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Behind the doors: Lucy Melvin reflects on the friendships we make through music.

Lucy is the Director of Chamber Players

Summer School for string players and 2nd violinist with Callia Quartet. She also teaches at 3 secondary schools in South East London.

"Music has always been part of my life. My grandfather was a tenor, and so I think I was taken to concerts from a baby, as I did with my own children too. I couldn’t imagine my life being as rich and varied without music in it, it has given me opportunities to travel, and to meet people in many other countries. It is a vital part of my own self-expression. I feel very lucky.

I teach in secondary schools, and working with teenagers is so rewarding. I feel often that they inspire me, as much as hopefully I inspire them. Often teenagers are looking for a way to express their individuality, and music can be that means. Once they have found that for themselves, it is a very powerful thing.

When I was younger, much of my musical experiences were gained from attending holiday courses, The people who I met on those courses became life-long friends, and people I continue to work with today. Infact in some cases the friendships made through music go back as young as 5: a fellow contributor to this years’ calendar is Sheida Davis. We have known each other since we were probably 5 years old, and although we lost touch for a while when we went to different secondary schools, we made contact when we realised our lives were continuing to follow the same paths. We each run our own holiday courses: Sheida’s course is called Strings Rock, and mine is called Chamber Players. Sheida has taught on several of the Chamber Players courses, and it really is great that we are still a big part of each others lives. "

Lucy and Sheida playing with dolls when they were girls - Lucy's children now wear the dress she has on in the picture!

Here are Lucy & Sheida - centre & centre left - teaching together on a Chamber Players course - photograph by Rebecca Cresta.

"When I run Chamber Players every year, and see the friendships which are made during each week, I am sure that for those pupils the effect will be the same, and the memories made there will be just as long lasting.

I wasn’t sure whether it would be possible to organise a Summer course this year, if there was so much uncertainty around what would be possible or safe at that time. Normally a course such as Chamber Players takes a lot of time to organise, and when the restrictions were lifted, I wasn’t sure if I had given myself enough time to make it all happen, but there were enough enquiries for me to know that it was something that the pupils wanted to happen this year, and I found a venue which had a really large space for performing in, and for the rehearsals each day. I am really grateful to St Dunstan’s College in South London, for being so welcoming to us, and making everything possible. It felt like such a wonderful bonus to this year to achieve a Chamber Players course, when I hadn’t thought it would be possible. It exceeded every expectation, with pupils from almost beginner, through to Diploma level. All ages, from 6, through to 18, and such a wide variety of music performed in the final concert, and added to all of that, no one caught Covid!

As the country came out of restrictions, hearing live music performed again has been a real joy for people. The Callia Quartet gave an intimate concert for friends and sponsors to thank those who have supported us through the lockdown months. All these little moments of celebration, make us realise that we have a lot to be thankful for.

The Callia Quartet - photograph by Bill Knight


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