Heather Eves is a cellist who has lived in Crawley since 1991. She writes:
I have enjoyed many musical occasions in the town.
The biggest of these has to be the Crawley Prom in the Park as a member of Sussex Symphony Orchestra. Who can forget these huge events? It seemed the whole of Crawley were sitting on the grass listening to the music, enjoying picnics, watching the fireworks and singing along to the Prom classics, sometimes on a warm summers evening, sometimes in pouring rain.
Just as important has been smaller occasions, singing with St Paul’s Church Choir, we sometimes joined forces with other church choirs for a ‘Songs of Praise ‘ at St Mary’s Church in Southgate.
It’s very important that children get an opportunity to learn and enjoy music, and for me, this meant walking down St Mary’s Drive with multiple instruments on numerous Saturdays taking my children to the Saturday morning music centre at Hazelwick School, now run by West Sussex Music. At that time, it included choirs, kindermusik, orchestras and theory classes – often we were there for the whole morning. It was also a great time to catch up with friends from across the town, catching up with friends and making new ones. We took board games for siblings, if they tired of this we would find them an extra class to go to.
It was school music lessons in Leeds where I began learning the cello at the age of six. My primary school in Leeds really encouraged music and although the school only went up to the age of nine we had a large orchestra of strings and recorders. Once a year Leeds Town Hall was packed with young musicians from across the city. Saturday morning orchestras provided encouragement and opportunities for music making. As a teenager I went to a ‘rehearsal orchestra’, tackling large works and conducted by David Angus, who later went on to conduct at Glyndebourne. I also had the opportunity to travel both within the UK and to the USA with the British Methodist Youth Choir – I had some amazing experiences and have brilliant memories from this time. At sixteen I chose to study at the City of Leeds College of Music, later gaining a music degree from the University of Sussex. As part of this I had ‘cello lessons at the Guildhall School of Music where I learnt with the exotically named Ula Kantrovich.
More recently, I joined Milton Mount Community Choir, where I enjoy letting my hair down and singing just for fun and meeting with friends.
Music, and especially singing, can improve mental health and I really believe that music making should be intrinsic to everyone’s lives, not an extra for those that can afford it, or reserved for elite musicians.