisa Cooper and Caroline Gay, but made a lot of life-long friends during my time in SYO. I was lucky enough to join when Ollie Green was lead horn; he was just the most wonderful player."
Her favourite concert with SYO was playing Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5 in Auchwitz Church. "I was on 1st horn, and Caroline was on 1st oboe. We were being recorded for Polish TV and it was one of those moments where everything just worked perfectly!" She says, "As to what else went on on tour, well, what goes on tour stays on tour!"
SYO on tour in Spain (1999).
Alongside her skills on the French Horn and recorder, Rosie kept up her recorder playing, and has also done a lot of singing, including solo and chamber work. She did eventually get to learn the trumpet, and also picked up the trombone (because her school was short of a trombonist, so she volunteered!) Rosie knew she'd need to play the piano to become a music teacher so picked that up too, and can play the flute. Not that much then!
"In addition," Rosie says, "I do sometimes bring home instruments from the school I teach at to have a go. Recently, I've been trying cello, for which I should probably apologise...! When my son started learning violin, I promised I would do Grade 1 with him. I'm not very good, but I did it! He's now moved onto viola and his younger sister is learning violin and recorder." It seems the musical gene runs in the family!
We asked Rosie what some of her "Desert Island Discs" would be and she said, "That is sooooo hard! I'm not even sure where I would start as I'd want a really good mix! I'd need a very full iPod/Spotify list!" But three tracks that Rosie would definitely chose are:
- The Beatles 'Here Comes the Sun'. "I'd need some songs I could sing along to, and anything by The Beatles would be good, but this is a favourite!"
- Wood 'Fantasia on British Sea Songs'. "Another SYO favourite. Playing for the 'Last Night of the Proms' each year at Snape Maltings was a real highlight."
- Monteverdi 'Vespers'. "My son has just finished his time as a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral and this is one of his favourite pieces."
Rosie is now a music teacher and loves what she does. She says, "Music is a huge part of who I am. I feel hugely privileged to be able to teach a subject I am so passionate about. SYM gave me the best possible start to my musical career; I had some wonderful teachers and met some incredibe musicians. That so many of us went on to careers in music and the arts says volumes about what an incredible job SYM do."
Check back next Saturday for the final blog post, where Rosie tells us all about her relationship with SMART.
You can donate to Rosie's cycling challenge here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/RosieRides2020