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Peter Best and Monty

What musicians get up to in lockdown, part 2

27/03/2021

Havant Symphony Orchestra’s viola player Vincent Iyengar practised slightly more than he usually does during lockdown. “It gave me a chance to revise playing solo viola works that I’d studied at college. I also tried my hand at the ‘cello for a few months”, he says.

Gerda Wilcox has a flute and piano music studio in North Baddesley. She is also principal flute with the Havant Symphony Orchestra. “My practising went well during lockdown, possibly out of boredom. By way of Facebook’s Flute Etude of the Week community, I discovered a great book of studies by Sarpay Ozcagatay. It’s incorporated a little jazz into my practise diet.” she confides.

“I also learned a bit of videography too and started a YouTube channel which gave me a goal to focus on”, says Gerda enthusiastically.  I took a look at Gerda’s channel. She performs a beautiful rendition of that plaintive Northern Irish air Carrickfergus while harmonising with herself on flute.  As they say in the Emerald Isle, it’s enough to bring tears to a glass eye.

Cath Hutchins, one of the HSO’s first violins, has had little time to practise because she’s been heavily involved with the Cosham Community Larder. The Larder was set up and run by volunteers from St Philip’s Church.

“It’s a food store in a renovated bowling club in Cosham Park. For a £1 registration fee, members from Cosham, Wymering and Paulsgrove can choose ten food items for £3.” Cath says.

“We buy supplies from FareShare who collect surplus goods from supermarkets which are coming up to their ‘best before’ date.  Even with sensible social distancing in force, some mornings are very busy. The shelves are depleted by the afternoon,” explains Cath.

“We are also very grateful to the Highbury Champions for their help in distributing food and those members who offer vegetables directly from their gardens” public-spirited Cath says.

Peter Best, violinist with the Four Strings Quartet, bought a dog during lockdown.  “Affectionately known as ‘the pandemic pup’ Monty is a lovely Border terrier,” says Peter. “It really makes sense to have a companion on my daily exercise walks.”

“I’ve taken him to puppy and junior training sessions and he’s done really well. Some bits are online; others are face-to-face but Monty’s passed with flying colours.”

“The Four Strings Quartet is really popular for weddings and other special occasions but our last gig was in March 2020. Before that our diary was full.  None the less people are booking us for future dates when lockdown is lifted”, Pete says.

Read Part 1.

Author: Stuart Reed
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